BAY VILLAGE, Ohio — Bay Village police will look to see if a mystery man identified only this week might have any connection to the disappearance and murder of ten-year-old Amy Mihaljevic.
But Chief Mark Spaetzel stresses that police are doing this only in the ordinary course of their work and that, right now, they have no information that ties that man to Amy’s case.
On Thursday, authorities identified a mystery man as Robert Ivan Nichols, a WWII vet who earned a Purple Heart.
He had assumed the identity of Joseph Newton Chandler– an 8-year-old Tulsa, Oklahoma, boy– who died in a car crash in 1945.
Nichols took his own life in 2002 in Eastlake and his real name wasn’t known until a DNA match was made to his son.
He left his wife and three children in Kentucky in the 60s, and first appeared in Ohio in 1978. Chief Spaetzel says his department would make sure that Nichols was even in the Cleveland area at the time of Amy’s disappearance before even considering going to the expense of trying to do DNA testing.
Amy Mihaljevic disappeared in October of 1989 from a quaint Bay Village shopping plaza. She told classmates that she was going with a friend to buy a gift for her Mom. Amy’s body was discovered in early 1990, near a remote road in Ashland County.
Bay Village police continue to work Amy’s case. Chief Spaetzel says the work of retired FBI agent Phil Torsney has been enlightening to the case, though there have been no huge breakthroughs.
But funding for Torsney’s work is running low. Chief Spaetzel hopes that Torsney’s work will continue.
Perhaps the most famous case Torsney has worked on involved notorious Boston mobster Whitey Bulger.
It took decades, but Torsney helped find Bulger living in hiding in California.
**Continuing coverage on Amy Mihaljevic**