School photo of Cherrie Ann Mahan taken less than a year before her disappearance

Age-progression photo of what Cherrie Mahan might look like at 33 years of age. She would be 36 years old today.

Case Type: Non Family Abduction DOB: 08/14/76 Sex: Female Missing Date: 02/22/85 Race: Caucasian Age Now: 36  Height: 4’2″ (127 cm) Weight: 68 lbs Hair Color: Brunette Eye Color: Hazel City: Pittsburgh (31 kg) Missing State: PA Missing Country: United States Case Number: NCMC601805

Cherrie Mahan, born August 14, 1976, was an eight-year-old child from Butler County, Pennsylvania when she was abducted on Friday, February 22, 1985 around 4o’clock pm, just moments after stepping off the school bus, which was approximately 100 yards from her home along a road in rural Winfield Township. But the third-grader did not make it to the hilltop trailer she lived in with her parents.

The bus-stop was so close, the little girl’s parents could hear it pulling up.

“It’s like a black hole opened up and she fell in,” said Janice McKinney, Cherrie’s mother. She recalled that she and Cherrie’s stepfather, Leroy, could hear the bus pulling up that day, but Cherrie never arrived so he went to the stop to look for her. ”He came flying back up because she wasn’t there,” said Janice. The police were immediately contacted and they did a search in the area and asked local’s if anyone had seen the missing child. Witnesses reported to police that they had seen a suspicious looking van. A bright blue-green 1976 Dodge van with a mural of a mountain and skier painted on the side. Most of the leads given to police have been sightings of Mahan or the van, but  the van nor the missing child had ever surfaced. 

Van 2  SKETCH – front view and back view of the van spotted in the area at the time of the abduction

Van 1

Police were never able to find the vehicle which is strange considering the bright colors and mural design.

Cherrie’s case was very wide-spread, The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children opened in 1984 and Cherrie was featured as its first child listed on their mass-mailed “Have You Seen Me?” cards. Her case was on CNN in January 2011 and many people threw-out the Country still hear about the young girl’s mysterious disappearance.

Cherrie was a third grader and an only child, who just turned 36th birthday this past Summer, but in the minds of many, she will always remain a missing girl.

“People still talk about it,” said Trooper Frank Jendesky, the lead detective working on the case for the Pennsylvania State Police for the past 15 years.

 In January 2011, Pennsylvania police received a very promising tip/lead, but will not release details as they fear it will endanger the investigation.

Cherrie Mahan had her ears pierced at the time she went missing and was last seen wearing a gray coat, blue denim skirt, blue leg warmers and beige boots.

Anyone with information regarding this cold case is asked to please contact: Pennsylvania State Police Missing Persons Unit – 1-412-284-8100

Or leave a tip by contacting: National Center for Missing & Exploited Children – 1-800-843-5678 (1-800-THE-LOST)