By Jeff Gallatin
Multiple law enforcement agencies are taking another strong look at the more than 24-year-old unsolved murder of Amy Mihaljevic, who was abducted from a Bay Village shopping center Oct. 27, 1989, and later found dead in rural Ashland County in February, 1990.
A press conference has been set for 11 a.m. today at the Bay Village Police Department. Representatives from the department and the FBI, along with retired FBI agent Phil Torsney, one of the chief investigators in the Mihaljevic case, will be in attendance. Torsney was recently retained by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s office to again investigate the case.
For the department and recently promoted Bay Village Police Chief Mark Spaetzel, who spoke at Mihaljevic’s school about safety the day she was abducted from the Bay Square Shopping Center, the case remains a priority.
“I’ve always hated the term cold case in reference to this one because we’ve never stopped investigating this,” Spaetzel said.
While heading the detective bureau for many years until his promotion Nov. 1, Spaetzel kept a copy of Mihaljevic’s missing poster on the wall in the bureau’s office, took tips, followed up potential leads and spoke to other police agencies about the case.
“We’ve always regarded this case as solvable and continue to do so,” Spaetzel said. “We still get a lot of tips and we check them out. Some are old and we’ve heard some before and others aren’t real good, but we look into a lot of leads about this.”
Even with his promotion to chief of the department, Spaetzel said he will be active in the investigation.
“I’m still a cop and I want this case solved, as do other members of the department,” he said. “I’m going to continue to do some of the investigative work involved in this case. I’m sure that there will be parts that other members of the department will do, but we’re committed to solving this.”
Spaetzel said the hiring of Torsney, who led an investigation that resulted in the conviction of infamous Boston mob figure Whitey Bulger, and in another case, worked with a Fairview Park detective to track a rapist to France, is a good move.
“He’s a fine investigator, who already is very familiar with the case because of his prior work on it,” Spaetzel said. “I’ve always had the attitude that having good people looking into the case and publicity about it remaining under investigation is a good thing. Someone hearing that might realize they know something and let us know about it. And that could be the information which leads to solving the case.”