Mystery as woman comes forward claiming to be girl who disappeared from in front of her own home in 1985

5 June 2024, 19:32 | Updated: 5 June 2024, 19:34

Cherrie Mahan went missing in 1985
Cherrie Mahan went missing in 1985. Picture: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

By Kit Heren

A woman has come forward claiming to be a girl who disappeared from a bus stop in front of her house nearly 40 years ago.

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Cherrie Mahan vanished aged 8 after she was dropped off by her school bus in front of her home in a small town in the US state of Pennsylvania in 1985.

She has not been seen since - but now an unidentified woman has claimed she is Cherrie on a Facebook group dedicated to the missing girl.

Police are investigating, but Cherrie's mother said she does not believe the woman is really her daughter.

"I truly believe she thought in her mind that she was Cherrie,” Janice McKinney told local newspaper the Butler Eagle.

Read more: 'Sadly missed and never forgotten': Family pay tribute to father and son who went missing on walk in Scottish Highlands

Read more: Body of missing British kayaker Bren Orton, 29, found after vanishing in Swiss lake

Cherrie Mahan
Cherrie Mahan. Picture: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

"It did not look anything like Cherrie at all.”

She said that she is the fourth person to come forward claiming to be Cherrie, but that claims usually come in around the February anniversary of her daughter's disappearance, and on her birthday in August.

“In February and August, I expect craziness," she said. This just hit me different,” she said.

"I didn’t even see it. Someone called me and told me about it."

Ms McKinney said that despite the passage of time, people exploiting her daughter's disappearance is still hurtful.

She said: "If you wanted your 15 minutes of fame, you’ve already blown it,” she said.

How Cherrie might look now
How Cherrie might look now. Picture: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

"People are mean, they are cruel, but this affects me really crazy. It’s gonna be 40 years since Cherrie’s been missing."

But Ms McKinney said that she feels her daughter is "OK", whether she is alive or not.

"If she was dead, she is in heaven with my parents and my brothers. If she was alive, someone was taking care of her. I don’t know why I feel that way."

Cherrie went missing on February 22, 1985, and was last seen getting off the bus at the bottom of the drive of her family home.

A blue Dodge van with a mural of a skier on a mountain was seen nearby, and police think it could have had some relevance to the case.

McKinney said: "I wish that we [every investigator on Cherrie’s case] could all get together and sit and talk.

"There’s something somebody missed somewhere, and somebody knows."

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