Missing Since 1985? Mom Disputes Woman’s Claim

A 39-year-old mystery took a startling turn last month when a woman claiming to be Cherrie Mahan, a Pennsylvania girl who vanished without a trace in 1985, posted on social media that she was the long-lost child. The claim, made in a Facebook group dedicated to memories of Cherrie, has since sparked controversy and renewed heartache for Cherrie’s family.

Cherrie Mahan was just 8 years old when she disappeared on February 22, 1985, after getting off her school bus only 100 yards from her home in Cabot, a small town located about 30 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. Despite extensive searches and widespread media coverage, Cherrie’s fate remained one of Pennsylvania’s most haunting unsolved cases.

Last month, on May 23, a woman posted in the “Memories of Cherrie Mahan” Facebook group, claiming she was Cherrie. Her posts quickly garnered national attention and stirred hope and skepticism in equal measure.

In her post, the woman detailed her supposed experiences and why she believed she was Cherrie. However, these assertions have not convinced everyone, especially not Cherrie’s mother, Janice McKinney.

“I didn’t believe it for one second,” McKinney said firmly in a recent interview. “The pain of losing Cherrie has never gone away, and this claim feels like it’s adding salt to a wound that has never healed.”

McKinney contacted the police as soon as she learned of the woman’s claim. She has lived with the anguish and uncertainty of Cherrie’s disappearance for nearly four decades, holding on to the hope of finding her daughter while coping with the possibility that she might never know what happened.

Butler County authorities have confirmed they are aware of the woman’s posts and are investigating the claim. The woman has reportedly provided some details that align with Cherrie’s case, but authorities stress that verifying such a claim involves thorough investigation, including DNA testing.

“We understand the emotions and the sensitivity surrounding this case,” said Detective Robert Greene of the Butler County Sheriff’s Office. “We are taking the necessary steps to authenticate the woman’s claims through proper channels, including forensic analysis. It’s a delicate process that takes time.”

The online community has responded with a mix of support and skepticism. Many members of the Facebook group, who have followed Cherrie’s case for years, are cautiously optimistic but wary of false hope.

“It’s important to stay hopeful but also grounded in reality,” said group member Sharon Martin. “We’ve seen many leads over the years, and while we want this to be true, we have to wait for concrete evidence.”

The media frenzy around the woman’s claim has also reignited interest in Cherrie’s case, bringing new attention to a case that has remained cold for so long. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has re-released age-progressed images of what Cherrie might look like today, hoping to jog memories and encourage anyone with information to come forward.

For McKinney, the renewed attention is a double-edged sword. “I appreciate that people still care about Cherrie,” she said. “But the uncertainty, the waiting—it’s a nightmare I wouldn’t wish on anyone.”

As authorities work diligently to uncover the truth behind the woman’s claim, the community of Cabot and those who remember Cherrie Mahan continue to hold their breath, caught between hope and caution. For now, Cherrie’s story remains a painful mystery, one that a mother’s heart and a nation hope will finally be resolved.

Read more: NationsTribune

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