Not being from Pennsylvania, I hadn’t heard of this story. It came on my radar because the Vidocq Society was brought up in conversation in regards to resources that could be used in my mother’s case. It’s kind of a last resort.
The Vidocq Society has been working on The Boy in the Box case for a number of years and refuses to give up.
I wasn’t prepared for what I read, or maybe it’s because both cases I have recently discussed were about crimes against children. Either way, this was hard to read. The details, in this case, are discussed in graphic detail, much more detail than you would typically read about in a cold case. I’m assuming detectives have made a conscious decision to let out more and more info as the years have passed on, in the hopes that one small piece of information will lead to the killer(s).
WARNING: There are graphic autopsy photographs in the link.
I was offered a columnist position with WPMG-TV Pittsburgh to focus on cold cases in Pennsylvania.
The anniversary of Cherrie Mahan’s abduction was approaching, so it made the perfect first story.
I’ve seen this case featured on America’s Most Wanted (My all-time favorite show, John Walsh I love you!), but I didn’t know much about it. From what I read online, there were many theories and facts about the events leading up to and after her disappearance, but there wasn’t much on who Cherrie is/was. My goal was to write an article that captured more of her essence and humanized a young girl that was much more than the event that has captured the nation and defined her.
One of the interesting things I discovered about the case, is the “underground rumbling”. As with my own mother’s cold case, locals seem to know just a little bit more about what was going on surrounding the incident, that news outlets won’t report on. I visited as much of these sites as I could in order to hear what the locals thought – I wasn’t alone in my opinions.
Unfortunately, her mother did not respond to my voicemails requesting an interview.