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Cherrie Mahan: Butler’s most famous cold case

Cherrie Mahan was 8-years old when she disappeared, without a trace. Hundreds, if not thousands, of volunteers searched the area to where she was last seen. At the end of her driveway on Corn Planter Road in Winfield Township. This is the case that made national news several times, and within the past few years, police have had a credible inquiry as to what happened to Cherrie Mahan.

The Timeline:

  • February 22nd, 1985 – Cherrie Mahan went to school like usual.
  • 4:05PM – Feb. 22nd, 1985 – Cherrie Mahan got off her bus with 3 other students.
  • Shortly after, Mahan’s father searched around his house and area.
  • The night of February 22nd, 1985 – Mahan’s father contacted State Police Butler.
  • Emergency crews and local residents began searching many square-miles.

What we know: We know Cherrie Mahan was 8-years-old at the time of her disappearance. She was born on August 14th, 1976 and she would be 40 years old, 41 in August. At the time of her disappearance, she was 4-foot 2-inches and was 68-pounds. She had brown hair and hazel eyes. She has a dog-bite scar on her left arm and her ears were pierced.

What happened that day: Cherrie Mahan got off the school bus with 3 other students. She only had about 100-yards (300-feet) to walk back to her house from where she was dropped off. A mysterious van was spotted in the area about the time Mahan disappeared. The van was described as a 1976 Dodge with a mountain and skier painted on the side of the van. There was also a small blue car in the area as well.

mahanvan2.jpg  mahanvan.jpg

Possible Leads: People call the State Police Butler barracks quite frequently regarding this case. Some believe they saw the van on the turnpike in 1987,and some people think they may have seen Cherrie Mahan as an adult. The police went to Michigan and New Jersey to talk to residents who look like Cherrie Mahan’s projected image for her current age. Cherrie Mahan was featured on milk cartons and flyers as a missing child. State Police say that phone calls come in regularly on the anniversary dates of the Mahan disappearance. The state police even dug up several yards in Winfield Township where there was a rumor she was buried.

Extra Info:  In 1992, Cherrie Mahan’s family legally declared her deceased and donated the entire life insurance policy to the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children. Her trust fund was given to her brother.

Below is an updated picture of what Mahan is believed to look like.


Anyone with information is urged to call the Pennsylvania State Police – Any tips could help solve the case, and possibly bring Cherrie Mahan back home! Please call the barracks at 724-284-8100

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