That Time One of My Substitute Teachers Was Accused of Abduction and Murder

Not the actual teacher

Since you have read the headline I will say that the investigation is still ongoing. That I have no idea if the teacher in question is guilty or not. However, I have my doubts about the whole thing. Let’s go back to the beginning though.

This week it was announced that there was going to be a press conference on the Amy Mihaljevic case. This of course has caused a large amount of interest to resurface. One of my friends on Facebook linked to a story from 2012 that called a teacher that many of us had. Since I don’t pretend to be an investigative journalist, I’m not calling out the teacher by name. His name is polluted enough in the Google database thanks to the author that keeps the case in the public consciousness by maintaining a blog called Finding Amy’s Killer – You can look over there to see the name of the prime suspect.

I read about this teacher and the connection a few years ago when it was in a local paper. I read it, I absorbed it, and I moved on. I had nothing to add to it. While I remember this teacher, I remember him as a substitute. I remember his name and his face tied together, I don’t remember much else. I can’t tell you if he was a good guy. I can’t tell you if I think he did it. From personal experience, it was someone I meant who is just a face in the crowd. Yet, what an irony that I crossed paths even innocently with him.

The Amy Mihaljevic case was the story of the boogeyman to parents across Northern Ohio. A girl was abducted in the middle and just up and disappeared for months. Four months after her disappearance her body was found in a field halfway between my hometown and where I currently reside. I’ve driven within at least a mile of Amy’s discovery site at least a thousand times. I have never stopped to see it, and likely never will purposely seek it out.

My mother was scared for my sisters growing up at this time. My one sister was two and the other was a newborn. For years it scared my mother to let the girls play in the front yard of our fairly solid middle-class neighborhood. I would always have to keep an eye on them, which I’m sure you can imagine is every teenager’s dream. Yet, my parents moved to Vermilion from Elyria so their children could go to a better school system. They wanted a safer environment than where we were living. So we moved to a small lakeside community.

Sometime during my school years, I had a teacher who allegedly was the one responsible for the fear that struck this part of the state. I use the word allegedly very strongly. Most of the accusations come from the writer that has written the book on the case. He complains that his theories fall on deaf ears with the Bay Village Police Department and the FBI. He seems to have solved it in his mind and he is smarter than everyone else involved.

The writer has become judge and jury, and he seems so determined – even executioner if the teacher is found guilty. I read through most of his blog, he uses conjecture and allegations just as much as fact. The police don’t trust the sketch of the suspect since it was done the day by two 10-year-old children. Yet, he uses the sketch as absolute proof. While he does write a convincing yarn there are holes in the theory. The largest one was offered up by a Redditor. Since this teacher taught in Amherst, and the abduction happened about 20 minutes after school in Bay Village – it makes an unlikely timeline.

The teacher from the stories was admittedly strange. He did give up his teaching license instead of getting fingerprinted – but then again the writer points out there were allegations of impropriety of the teacher. These allegations started an investigation by the school. Depending on what happened, he may have been asked to leave. Yet, he wasn’t convicted of a crime. If you start looking at the conjectures that are made you will see more questions.

There are rumors that the writer treats as fact. I can say that there were many rumors of the “less than acceptable” nature by many teachers in schools. From drug use to sitting girls in the front and looking up their skirts, to full affairs between teachers and students. Anyone with a brain knows that these rumors happen in about every school. That you need to separate what he said/she said with something more. Especially coming from Vermilion where rumors run wild.

The largest evidence is the theory that the teacher met Amy and other girls who received phone calls from a local nature center. This is a theory that only the author takes seriously. The Police and the FBI haven’t publicly added any weight to these claims. Then again the authorities had a press conference twenty-seven years later to ask the public to identify a curtain. If this piece was so crucial, it should have been released at least twenty-six years ago. I was hoping the press conference today would announce a suspect in this cold case. Maybe the curtain will add to a new lead – or it might be the end of this case.

No matter who the guilty party is, we have to make sure we don’t go on a witch hunt. We can’t throw names around for years and smear them across the internet without proof. I just suggest you go and read for yourself. Don’t read a single article this writer has put out there, read the breadth. He is convinced many people are the likely killer – the teacher though is still at the top of his list. Don’t get manipulated into hate and fear just because someone said so. The police questioned the teacher years ago – and nothing came further of it.

Maybe someday we will get answers – but all we have today is rumor and speculation…