It was February 22, 1985, when a school bus dropped Mahan off at her stop on Cornplanter Road in Winfield Township. That was the last time she was seen. Witnesses said she got into a blue van with a skier mural painted on the side.
State police said they are now tracking a possible sighting of the girl that happened months after she vanished. Police said that girl may now be a woman living in a small Michigan community.
The woman in question denies that she is Mahan, but investigators said they have a lot of questions and interviews to do before making any determinations.
Earle traveled to Michigan to track down the source of the tip. After finding her, he asked many times about what she could remember from the possible sighting. Earle said the tipster was vague but then went into more detail after Channel 11 News cameras were shut off.
The woman said she believes she saw the van witnesses said Mahan entered the day she disappeared at a high school track meet. It wasn't until sometime after that track meet that the woman said she learned about the Mahan case.
The tipster said she called a phone number listed on Mahan's missing person flier, but never heard back from anyone. She said she was so concerned that she even tracked down Mahan's mother.
Now 26 years later, the details of the woman's story are emerging and police said they are looking into every new piece of information.
Investigators said they have received calls and emails about sightings periodically, but the main thing they want now is evidence. Police said they are now doing DNA testing to rule out any possibility that the woman living in Michigan is not Cherrie Mahan.
"It's very interesting and there are questions that have been posed and we need to find the answers. So we will work as quickly as we can to get those answers," said Lt. Steve Ignatz.
Police said they met with Mahan's mother on Monday to inform her of the new developments in the case.
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