Cold case: Blairsville teenager went for walk 30 years ago and never returned

BLAIRSVILLE, Pa. — It’s a mystery that has haunted family, friends, and investigators for more than three decades. A teenager left her father’s home in Blairsville after an argument, and she hasn’t been seen or heard from since.

Tonight, Target 11 Investigator Rick Earle has learned there is a new effort underway to find out what happened to the teen.

“No one’s heard from her since that day he picked her up, said Alicia’s mother, Marcie Vitko.

“No trace of her whatsoever?” asked Earle.

“No. It’s like she vanished.  She vanished from that property, “said Chrissie Boyer, Alicia’s friend.

In April 1987, 15-year-old Alicia Markovich visited her dad at his home in Blairsville, where he says they got into an argument and she took off.

Her mother, who lived in Windber, won’t ever forget the call from her ex-husband.

“Marcie, she’s gone. I said ‘what do you mean she’s gone?’ When she left, we had an argument. She left the house, and I don’t know where she’s at,” said Vitko.

Earle reached out to John Markovich but hasn’t heard back. Earle called Markovich at his home in Ohio and left a message with Markovich’s wife in Blairsville.

John Markovich did speak to our Johnstown affiliate, WJAC-TV, shortly after Alicia disappeared. Here’s what he told them.

“Parents get mad at their kids. Kids get mad at their parents, and they hash it out, or whatever.  Sometimes they don’t talk for a few hours, and they patch things up. If she wants to stay mad, at least give me the silent treatment, but I didn’t think I wouldn’t see her again,” Markovich told the reporter.

Police initially treated the case as a teenage runaway, but friends and family tell Earle they were convinced otherwise.

“Did you think she would just show up? You had a bad feeling too?” Earle asked.

“No, we all had a bad feeling. If she was made about something even if they had a little scuffle, she’d go for a walk and right back to the house. I mean she was always home. She was a homebody. This was extremely out of character for her,” Boyer said.

Alicia never returned home, and she hasn’t been seen in 34 years now.

“She always, always made everybody laugh. We have nothing but good memories of her and good times because she was just a good person, overall. She had a really big heart,” said Boyer.

And now 34 years later, friends and family have launched a new effort to bring her home.

With a GoFundMe page and a basket raffle, they have so far raised enough money to start a website and put a billboard with her picture along Route 22 near her dad’s house, where she vanished.

They plan to hire a legal team and private investigators to help with their efforts.

“We have a website. We have a hotline, and we’ve had a lot of calls on our hotline,” said Boyer.

“It really is a mystery.  It’s a true mystery, what happened to Alicia,” said Trooper Cliff Greenfield, of the Pennsylvania State Police Indiana barracks.

Trooper Greenfield told Earle that the case remains open, and it’s also been referred to the Criminal Investigative Assessment unit for periodic review. He said they haven’t gotten any new leads recently.

“We hope that some new information may come to light as a result of their efforts, so we remain hopeful. Unfortunately, we do believe that it is likely that Alicia is deceased due to the significant time that has passed since 1987. We do not have any information that she may still be alive, but we certainly need to remain hopeful, said Greenfield.

Police say they don’t know if foul play was involved or if she just ran away.

Police also provided us with an age-progressed picture of what Alicia would look like today.

A rare possible break in the case came nearly two decades ago.

In 2000, 13 years after she vanished from this home, Alicia’s father received an anonymous letter from New Hampshire indicating that his daughter’s remains were located.

Police went to that address and interviewed the residents, but they didn’t know Alicia and had never heard of Blairsville.

“Those were followed up on thoroughly. In fact, we sent troopers out of state to follow up on those, and they were not able to develop any credible information, unfortunately, said Greenfield.

Police also searched along the Conemaugh River in Blairsville but came up empty.

Family and friends are now hoping this new push will lead them to Alicia.

“Our goal is to bring her home this year. We’re not leaving any stone unturned I get very little sleep neither does this lady.  She thinks of something, and she’ll call me at 1:30 or 2 o’clock in the morning. We’re overwhelmed with the amount of people that have just come forward and we’re like we’re going to do it. We’re going to do it. We got this. I’m 100 percent sure we’re going to find her,“ Boyer said.