Who Is Cherri Mahan? Woman Claims to be 8-Year-Old Pennsylvania Girl Who Vanished from Bus Stop in 1985 as Police Launch Investigation

According to her active missing persons case, Cherrie was last seen getting off the bus at the bottom of her driveway just after 4 p.m. on February 22, 1985.

A woman is claiming that she is the long-lost Cherri Mahan, a Pennsylvania girl who went missing after being dropped off by her school bus, about 100 yards from her home in Cabot, 30 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, in February 1985 and hasn't been seen or heard from since.

The Pennsylvania State Police are investigating the claims of the unidentified woman who claims that she is the 8-year-old Cherri Mahan, who disappeared nearly four decades ago. The woman claimed Cherrie's identity in a post to a "Memories of Cherrie Mahan" Facebook group last month, which was reported to state police, according to the Butler Eagle, which is not being investigated.

Cherri Mahan Back?

Cherri Mahan
Cherri Mahan (left) and the woman (right) claiming to be the missing girl X

According to her active missing persons case, Cherrie was last seen getting off the bus at the bottom of her driveway just after 4 p.m. on February 22, 1985.

Investigators said a blue 1976 Dodge van with a mural of a skier on a mountain was spotted nearby and might have been involved in her disappearance.

In a May 23 post, the woman claimed she was Cherrie, a statement that gained national attention.

Janice McKinney, Cherrie's mother, posted in the Facebook group that she had contacted the Pennsylvania State Police. She also told the Butler Eagle newspaper that she believed that the post was fraudulent.

"I truly believe she thought in her mind that she was Cherrie," McKinney told the Eagle. "It did not look anything like Cherrie at all."

She is the fourth woman to claim to be Cherrie since the girl vanished. A $5,000 reward has long been offered for information leading to Cherrie and/or an arrest.

The heartbroken mother said she is accustomed to receiving tips about Cherrie around the anniversary of her disappearance and her daughter's birthday in August, so this post in May was unexpected.

"In February and August, I expect craziness. This just hit me different," she told the local publication. "I didn't even see it. Someone called me and told me about it."

Family Still Waiting for Cherri

Cherri Mahan mother
Cherri Mahan's mother Janice McKinney X

McKinney said that each time someone claims to be her daughter, it is painful for her, even if she does not believe them. "If you wanted your 15 minutes of fame, you've already blown it," she said. "People are mean, they are cruel, but this affects me really crazy. It's gonna be 40 years since Cherrie's been missing."

Nevertheless, state police are actively working to identify the woman and are collaborating with an out-of-state agency to try to reach her.

The woman who claimed to be Cherrie has been blocked from the Facebook group, and her posts have been deleted. Group administrator Brock Organ wrote that she had been "harassing and bullying" other members, and said that no one in the group, particularly McKinney, should have to endure such behavior.

For McKinney, she believes the true Cherrie is being cared for, whether she is alive or deceased.

"I've always felt that she was OK," she said. "If she was dead, she is in heaven with my parents and my brothers. If she was alive, someone was taking care of her. I don't know why I feel that way."

However, that doesn't mean the mother has closure.