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Cherrie Mahan Missing: Penn. Police May Have Break in 1985 Missing Girl Case

Cherrie Mahan was last seen stepping off a school bus in Winfield Township, Pa., about 35 miles north of Pittsburgh, on Feb. 22, 1985. She hasn't been seen since, and was the first child ever featured on the now-famous "Have You Seen Me?" advertising circulars produced by a company called Advo Inc., for the National Center on Missing and Exploited Children. missingkids.com

Cherrie Mahan (Family Photo and Age-Progressed Simulation)

CABOT, Pa. (CBS/AP) Eight-year-old Cherrie Mahan disappeared 26 years ago after getting off her school bus. Now, Pennsylvania State Police say "potentially crucial" information has been revealed in her disappearance.

PICTURES: Missing Children, Where are They?

Unfortunately, police also say that this new information means it is "highly unlikely" Cherrie is still alive.

Cherrie was last seen stepping off a school bus in Winfield Township, Pa., about 35 miles north of Pittsburgh, on Feb. 22, 1985. She was the first child ever featured on the now-famous "Have You Seen Me?" advertising circulars produced by a company called Advo Inc., for the National Center on Missing and Exploited Children.

"An individual came to the Pennsylvania State Police Butler station and provided some information to an investigator regarding this case," Trooper Dan Kesten told CBS affiliate KDKA. "[It] may or may not produce additional leads for us."

Investigators will not reveal what the person who came forward said, but they do say the information is more specific than past tips have been.

Trooper Robert McGraw told The Associated Press that the new information makes it "highly unlikely that she is alive."

McGraw has been the lead investigator on the case since late last summer and told The Valley News Dispatch that there still is a chance that Cherrie is alive. If she is, she would be 33 years old. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has produced an age-progressed photo of what Cherrie might look like today.

Cherrie was 4-feet-2-inches tall and weighed about 68 pounds when she disappeared. She had brown hair and hazel eyes. She has pierced ears and was last seen wearing a gray coat, blue denim skirt, blue leg warmers and beige boots.

Cherrie's mother, Janice McKinney, told KDKA, "It's closure we're all looking for," and hopes this person coming forward will provide that. "The not-knowing is what eats you alive every single day of your life."

  • Carlin Miller

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