(CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio) -- As part of his Ohio Unsolved Homicides Initiative, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is asking for information that could help solve the 1987 murder of Barbara Blatnik.
The 26th anniversary of the 17-year-old's death was last Friday.
"My mom and I had been Christmas shopping, and when we got home there were police cruisers in the driveway," said Barbara's sister, Donna Zanath. "Life was never the same after that. Her murder broke our family."
The Garfield Heights teenager, who was an Erieview Catholic High School junior, was last seen alive shortly after midnight on December 20, 1987, in the area of Warner Road and Grand Division Avenue. Her nude body was found later that morning near Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls, approximately 30 miles away. She had been strangled and sexually assaulted.
"This crime has haunted this young woman's family each and every day for the past 26 years, and they deserve to know who did this and why," said Attorney General DeWine.
"Even though this crime happened more than two decades ago, we haven't forgotten about what happened to Barbara, and we are not going to," said Cuyahoga Falls Detective Randy Tlumac. "Even the smallest bit of information could be exactly what we need to piece together what happened that night."
"I think people were afraid to come forward with information after it happened, and we understand that, but it's not too late to tell authorities what you know," said Zanath. "You can give my family the greatest gift this Christmas by coming forward. Closure is the only gift we need."
Anyone with information regarding the murder of Barbara Blatnik should contact the Cuyahoga Falls Detective Bureau at 330-971-8334.
Those with information on this or any other unsolved homicide can also contact the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) at 855-BCI-OHIO or submit a tip through the Ohio Attorney General's website.
Attorney General DeWine’s Ohio Unsolved Homicides Initiative was developed in September 2012 in an effort to create a statewide database of the approximately 5,000 unsolved killings in the state. So far, law enforcement agencies have submitted 1,829 unsolved homicide cases to the database.
The goal of the initiative is to bring widespread visibility to cases, increase the possibility for tips, and help jurisdictions compare details of unsolved crimes.
Dan Tierney: 614-466-3840
Jill Del Greco: 614-466-3840