- Associated Press - Monday, April 6, 2015

BEAVER FALLS, Pa. (AP) - It’s a case that has haunted investigators for more than three decades.

Five-year-old Stephanie Boller left her Beaver Falls home on Jan. 8, 1977, and walked to a friend’s house. Clad in a green winter coat and boots, she seemingly vanished after leaving her friend’s house. Her mother, Robin Sell, reported Stephanie missing that evening.

Sell told police that she had been gone from her home from 3 to 7 p.m. and that when she returned home, she couldn’t find her daughter.

No one saw anything to give police a clue as to where Stephanie had gone, and a massive search party formed to scour the neighborhood.

Then-coroner Harper Simpson was also a member of an Army Reserve unit that mobilized to help in the search.

“So our whole unit went up to Mount Washington and moved through there with everyone else searching, prying open trunks of abandoned vehicles, going in abandoned buildings, going through cellars, and everything, looking for this little 5-year-old girl,” Simpson said.

For months, police pursued leads, but none of them proved worthwhile.

Then, on Nov. 6 of that year, men who were walking through Bradys Run Park looking for cans spotted what appeared to be human remains.

Police determined the men had found Stephanie. She had been hit in the head and apparently died from a skull fracture.

Former Beaver Falls officer Dick Pegg was one of the first officers to respond to the park. “And at that time, Officer Jones and I remained (at the scene) overnight, and we remember it was cold, just like the day it was when she went missing,” he said.

Police don’t believe Stephanie was killed in the park, and so many months passed between her disappearance and the discovery of her body that there was no physical evidence to rely on.

“That’s what made it frustrating, because we had nothing other than she came up missing on 12th Avenue and then they find her remains. It was a very difficult case,” former Beaver Falls Police Chief Harry Pease said. Pease was a sergeant at the time Stephanie went missing.

“It bothered all of us a great deal, all of us, I think,” Pease said.

Pegg has also never forgotten the case - he still carries photos and articles about Stephanie with him - and he still hopes for a resolution to the case.

“There are several cases that stick with you forever, and this is one of them,” Pegg said.

“It was - I think what was stark about it was she was such a little girl. Even to this day, when I look at my daughter, who’s well into her 40s, I think what would Stephanie be doing, what was her contribution,” Simpson said. “This case has been with me always since the beginning.


Online: https://bit.ly/19Y5R1t


Information from: Beaver County Times, https://www.timesonline.com/

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