A few months ago I opened my MySpace and found a message in my inbox from a man I didn't know. His name is James Renner. Sometimes this happens on MySpace...once I got a message from a man that said he thought I had "amazing" eyes. I checked out his page and he was married. I sent him a message back giving him a lecture about staying faithful to his wife...yada, yada, yada. He probably thought I was some kind of lunatic. LOL. Anyhoo....I've gotten sidetracked. So, the message from Mr. Renner was titled "Mr. Runkle". I was intrigued. He asked if I had a science teacher with that name and if I had any information about him. I checked out the guy and he is a writer for the Cleveland Scene Magazine. I was very careful about what I said being the skeptic that I am. I did have Mr. Runkle as a 7th grade science teacher back in 85-86. He was an odd bird. His classroom was filled with animals...snakes, mice, hamsters....I don't even remember everything. He was a very good teacher. His techniques were unconventional. I was scared to death of him. You weren't allowed to chew gum in his class and GOD forbid if you ever yawned. He had a way of making a student feel an inch high. He had his favorites in the classes. I do remember that and I was NOT one of them. Okay, okay...so I am off track again. Mr. Renner said he was doing research and Mr. Runkle's name came up in connection to an old crime. Ooooohhhhh. I love this kind of stuff. I've become quite the little investigator myself. I didn't really have anything much to say to him - just rumors that went around about Runkle. I asked my Mom and she remembered a few things I had repressed (LOL). He used to walk all over town in his little running shorts. He quite teaching a couple of years after I had him. My sister was three years behind me and she did not have him. Rumor had it back then that he quite teaching because he had health problems....my Mom remembered he said he had some weird blood thing from eating food in another country. Several years later he started teaching in Amherst. When I was in college I had a snake I wanted to get rid of. My sister took it over to the middle school and gave it to him. A couple of years later he wasn't the teacher anymore. My sister heard he had died. How sad...right? Well, turns out he didn't die. He moved to Florida to live in a homeless shelter. CRAZY. Oh, and before he disappeared he told my sister the snake died.....hmmmmmm....maybe it didn't die afterall. (That is a little conspiracy humor - bad attempt, I know). Well, last week Heather called me all excited and told me about an article in the Morning Journal. WOW. It was an article about Mr. Renners current article in Cleveland Scene magazine. He has connected Mr. Runkle in the murder of Amy Mihaljevic. Remember her? Back in 1989 she was the little girl that was abducted in Bay Village and found months later in a field in New London. It was so sad. You can read the article. It is good. I have spend an extrodinary amount of time (that I don't really have) reading the comments people are leaving. It has brought back a lot of memories. Mr. Runkle making jokes about curvy women, the late bloomers in the class, his blow up dolls, how he ate at Rax all the time.... I can see him sitting in Rax - if you are from Vermilion you will see it too - he always sat in the part of the restraunt where you had to walk down a few steps and it was all windows like a greenhouse. We cut up EVERYTHING in his class. We disected SEVEN animals that year. I can't even remember what all we did but I do remember the frog, starfish, worm.... And once we got to stay after school and disect a freshly killed mouse, with blood. Mine was pregnant. I still remember that smell. We did it in the cafeteria because there were so many people participating. Kinda gross isn't it? Some people are outraged because of the article. They say he was the best teacher EVER. He was good. And I do remember a lot about that class. But come on people....that does not make him innocent. I particularly liked how one guy commented that he spent a lot of time with Runkle as a student. He said he rode in his car, went to Rax with him and that Runkle paid him for his time (I remember him saying that in class - that he would pay his assistants for their time) and then the guy said "and I never saw any inappropriate behavior from him". Are you kidding me? A teacher was paying you for your "time" and that isn't inappropriate? I never saw Runkle with another adult outside of school.
So, here is the thing. Do I think he is guilty? That doesn't really matter, now does it? I just can't believe how people who don't really know him are justifying his peculiar and sometimes inappropriate behaviors. People are saying Mr. Renner needs to let the FBI and police do their jobs but I know from working in "the system" often times things get overlooked. And many times it takes one person having a hunch that they follow on their own to get the authorities to crack a case. If Runkle didn't kill Amy then maybe this new interest in the case can bring up new evidence. I think it is downright fasinating.
I'll keep up updated, of course.
And here is Renner's blog about his search for Amy's killer. So interesting.....