By David Highfield

BUTLER (KDKA) — Twenty-six years after the disappearance of 8-year-old Cherrie Mahan, State police say someone has come forward with information that could be crucial in the case.

Trooper Robert McGraw says someone walked into the barracks in Butler recently “out of the blue” and provided information that “has the potential to be crucial in this investigation.”

He will not reveal what the person said or why they came forward now, but says this information is more specific than past tips.

It was 1985 when Mahan walked off her school bus in Winfield Township, Butler County, but never made it home. A blue van was reported in the area, but police say so was a small blue car.

Mahan’s mother, Janice McKinney, says, “It’s closure we’re all looking for,” and hopes this person coming forward will provide that.

She says, “The not-knowing is what eats you alive every single day of your life.”

Police say this could turn out to be a dead end, but they say they are highly optimistic.