She was last seen on July 14, 1994, when she left her home in Rochester Township reportedly to go stay at a friend's house.By Andy Sheehan

BEAVER COUNTY (KDKA) — It’s a mystery that’s haunted a Beaver County family for 27 years.

What happened to 14-year-old Sarah Boehm?

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She was last seen on July 14, 1994, when she left her home in Rochester Township reportedly to go stay at a friend’s house. Her parents later found a note under her pillow addressed to “whoever cares”.

The note read, in part: “I’m just a burden. I cause problems. I’ve already learned you don’t have time for me.”

That note and Boehm’s disappearance are still a source of pain for her uncle, Kevin Boehm.

“Poor little girl that wasn’t getting what she needed. The love and support that she needed,” Kevin Boehm said.

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For years, Sarah Boehm’s disappearance remained a mystery with few, if any, leads. Detective Andy Gall with the Beaver County District Attorney’s Office said he’s always believed this was more than a runaway who never returned.

“This is one of those that grabs you. A 14-year-old girl should not run away and disappear and nobody find her. All of us felt we were dealing with a homicide case,” said Gall.

Because Sarah Boehm’s home life was troubled, Gall’s suspicion fell on her family. Her parents were divorcing, the family concedes, because her father — Jack — was an alcoholic with a gambling problem.

And a few years after Sarah Boehm disappeared, police arrested and convicted him for sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl.

Detectives believed they had their man. But after a few years of grilling Jack Boehm, they cleared him in his daughter’s disappearance.

“On a TV show, it would have been Jack right away. He molested another young lady. There’s a plausible connection. But at the very end, I don’t think anyone thought Jack had anything to do with it,” said Gall.

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Kevin Boehm admits Jack wasn’t the greatest father because of his alcohol and gambling problems but said he loved his kids.

“I asked him on his death bed if he had to tell me about Sarah and he said, ‘No, I just want to find my daughter,'” said Kevin Boehm.

The family again pointed to Sarah Boehm’s note, which mentioned a possible rendezvous with an abusive man she had met.

In the note, she wrote: “I met a guy who gave me love and whatever I was not getting at home. He was very, very abusive. Didn’t anyone wonder why I was always injured?”

Nine years after Sarah Boehm’s disappearance came the big break, though not the one detectives had hoped.

In 2003, while searching a database of unidentified homicide victims, Beaver County District Attorney’s Office Detective Kim Clements saw a sketch of a girl who bore a striking resemblance to Sarah Boehm.

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In late 1994, just four months after Sarah Boehm disappeared, hunters found the girl’s body in a secluded, wooded area in Portage County, Ohio, about an hour drive from Beaver County.

All that time, she had not been identified. But after Clements saw that sketch, investigators conducted DNA tests and confirmed it was Sarah Boehm.

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“It’s bittersweet, obviously. You wanted to see this kid come home alive and well with an explanation as to why she left,” Clements said during a news conference in 2003.

The medical examiner determined someone brutally murdered Sarah Boehm, but the discovery also came with another disturbing twist.

Just months before Sarah Boehm’s body was found, police discovered the body of another young woman in the same woods about a half-mile away. She was 17-year-old Kathryn Menendez, who was found strangled and sexually assaulted.

But did finding both bodies near each other just months apart with the victims being of similar age indicate police had a serial child predator on their hands?

“You can never assume, but it certainly put us in that direction,” said Gall.

Boehm family members believe the man Sarah Boehm described in her letter murdered both young women.

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“Two young girls, bodies both found, no clothes, close to each other in the same area, there’s got to be some kind of connection,” said Kevin Boehm.

Since that time, detectives have focused on finding one person responsible for both killings, someone who possibly had ties to both areas.

Detective Gall said police are finally on the verge of a possible breakthrough, a person they’re calling a strong person of interest.

“We have a particular person scheduled to take a polygraph very soon who spent time here in Beaver County and in Portage County during that particular time,” said Gall.

Detectives said he’s already serving time in prison but won’t elaborate.

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Meantime, 27 years after Sarah Boehm’s disappearance and murder, the family said they won’t have peace until police find her killer.

“Until we get closure, until we find out who did this, life will never be the same. Whoever did this needs to be brought to justice,” Kevin Boehm said.

Detective Gall, who is nearing retirement, said he won’t be quitting until that’s done.

“She’s with me all the time, and we’re going to get him,” said Gall.

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(Photo Credit: KDKA)