Detectives share evidence in hopes to crack 1987 cold case murder

Looking at the timeline, police suspect Amy Diesman was killed in a matter of minutes.
Published: May. 23, 2023 at 7:28 PM EDT
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PIERCE TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WXIX) - More than 35 years after a young mother was gunned down at work, Pierce Township Police hope shining a spotlight on the cold case could help them solve it.

Amy Diesman was shot and killed in the early morning of Sept. 12, 1987, at what was then a Stop N Go store on Ohio 125. Diesman, who had a four-month-old daughter, had only been employed there for a week.

Lt. Bryan Burke thinks Diesman was okay with working the third shift because she wanted to spend time with her baby.

Looking at the timeline, police suspect Diesman was killed in a matter of minutes.

At 5:27 a.m., police think three people were inside the shop: Diesman, a female customer and a male customer.

“When that last female [customer] left, a male was still in the store,” Lt. Burke said. “We don’t know who that male is to this day. I mean, he is a good suspect just because he was the last one with [Diesman]. That’s not to say that he didn’t walk out the door and someone else came in and did this. We don’t know.”

By 5:35 a.m., that male customer was also gone, and Diesman was dead. Her body was found by another customer entering the store.

“She’d been shot in the head twice: once behind the ear and once behind the head with a .25 caliber,” Lt. Burke said. “It appeared that she was comfortable with whoever was there. When she was shot and went down, she still had a rag in her hand that we would assume she was cleaning with.”

Investigators assessed the scene, taking photos and gathering evidence like a .25 caliber bullet found lodged in a package of donuts and a piece of clothing.

“There was a WEBN sweatshirt that was located,” Lt. Burke explained. “It was not known whether it had anything to do with it. They thought it possibly was and collected it. There was nothing found on it as far as DNA.”

Lt. Burke said there were no signs of a sexual assault and no indication there had been a robbery.

Police were able to create a suspect sketch back then, but Lt. Burke says they do not think the drawing is valuable anymore.

Instead, other evidence led them to a primary suspect, someone Lt. Burke will not name but described as very close to Diesman.

In the years since the killing, that person has been indicted twice for murder by a grand jury twice.

“I believe the first [indictment] was fairly quickly,” Lt. Burke said. “The second one, I think it was a little further down the line. I believe actually the male was brought back from Germany. He was in the military at the time.”

For reasons that are not clear, in both instances, the charges against that person were dismissed.

That unnamed suspect is not the only person police have pursued.

Lt. Burke said they have looked at other possible suspects, although some are now dead.

Officials with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) have helped, thanks to a cold case grant.

They attempted to find the murder weapon, thought to be a .25 caliber pistol, by checking gun sale records and sending things off to a ballistics lab.

“BCI had everything that they found tested,” Lt. Burke said. “There was a magazine that they had tested, a sweatshirt. There were several things they had tested. Nothing, nothing came about.”

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Diesman was just 19 years old when she died.

She had recently graduated from New Richmond High School, where she took part in track, basketball, and tennis.

Diesman’s friends, coaches and teachers said she was a real go-getter and was preparing to study nursing in college.

Diesman’s parents spoke to a newspaper about their daughter, calling her independent, outgoing, and hardworking.

Sadly, they did not live long enough to see justice.

“Her father was, and I wasn’t around then, but I understand he was here almost every day,” Lt. Burke said. “It destroyed him, and we’d really hoped to get some closure at least before her mother passed, and we, we were unable to do that.”

Lt. Burke, who has been with the department since 1997 and started investigating Diesman’s case in 2007, never knew Diesman personally.

Despite that, he says working on her case has built a connection between them. He remains hopeful that one day, they will be able to solve it and give Diesman the justice she deserves.

“We would do anything we could to attempt to solve this,” he said. “If there’s something that somebody has, or somebody can give us to, you know, reinvigorate this whole thing, we’d be happy to hear that. Amy doesn’t deserve this. She didn’t deserve to not have justice, and I hope that someday that’ll come down.”

A cousin of Diesman’s, Bill Diesman, said he grew up alongside her. He shared a statement regarding Diesman’s case, writing:

“No, what happens anymore, those of us who knew Amy remember her always smiling face. And to the person out there who did this, your day is coming. You may have taken Amy from us, but her memory will always be in our hearts, and you will never take that from us.”

Stop N Go had its detectives look into the case, and they came to the same conclusion as police: Diesman knew her killer well.

Anyone with information on the case can call police at 513-752-4100.

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