Alicia Markovich was a very spunky, extremely funny, & smart, normal teenager. She loved to read Agatha Christie books, had a boyfriend, and a lot of friends that adored her. Alicia was liked by everyone and was even known for sticking up for kids that were being bullied. Alicia was a freshman at Windber Area High School at the time of her disappearance; she was an A/B student and a member of her high school's track team. Alicia's mother Marcie Vitko nee Smith had custody of Alicia in 1987 and they resided in Windber, Pennsylvania.
Sunday, April 26, 1987, was a nice clear sunny day reaching about 64 degrees. Alicia's father, John Markovich, picked her up in Windber around 9:45 am for an unscheduled day visit to his home 45 minutes away in Blairsville, Pennsylvania. Interestingly, Alicia had begged her friend Krista B. to go with her on this visit the night before, but Krista B. was not able to go with her. Alicia grabbed the purple sunglasses she borrowed from another friend Ronnie and headed out the door. She was supposed to join her track team for a car wash fundraiser that day, but she and her mother decided she should go with her father. Alicia left the house after asking Marcie how she looked, wearing a white crop top with yellow, blue, and red stripes, jeans, and tennis shoes, Marcie told her daughter she looked great, said she loved her and that if a conversation about the child support came up that Alicia was to say, "talk to mom about it." Marcie did not know that this would be the last time she would ever see her daughter again.
Alicia’s father alleges that he and Alicia had gotten into an argument about her school grades, choice of friends, Alicia’s boyfriend, and her mother's request for an increase in child support from $100 a month to $200 a month. The court hearing for the child support increase was to be held that Wednesday the April 29th. John Markovich then told authorities that Alicia walked out of his residence abruptly and never looked back towards the house. He states that he called after her and told her to return home by 8:00 pm. He believed she was going to a friend's house at the trailer park he previously lived at or was headed to downtown Blairsville - both places are approximately 2 miles away. Alicia was carrying the purple sunglasses but left all her other belongings behind. Marcie tried calling her daughter throughout the afternoon to remind Alicia to be home early since the next day was a school day, but with no answer. Marcie eventually headed off to bed. Finally, John called Marcie back at 1:00 am, and said: “Marcie, she’s gone”. Marcie’s response was, “What do you mean “she’s gone?” John stated that when Alicia didn't return by 8 o'clock that he had gone looking for her but could not find her anywhere. Alicia’s friend C.G. that lived at the trailer park said he never got a call or knock on the door that day from John looking for Alicia. Alicia was reported missing the next day.
One year and 9 days later, on Thursday, May 5, 1988, John Markovich's 1987 Red Subaru was found in the neighboring town of Saltsburg in Loyalhanna Township. John alleges that the vehicle had been stolen from his residence between 1 o’clock am and 6:50 am. It was found destroyed by fire along Route 939, Tunnelton Road.
Alicia was originally classified as a runaway, but her mother stated she had no history of running away, wasn't streetwise, and couldn't have survived on her own. Her friends also don’t believe she would have run away. In 1990 State Police recategorized her disappearance as a missing suspected homicide. Police eventually concluded Alicia had probably been a victim of foul play, most likely on the same day she was last seen. No one has been ruled out as a suspect in Alicia’s disappearance. Alicia's mother Marcie also believes her daughter was deliberately murdered and that the last person who saw her knows what happened to her.
In October 2000, Alicia's father received an unsigned, two-page typewritten letter via US mail that gave a narrative about how Alicia was murdered and the place she was buried. This is an excerpt from the letter that the PSP had released: “What gave me the idea to contact you was when I saw by chance an old missing persons flyer posted on the side of a mailbox in Philadelphia about 3 weeks ago. The second time I saw it, it was like everything faded to grey. Nothing seemed real for a long time. I thought that it all had been forever buried. I had spent the last 13 years erasing and boarding up the name Alicia Markovich in my mind and by seeing that, it opened up the flood gates so to say to a limitless sea of remorse, guilt, anxiety, inner sadness, and depression,” The letter detail how Alicia had died and instructed John to dig for her remains along the Conemaugh River near a bridge on Route 220 outside of Blairsville along the Indiana-Westmorland County line. The letter was postmarked Bedford, New Hampshire, and had a return address from that city. When police went to the address, the people living there said they had not sent the letter, had no idea who did, had no knowledge of Alicia's disappearance, and had never been to Blairsville. Investigators also searched with cadaver dogs at the location named in the letter for Alicia's remains but found nothing of interest. Authorities subsequently decided the letter was a hoax. Its true author has never been identified.
Alicia's mother Marcie attended a press conference scheduled by the Indiana Barracks PSP on April 26, 2011, for the submission of Alicia’s baby teeth for DNA profiling and to bring attention to the case. John Markovich the father, never showed up to this press conference for his missing daughter. Claiming he could not get out of work from the salt mine in Painesville, Ohio where he had worked part-time since 1998. He instead sent his wife Deb Markovich to speak on his behalf. Alicia's DNA from the submitted baby teeth has been compared to Penny Doe who was found in Monroe Township, Pennsylvania on July 22, 1990. They had a lot of similarities but there was no DNA match.
In August 2021 Alicia's mother Marcie and her neighbor Pat enlisted several of Alicia’s close friends and started an awareness campaign. They are advocating as to why Alicia's disappearance has not been actively investigated and to get new leads. The PSP said the investigation has always been active and open, that they do a follow-up on any tips or leads submitted. The PSP said that it has been a long time since they had gotten any new tips, leads, or information to be investigated. They also said that no person has ever been ruled out as a suspect. Alicia has not been seen or heard from and there has been no activity on her bank account and no activity on her Social Security number either since 1987.
Can you help her family and friends uncover what happened to Alicia that day?