Police questioned murder suspect in Joe Kopp case, Frank Dienes, about Amy Mihaljevic 16 years ago

BAY VILLAGE, Ohio - Bay Village Police confirmed Wednesday to NewsChannel5 that they questioned Frank Dienes about the Amy Mihaljevic murder investigation back in 1995. Police got a tip 16 years ago that Dienes looked like a composite sketch created after Amy's disappearance.

Dienes was questioned in 1995 but never charged in the Mihaljevic murder. Police said they were getting thousands of tips at the time.

They said they are looking at Dienes again because of stories that his neighbors are sharing about Dienes and Joe Kopp -- the man he's accused of killing. These are stories that some people call rumors.

"He (Joe Kopp) said that Frank's the one who murdered Amy," said one neighbor who did not want to be identified.

NewsChannel 5’s Paul Kiska also learned that Kopp and Dienes knew each other for decades, long before Joe Kopp -- who was homeless -- moved into the Dienes' house on Oakwood Drive in Seven Hills. That's where he was found buried in the backyard.

Dienes and Kopp were neighbors decades earlier just a mile away on Rustic Oval in Seven Hills, way back in 1990. A neighbor said Kopp was warning people about Dienes for years and another neighbor, Greg Wilk, said Kopp told him the same story in the 90s claiming Dienes killed Amy Mihaljevic.

"He said he went to Seven Hills cops and because Seven Hills cops didn't like him that they didn't respond to him," Wilk said.

How much anyone believed Kopp is unclear. Kopp's own family said he was dealing with mental health issues.

Greg Rusnak runs Andy's Shoe Repair in the Bay Village shopping plaza, where Amy Mihaljevic was last seen in 1989. Rusnak worked in his dad’s store back then and has seen many tips and stories come and go over the years.

"You don't know what to believe anymore and sometimes the puzzle pieces can be made to fit what's happening now is going to take a lot more time to sort out," Rusnak said.

Bay Village Police said they never heard from Joe Kopp all those years, or from anyone else about his story or allegations -- until recently.

Seven Hills Police have not called us back yet. But we did hear from Dienes' attorney, Eric Nemecek, who told NewsChannel5 Wednesday that talk linking his client to Amy Mihaljevic "remains a rumor."

Meanwhile, Dienes has a pre-trial hearing Thursday. NewsChannel5 will be there and report it first on newsnet5.com.

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