Man known at work for “strong ethics” charged with ex-girlfriend’s murder
▶ Watch Video: Sneak peek: Where is Diana Duve?
“I promise you I’m going to get your daughter back for you …” That’s what Vero Beach Police Sergeant Brad Kmetz told Lena Andrews the day after her 26-year-old daughter Diana Duve went missing back in June of 2014.
Duve was last seen leaving a local bar in Vero Beach, Florida, with her on-again, off-again boyfriend, 32-year-old Michael “Mike” Jones. Just one look at Duve’s mom told Sgt. Kmetz this was going to be more than just a missing persons case. “You can see the shear fear and panic in Lena’s eyes,” he said.
Duve came to the United States from the small Eastern European country of Moldova when she was 13 to rejoin her mother Lena, who had moved to Florida to marry businessman Bill Andrews. Lena and Bill sat down with CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller to talk about the ordeal they went through after learning their daughter was missing. Their interview is part of “Where is Diana Duve?,” an all-new “48 Hours,” airing May 6 at 10/9c on CBS and streaming on Paramount +.
It’s a cautionary tale that Lena Andrews believes every parent should watch. “If this has happened to Diana, it (could) happen to anybody.”
Lena Andrews says 13-year-old Diana adapted quickly to her new life in Florida. “A girl that didn’t speak English at all. Within two months, she was in regular school class and in a few years, you couldn’t even guess that she’s not American.” Duve also made friends easily. “She’s very easy going, just fun to be around,” says Chelsea DeMaio, Duve’s best friend and former roommate. And Duve really cared about people. She earned a nursing degree and worked with cancer patients at a nearby hospital.
In the summer of 2013, Duve met Mike Jones at a local bar. Jones was well known around Vero Beach. He was a regular at local fundraisers. His outgoing personality helped him get big clients for his job as a wealth manager for the local PNC bank, where he handled multimillion-dollar accounts. He received rave performance reviews from his employer. In his last review, Jones was praised for his “strong ethics and leadership qualities.” Lena Andrews remembers being very impressed when she first met him. “He was extremely polite. Nice dressed, well spoken.” Her husband Bill felt the same way. “He seemed like the ideal boyfriend,” Bill said.
Within a few months, Duve and Jones moved in together. But Duve’s close friend Chelsea DiMaio soon noticed something different about her behavior. “You would never see her without him. And she had never done that in relationships before.” One day she received a panicked phone call from Duve. “She called me in tears leaving his apartment. I told her to come straight to where I was, and she did. And she was still in her pajama’s hysterical,” DiMaio said.
Duve told DiMaio she and Jones had an argument, and he was screaming at her for what seemed like hours. Then, Duve said he put his hands around her neck and started strangling her. DiMaio tried to convince Duve to file a complaint with the police against Jones, but she refused. Duve broke up with Jones, moved out of his apartment and back with her parents. She never told them what happened that night.
But Lena Andrews says Jones continued to pursue Duve. “She would tell me, ‘He texts me. Looks like he doesn’t understand that I broke up with him.'” But just hours before Duve disappeared, she had been texting with Jones. They agreed to meet up at a local bar. When Duve didn’t call or come home the following day, Andrews called Jones. “And he was like, ‘Oh don’t worry. She’s with me. Everything is OK.'” Andrews then asked to speak to Duve, but Jones was evasive and said he’d call her back. He never did. Lena and Bill Andrews rushed to his apartment to discover that he too had disappeared.
Police knew that the key to finding Duve was finding Jones. Kmetz, now working on the case with Lt. Matt Harrelson, did a deep dive on Jones and quickly discovered he was not the man people thought he was. Lena and Bill Andrews told correspondent Michelle Miller they were shocked by the news. “All of a sudden we found out that he’s a convicted felon,” Lena Andrews said.
In 2012, prior to moving to Vero Beach, Jones had been charged with aggravated stalking for threatening to kill an ex-girlfriend near Fort Lauderdale. He pleaded no contest and was still on probation. The hunt for Duve took on a new urgency.
Investigators were running out of leads until Sgt. Kmetz and Lt. Harrelson decided to check out cellphone tower pings from Duve and Jones’s phones. They noticed one ping off a cell tower 25 minutes south of Vero Beach that seemed out of place and decided to check it out.
Their hunch paid off.
Local authorities located Jones’s car in the parking lot of a Hampton Inn. Surveillance video revealed he had checked into the hotel. Harrelson tells Miller what it felt like just before entering Jones’s room. “You don’t know what you’re going to find when you get in that room. You know, your heart is racing, you’ve been going two straight days and now you’re this close from getting who you believe is a possible suspect and hopefully finding Diana.”
But Duve wasn’t there. And Jones refused to talk to the police. He was arrested for a parole violation and put in jail. They still had no idea where Duve was. “You go from very high because you found him and you’re busting in the room to like here we are back again,” Harrelson said.
Once again, Kmetz and Harrelson went back to the cellphone pings. They traced a burner phone Jones had been using and learned that he bought it at a Walmart store an hour away from the Hampton Inn where he was staying. They screened hours of surveillance footage until they hit paydirt – video of Jones driving Duve’s car in the parking lot. But Duve was not seen in the car. They leaned on local authorities again to be on the lookout for Duve’s car. In less than an hour they found it.
It was around 4:30 a.m. when Kmetz and Harrelson arrived at a Publix parking lot where Duve’s black Nissan had been discovered. Harrelson feared the worst. “And I told Brad, I said, ‘She’s in the trunk.'” Kmetz was praying it wasn’t true. He had young daughters at home and remembered his promise to Lena Andrews. “What really drove me to keep pushing forward was a mother begging you, ‘Please find my daughter for me,'” said Kmetz.
He did find Duve, but it was too late. She was dead, in the trunk of the car. An autopsy would later reveal she had suffered blunt force trauma and had been strangled to death. “There are certain things in this job you can’t unsee…,”Harrelson told Miller.
Lena Andrews will never forget the moment she heard they found Diana. “I opened the door and here was the police chief in complete uniform … to lose her like this … it’s indescribable.”
But this wasn’t the end of the case for Kmetz and Harrelson. They still had work to do putting together all the evidence they collected to help the State Attorney build the murder case against Jones.
See that and the outcome of the decision to go for the death penalty in the case in the May 6 airing of “Where is Diana Duve?”