Twenty-two years later, Bay Village police and the FBI are still searching for the person who killed 10-year-old Amy Mihaljevic, whose body was found along a rural Ashland County road.
CLEVELAND - Before being sentenced to prison Tuesday, Frank Dienes had to sit handcuffed in the courtroom with three deputies at his side and listen to family members of the man he killed talk about the pain of losing a loved one at the hands of a murderer.
Dienes also made a statement before being sentenced to life in prison with eligibility of parole after 16 years.
Dienes, 45, pleaded guilty last week to murdering Joe Kopp by shooting Kopp in the back of the head and burying Kopp's body in the back yard of Dienes' Seven Hills home.
Joe Kopp's brother Paul made a victim impact statement telling Judge John Russo that Joe had a mental health disorder, that Joe "lived on the fringes of society but always put helping others first."
Paul Kopp told Dienes, "You took him in because you thought you could help him, but when you found out he was hard to live with you discarded him like a failed experiment."
Paul Kopp told the court this case has taught him the difference between "emotional conflict and someone with a calous heart."
Kopp's sister Kathy Kopp Green told the court that while her brother Joe was misunderstood he was generous. Green told Dienes that claiming self defense before confessing to murder was "insulting and deceitful."
Green said her family is heartbroken by losing Joe.
Frank Dienes stood and made a statement saying, "I am so sorry to the Kopp family my actions were inexcusable and I'm extremely remorseful." Dienes said.
Judge John Russo told Dienes that Dienes committed the worst case of malingering he has seen in more than 20 years on the bench.
Judge Russo said Dienes faked a mental health issue in a weak attempt to set up a defense saying Dienes' courtroom antics have been "laced with calculated manipulation and like a lab rat backed into a corner you took the only way out when you had no where to go."
Judge Russo told Dienes that faking a mental health issue "trivializes" those who are living with mental health issues and are being treated by doctors.
Judge Russo then made it official and sentenced Dienes to life in prison with the eligibility of parole after 16 years per the plea agreement.
Dienes was to go on trial Nov. 14 for aggravated murder. Instead, he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of murder.
Seven Hills police said Dienes shot and killed Kopp, who was living in the Dienes' renovated garage.
Police said Dienes buried Kopp's body in Dienes' back yard last March, but didn't tell his wife until a month later. His wife, Char, told caretaker and family friend Nicole Alexander, who immediately told police.
Kopp and Frank Dienes were neighbors who became friends in Seven Hills 20 years earlier. For years, Kopp told people that he believed Dienes killed Amy Mihaljevic. Mihaljevic was abducted from a shopping plaza in Bay Village after school in 1989 and her body was found that winter in an Ashland County field by a jogger.
Dienes' attorney previously said Kopp was cleared in the Mihaljevic case but Bay Village Police said they would like to question Dienes again.
When felons are sent to prison the state collects DNA samples to cross check if the felon is related to any unsolved crimes.