Man Accused Of Kidnapping Wife Painted Over Security Cam The Day She Vanished: FBI

The estranged husband of a missing Florida woman has been arrested on a federal kidnapping charge after authorities said someone matching his appearance was seen blacking out the security camera at her apartment building in Spain on the day she disappeared.

David Knezevich, 36, was arrested at Miami International Airport Monday when he arrived on a flight from Serbia, authorities said. His wife, Ana Maria Knezevich Henao, 40, vanished in Madrid, where her brother told police she had gone to “clear her head” amid the couple’s acrimonious divorce.

“Ana and David are going through a nasty divorce and there is a substantial amount of money on the line to be split up between the two,” her brother, Juan Felipe Henao, told police, according to an incident report obtained by the Sun Sentinel.

The former couple shared a real estate business in Ft. Lauderdale and worked together at an IT company called EOX Solutions, where David Knezevich served as CEO, the Sun Sentinel reported.

The FBI laid out an eyebrow-raising case against Knezevich in a detailed criminal complaint obtained by HuffPost.

A banner of Colombian-born American missing woman Ana Maria Knezevich Henao, 40, is displayed on a streetlight in Madrid, Spain, on Feb. 16. Her estranged husband, David Knezevich, has been charged by U.S. federal agents with her kidnapping.
A banner of Colombian-born American missing woman Ana Maria Knezevich Henao, 40, is displayed on a streetlight in Madrid, Spain, on Feb. 16. Her estranged husband, David Knezevich, has been charged by U.S. federal agents with her kidnapping.

AP Photo/Manu Fernandez

Knezevich Henao, a native of Colombia, was last seen alive on the afternoon of Feb. 2, when a security camera captured her entering a Madrid apartment building, authorities said. At noon that day, security cameras filmed a man who authorities said appears to be David Knezevich at a Madrid store, where he purchased two rolls of duct tape and spray paint — the same brand used in an attempt to disable the security camera at Knezevich Henao’s apartment building at around 9:30 p.m.

The paint didn’t completely obscure the lens though, so the camera captures the man fastening duct tape to the building’s entrance door, preventing it from locking. An hour later, the video footage shows him walking out of the building’s elevator with what appears to be a suitcase.

Spanish investigators later discovered that Knezevich Henao’s cellphone and laptop were missing from her apartment.

Knezevich’s attorney, Ken Padowitz, told The Associated Press in February that his client was in Serbia at the time of his wife’s disappearance and insisted their divorce was amicable. Padowitz did not respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.

Investigators said they uncovered evidence that ties Knezevich to the Madrid street where his wife was staying.

On Jan. 29, he rented a car in Belgrade, returned it six weeks later with its windows tinted, different license plate frames and a recorded mileage of 7,677 kilometers (4,770 miles), according to the criminal complaint. Investigators calculated the driving distance between Madrid and Belgrade to be 2,592 kilometers (1,610 miles).

The specific model of Knezevich’s rental car, a Peugeot 308, was captured on toll booths passing through Spain late on the night of Knezevich Henao’s disappearance. It sported stolen license plates, which were captured by a plate reader database on a car on the street where Knezevich Henao was last seen.

Two different women told investigators that Knezevich enlisted their help in impersonating his wife after her disappearance, according to the complaint.

One woman, using a phone number traced to Knezevich, called an insurance company on March 4 to cancel three different policies held by Knezevich Henao for the former couple’s business.

Knezevich asked another woman, an employee, on April 24 to pose as Knezevich Henao in order to open a new bank account in her name, according to the complaint.

A woman from Colombia who met Knezevich via a dating app told investigators that he had contacted her online, asking her on Feb. 3 to translate a message into “perfect Colombian” for what he said was a friend’s script.

“I met someone wonderful,” the workshopped message read. “He has a summer house about 2h from Madrid. We are going there now and I will spend a few days there. There is barely any signal though. Signal is spotty. I’ll call you when I come back.”

The woman later googled Knezevich’s name and found a news article about Knezevich Henao’s disappearance, quoting text messages purportedly sent by her to friends using the exact wording she had written for Knezevich. The friends told The Associated Press that the messages didn’t match Knezevich Henao’s style or tone.

At a news conference Wednesday, Knezevich Henao’s family expressed their shock and betrayal following Knezevich’s arrest.

“It’s not closure, but questions have been answered,” Felipe Henao, her brother, told reporters. “It’s a bittersweet feeling. It’s not good, but you want to at least learn the truth.”

Knezevich is considered a flight risk and is being held without bond. His next court date is set for Friday in Miami, according to court records. He is scheduled to be arraigned on May 20.

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