Port Orange, FL – A 37-year-old man initially called a “person of interest” in a Port Orange murder investigation is now labeled the suspect.
The Port Orange Police Department is asking for the public’s help in finding Thomas C. “Tommy” McMullen Jr. as investigators continue to piece together how a 32-year-old Port Orange woman died earlier this week.
Diana M. Kessler’s body was found in the kitchen of a home on Hatteras Drive around 9 p.m. Monday, a block west of All Children’s Park off Spruce Creek Road.
It all began when a man called 911 (full audio below) saying he found a body while going into the home to feed the cat inside at the request of McMullen’s father, who is also the homeowner and was out of the area at the time.
According to the 911 call, the witness claims McMullen had left prison recently and that he had to force his way inside because a door normally left unlocked for him to feed the cat was locked.
It was after he got inside that he found the home in “disarray”, according to the incident report, and left immediately to call for help.
A responding officer discovered Kessler in a pool of blood a few minutes later, per the report.
A Buick Regal tied to McMullen was discovered the day after the murder in Daytona Beach.
The motive for the murder is unclear, but POPD has confirmed that Kessler and McMullen knew one another and that Kessler did try to defend herself.
“At this time, it is believed the victim and the suspect were friends but there is no indication the relationship was romantic in nature,” the press release added. “We believe that McMullen Jr. remains in the East Volusia area and is a known narcotics user, frequenting the area of International Speedway Blvd. in Daytona Beach.”
Anyone with information on the vehicle or McMullen’s whereabouts is asked to call the POPD tipline at 386-506-5878, 911 or Crime Stoppers at 888-277-TIPS (8477) to remain anonymous and possibly qualify for a cash reward.