Cops' Million Dollar Reward To Help Solve 1988 Cold Case
'Thirty years is a long time to think about why you might be covering up for someone and if that is still worth it.'
It was just after midnight on a Tuesday in September when Vince Rotiroti returned home after a night out with his girlfriend to find the body of his father lying in a pool of blood on their driveway.
Salvatore Rotiroti had been bashed to death outside the Manifold Heights home he shared with his wife and five children.
To this day his killer remains on the loose.
On Wednesday, the 30th anniversary of his death, Victoria Police announced a $1 million reward for information related to the 1988 murder of the Italian-born concreter.
Police believe the person responsible was motivated by financial gain, but Detective Inspector Tim Day from the Homicide Squad said there could be evidence of several other motives as well.
“It appears that someone may have also been trying to take control of his family in some way," Day said on Wednesday, adding that they were looking at financial and emotional motives.
“We believe that Salvatore’s family has direct knowledge of what happened to him and why."
Police say they're close to solving the investigation and believe several members of the Salvatore family are hiding crucial information.
Day said they were not ruling out that a number of people may have been involved in planning and carrying out the murder.
On Wednesday Detective Senior Sergeant Peter Trichias confirmed they had information to believe that prior to his death Rotiroti paid a $100,000 ransom after his son Tony was allegedly kidnapped.
Police have not ruled out that those responsible may have demanded more money.
“We’re hoping that by announcing a $1 million dollar reward today, some people may be motivated to finally come forward and tell us the truth about why this murder happened and who was involved,” Day said.
“Thirty years is a long time to think about why you might be covering up for someone and if that is still worth it."
person of interest has 'some sort of hold' on the family
On 29 September 1988 less than a month after Rotiroti's death, police charged a then 21-year-old man with his murder, but those charges were later dropped because of witness related issues.
Police today said the man remains a strong person of interest, but declined to give more information on his identity other than to confirm he was directly linked to the family.
On Wednesday, Trichias said while the extended family had been cooperative many were still reluctant to come forward.
"They are a very close family and it's been very difficult for some of these family members to come forward and assist police and that's been an issue since day one," Thrichias added.
It's been 30 years to the day since Vince Rotiroti returned home to find his father dead in his driveway, and police say he has gone out his way to help then with their investigations, despite not having the full support of his family to do so.
"Vince wants to know what has happened to his father, like every child would," Trichias said.
Anyone with information about the murder of Salvatore Rotiroti is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential crime report at www.crimestoppers.com.au