From left to right: Salvatore Rotiroti with wife Giuseppina, daughter Maria (now known as Natasha), son Tony, daughter Elisabeth and sons Giuseppe (behind) and Vince (front). (Supplied: Victoria Police)
Homicide detectives have offered a $1-million reward in a bid to solve the 1988 murder of Geelong father of five Salvatore Rotiroti, who police believe may have been killed as part of a group plot.
Mr Rotiroti died after he was attacked in the driveway of his family home at Manifold Heights, police believe, on the night of September 5, 1988.
One of his sons found Mr Rotiroti’s body in the driveway after midnight on September 6 as he returned home from a night out with his girlfriend.
Mr Rotiroti was a concreter by trade who migrated to Australia from Calabria in Italy.
Police charged a then 21-year-old man with murder shortly after the death, but that charge was later dropped.
The homicide squad’s Detective Inspector Tim Day said that man remains a person of interest in the investigation and police believe Mr Rotiroti’s family has more information.
“We believe that Salvatore’s family has direct knowledge of what happened to him and why,” Inspector Day said.
“We are appealing directly to those people to come forward and help us solve this murder.
“[There is] the possibility that a number of people were involved in planning and carrying out Salvatore’s murder.”
Someone ‘trying to take control of his family’
Inspector Day said police suspected those behind the murder were motivated by money.
“We strongly believe that the person responsible for Salvatore’s death was motivated by financial gain, however this may not be the only reason,” he said.
“It appears that someone may have also been trying to take control of his family in some way.
“We are hoping that by announcing a $1-million 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.
“Thirty years is a long time to think about why you might be covering up for someone and if that is still worth it.”
The reward of $1 million will be paid at the discretion of police for information that leads to a conviction.
Police said prosecutors may also grant legal immunity to those who identify the killer or killers.