Family members of Sebastiano ‘‘Sam’’ Formica, who was fatally stabbed in Shepparton in 2006, have urged anyone with information about his death to come forward.
Mr Formica’s brothers Carmelo, Robbie and sister Maria Nardella spoke at a press conference yesterday after police announced a $1million reward to solve the cold case.
Mr Formica, 38, died as a result of a stab wound sustained during a fight outside the former Fontana Bar in Wyndham St on January 22, 2006.
Clearly distraught, Ms Nardella spoke about her family’s pain for the past 12 years, describing her older brother as a well respected member of the community, who many knew and loved.
‘‘He was a gentle giant, he always had one of his kids on his lap, he was very caring and a bit of a clown,’’ she said.
‘‘We all miss him very much and we’ll never forget his smile and caring nature for his family.
‘‘Sam’s innocent life was taken away in seconds, murdered for no reason by people who don’t have any care about human life.’’
Mr Formica was at the hotel in 2006 with a group of family and friends when a fight broke out about 1am between his group and another group of men.
The fight spilled onto the street and continued to move south down the road where it is understood Mr Formica was fatally stabbed.
An ambulance took the husband and father-of-two to hospital, but he died from his injuries.
For the past 12 years Ms Nardella has not been able to walk along the section of Wyndham St where her brother died.
‘‘He didn’t go out to get killed, he just went out for a night out and you should be able to do that, you should be able to leave your house and come home to your family, not be murdered,’’ she said.
‘‘The effects of growing up without a parent is something that upsets us all as a family.
‘‘Over the years we have tried to support his sons, but ideally they missed out on having a father in their life ... and it breaks my heart.’’
Following the fight, two men attended Shepparton police station and were formally interviewed in relation to the incident.
Detective Senior Sergeant Peter Trichias of the homicide cold case squad said the two groups were known to each other and had been involved in a previous altercation at Fontana Bar on New Year’s Eve.
Sen Sgt Trichias said the case was reopened in January and detectives believed they were close to solving the murder.
‘‘What I can tell you about the people involved in that fight is we know who they are ... we need assistance from someone in the public who knows who stabbed and ultimately killed Sam,’’ he said.
‘‘There is someone who knows what’s occurred and it’s really up to them now and they need to come forward and tell us the truth.
‘‘The $1million reward has been released today and particularly those people who potentially hold the key need to consider their position, think about the future and contact us and come forward.’’
Police officially announced a $1 million reward at a media conference this morning for anyone who has information that could crack the cold case of Sebastiano “Sam” Formica.
Mr Formica was fatally stabbed in Shepparton in January 2006 after an altercation at the former Fontana Bar in Wyndham St.
Homicide Cold Case Squad Detective Senior Sergeant Peter Trichias said detectives recently reviewed the investigation and were close to solving the murder.
“We haven’t established for a fact who the person was who stabbed and ultimately killed Sam,” he said.
“We know who was involved in the fight so we really need somebody from the public or somebody who actually knows to come forward and tell us who that person is.”
Mr Formica’s sister Maria Nardella spoke about her family's pain over the last 12 years and urged anyone with information to come forward.
“No matter what information people have been keeping to themselves for 12 years it can help the police solve this case,” she said.
“You have been hanging onto this for so long, with this reward it would be something you should consider and by speaking up it could help with the case for Sam who didn’t deserve to die.”