$1 million reward still on offer to solve cold case

By Liz Mellino

It has been one year since Victoria Police offered a $1 million reward to solve the Sebastiano "Sam" Formica cold case.

While the reward is still on offer, the investigation into the Shepparton man's death is yet to be solved.

On January 22, 2006, Mr Formica was fatally stabbed during a fight outside the former Fontana Bar in Wyndham St, Shepparton.

An autopsy showed Mr Formica was stabbed with a 16cm long, 3cm wide non-serrated knife, with medical evidence showing he was unlikely to have survived more than a minute after he was stabbed.

Despite police taking statements from 93 people who were in the vicinity of the bar that night, detectives were unable to lay charges.

On January 22, 2006, Mr Formica was fatally stabbed during a fight outside the former Fontana Bar in Wyndham St, Shepparton.

Family members of Mr Formica spoke at a press conference a year ago when police announced the $1 million reward.

Mr Formica's sister Maria Nardella shared her family's pain since his death, describing her brother as a well-respected member of the community, who many knew and loved.

“Sam’s innocent life was taken away in seconds, murdered for no reason by people who don’t have any care about human life,” she said last year.

“He didn’t go out to get killed, he just went out for a night out and you should be able to do that.”

Homicide Squad detectives confirmed the $1 million reward announced last year was still on offer, encouraging anyone with information to come forward.

“Despite an exhaustive police investigation and information followed up, Sebastiano's murder remains unsolved,” police said in a statement.

“A reward of up to $1 million will be paid at the discretion of the Chief Commissioner of Police, for information leading to the apprehension and subsequent conviction of the person or persons responsible for the death of Sebastiano Formica.”

Sebastiano "Sam" Formica.

Police confirmed the Director of Public Prosecutions would consider, according to established guidelines, the granting of indemnification to anyone who provided "information as to the identity of the principal offender or offenders" in the matter.

Detective Senior Sergeant Peter Trichias of the Homicide Cold Case Squad addressed the media at last year's press conference.

He confirmed the case was reopened in January last year and that 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.”

Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit