Missing Mother Investigation Steps Up Amid Silence

July 26th, 2016

Detectives investigating the disappearance of Melbourne woman Karen Ristevski have been met with a “sudden wall of silence” from a crucial person of interest in the case.

Police officers will flood the local area on Wednesday in a push to make a breakthrough in unravelling the mystery.

It comes as a neighbour of the Ristevski family claims Mrs Ristevski’s husband Borce asked him on the day of his wife’s disappearance if he had any CCTV cameras at his house.

The Herald Sun can reveal:

An information caravan will be set up in her home suburb of Avondale Heights.

Officers will door-knock residents over a wide area.

Posters will be put up and flyers delivered to local homes and businesses.

A missing person poster for Karen Ristevski near her family home. Picture: Jason Sammon

Police set up an information caravan and go door to door to try and gain information about the disappearance of Karen Ristevski. Picture: Nicole Garmston

Karen Ristevski was last seen leaving her Avondale Heights home on June, 29. Picture: Nicole Garmston

One person of interest in the case has suddenly stopped talking to police.

Last week, detectives from the Missing Persons Squad interviewed Mrs Ristevski’s stepson, Anthony Rickard, who is co-operating with police.

They spoke to the 32-year-old at length, and the Herald Sun understands they found what he said about a family conflict to be credible.

Mr Rickard denies having anything whatsoever to do with his stepmother’s disappearance.

During his police interview, Mr Rickard made a number of allegations, which detectives are taking seriously.

That police interview came two weeks after Mr Rickard’s father, Borce, was interviewed over his wife’s disappearance, in what is standard police practice.

A neighbour today said Mr Ristevski asked about CCTV cameras around the time of his wife’s disappearance.

“He introduced himself calmly, but worried look… Saying my wife has just gone missing,” the neighbour said.

“He wanted to know if we had a video from our home of the street to see maybe when she had walked off or gone missing … he went knocking and asked the whole street if they had videos of it.

“The police came and asked us the same thing too … But we don’t have cameras.”

The neighbour said he had never seen the “young” family close up before, until Mr Ristevski approached them about the cameras.

“The first time I saw them all clearly was in the paper… It’s very very sad, I feel so sorry for this woman especially her poor daughter.”

The stepson of missing person Karen Ristevski, Anthony Rickard. Picture: Alex Coppel

Detective Inspector Stephen Dennis, of the Missing Persons Squad, said he did not know about the neighbour’s claims regarding CCTV.

“I’m not aware of that but we will certainly follow up any information that comes to us,” he said.

“If anybody has any CCTV footage which may be relevant to Karen’s disappearance come forward to police.”

Police are currently reviewing CCTV footage to see if it provides any clues.

“Police are out here today, setting up an information caravan and canvassing the neighbourhood, in an effort to try and get further information in relation to the disappearance of Karen Ristevski.

“Karen has been missing since June 29. It is a month down the track now and we are certainly keen for any information in relation to her whereabouts or disappearance.

“We have spoken to a number of people and the investigation is ongoing. We will continue to make inquiries.

“I believe that somebody out there has some information.

“I would encourage anybody with information, whether it is a member of the family or somebody who knows the family, to come forward.”

Insp Dennis said police were still hopeful Mrs Ristevski would be found alive.

“But as time goes on it certainly becomes increasingly more difficult,” he said.

Insp Dennis said the search of the area behind the Ristevski family home earlier this month failed to yield anything.

“We have spoken to members of her family and other people as well,” he said.

Karen Ristevski was believed to be carrying a handbag similar to this.

Karen Ristevski was believed to be carrying a purse similar to this.

Actor Samuel Johnson with missing friend Karen Ristevski & Karen’s husband Borce Ristevski and daughter Sarah. Picture: Eugene Hyland

The police activity today will be focused on the area in and around Milleara Rd, close to the Ristevski family home.

It is now almost a month since the mother of one vanished, leaving her Oakley Drive home following an argument with her husband.

Police are hopeful their push today will yield fresh evidence, which will help solve what happened to Mrs Ristevski. Detectives are keen to speak to a female dog walker who said she had been accosted by a strange man along the footpath behind the Ristevski house.

Mrs Ristevski, 47, was last seen after walking from her family’s luxury home at 10am on June 29.

She has made no ATM transactions since then, although it is understood she was carrying $850 in cash.

Investigators have been unable to track her mobile phone, which is switched off.

Mrs Ristevski is believed to have been discussing business finances with her husband before leaving.

Days after his wife disappeared, Mr Ristevski said his wife would sometimes walk off from their house to cool off.

In an interview with the Herald Sun on Saturday, Anthony Rickard said he did not kill his stepmother.

But he did admit to having a motive to hurt her — anger over a family conflict.

He admits battling an ice addiction, and said Mrs Ristevski had ­spoken in the past about making plans to leave the family.

He also said he phoned Mrs Ristevski about 10 days before she vanished, to ­confront her about the family ­conflict, which he says has been “swept under the carpet”.

Anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or go to crimestoppersvic.com.au

– David Hurley

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About Jumpin' Jack Cash

Deep connections are the most important aspect of my existence. I don’t care if people don’t know what they want. I love books. I’m cynical of love stories, although I’m romantic. I adore gardens. I like women who challenge me. I love the rain as an excuse to stay inside and dream. I'm furiously impatient. If I ask you a question best to tell me the truth as I'm likely to already know the answer. I'm a carnivore. I continuously underestimate the magic of fresh flowers in my home. I love warm rain in the summer. My mood elevates to epic proportions when the sun shines. Tell me not to do something and I'll do it twice and take photos. Running is my antidepressant. I loathe lies. I rarely forgive a lie. Loyalty and honesty are my most noble virtues, and I value them more than anything in other people. I love to love, and am able to fall in love very quickly, although it's only ever happened once. I understood myself and fixed myself only after destroying myself. My greatest excitement comes from deliberately getting lost in foreign cities. I can be extremely loud and frighteningly silent. I hate insinuations. I love storms. Justice for all. I'm a proud man, but welcome the influence of the feminine soul. I have two sisters. I’m a dreamer. I’m a deep thinker. Don’t deal with guilt trips or drama that well. I'm extremely stubborn and persistent. I'm brilliant at keeping secrets. I love driving. I become absolutely and completely lost while watching a burning fire. When the toast pops from the toaster I’m never ready and shit myself. I play the guitar, but require much improvement. Solitude and warmth of the sun are perfect together. I’ve been married once and now divorced. I’m a music junkie. Chocolate mousse is the shit. I curse too much. I find it difficult to make friends. I spent four years as a firefighter. I’ve run my own company since 1991. Bright lights, big cities. I’ve been an executive producer of a feature film. Some people don’t care, and that’s the biggest let-down of the human race. There are cures and solutions for many evils, but no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings. The sound of the Italian language being spoken is as good as my favourite music. I hate corrupt cops. I relentlessly and passionately pursue anybody and anything that sets my soul on fire. I'm a dog lover, and all my dogs are considered family members. I have an obsession with photography. I have some close friends who are household names, but shall always remain anonymous. I’m crazy but not lazy. Losing a soulmate has hurt me badly. My two young sons are the nucleus of my universe. I love airports. I love freedom. If you are dishonest or disloyal, I can erase you from my life and memory immediately and permanently. I yearn to explore, dream about and discover as many friendships, deep connections and places, one possibly can in a lifetime.
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