Ellie Price, 26, was found dead in her South Melbourne home on May 4.
Ellie Price, 26, was found dead in her South Melbourne home on May 4.

National manhunt for Barbaro son after mum’s death

Police are looking for Ricardo Barbaro after his girlfriend, Ellie Price, was found dead in her South Melbourne home on Monday.

Detectives believe Ms Price was fatally assaulted in her home between the afternoon of Tuesday, April 28, and the early hours of the following morning.

A nationwide manhunt is underway to find Mr Barbaro - the son of Joe Barbaro, whose daughter, Montana was kidnapped from a Melbourne suburban shopping centre car park from her mother Anita's arms in 2004.

Mr Barbaro Snr told the Herald Sun he and his son had been estranged for years and he was "too old for this''.

"He's my son,'' he said. "I don't know where he is. I haven't seen him for the last five years.''

Detective Inspector Tim Day personally appealed to Mr Barbaro to come forward and speak to police.

"This is not going away," he said. "Use this opportunity to contact us early and help us resolve this matter."

Sisters Danielle and Ellie Price.
Sisters Danielle and Ellie Price.

Mr Day said he was certain friends or family know where Barbaro is.

He urged them to contact police immediately and warned anyone caught hiding him could face accessory charges.

"Friends and family need to be acutely aware and I don't think they need to put themselves in a position of a potential charge as an accessory for either harbouring or assisting Barbaro," Mr Day said.

"I don't think anybody wants to find themselves in that position and they need to contact the police."

The pair had been in a casual relationship since last October.

The 33-year-old is considered dangerous, with police urging people not to approach him and instead call triple-0 immediately if they see him.

Mr Barbaro's last known address is the Gold Coast suburb of Southport.

He is also known to frequent Melbourne's northwestern and western suburbs, and is described as being approximately 185cm tall with a solid build, black hair and olive complexion.

Detectives are also searching for Barbaro's white 2009 Toyota Hiace van, registration 1OZ 8PC.

Danielle Price, mum Tracey Gangell and Ellie Price.
Danielle Price, mum Tracey Gangell and Ellie Price.

Ms Price's white 2017 E 350 Mercedes sedan with pink number plates and registration 22ZERO, is missing from her home.

Police believe the 26-year-old had been murdered several days before her body was found on Monday.

The Herald Sun is not suggesting Mr Barbaro is guilty of killing Ms Price, only that police believe he may have information that could assist officers investigating the death.

Mr Day described Ms Price's death as "tragic".

"I think the death of any person in such tragic circumstances is tragic," he said.

"To have a young female, 26 years of age, die prematurely. She has a family grieving for her."

Her mother raised the alarm with police after failing to hear from her daughter for almost a week, leading to a search of her Park St property where her body was found.

Ms Price's son was staying with his grandmother.

Homicide detectives have released few details of the murder probe, including whether they have any suspects.

However, police on Tuesday reassured the public they did not believe anyone else was at risk of harm.

 

Ellie Price’s body was found on Monday.
Ellie Price’s body was found on Monday.

 

The Melbourne Barbaro family has links to the Calabrian mafia, centred in the New South Wales town of Griffith.

A powerful clan in the Calabrian "Honoured Society'', or mafia, the family is well-known to federal and state law enforcement authorities and the criminal underworld.

Another of Mr Barbaro's sons, Pasquale Barbaro, was a notorious Sydney gangster until his murder in the suburb of Earlwood in 2016.

Ricardo's grandfather, who was also named Pasquale Barbaro, was murdered in a gangland hit in Brisbane in 1990 after turning police informant.

His cousin, also named Pasquale, was murdered alongside gangland crime figure Jason Moran at an Auskick clinic in Essendon in 2003.

An uncle, also Pasquale Barbaro, was jailed for 30 years as the ringleader of the infamous "Tomato Tins'' ecstasy importation, seized by Australian customs, in Melbourne in 2007.

Another relative, Francesco "Little Trees'' Barbaro was named as a member of the Calabrian mafia by the Woodward Royal Commission, held following the disappearance of anti-drugs campaigner Donald Mackay in 1977.

Victoria Police is set to make a public appeal today. Investigators wish to speak to anyone who witnesses suspicious activity in Park or Ferrars streets in the week before Ms Price's murder.

A car similar to Ellie Price’s missing Mercedes.
A car similar to Ellie Price’s missing Mercedes.

 

MUM'S ANGUISH OVER DAUGHTER'S DEATH

Tracey Gangell said her daughter had a "heart of gold" and lived for her four-year-old son, Mostafa.

"Everyone loved her. She would do anything for anyone and help out in any way she could," her mother said.

Ms Price's son was in Tasmania with his grandmother when she was killed and is yet to learn of her death.

"He asked 'where is mum?' on Tuesday. I don't know how to tell him. He absolutely adored her," Ms Gangell said.

About a month ago, Ms Price told her mother her boyfriend allegedly bashed her, splitting open her eye.

She required stitches in hospital and sought domestic violence support, her mum said.

"She knew I was dead against him," Ms Gangell said.

A photo of Ms Price provided by her mother shows her wearing a bandage above her injured eye.

 

Ellie, with Mostafa, 4, wears a bandage above her injured eye.
Ellie, with Mostafa, 4, wears a bandage above her injured eye.

 

Ellie’s mum asked police to check on her after she failed to hear from her.
Ellie’s mum asked police to check on her after she failed to hear from her.

 

Ms Gangell hoped her daughter's killer would be caught and jailed so no one else would suffer.

"Why, why take her away from her son? Every mother deserves to see their kids grow up," she said.

Ms Price was born and raised in Tasmania but had lived in Melbourne for almost a decade.

In late April, Ms Price urged friends "don't take life for granted" and to be "grateful for the little things" when reflecting on COVID-19 deaths on Facebook.

Her mother became worried for her welfare last Wednesday after Ms Price stopped posting on social media or taking phone calls.

Ms Gangell called police and asked them to check on her daughter at her home on Monday.

Police delivered the news of her daughter's death that night.

In her final text to her mum, she wrote: "Give Mossi a kiss for me. I love you."

Her body was found on the 16th anniversary of the murder of Athol Tollard, her childhood father figure.

aneeka.simonis@news.com.au

Originally published as National manhunt for Barbaro son after mum's death

 

 

Ricardo Barbaro.
Ricardo Barbaro.
The 26-year-old’s son was with his grandmother.
The 26-year-old’s son was with his grandmother.


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