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Manhunt for mafia son after woman’s body found in South Melbourne home


Another of the brothers, Queensland man Rossario Dom Barbaro, took his own life at the age of 28, just months after his older sibling’s 2016 murder.

Harley Barbaro, a 27-year-old Gold Coast man and alleged Villains gang member, is another brother.

Slain underworld boss Pasquale Timothy Barbaro.

Slain underworld boss Pasquale Timothy Barbaro.

All four are sons of Giuseppe “Joe” Barbaro, a cousin of gangland figure Pasquale Barbaro, who was gunned down alongside Jason Moran in a van while watching a children’s football training session in Essendon in 2003.

The following year, Joe Barbaro’s baby daughter Montana, then three weeks old, was snatched from her car seat in a Brimbank shopping centre during a brazen kidnapping.

Ellie Price.

Ellie Price.Credit:

She was found two days later with a shaved head in a derelict house in North Melbourne, after a passerby heard her cries.

Detectives spent Wednesday night negotiating with Ricardo Barbaro’s family, visiting Joe Barbaro’s home in Melbourne’s west in the hope of negotiating the 33-year-old’s surrender.

“Detectives from both the homicide squad and fugitive taskforce, along with a number of other police units, have conducted a significant search over the past three days in an attempt to locate Barbaro, however have been unsuccessful,” police said.

“Police can confirm he was known to the victim and is believed to frequent the north-west and western suburbs of Melbourne.”

Police begun searching for Mr Barbaro on Tuesday in the hope of questioning the Queenslander after he was linked to Ms Price, a mother of one. Police sources say he is known to carry weapons.

Homicide squad detectives had been called to a two-storey Park Street townhouse on Monday after a woman’s body was found inside a rented property at the rear of the housing complex.

Police at the South Melbourne property where a woman's body was found.

Police at the South Melbourne property where a woman’s body was found.Credit:Luis Enrique Ascui

Forensic analysts spent more than 24 hours inside trying to piece together what had occurred. Neighbours were told to hand over any CCTV camera footage they may have had from the previous six days.

Residents said their pocket of the suburb, on the western side of Ferrars Street, mainly housed families and the elderly and was usually free from crime.

Police sources told The Age Ms Price may have been dead for a number of days before being found.

The Barbaro family, with known links to the Calabrian mafia, are no strangers to the spotlight.

Joe Barbaro leaves court in 2004.

Joe Barbaro leaves court in 2004.Credit:Paul Harris

Joe Barbaro was jailed in 2005 for six years for his part in an illicit drug ring in Melbourne and Sydney.

His father and his son, both also named Pasquale, were killed in gangland hits – his father in Brisbane in 1990.

In 2012 another related Pasquale Barbaro, the son of Joe’s uncle, was sentenced to life in prison for importing what was then the world’s biggest ecstasy haul into Melbourne.

Ricardo Barbaro is described as being 185 centimetres tall with a solid build, black hair and an olive complexion.

A car similar to the one police are searching for.

A car similar to the one police are searching for.Credit: Victoria Police

Detectives are also searching for his white 2009 Toyota Hiace van with registration 1OZ 8PC.

The victim’s vehicle, a white 2017 E350 Mercedes sedan with pink numberplates 22ZERO, is missing from her property.

Ms Price's missing numberplates.

Ms Price’s missing numberplates.Credit:Victoria Police.

Police have released an image of Ricardo Barbaro, along with images of a similar vehicle and numberplates to those on the missing Mercedes in the hope someone can provide information regarding his current whereabouts.

Anyone with information on the South Melbourne homicide investigation is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit crimestoppers.com.au.

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