A nationwide manhunt is underway for a member of the notorious Barbaro crime family following the death of a young mother in Melbourne.
Ricardo “Rick” Barbaro, 33, is on the run from police after 26-year-old Ellie Price’s body was found in a South Melbourne townhouse on Monday.
Investigators believe the mother-of-one was in an on-again, off-again relationship with Mr Barbaro since October 2019.
Detective Inspector Tim Day said Ms Price likely suffered a “violent” assault on April 28 or 29 and might have been dead for days before being found.
“Ellie may have suffered an assault at about that time and that she may have been in those premises for a number of days, perhaps up to five days,” he said on Thursday.
He called for anyone who noticed suspicious activity in the vicinity of Park and Ferrars Streets in the past two weeks to come forward.
Detectives from the homicide squad and fugitive taskforce, along with a number of other police units, have been searching for Mr Barbaro since Tuesday.
They are investigating the possibility he has fled interstate, with police across the country assisting in the search.
“Police across Australia, all states and territories have been notified of our need to speak to him,” Detective Inspector Day said.
He said detectives have also spoken to Mr Barbaro’s family and friends, who likely have been in touch with him and know his whereabouts.
“I don’t think they need to put themselves in a position of potential charge as an accessory for either harbouring or assisting Barbaro at this time,” Detective Inspector Day said.
He called on Mr Barbaro to come forward and make contact with police himself.
“This is not going to go away,” he said.
Mr Barbaro is described as being 185 centimetres tall, with a solid build, black hair and olive complexion.
His last known address is Southport in Queensland but he is believed to frequent Melbourne’s north-west and western suburbs.
Detectives are also searching for his white 2009 Toyota HiAce van with registration 1OZ 8PC. They are also looking for Ms Price’s vehicle, a white 2017 E350 Mercedes sedan with pink numberplates 22ZERO, which was missing from her property.
Anyone who sights Mr Barbaro should not approach him but contact triple zero immediately.
He is a member of the Barbaro crime family and brother of Sydney underworld boss Pasquale Timothy Barbaro, 35, who was gunned down in 2016.
His grandfather Peter Pasquale Barbaro was also gunned down in Brisbane in 1990 while his father’s cousin Pasquale Barbaro was killed alongside underworld figure Jason Moran while watching a children’s football training session in 2003.
Another member of the family – another Pasquale Barbaro, from Griffith – was sentenced to 30 years’ jail for importing what was then the world’s biggest ecstasy haul into Melbourne.
Friends and family of Ms Price, meanwhile, have taken to social media to pay tribute to her.
“She was my baby. I am going to miss her,” her mother Tracey Gangell posted on Facebook.
“My beautiful grand daughter (sic) taken too soon will miss ellbell so muchxxxxx,” her grandmother Sherry Bradford wrote.