Ellie Price’s body was found in a Park Street townhouse in South Melbourne on Monday afternoon
The ‘mafia-linked’ fugitive suspected of murdering his girlfriend had just been released from prison before he went missing and her body was found.
Ricardo ‘Rick’ Barbaro, 33, is on the run after police named him as a suspect in the death of his girlfriend Ellie Price.
Ms Price’s body was found in a Park Street townhouse in South Melbourne on Monday afternoon.
Police fear the young mother’s body may have been there for close to a week. They only found her after they were called to the home to perform a welfare check.
Barbaro was recently released from jail after allegedly assaulting Ms Price, 26, and he was expected to appear in court in September in relation to a separate assault, The Herald Sun reported.
Homicide detectives believed Barbaro could have been travelling in her car, which was missing from the address, but it was found at a house in Diggers Rest, in north-west Melbourne, overnight. The house is reportedly linked to the Calabrian mafia.
Ricardo ‘Rick’ Barbaro is being hunted by police across the country in relation to the suspected alleged murder of Ellie Price in South Melbourne
Police fear Ms Price’s body may have been there for close to a week. They only found her after they were called to the home to perform a welfare check
The car would have been easily identifiable, given the bright pink number plates which read ’22 ZERO’.
They now believe Barbaro may be travelling in his white 2009 Toyota Hiace van, registration 1OZ 8PC.
Ms Barbaro’s stepmother Anita told The Herald Sun she was beside herself.
‘I don’t know what’s going on,’ she said.
‘We don’t know if he’s done anything… I haven’t heard from him.
‘I can’t bring myself to read the news or watch it.’
Detectives have asked Barbaro to come forward and assist with their investigations.
‘We have a young female, 26 years of age, who has died prematurely. She has a family who is grieving for her and a community that is needing and deserving of answers,’ homicide squad boss Detective Inspector Tim Day said.
Police initially believed Barbaro was travelling in Ms Price’s white Mercedes (a similar car is pictured above) with the number plates: 22ZERO (pictured). They now believe he is travelling in a van after her Mercedes was found, abandoned
‘Barbaro, this is not going to go away. This is an opportunity for you to come forward.’
Detectives reminded the public that aiding and abetting is a crime worthy of prison time.
Inspector Day said police had interviewed family members from the Barbaro clan this week, but the wanted man still remained at large.
‘We know that there will be family and friends out there that have had contact with Barbaro since the 29th of April. We know that there will be family and friends who know Barbaro’s current whereabouts,’ Inspector Day said.
‘Friends and family need to be acutely aware – and 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 point in time.’
Barbaro’s last known address was in Southport in Queensland.
Ellie Price, 26 (pictured with her son) was found dead in her south Melbourne home on Monday
Riccardo (left) and Harley Barbaro (right) are linked to a notorious Melbourne family. Riccardo remains on the run from police
Ms Price’s mother claimed her daughter had been a victim of domestic violence at the hands of her boyfriend.
Tracey Gangell told Daily Mail Australia her daughter had been bashed by Ricardo Barbaro in the months leading up to her daughter’s alleged murder.
‘It was him that did (that to) her,’ she said. ‘He cut her.’
Ms Gangell said her daughter had been seeing Barbaro since about August last year.
She claimed the fugitive once hurt Ms Price so badly that she needed to go to hospital.
The devastated mum remains in the dark as police continue to try and locate the wanted man.
A photo of Ms Price provided by her mother showed her wearing a bandage above her injured eye after an incident.
Ms Price’s young son was in Tasmania with his grandmother when she was killed and is yet to learn of her death.
Ellie Price was allegedly murdered sometime last week. A manhunt is underway for her suspected killer
Queensland man Rossario Dom Barbaro (pictured left) killed himself just months after his older brother’s murder. He is the brother of Riccardo Barbaro
Barbaro is the brother of slain Sydney underworld boss Pasquale Timothy Barbaro, who was gunned down in a 2016 gangland hit.
His other brother, Rossario Dom Barbaro, killed himself just months later.
Another brother, Harley Barbaro, is an alleged Villains gang member who lives on the Gold Coast.
All four are the sons of Giuseppe ‘Joe’ Barbaro – a cousin of gangland figure Pasquale Barbaro, who was shot dead alongside Jason Moran in a van while watching a children’s football training session in 2003.
A year later, Joe Barbaro’s three-week-old daughter Montana, was snatched from her car seat in a western suburbs shopping centre. She was found in a derelict home with her head shaved days later.
Some members of the Melbourne Barbaro family have links to the Calabrian mafia, centred in the New South Wales town of Griffith.
Pasquale Barbaro was executed alongside Jason Moran in a van (pictured) during Melbourne’s notorious gangland war
Ellie Price (pictured left with her sister) had been seeing Ricardo Barbaro casually since about October, according to police. Her mum told Daily Mail Australia they had been together for months earlier
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.’
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 four days in an attempt to locate Barbaro.
Police believe Barbaro often was seen in the north-west and western suburbs of Melbourne.
Detectives are also searching for his white 2009 Toyota Hiace van with registration 1OZ 8PC.
Pictured: Ella Price and her young son, who was in Tasmania when she was killed inside her South Melbourne home