Radojko Djordjevic: Huge reward for 1985 cold case murder of Serbian politician information

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Police are offering half a million dollars to those who can help solve the murder of a former Liberal Party branch president, that has gone almost 40 years unsolved.

Radojko Djordjevic, a Western Sydney resident and prominent member of its Serbian community, was shot and killed in January 1985, his body left off the side of South Marulan Road in the Southern Highlands.

He was reported missing by his wife, who had expected to meet him on January 26 for the Bojic church festival the family planned on attending.

When he was found on January 31, his decomposing body had three bullet wounds in his neck and chest.

Mr Djordjevic was not licensed to drive at the time, so police believe he was possibly picked up by others to be taken to the festival.

Homicide Squad Commander, Detective Acting Superintendent Virginia Gorman, said officers had “not definitively identified who those people may be – so anybody in that car could be of particular interest”.

Police estimate Mr Djordjevic was killed between 9.30pm on January 24 and 11am on January 31.

Mr Djordjevic was president of both the Free Serbian Orthodox Church and the Liberal Party’s Old Toongabbie branch. Authorities suspect that the killing was politically motivated.

Mr Djordjevic was a prominent member of political groups within this community, which Ms Gorman said were experiencing conflicts and power struggles at the time.

“In 1985, Yugoslavia was in the process of fragmentation,” Ms Gorman said. “And there were various different conflicts within the Serbian community itself”.

While there was no specific reason the investigation was resurfacing now, Ms Gorman said that due to the passage of time, “people now may talk about things that they wouldn’t talk about then”.

Because of the age of the case, police recognise potential suspects may have passed away since the murder.

“That doesn’t matter, because the family need to know about their father,” Ms Gorman said.

One man was arrested and charged with the murder of Mr Djordjevic in 2003, but was acquitted of the crime.

Mr Djordjevic is survived by four children from two marriages, who were in communication with police during the case and still live in Sydney.

His daughter Gana Djordevic said in a statement that she was only 21 when her father was killed, and her siblings were between 10 and 19.

“I am 60 now, and we are desperately still seeking closure to the continuous grieving, suffering and insecurity caused by my father’s death,” she said.

“An arrest would mean that our father didn’t die for nothing.”

The $500,000 reward, and distribution of the reward to any and all parties who provide useful information, is determined by a separate official body not related to the police.