‘This is a real mystery’: Baffled police offer $200K reward in case of dad who vanished after returning from Thailand
A $200,000 reward is being offered to anyone who has any information about the murder mystery case of a father who vanished after returning from holiday.
Michael Modesti, 33, went missing after leaving his Beverley home, in South Australia, at 8.15am on May 9, 2016.
There appeared to be no evidence of any disturbance to his property, but his blue Magna 360 model sedan was found two days later. It is believed he was taken from another location once he left his home.
Police do not believe the father-of-one was a hardened criminal, despite previous minor involvement with cannabis, but they do believe drugs were involved.
The $200,000 reward comes as detectives work hard to find information about a series of missing people as part of National Missing Persons Week.
At the time of his disappearance Mr Modesti’s girlfriend Crystal Catacchio told police he made no indication that he was in trouble before he went missing.
Mr Modesti’s vanishing has been described as an unusual case for the experienced detectives of the SA Police Major Crime Investigation Branch.
After two years of investigation, police are convinced Mr Modesti has been the victim of a homicide as a result of getting involved in the drug trade.
‘We have a suspect in this case who was an associate of Michael’s and we believe they were in a drug enterprise together, possibly with links overseas,’ Detective Senior Sergeant Mark Mceachern from Major Crime said on Monday.
‘We’ve suspected from early on that there was some sort of drug involvement in that trip to Thailand, maybe some sort of drug importation.
‘His associate was due to go to Thailand with him only a short time before Mr Modesti’s disappearance, but he pulled out of that trip. In turn, our victim disappeared only days after returning from Thailand.’
Police informed detectives that a phone was removed from the vehicle by an associate, but the phone was never found.
Despite having phone records, detectives are unsure of what is physically stored on the phone which doesn’t help them with evidence in relation to Mr Modesti’s disappearance.
‘The fact that it existed and was disposed of, adds further weight to the theory there was a drug involvement,’ Det Snr Sgt Mceachern said.
‘There’s just not enough evidence to charge anyone, this is a real mystery.
‘It’s not widely known what happened to him – there might only be one offender who hasn’t told anyone. However, there are people out there we suspect with some information about what happened to Michael.’
Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.