Police are appealing for public assistance in chasing down a fresh lead which has emerged in a 21-year-old cold case in which a McKellar pensioner was beaten to death in her home.
The brutal 1999 home invasion which led to the death of Irma Palasics and in which her husband, Gregor, also was savagely beaten, has been one of the ACT’s most confounding, unresolved murders.
The event has profoundly changed the lives of the pensioner couple’s immediate family, including their grandson John Mikita, who on Friday added his voice to the police appeal for those with fresh information to come forward.
Police have received new information that a member of the Hungarian community, who is understood to be living in Melbourne, “knows someone who knows something” according to detectives working on the case.
“We want them [the person] to come forward so we can make an assessment on how they know that information,” Detective Senior Constable Emma Beere said.
“How they might have information relating to Irma is critical to us so we would like to speak them and assess what they know.”
John Mikita was 25 years old when he was given the tragic news of his grandmother’s murder.
He admits to being now intensively, almost obsessively security-conscious since the incident and even after 21 years, he still maintains hope there will be a breakthrough in the case.
He and his family still put out corflutes of the police poster on the roadside around Canberra, and he helps maintains content on the unsolved crimes website.
“I’ve spent a phenomenal amount of time and resources over the years … to keep the dream alive that we hopefully find whoever did this,” he said.
“I want to press with the community that if those people [the murderers] are still living in Canberra, we [the family] won’t ever rest, I certainly won’t ever rest, to ensure that I do everything I can to get information to Crime Stoppers or the police, so we can catch them.”
Irma and Gregor Palasics were watching television when their assailants stormed their McKellar home on the night of November 6, 1999.
Irma, 73, and Gregor, 74, were bound, gagged and beaten before their assailants completely ransacked the house over two hours and fled with cash and jewellery.
Mr Palasics, battered and covered in blood, freed himself once the offenders left and called for help. His wife died at the scene.
But that lead failed to yield fresh insights.
“Twenty-one years on we still seek answers as to who would do this to two innocent pensioners,” Mr Mikita said.
“I ask you from my heart, if you know anything no matter how small, how insignificant, to please report it. The people that did this need to be brought to justice. They do not deserve to be living freely in our community.”