Vinzent Tarantino, 49, was formally refused bail when he appeared via video link at Sydney Central Local Court today, where he was charged with murder, detaining for advantage and causing injury to victim, and custody of knife in public place.
Police say he lived in the same suburb as Diec, but was not known to the 12 year old school girl, who was last seen as she farewelled her parents at her Granville home in Sydney’s west on the morning of July 27, 1998.
She never arrived at Strathfield Girls High that day, but her disappearance wasn’t reported until that night because her teachers assumed she was sick and at home, and her parents believed she was at school.
Police allege that Tarantino, formerly known as Victor Gerada, murdered Diec between the hours of 6.30am and 7pm on the day she was reported missing, reports the ABC. He has long been a suspect in Diec’s appearance but was never charged.
Rose Hill police commander Scott Whyte said he attributed the breakthrough to “good, hard, old fashioned police work”, and that it was the fact that the “cops never gave up” which lead to Tarantino turning himself in.
Diec’s parents, Ann and Sam, still live in the same Granville home where their daughter was last seen, and have been living in the hope that she would one day walk back into their lives. Mr Diec has travelled all around Australia following up possible sightings of his daughter for the last 18 years.
Police are hoping to obtain information about the whereabouts of Diec’s body, and it is believed that a search is already underway. “It is our top priority to try and bring Quanne home for her parents,” commander Whyte said.