On March 13, 2016, an unknown person allegedly issued a death notice to an unidentified woman who lived in a house in Misa, near Katoomba in Victoria’s south-east.
The woman’s husband, a retired police officer, died in 2008.
The notice claimed the woman had left her children, but they were not identified.
The family did not believe the notice was genuine.
A week later, the notice appeared on the front page of The Age newspaper, with a photograph of the woman and her young children.
The note stated that she had left the family money and a $5000 check for a car.
“I don’t want to lose my husband or my kids and I need to make sure that I get everything I need,” she said.
In the days that followed, the family did what they could to try to contact the woman.
The first attempt was to go to the bank, but the notice said she had withdrawn money from her savings account.
The next day, the woman called the bank and told them she had received the notice.
“It was quite obvious it was a scam,” said the woman’s partner, John.
The couple contacted the police and police went to the house to interview the woman but found nothing wrong.
“The bank was shocked and said it would investigate,” John said.
“We were told there was nothing they could do.”
A few days later, they received another notice, this time from the woman, this one from a man named Mark.
It stated the woman was living in the house with her son and was unable to provide information about the money.
“He said that he could not get into the house because he was on bail, but it would be nice to have a few thousand dollars, so we contacted the bank to ask them for a few hundred,” said John.
“They said they were busy at the time and would be back soon.”
The bank declined to answer further questions about the case, but John said they contacted the person who issued the notice and that person did not give them any further information.
The police went back to the address and did some further research.
“What we discovered was that the person that issued the letter was a man called Andrew Bongiovanni,” said Inspector Mark Johnson from the Victoria Police Corruption Unit.
“Andrew Bongovanni is also known to have been involved in another alleged child sex-related murder of a child in 2013, but we can’t confirm the accuracy of that allegation at this stage.”
Detective Sergeant Johnson said they believed there was a possibility there was more to the story and that Bongovic was involved in the other murder case.
The letter was dated April 21, 2017, and it claimed the family had been “lucky” and received “everything they need” and a “big hug”.
“We found that the woman did not provide us with a contact number or any details of the family, but she did tell us that she is in the process of selling the house and it would not be appropriate for her to give us any details,” Sergeant Johnson explained.
“This woman was not forthcoming with us with any details on the circumstances surrounding the family’s death, so it was not clear how this woman was able to make such a huge claim.”
Detective Sgt Johnson said the letter contained a link to a website for Misa-based people seeking to purchase property, and that the “loyalty of a woman who lives in a home is an essential element in any purchase”.
The Australian Crime Commission (ACCC) has investigated the case and released an opinion on the matter in June 2017. “
There’s no evidence at this point to suggest this is a person of interest in any other criminal activity,” he said.
The Australian Crime Commission (ACCC) has investigated the case and released an opinion on the matter in June 2017.
In that report, Detective Sergeant Mark Johnson said he did not have the authority to investigate allegations that there was an organised crime network operating in the area.
“However, we are confident we have found a person who may be responsible for the deaths of a number of family members and friends and we are continuing to work with the family to determine what happened,” he wrote.
The victim’s partner said she would not take the threat of a death note lying around lightly.
“You cannot have a child who has not been born and not know what is going on,” she told News24.
“If you have a dead child, that’s the first thing you’re going to think about.”
It is believed the woman left the house in a car that was not registered to her, so the family was not aware she had died.
They also do not know who issued her notice.