true crime

A timeline of what led to the arrest of alleged murderer Borce Ristevski.

On April 18 2019, Borce Ristevski was sentenced to nine years in prison for the death of Karen Ristevski.

For 18 months now Victoria Police have been investigating what happened to Melbourne woman Karen Ristevski – first searching for her, then for her killer.

On Wednesday morning, the high-profile case took its latest stunning turn.

A 53-year-old Avondale Heights man was charged with murdering the 47-year-old mother of one, who vanished from her family home last year.

The man’s identity was not released by police, but a brief court appearance confirmed what the headlines had guessed: the accused is the last person to see Karen alive, her husband, Borce Ristevski.

Here’s how the case has unfolded so far.

June 29, 2016.
At 10am, Karen walked out of her home in Oakley Drive, Avondale Heights, reportedly to “clear her head” following an argument over money with her husband, Borce. This is the last time she was seen alive.

No money is withdrawn from her account, no contact made with friends or family.

July 8, 2016.
Borce is questioned by police and denies any involvement in his wife’s disappearance.

July 22, 2016.
During questioning, Karen’s stepson Anthony Rickard – a self-confessed ice addict – reportedly tells police that he had overheard Karen speaking about leaving Borce when their daughter, Sarah, turned 21 (which she did last year).

The claim is later dismissed by Borce as “fantasy”, according to The Herald Sun.

Karen, her daughter, Sarah, and husband, Borce,. Via Nine News.

August 27, 2016.
The Herald Sun claims police traced Karen's mobile phone to Gisborne the day she disappeared. The device pinged transmitter towers on the Bruce Highway, roughly 40km north west of her home.

Borce's phone was also traced to the same highway near Diggers Rest, some 20km in the same direction.


According to the paper, he told police that he had previously forgotten to mention having driven his wife’s car up the Calder Highway on the day she disappeared in order to test a faulty fuel gauge. He reportedly claimed that he had driven the Mercedes-Benz until a bump in the road appeared to correct the gauge and then returned home.

December 19, 2016.
Police, air-wing, the dog squad and SES volunteers begin to search rural properties around Toolern Vale and Gisborne based on information obtained during police inquiries. Detective Inspector Stephen Dennis, from the Missing Persons Squad, tells media it is the most significant search conducted in the investigation to date.

What it's like when a loved one goes missing. Loren O'Keeffe shares her story. (Post continues after podcast).

February 20, 2017.
Human remains are discovered partially buried between fallen trees in Macedon Regional Park, near an area police had searched in the Ristevski investigation.

Reports suggest a witness earlier observed a man with a shovel in the area, and jokingly asked him “What did you do to the body?”. The man reportedly responded with nothing but a blank expression.

December 13, 2017.

At 7:20am, an Avondale Heights man is arrested and charged with one count of murder by detectives from the Missing Persons Squad.

Within hours, Borce Ristevski appears in the docks at Melbourne Magistrate's Court - heavily bearded and wearing a white t-shirt. His lawyer tells the magistrate his client will be pleading not guilty to the charge.

Borce's appearance lasts just four minutes, before he is remanded in custody until he will next face court on April 18.