Family calls for new probe into mystery death

Dina Costi: unanswered questions.

Dina Costi: unanswered questions.

THE family of a woman found dead at the bottom of a cliff nearly 14 years ago want the case re-examined by police.

The body of Dina Costi was discovered beneath a cliff at Lake Gillear near Allansford in September 2000. 

Her family have long maintained the 26-year-old was a victim of foul play, despite a coroner’s inquest finding no evidence that the death was suspicious. 

Mrs Costi and her husband John Costi had lived in Warrnambool for two years after moving from Adelaide and operated a charcoal chicken store. 

On the morning of September 20 Mrs Costi left a note for her husband saying she had gone for a walk.

Dina Costi: unanswered questions.

Dina Costi: unanswered questions.

She left her Whites Road home and was last seen at a service station. 

The alarm was raised after she missed an appointment at 10am and failed to appear at work at 3pm. 

SES crews recovered her body the following day at the base of the 70-metre-high cliff. Her car was also located nearby.

Mrs Costi’s family suspect her husband knew of or played a role in his wife’s death. 

John Steven Costi died in police custody in Adelaide last month in a suspected suicide.

Mr Costi had been denied bail after being captured by STAR officers during a police raid over the alleged rape, assault and robbery of call girls in Adelaide. 

The family of Mrs Costi believe witnesses at the time of her death may have been too frightened to speak up because of her husband’s “nature”. 

Speaking to The Standard from Adelaide, Mrs Costi’s sister, Katrina Tsalavoutas, said the family did not accept that her death was accidental. 

“Someone may have seen something directly or indirectly but may have been to afraid to speak up,” Ms Tsalavoutas said. 

“Any family would want to know what happened.” 

Ms Tsalavoutas spoke to Warrnambool detectives six months ago about the possibility of rebooting the case. 

She said there are inconsistencies in the events and also in the behaviour of John Costi after reports that his wife was missing. 

The family believes there were many inconsistencies. Mrs Costi's missing wallet, phone and keys have never been found.

A two-day coroner’s inquest delivered an open finding into Mrs Costi’s death, saying there was not enough evidence to back the family’s suggestions of foul play.

During the inquest John Costi gave a written statement to The Standard saying: “It is difficult for me to understand how Dina came to the location where she fell. The result has been that my wife, who I love dearly, has been cruelly taken from me.” 

Katrina Tsalavoutas told the inquest at the time her sister’s husband was abusive and that she had “packed her bags” at one stage ready to leave him.

Warrnambool Acting Inspector Steven Thompson dealt with the case in 2000 and yesterday told The Standard no new evidence had been presented to police.

“There’s been no further information come to police surrounding the circumstances of Dina’s death,” Acting Inspector Thomson said.

“If new information did come to light we would certainly look at it.”

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