'We are desperate': Family of slain Toronto tech CEO renews $250,000 reward in unsolved murder case
Published Tuesday, February 7, 2023 10:08AM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, February 7, 2023 11:38AM EST
Nearly five years after Matthew Staikos was gunned down in Toronto, the family of the tech CEO has renewed a $250,000 reward in the unsolved murder case.
“To say that the last four years, eight months, and 10 days have not been easy would be a gross understatement. Every day has been excruciating, insufferable, seemingly unsurvivable,” the family said in a statement at a news conference Tuesday.
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“Today is no different. And yet, here we are. We don’t want to be here. It is incredibly difficult for us to once again be standing in front of the cameras, sharing our pain with the world. But we are desperate.”
Staikos, a former BlackBerry employee and CEO of the Toronto-based Vleepo, was shot and killed while he was walking in the area of Yorkville Avenue and Bay Street on the night of May 28, 2018.
Surveillance video released at the time shows Staikos walking in the affluent neighbourhood at approximately 11:30 p.m. with another person when the pair passed a Mercedes-Benz that was parked on the street.
A man appeared to exit from the passenger side of the vehicle and follow the two men out of the surveillance camera’s view. Then, the man is seen running back to the Mercedes and fleeing southbound on Bay Street.
One witness described hearing loud gunshots before he discovered Staikos’s body. The 37-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene.
“Our lives will never be the same. We will never be as joyful, as calm, or as complete as we once were when our sweet, brilliant Matthew was with us and living his beautiful life. But being able to bring Matthew’s killer to justice, to understand why this happened, to take the next step forward in this most unfortunate process will, we think, bring us some peace,” the family said Tuesday.
Days after the Staikos's death, police described the shooting as an “unprovoked attack on a defenceless man.”
Speaking at Tuesday's news conference, Det. Sgt. Terry Browne said as far as motive goes, police are still in the dark.
“We’ve looked deeply into the background of Matthew Staikos. He was exactly as he’s being described. Loved by all. A successful businessman. In a loving relationship…The reason this happened to him is still dumfounding to us,” Browne said.
While police maintain the shooting was targeted, Browne admitted investigators still aren’t "100 per cent" sure that Staikos was the intended target and may have just been in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“Did the shooter, perhaps mistakenly shoot the wrong person? That may be a piece of information that we don’t have that we’re looking to seek right now,” Browne said.
“There’s no doubt in our mind that whoever did this, it was a planned and deliberate incident…There were steps that were taken by the shooter to look in the general area, to be around that area for a period of time. It wasn’t something that happened, in our opinion, off the cuff where they just happened to come across Mr. Staikos and do what they did.”
Neither the suspect, nor the driver of the vehicle, have ever been identified by police.
The silver or titanium-coloured suspect vehicle, which Browne described as a “crucial” element in the case, is believed to be either a 2017 or 2018 Mercedes-Benz C43 Series or 2016 C45 or C450. The vehicle was never recovered.
The private reward of up to $250,000 will go to anyone who can provide information that leads to the arrest of Staikos's killer or killers, a spokesperson for the family said in a statement.
The family previously announced a $250,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for Staikos’s murder back in 2021.
That reward has since expired and is being reissued by way of Tuesday's announcement.
Anonymous tips made through Crime Stoppers will also be eligible for the reward money.