Police search Mt Lawley home looking for body of missing man Nicola La Falce

| 29.11,22. 12:00 AM |

Police search Mt Lawley home looking for body of missing man Nicola La Falce

Nicola La Falce
Perth bricklayer Nicola La Falce was 37 when he vanished without a trace.(Supplied: WA Police)

Police plan to dig up the backyard of a home in Perth's inner-city suburbs where they believe they may find the remains of a man who hasn't been seen since 1994.

Detectives are at an address on Barlee Street in Mt Lawley hoping to find the remains of bricklayer Nicola La Falce.

"Investigators believe there is a strong possibility that the body of Mr La Falce may be located at these premises," Detective Inspector Darryl Cox said.

"Detectives and forensic staff will be at the premises for a number of days and the rear yard will be excavated by the forensic human recovery team.

"There are further actions to be undertaken as part of this investigation and further search warrants may take place in the future."

A police officer looks around in the courtyard of a brick home
Police are combing the property for clues. (ABC News: Cason Ho)

Residents of the area have described Barlee Street as a quiet neighbourhood full of Italian families, just behind the Mt Lawley entertainment strip.

Some said they had faint recollections of Mr La Falce’s disappearance, but were shocked to see forensic investigators at the house.

Cold case review

On Friday, WA Police announced a $500,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the suspected murder of the 37-year-old.

Detective Inspector Cox said the Special Crime Squad had conducted a cold case review of the disappearance of Mr La Falce, involving the review of forensic exhibits, and re-interviewing more than 70 witnesses.

Police officers stand underneath a forensic tent
Police forensic officers are analysing the house in Mt Lawley. (ABC News: Cason Ho)

"That cold case review has led us to this address," he said.

Mr La Falce was last seen at a pizza shop on Cambridge Street in Wembley on the evening of January 12, 1994.

Police said he received a phone call at about 8:44pm, from someone they believe was known to Mr La Falce.

Two men on the roof of a home pulling up tiles
Police were seen pulling up roof tiles at the home in Mt Lawley.(ABC News)

He departed in his blue Ford Courier tray top vehicle and has not been seen since.

Flight and phone call mystery

Police have said on January 13, 1994, Ansett Airlines took a phone booking in the name of Mr La Falce.

The booking was for a flight to Adelaide on the following day.

A police forensic tent shot from long range.
A police forensic tent has been set up outside a home in Mt Lawley. (ABC News: Cason Ho)

While a seat reserved in his name was occupied by someone on the flight, police believe Mr La Falce didn't get on the plane.

Mr La Falce's vehicle was found in the long-term car park of Perth's domestic airport.

Detective Inspector Cox said police now believe a phone call was made from the Barlee St home to Mr La Falce.

A man wearing a gold chain and dark blue shirt
Nicola La Falce was last seen almost 30 years ago.(Supplied: WA Police)

"I can't go into a lot of the operational reasons why we're here, but what I can say is that there was a phone call made from the landline of this address to Mr La Falce when he was at the pizza shop.

"And then Mr La Falce has been concerned with that phone call and he has left the pizza shop shortly after."

Theory missing man buried in yard

Detective Inspector Cox said there was a "whole lot of information" to suggest Mr La Falce was buried in the rear yard of the Barlee St home.

"Firstly we'll do a investigative and forensic search of the interior of the premises and then after that we will look at the rear yard.

The detective said Mr La Falce had "frequented" the home.

He renewed the call for information.

A police forensic tent shot from long range.
Officers are scouring a home in Barlee Street, North Perth, for any trace of Nicola La Falce.(ABC News: Cason Ho)

"Detectives are confident some person within the community has intimate knowledge of what happened to Mr La Falce.

"We want that person to come forward.

"Since the reward announcement on Friday, three phone calls were made to CrimeStoppers, one of those is of particular interest to the investigation team.

"And they are following up that information today."

One of the calls provided police with information they didn't have before.

Detective Cox said someone had gone to significant effort to conceal what had happened to Mr La Falce.

"We've got a vehicle left out at the airport, we've got someone on a plane, we've got an airline ticket that's been purchased, someone's gone to great lengths to disguise what has actually happened."

Two people sit in front of a wallpaper of sunflowers
Mr La Falce's family issued a video message calling for information.(Supplied: WA Police)

Mr La Falce's brother Antonio La Falce and sister-in-law Elise say they've had no information at all regarding his whereabouts.

"We are asking anyone who may have any information or news of anything that happened that they please immediately report it to police," they said in an emotional pre-recorded message.

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