30 Jan 2010

Rockefeller family shocked to hear of burial

5:12 pm on 30 January 2010

The family of Herman Rockefeller say they are deeply shocked after learning the Melbourne multi-millionaire had been killed and buried in a suburban backyard.

Late on Friday, eight days after the businessman vanished, Mario Schembri, 57, and Bernadette Denny, 41, appeared before a bail justice charged with his murder.

Mr Rockefeller was a senior executive at Brierley Investments in New Zealand for more than 14 years.

Mr Rockefeller was last seen alive leaving the Melbourne Airport long-term car park on 21 January at 9.37pm (AEDT).

A large-scale search combing a national park in central Victoria on Friday was later called off when police discovered human remains behind a house in Glenroy, in Melbourne's northwest.

A Victoria Police spokeswoman confirmed the Coroner was testing the remains to verify whether they are those of Mr Rockefeller.

Mr Rockefeller's brother Robert said his family was in shock.

"Our family is devastated by Herman's loss and deeply shocked by the circumstances surrounding his death," he told reporters.

The family has appealed for privacy.

Detective Senior Constable Tim Bell told the out-of-sessions court on Friday Mr Rockefeller was murdered at a home in Hadfield, in Melbourne's north, either late the night he went missing or early the next day.

Police raided the Hadfield home on Thursday and arrested Mario Schembri and Bernadette Denny.

Mr Bell said how Mr Rockefeller came to be at that address was still being investigated.

The pair admitted to being involved in a fight with Mr Rockefeller, which led to his death, as well as assisting or having knowledge of the disposal of his body, Mr Bell said.

He said Mr Schembri took police on Friday to a residential address in Glenroy, where police discovered what they believed to be human remains.

The pair are due to face Melbourne Magistrates' Court on Monday.