Raphael JOSEPH

Feared dead: Raphael Joseph.  - This is the last known photo of Rafi and shows what he was wearing when he went missing

Raphael Joseph, pictured when he was arrested in the US in November 2006.

Raphael Joseph, pictured when he was arrested in the US in November 2006.

 

http://whereisraphaeljoseph.com/ - Website set up to help find Rafi

 

The family of a 38-year-old man believed to have been kidnapped last month have joined police in appealing to the public to help them locate their missing relative.

Raphael Joseph, who was previously known as Rafi Tooma and is known as ‘Huss’ or ‘Hussany’ to his family and friends, was last seen getting into the back seat of a late-model, silver sedan on Dartbrook Road, Auburn, around midnight on Friday 21 March 2014 (late Thursday night / early Friday morning). It is believed at least two other men were in the car at the time.

At the time, Mr Joseph was wearing a grey t-shirt, khaki pants and dark shoes.

Mr Joseph’s family reported him as missing to police on the evening of Saturday 22 March 2014.

A team of police, led by the State Crime Command’s Homicide Squad, is now investigating Mr Joseph’s disappearance, and police are appealing for anyone with information of relevance to contact them immediately.

The Commander of the Homicide Squad, Detective Superintendent Mick Willing, said investigators need the assistance of the public to help them locate Mr Joseph, and the people responsible for his disappearance.

“We don’t know where Mr Joseph is at present, but we believe there are a number of people out there in the community who do,” Detective Superintendent Willing.

“We have spoken to many of Mr Joseph’s friends and associates, and have searched a number of private properties, as well as public bushland, in a bid to find evidence that could lead us to Mr Joseph’s whereabouts.

“His poor family are worried sick and are desperate to know what has happened to him.

“If you have any information that could help us find Raphael Joseph, please do the right thing and contact Crime Stoppers.

“Contact can be made anonymously. We don’t need to know who you are; we just need to know where Mr Joseph is.”

To date, police inquiries have revealed that during the afternoon of Thursday 20 March, Mr Joseph spent time at his apartment in Chiswick and a casino in Pyrmont. He may also have met someone at a fast food restaurant on Dartbrook Road in Auburn, close to the location where he later went missing.

It is believed Mr Joseph travelled to Auburn in a white 2009 E350 Mercedes with Tasmanian registration plates.

Police are urging anyone with information about this incident to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: https://www1.police.nsw.gov.au/. Information you provide will be treated in the strictest of confidence. We remind people they should not report crime information via our Facebook and Twitter pages.

 

 

Extortion, kidnap and murder fears: hunt for missing Raphael Joseph

Date
by Nick Ralston, SMH
In 2008, Australian fugitive Raphael Joseph made a desperate, last ditch plea to the then US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, not to be extradited back to NSW to face a murder charge.

The underworld figure unsuccessfully argued that if sent back to NSW, he would be "tortured or killed".

Six years later, NSW police fear that Mr Joseph might have now met that fate.

Mr Joseph, who has previously gone by the name of Rafi Tooma, and is known as "Huss" or "Hussany" to his family and friends, is now believed to have been kidnapped and possibly murdered after he got into the back seat of a late-model silver sedan on Dartbrook Road, Auburn, near the local McDonalds about midnight on March 21.

Detectives believe Mr Joseph, who had spent that afternoon at his Chiswick apartment and at The Star casino, willingly got into the vehicle which had at least two other men inside.

His family reported him missing the next day and no one has seen or heard from Mr Joseph since. His white 2009 E350 Mercedes with Tasmanian registration plates was discovered near where he was last seen.

The commander of the homicide squad, Detective Superintendent Michael Willing, said while there was some hope Mr Joseph was alive but they strongly suspect that he has "met with foul play".

In the fortnight since he was last seen, police have spoken to a number of his family and associates and searched homes and bushland in the Flemington area in a bid for clues to his whereabouts.

"He was a family man, he's the uncle to a number of young children who want to know where their uncle is," Detective Superintendent Willing said.

He was also well-known to police for his involvement in violent offences and organised crime.

Detective Superintendent Willing said Mr Joseph was a man of "some means" and were examining if he was kidnapped as part of an extortion attempt.

"We suspect that Mr Joseph has been taken by persons who are hoping to gain financially from his disappearance," he said.

Detectives are also not discounting his chequered past, including his involvement in an Assyrian crime gang, and were "keeping an open mind" into the motive for Mr Joseph's disappearance.

Mr Joseph was previously the subject of a four-year international manhunt beginning in 2002, after he was wanted in relation to the shooting murder of his alleged rival gang member, Dimitri Debaz.

Mr Debaz was shot dead after a melee broke out at Sydney's Sefton Playhouse hotel on December 13, 2002.

Mr Joseph fled but was arrested in San Diego in 2006 by chance by immigration officials, who suspected he was an illegal immigrant.

But when they checked his personal details they discovered he was one of NSW's most wanted criminals. In the petition to Ms Rice, Mr Joseph's US lawyer explained why his client had gone into hiding after the Debaz murder.

"A friend of [Mr Joseph's], Sadi Jajo, was kidnapped a few months later, beaten up, shot twice in each leg, had a caustic liquid poured on his neck, and then dumped on the street," the petition said.

"His kidnappers were attempting to obtain from him [Mr Joseph's] location."

Detective Superintendent Willing said he believed the director of public prosecutions did not push ahead with the murder charge after Mr Joseph's extradition. He said police had no information about any current bounty placed on his head.

His family had also not received any demands for money, however it was through his associates that they believed he may have been the victim of an extortion attempt.

Police are now appealing to anyone with information about Mr Joseph's disappearance to come forward.

Detective Superintendent Willing said calls can be made anonymously via CrimeStoppers.

"We don’t need to know who you are; we just need to know where Mr Joseph is,” he said.

Mr Joseph was last seen wearing a grey T-shirt, khaki pants and dark shoes.

 

Missing Sydney gangster Raphael Joseph probably murdered: police

Date
-

Emma Partridge - SMH

Sydney gangster Raphael Joseph once told the then US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, he would be "tortured or killed" if extradited back to Australia to face a murder charge.

Police are now certain he met that fate after sharing a bowl of noodles with friends at The Star casino in Sydney.

One year after his suspected murder, homicide detectives have revealed they believe a trusted associate lured the underworld figure to his death under the guise of a "meeting". 

Police say their investigation is gaining momentum after a team of detectives unravelled Mr Joseph's connections to a number of criminal networks.

But his family are struggling to cope not knowing how he died or where he is.

"Just give us closure – at least let us know he is dead. I just want my mum to know he's really dead," his brother Rafael said.

"At least so he can have a grave, it's the very least," added brother Simon.

Mr Joseph, 38, believed to be a founding member of Assyrian gang DLAST HR, was dining with two close friends at Fat Noodle on March 20, 2014, when he received a text on his Blackberry.

Shortly afterwards, he asked one of his friends to drive him in his white Mercedes to a car park near Auburn McDonald's to "meet someone".

It was 11.15pm when the pair drove into dimly lit Dartbrook Road and pulled up behind a late model silver Holden Commodore, facing in the direction of Parramatta Road.

Mr Joseph, who has previously gone by the name of Rafi Tooma, and is known as "Huss" or "Hussoney",  told his friend to wait for 30 minutes before getting into the back seat of the Commodore.

His friend waited until 4am but Mr Joseph never came back. 

The officer in charge of the case, Detective Sergeant Glenn Morfoot, said Mr Joseph, who was born in Iraq, was a highly sophisticated operator who worked at an international level with many different crime syndicates to import drugs.

"We believe a particular person or persons lured him to that meeting, double crossed him and we also strongly believe that the whole purpose of that meeting was for the sole purpose of kidnapping and murdering him," Detective Sergeant Morfoot said.

"Obviously somebody who is well known to him and was trusted by him so much that he was prepared to go there and get into this car by himself, which is massive for somebody who operates at his high level – that is a fairly high level of trust," he said.

He said police believed Mr Joseph had access to large amounts of cash and drugs and whoever killed him did so for financial gain.

"There was definitely a motivation in terms of getting hold of Joseph the person, rather than just a straight hit," he said.

His brothers admit Mr Joseph led a mysterious life but he rarely spoke to them about what he did.

They cannot understand why anyone would want to harm their  "gentle brother" who adored his nieces and nephews.

He had just been on a 10-day trip to Dubai with friends and watched soccer with his brother Simon two days before his disappearance.  

"The whole family has collapsed because of this – it is a situation that is unbelievable and we don't know how to deal with it. It's been a year and we don't know what to do," Rafael said.

"I swear I cry 20 times a day, when I'm driving … and I cry and I think, why does it have to be this way?"

Detectives are not discounting Mr Joseph's chequered past, but say a number of people have come forward about his activities in the days leading up to his death.

Mr Joseph was previously the subject of a four-year international manhunt after he was wanted in relation to the shooting murder of his alleged rival Bronx Boys gang member, Dimitri Debaz, outside Sydney's Sefton Playhouse hotel on December 13, 2002.

Mr Joseph fled but was arrested in San Diego in 2006 by immigration officials, who later discovered he was one of NSW's most wanted criminals.

In the petition to Condoleezza Rice, Mr Joseph's US lawyer explained why his client had gone into hiding after the Debaz murder.

"A friend of [Mr Joseph's], Sadi Jajo, was kidnapped a few months later, beaten up, shot twice in each leg, had a caustic liquid poured on his neck, and then dumped on the street," the petition said.

"His kidnappers were attempting to obtain from him [Mr Joseph's] location."

Charges were not pursued after Mr Joseph was brought back to Australia.

Detective Sergeant Morfoot urged anyone who knew about Mr Joseph's suspected murder to come forward, even if it was just anonymously, to let his family know where his body was.

Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000.