Thursday, January 18, 2018
Public safety

Family offers $10,000 reward for information that will solve 2008 Clearwater homicide

CLEARWATER

George Lakiotis lives on the other side of the duplex where his uncle was fatally stabbed four years ago, with his grandmother, who found her son dying.

These days he locks the door when he steps into the back yard. He watches people for suspicious behavior and wonders when neighbors move away. The community has changed for him since Vasilio Vorvis was killed four years ago. It doesn't feel safe.

On Wednesday afternoon, Lakiotis, 42, and his family walked the areas Vorvis frequented. They walked to the CVS Pharmacy, where Vorvis — known as Billy — picked up his prescriptions. They walked to the dollar store, where Vorvis shopped.

They posted and handed out signs advertising a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and successful prosecution of Vorvis' killer.

"Something like that does not happen without people talking," Lakiotis said.

After seeing renewed interest in another Clearwater cold case earlier this month, the family decided to offer the reward, hoping to get new information about his death.

Just before 5 a.m. on July 6, 2008, Vorvis' elderly mother discovered her 41-year-old son fatally stabbed. The family says an attack appears to have started inside the home in the 1400 block of Grove Street, between Cleveland and Drew streets near Highland Avenue — perhaps as a robbery — before moving outside. Police say Vorvis may have known his killer.

"He did not deserve to die like that," said Vorvis' older brother, Peter, shuddering with emotion.

The baby in a brood of six children, Vorvis was "down on his luck a little bit," his family said, working from home as an electrician. Neighbors knew and liked him, the family said.

They want the reward to encourage the close-knit neighborhood to talk.

"A lot of the time, you find the witnesses may remember more as time goes by," said Clearwater police Detective Thomas Dawe. People may become less reluctant to share information.

Vorvis' homicide is one of the department's 34 cold cases. Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-8477.

In front of television cameras Wednesday, the family paused to find tissues. Then they pleaded: Come forward. Come clean. Confess.

Stephanie Wang can be reached at (727) 445-4155 or [email protected] To write a letter to the editor, go to tampabay.com/letters.

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