One year on from a horrific shooting the victim’s devastated sister has called for ‘gutless’ witnesses to speak up and give their family closure.
One year on from a horrific shooting the victim’s devastated sister has called for ‘gutless’ witnesses to speak up and give their family closure.

Sister’s emotional plea to shooting witnesses

THE sister of a Gold Coast woman left to die alone from a gunshot wound has lashed out at the "gutless" witnesses allegedly keeping the truth of what happened that night from her family and authorities.

Ivona Jovanovic, 27, was shot in the chest at her alleged bikie associate ex-boyfriend Christos Panagakos' home in Highland Park on September 8 last year.

Police say Panagakos and three others fled the house despite her injuries, while his mother phoned for help.

Ivona Jovanovic died from a gunshot wound in September 2019.
Ivona Jovanovic died from a gunshot wound in September 2019.

No arrests have been made and the weapon, believed to be handgun, is yet to be found. Detectives remain uncertain as to how the shooting occurred, and haven't ruled it out as being an accident.

The investigation is now before the coroner.

Police believe details of that night are being withheld from investigators, possibly out of fear of Panagakos' alleged bikie links.

Ivona's sister, Annette, labelled the people present as "gutless" in a recent Facebook post, in which she talks about the ongoing impact on her family.

"Why every time when I attempt to go to bed my mind begins to race and I'm wide awake still trying to figure out what happened to my sister," she wrote.

"What makes it so much harder is knowing there are four people who know the truth and exactly what happened but yet they can't speak up and give my family any closure.

"Ivona's life was taken and her families (sic) lives are being destroyed each day and each night. Four people who know, but are gutless to speak … I just don't understand."

Ms Jovanovic declined to comment further.

Christos Panagakos and Ivona Jovanovic. Photo: Supplied
Christos Panagakos and Ivona Jovanovic. Photo: Supplied

It is understood Ivona's family recently held a vigil to mark the first anniversary of her death.

Detective Superintendent Brendan Smith said police had recently handed the matter over to the coroner, but investigators were continuing to build a "full picture" and was hopeful of giving the family closure.

"We're obviously disappointed … that all the people inside at the time haven't given us a full and frank version (of what happened that night)," Supt Smith said.

"Perhaps, they need to consider had this been their mother or sister what would they expect others to do to help resolve the matter?"

Police have spoken with everyone who was present that night. Some have provided versions, which investigators believe are missing details.

"We have got concerns that people are withholding information which would progress it," Supt Smith said.

"The only people that know exactly what happened are those people who were in the house at the time. There is certainly that potential that it was an accident and if that's the case that's all more reason that someone should come forward and give a version."

On the day of her death Ivona was photographed relaxing at one of the city's most iconic beaches. Later, she was at the house with a group of people where it's believed they were heading out for the night.

 

 

 

A Facebook post by the heartbroken sister of Ivona Jovanovic. Picture: Facebook
A Facebook post by the heartbroken sister of Ivona Jovanovic. Picture: Facebook

 

According to police, by 8.30pm she was left lying in a pool of blood, as her once boyfriend ran off and hid in the bushes.

She was taken to hospital but later died. Tragically, she had captioned her Facebook page with the quote "sometimes bad things happen to good people".

Christos Panagakos , Image from Facebook
Christos Panagakos , Image from Facebook

Panagakos returned to the house about 1am and was questioned for hours by detectives.

The alleged Mongols bikie associate, who was recently released on parole, has had a colourful criminal history, which includes being convicted of trying to smuggle drugs into prison up his bottom.

He was arrested hours after the shooting on a return to prison warrant.

In January, he was given more jail time for a charge relating to a knife, a police hat and a taser that were found at the house by officers investigating Ivona's death.

If you have any information that will assist with the investigation contact Policelink on 131 444. or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Originally published as 'Gutless': Sister's emotional plea to shooting witnesses



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