TORONTO — The unsolved murder of a tech CEO in Toronto nearly five years ago has left a gaping hole in the lives of his loved ones, his family said Tuesday, as they renewed a $250,000 reward for information leading to his killer.
Matthew Staikos was approached from behind and shot while walking in the city's Yorkville neighbourhood after a late-night meeting in October 2018. His family said every day since the killing has been excruciating.
"It was a huge shock to us. We never would have expected that," Staikos's older brother, George Staikos, said in a phone interview.
"This is something that just constantly weighs on you and not just me ... it's his friends, colleagues, everyone. I spend, to this day, lots of time helping my parents through all of this. It leaves a hole."
Matthew Staikos, 37, had created a web browser with his brother that they sold to BlackBerry. The brothers were so close that they lived on the same street in Toronto and worked further on their web browser with BlackBerry for several years, his sibling said.
Staikos then left BlackBerry to pursue Vleepo, a networking platform, his brother said.
"Despite being a very physically fit big guy, he was a very soft and gentle person. He always tried to help out, was always there for people and he certainly had lots of friends and liked to enjoy life," George Staikos said of his brother.
"He also had a lot of drive to be successful. He and I used to really push each other to do better."
Police have said Matthew Staikos was with a friend and had just wrapped up a meeting when someone got out of a silver Mercedes and shot him.
His family offered a $250,000 reward earlier in his homicide investigation but that offer has since expired. The latest private reward will also expire in a year, police said.
George Staikos said the family hopes the renewed reward will help bring about a break in the case.
"I hope we can see some closure," he said, adding the family didn't yet know if they'd renew the reward again after a year. "I hope we can put this all behind us."
Investigators are still searching for a motive in the case, police said.
"We say it's a targeted homicide because the person that took his life purposely took his life," Det. Sgt. Terry Browne said Tuesday during a news conference where the family renewed their reward in the case.
"We still don't know 100 per cent whether Matthew Staikos was the intended target (or) the shooter perhaps mistakenly shot the wrong person ... There's no doubt in our mind that whoever did this, it was a planned and deliberate incident."
Browne said investigators have put in thousands of hours on the case and they are hoping the renewed reward will help.
The family said they had been trying for nearly five years to understand why someone would kill Matthew Staikos and said they were desperate for answers.
"We're desperate because we loved and love and will forever love Matthew so, so much," the family wrote in a statement released Tuesday.
"We hope this time that $250,000 will be enough. That our unending grief will be enough. That someone who knows something will want to do the right thing."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 7, 2023.
Fakiha Baig, The Canadian Press