YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Exactly two years ago on a Sunday night, Valley businessman Jim Donofrio disappeared without a trace and his family members are still looking for answers.
Donofrio was last seen on Sept. 25, 2011, heading to his Youngstown restaurant. His vehicle was found abandoned the next day under a bridge by the Mahoning River near downtown Youngstown.
Recently, the family offered a $25,000 reward through Crimestoppers, hoping someone will come forward with information on the death of the one-time owner of the Avalon Gardens in Youngstown. His body was recovered from the Ohio River in West Virginia in March of 2012, approximately six months after he disappeared on Sept. 25, 2011.
But it took authorities more than a year to make a positive identification and Donofrio’s daughter, who is now 30, is still questioning what took so long.
“A lot of things happened in that time that were very overwhelming to deal with that we wouldn’t have had to deal with if the proper procedures were followed and we don’t even know what the proper procedures are,” Carli Donofrio said on Wednesday.
And the Donofrios said that’s because no one from the West Virginia State Medical Examiner’s Office has ever talked with them about this case and why it took so long to identify Donofrio’s remains. Five months after Donofrio’s body was positively identified, his cause of death is still listed as “undetermined,” with investigators claiming “external factors” can’t be ruled out.
Carli Donofrio said the rumors and speculation about what happened to her father, both before his body was identified and in the time since, have hurt her the most.
“I feel like not a lot of care has been taken to how we feel or how anybody feels about the situation,” she said.
Carli Donofrio said the family hopes the reward will provide incentive for someone who knows something to speak up.
“The reward is in hopes that somebody will, or see our pain and feel that something should be said,” she said.