New hope road rage killing will finally be solved
More than a decade after learning of her father’s violent death, Tylah Day hopes justice is just around the corner.
They took her to the park, where she played on the playground equipment and had an ice cream from the shop across the street.
Then Tylah Day’s mother sat her on a bench with her own mother beside her to support her and tried to explain in words that a seven-year-old would understand why she would never see her father again.
“Something very bad happened,” Billie said to her little girl.
“You won’t be able to see your father anymore.”
Tylah didn’t understand much about it, but she did understand that her mother was hurt.
“I can’t even imagine how difficult it would be for someone’s mother to tell them their father died,” said Tylah of that day 12 years ago.
“And since I’m a very optimistic seven-year-old, I tried to comfort my mother because she was really upset.”
Omega Ruston with his daughter Tyler.
Omega Ruston was a young father – only 32 years old – with a passion for the outdoors and a dream of one day running his own restaurant that happened to be the victim of a horror street attack.
On Australia Day 2009, Omega was driving down the Gold Coast Highway in Burleigh Heads with two friends when he decided to pull up after a car cut him off.
He had spent the day in a park celebrating with friends and family. Nearby, on the beach at Burleigh Heads, a riot had broken out, probably involving up to 1,000 young people.
That night, at 10:40 p.m., Omega was cut off from a small maroon limousine at the wheel of his Holden Rodeo ute with its Australian flags.
Omega Ruston loved the outdoors.
The occupants of both cars screamed and gestured before Omega pulled up.
The limo followed and stopped about 15 meters behind Omega’s ute. Both cars were just before the intersection of 5th Ave.
Omega and a friend got out of their car. The limo moved forward and contracted level with them. Inside were three men of Middle Eastern appearance. A man in the back seat held up a black semi-automatic pistol and fired two shots.
A punch of omega in the stomach. Friends and bystanders desperately tried to stop the bleeding, but Omega died on the side of the Gold Coast Hwy next to his car.
Police at the location of the shooting on the Gold Coast Highway in Burleigh Heads.
The investigation into the murder of Omega eventually hit a dead end – but recent developments suggest that the police are now drawing closer.
This week police divers walked into Sydney’s Parramatta River where they believe the gun that killed Omega was dumped. They came with “items of interest”.
Police also announced that they had carried out an extensive forensic review that made use of improvements to DNA, fingerprints and ballistic evidence.
The prime suspects in Omega’s murder are “high profile” criminals with a Middle Eastern background from Sydney and a former member of the banned nomad motorcycle gang.
“Police can now confirm that the firearm used in the murder of Mr Ruston on the Gold Coast is identical to a firearm used in the drive-by shooting at the West Sydney Ink tattoo parlor,” said Detective Inspector Chris Ahearn this week.
“It can also be shown that this weapon, which was used in drive-by shooting in 2008, can be linked to known people interested in the murder of Mr. Ruston.
“This is a significant development in this case and has confirmed links between the murder of Mr Ruston and the Sydney-based illegal motorcycle gangs and organized crime syndicates.”
Omega Ruston with his then pregnant partner Courtney Kete and daughter Tylah.
Omega met Courtney Kete when Tylah was little. They would be together for almost five years and have a child together – a boy they named Tommy.
Tylah came to stay on the weekend, and Courtney was such a perfect stepmother that Billie would often call her instead of Omega to chat about the kids.
“He was funny, he was just very approachable. He was a person who enjoyed life. His aura was really contagious,” said Courtney.
Omega Ruston with baby Tommy.
The call was from a friend – the partner of a friend of Omega who was in the car with him when the gunfire rang out.
She told Courtney that Omega had been injured. She didn’t know he was dead.
Courtney was beside himself. She called hospitals. A friend suggested they drive around looking for him – but where are they going?
She called the police and asked so many questions that they gave in and told her. The police never want to give such messages over the phone.
“After hearing from the police that Omega had died, I called my mom and dad. And I don’t really remember much afterwards,” Courtney said.
“I didn’t have to think about myself or the kids. That got me through, I think. Make sure they’re okay.”
Omega Ruston’s children, Tylah and Tommy, visit his grave.
It had been such a public shootout – in front of Australia Day revelers – that she expected the killers to be caught.
“It was just so emotional at the time, and I just felt like I had to pull away from it, from that … from everything, for my own sanity,” Courtney said.
“It just drove me crazy not knowing that nobody is responsible for what they did.
“I was just so angry that our kids had to grow up without their father.”
A few years later she made the decision to return to New Zealand.
“It was really hard to leave Australia and break the bond between Tylah and Tommy. It was a bit like the ripple effect of what happened,” said Courtney.
Today Tommy is 13. He has photos of his father in his room. He knows he was killed. But he doesn’t like to talk about it, the father who was taken from him when he was a baby.
Omega Ruston with his son Tommy.
Tylah too had to grow up without the father she loved. She has memories of Omega taking her to the beach, Currumbin Rock Pools, and Burleigh Beach. He taught her to swim, to love the water.
“I think I have a very similar attitude towards Dad and I always want to say that I’m proud of it and I think it’s very special,” said the 19-year-old.
“I am very proud to say that I am part of who my father was and I am very happy that I can be a memory for everyone, a reflection of who he was.”
Tylah Day urges anyone with information about the death of their father, Omega Ruston, to contact the police.
Tylah said anyone with knowledge of the circumstances surrounding her father’s murder should get in touch now.
“You are doing more than what is right to move forward,” she said.
“You bring justice to an entire family, an entire tribe.
“It’s not just my father’s family that was a part of it, my father had so many friends, so many people, who would speak a good, good word about him.
“You are not serving just one family here. You are serving yourself knowing that you have helped bring the lives of many, many people to an end.”
If you have information, call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Originally published as “You Won’t See Papa”: New Hope that Australia Day killing street rage will finally be resolved