A man was pushed from a cliff in an anti-gay hate crime decades ago, police say. Now they’ve arrested a suspect

More than 30 years after an American was found dead at the bottom of cliffs in Australia, a 49-year-old man is in custody and charged with murder, thanks to a pair of $1 million rewards and the persistence of the victim’s brother.Police in New South Wales, Australia, said the man, identified by media reports as Scott Philip White, was responsible for the murder of American mathematician Scott Johnson, whose body was found at the bottom of seaside cliffs near Manly Beach in 1988.”An awful lot of tears. This has been 31 years waiting and wondering what happened to my brother,” his brother, Steve Johnson, told our sister station WCVB.The arrest is a dramatic development in a case WCVB first reported three and a half years ago. Police originally ruled Scott’s death a suicide and refused to investigate. But Johnson, who lives in Cambridge, never believed that.He came to suspect his brother had been the victim of a gay hate crime, and battled from here in Massachusetts for the case to be re-examined. The process helped expose an ugly rash of anti-gay violence in Sydney in the 1980s. Violence that, like in Scott’s case, was ignored by the police at the time.”Scott’s case has grown to symbolize dozens of gay men who lost their lives during this grim period in the ’80s and ’90s,” Johnson said.But as the country came to reckon with its past, Scott’s death remained unsolved for several years. Then a $1 million reward led police to identify a person of interest. A second $1 million reward from Steve, an Internet entrepreneur, along with a commitment from police, resulted in the arrest. Johnson said he doesn’t have anger, but appreciation for the people whose hard work in recent years led to this arrest. He is also hoping to know why his brother was killed and what happened in his final hours. “The only way it could have been solved is by people coming forward and providing information. There is no way this could have been solved without the community caring,” Johnson said.Watch the video above to learn more about this story.

More than 30 years after an American was found dead at the bottom of cliffs in Australia, a 49-year-old man is in custody and charged with murder, thanks to a pair of $1 million rewards and the persistence of the victim’s brother.

Police in New South Wales, Australia, said the man, identified by media reports as Scott Philip White, was responsible for the murder of American mathematician Scott Johnson, whose body was found at the bottom of seaside cliffs near Manly Beach in 1988.

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Scott Johnson’s murder in 1988 was originally ruled a suicide. His brother never believed it.

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Scott Johnson’s body was found at the bottom of these cliffs in 1988.

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Scott Johnson’s belongings at the crime scene.

“An awful lot of tears. This has been 31 years waiting and wondering what happened to my brother,” his brother, Steve Johnson, told our sister station WCVB.

WMTW-TV

Scott Johnson interviewed by 5 Investigates before his brother’s arrest.

The arrest is a dramatic development in a case WCVB first reported three and a half years ago.

Police originally ruled Scott’s death a suicide and refused to investigate. But Johnson, who lives in Cambridge, never believed that.

He came to suspect his brother had been the victim of a gay hate crime, and battled from here in Massachusetts for the case to be re-examined. The process helped expose an ugly rash of anti-gay violence in Sydney in the 1980s. Violence that, like in Scott’s case, was ignored by the police at the time.

“Scott’s case has grown to symbolize dozens of gay men who lost their lives during this grim period in the ’80s and ’90s,” Johnson said.

WMTW-TV

Scott Johnson, left, with his brother Steve.

But as the country came to reckon with its past, Scott’s death remained unsolved for several years. Then a $1 million reward led police to identify a person of interest. A second $1 million reward from Steve, an Internet entrepreneur, along with a commitment from police, resulted in the arrest.

Johnson said he doesn’t have anger, but appreciation for the people whose hard work in recent years led to this arrest. He is also hoping to know why his brother was killed and what happened in his final hours.

“The only way it could have been solved is by people coming forward and providing information. There is no way this could have been solved without the community caring,” Johnson said.

Watch the video above to learn more about this story.