A man claiming to be the step-son of missing Victorian mum Karen Ristevski said the family has hidden a secret conflict for years.
Mrs Ristevski, 47, was last seen at her Avondale Heights home in Melbourne's northwest more than three weeks ago.
She reportedly walked out of the home on June 29 to get some fresh air following an argument over financial issues with her husband, Borce Ristevski.
Prior to Mrs Ristevski's disappearance last month, she and her husband were reportedly run into money difficulties.
Her estranged step-son, Anthony Rickard, told the Herald Sun he was Mr Ristevski son and denied killing his step-mother, despite feeling anger over a long-running family dispute.
The 32-year-old said he was questioned by police over her disappearance.
When asked if he had killed his step-mother, the newspaper reports Mr Rickard admitted he "would have liked to" but wasn't prepared to go to jail for it.
“If you’re going to do something like that you’ve got to be prepared to spend the rest of your life in jail ... I’m not a jailbird,” he said.
A man battling ice addiction, Mr Rickard admitted to a "nightmare" childhood, and said he has recently been using the drug more.
Mr Rickard revealed he was 14 when he first moved to Avondale Heights with his dad, step-mother and younger half-sister Sarah.
While he said his step-mother showed him love, he didn't hate her, but admitted a family conflict had torn the family apart.
He said the family problems were “swept under the carpet”, but about a fortnight before Karen's disappearance he wanted to confront her about his past and phoned her.
Mr Rickard wonders if his call triggered her disappearance.
“I had nothing to do with that [the disappearance] besides calling her to confront her — the next thing I know she’s gone,” he said.
“Then I felt the guilt that it was because of me, ringing up to confront her.”
He made a formal statement on Friday after police interviewed him at Sunshine over an unrelated matter.
During the interview, Mr Rickard said he told police “none of it is as it seems”.
Police have said they hold grave concerns for her welfare for Mrs Ristevski as she hasn't used her phone or accessed her bank account since she went missing.
There has been a wave of support on social media to find the popular dress shop owner. The missing woman and her husband are reportedly partners in a business Bella Bleu.
The investigation into Mrs Ristevski's disappearance remains ongoing.
Anyone who sees Karen is urged to contact triple zero (000) or anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 immediately.