There’s a $1 million reward to solve the death of a Melbourne musician which is being treated as suspicious.

On September 18th 2015, Connor Tolson had been out celebrating a friend’s 21st birthday party in Brighton. Just hours later, he was found strangled in his own backyard bungalow, which then went up in flames. He was just 21 years old.

Connor’s death was never solved but the police have lots of information. They said he left the birthday party and headed to a train station, accompanied by three other guests, around 11:30pm. He was then picked up by a rideshare driver at North Brighton Railway Station around one hour later on Saturday, and was dropped off near his home in Malvern East.

Although Connor’s sister heard noises coming from the backyard around 3:30am that she thought sounded like someone’s movement, when she looked outside, she didn’t see anything. It was between 4:30am and 4:45am that local neighbours smelled smoke and went to investigate where the smell was coming from. Several calls to emergency services were made to report the fire.

Connor’s sister awoke around 5am to find the bungalow up in flames. Firefighters soon arrived on the scene and managed to put out the fire. After inspecting the remains of the bungalow, they found Connor’s body inside.

The fire was initially believed to be non-suspicious. A later coronial inquest, however, found that his injuries were no accident and his death actually occurred before the fire started, which was deliberately lit. Connor had bruising on his neck and hadn’t inhaled any of the toxic chemicals from the fire.

Connor’s older brother James, who suffers from severe mental illness, was thought to be the main suspect in the case. He had allegedly made previous threats to burn the bungalow down, and had been arrested for assaulting his younger brother just a few days before the fire. The Director of Public Prosecutions stated there wasn’t enough evidence to convict James.

Over six years later, the police are putting up the big reward to see if anyone can shed light on those “unexplained and suspicious” circumstances. Detective Sen-Sgt Mark Kennedy of the arson and explosives said Connor’s family deserved answers.

“I would like to strongly reinforce to the community that this is very much an active investigation,” Kennedy said. “People’s circumstances can change over the years and someone who may not have wanted to provide information to police previously may now feel ready to do so. It doesn’t matter how insignificant you think the piece of information is, it could be exactly what our investigators need to make a breakthrough in this case.”

Connor was a keen young musician before his death, including playing drums in the band Riders of Sin.

Information about the case will be treated as confidential and can be provided to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.