Detectives ‘very close’ to solving missing campers case

Nov 11, 2021
Police believe they are close to solving the missing Victorian campers case. Source: Twitter/ @VictoriaPolice

Detectives say they are getting close to solving the case of two Victorian campers who have been missing for 20 months.

Russell Hill and Carol Clay were last heard from on March 20, 2020 when they were camping in the Wonnangatta Valley. The couple’s campsite was discovered by campers on March 21 completely destroyed by fire near Dry River Creek Track, Hill’s vehicle was found with signs of minor fire damage.

Police Commissioner Shane Patton told ABC Radio he was confident of a result in the long-running investigation.

“We are getting very, very close,” he said.

“We are very confident in resolving this, I assure you.”

Detectives released new images this week of a blue four-wheel drive, believed to be a mid to late 1990s model Nissan Patrol, which was seen in the area at the time of the couple’s disappearance. Police have urged the driver of the vehicle or any witnesses who may have seen it in the area to come forward.

Victoria Police Detective Inspector Andrew Stamper said police have “not been able to eliminate this blue four-wheel drive from our enquiries.”

“We have witness statements that put this blue vehicle and its trailer in the valley at the time Russell and Carol were there, and indeed near the spot that they had set up their camp,” he said.

The cause of the pair’s disappearance has not yet been fully determined, however, investigators have long believed it is likely a third party was allegedly involved in their disappearance.

Stamper told reporters on Monday, November 8 that an alleged third party may have been involved in aconfrontation with the two missing campers.

“Maybe someone in that blue four-wheel drive was parked and camped in the same area and that could have prompted some contact which may have been confrontational or aggressive contact,” he said.

“We know Russell was a very peaceful and law-abiding man and he worked in the wilderness and some very tough jobs, so he wasn‘t someone who would necessarily take a backwards step either.

“So if there’s been some sort of argument, maybe it’s escalated from there.”

Anyone with any information regarding their disappearance is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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