The gripping case of missing campers Carol Clay and Russell Hill has captivated the nation since their disappearance, but as the case heats up and a suspect is taken into custody, the media is scrounging around for details about the 55-year-old Caroline Springs man accused of being involved in the pair’s disappearance.
A neighbour of the accused has spoken to NCA Newswire, saying he is a “family man” who “seemed to be very nice”. The neighbour also shared that he was “shocked” that the accused may have been involved because the accused’s life seemed to be “idyllic” on his social media.
Also revealed by the neighbour were insights about the Nissan Patrol four-wheel-drive that appears pivotal to the case. While he noticed that the accused had changed the colour of his own 4WD vehicle from blue to beige about 12 months ago, he didn’t pay any attention to it at the time as “it was in need of a spray paint because the paint was all faded.”
While the accused man has not yet been charged, he is being held in custody, and can remain there for a “reasonable amount of time” before he must be released, police said.
On the day that the accused was arrested near the remote east Gippsland area, a group of students were on a school camp nearby. The 14, and 15-year-old students reported witnessing two helicopters arrive near the campgrounds, and were told the arrival was part of a training drill.
A parent of one child said, “They all felt a little overwhelmed and very confused as to what was going on.”
“They were told it was a training session. Mind you, these are 14 and 15-year-olds, so they knew something was going down.”
These are not the only people to make a statement about the case recently, with the Victorian Police Chief Commissioner, and missing woman Carol Clay’s sister both speaking about recent developments.
Chief Commissioner Shane Patton revealed that this is “one of the most complex cases” in Victorian history. Speaking to 3AW, Patton said “We’re not rushing into anything here. We’re taking it methodically.”
Further, Patton asked the public to not give up hope, and urged those with information about a silver trailer attached to a blue 4WD that may be relevant to the case to please come forward, saying: “Anyone who has information about or purchased a silver trailer last year between March and July and they don’t absolutely know who it was they purchased it from or how they came into possession of it and that there might be something [suspicious] about it, if they could contact Crime Stoppers that would be fantastic.”
“We are still reliant on members of the public for information and we’re still trying to locate a trailer.”