Missing campers Russell Hill and Carol Clay haven’t been seen or heard from since March after they seemingly vanished without a trace while camping in Victoria’s Wonnangatta Valley. Police have now turned to overseas and interstate experts in their bid to solve the disappearance, reports the Herald Sun.
Detective Inspector Andrew Stamper told the publication investigators “had been quietly making progress in recent months”. “We’ve learnt a lot along the way,” he said. “We know a lot more than we did six months ago.”
Hill, 74, who has been married to wife Robyn for 50 years, and Clay, 73, have not been seen or heard from since March 20. Their last contact was one day after they set off on their trip.
Russell set off from his Drouin home on March 19 and picked up Carol from her unit in Pakenham. The pair, who reportedly went away together regularly, travelled to Wonnangatta Valley, which is around six hours away from Melbourne. Hill made contact with his wife using a high frequency radio on March 20, however that is the last time that anyone heard from either of them. One week later, on March 27, a group of campers discovered the missing pair’s burnt-out campsite and the ongoing police investigation was launched.
The update comes after Stamper told A Current Affair that he believes a third party was involved in the disappearance. Appearing on the Channel Nine show in June, Stamper confirmed that Hill and Clay are suspected to have met with foul play.
Initial theories included the suggestion that the companions may have staged their own disappearance to begin a new life together, however Stamper believes there was “no reason for them to do that”. While alleged sightings of people matching the couple’s description have also been discredited by police.
“We would have found them by now if they were still up there,” Stamper, who leads Victoria Police’s Missing Persons Squad, told A Current Affair. “The strongest theory is that it is something that’s happened in the valley that has escalated and resulting in something bad happening to them.”
Victoria Police spent more than 30 days searching the valley, however they were unable to find any trace of either Russell or Carol. Police are also searching for a drone that belonged to Russell, which was also missing from their burnt-out campsite.
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