Wife of camper who vanished with another woman speaks out

·News Reporter
·3-min read

The wife of a man who went missing while camping in regional Victoria with a female friend of more than 50 years believes she may never see her husband alive again.

Russell Hill, 74, and Carol Clay, 73, disappeared on March 20 last year at the remote Wonnangatta Valley in East Gippsland, 350 kilometres east of Melbourne.

Yet over a year on detectives are still perplexed over the case with no evidence emerging in connection to their whereabouts.

Russell Hill and Carol Clay are pictured
Russell Hill and Carol Clay have been missing for more than a year. Source: Victoria Police

Mr Hill's wife Robyn, who said she did not know Ms Clay was accompanying Mr Hill on the trip, isn't optimistic her husband will return.

"I can’t see how they will come home. He hasn’t spent any money, he hasn’t done anything,” she told NCA NewsWire.

“I just want them found, one way or the other, and then he can face the music if he’s still alive.

“See, I’m a bit of a sadist. You’ve got to be, otherwise you’d be in a heap.”

Last week police searches returned to where the pair vanished after focus had shifted to the Mount Hotham area, about 70 kilometres northeast of Wonnangatta, following the discovery of two shovels.

Victorian police said the return to the original search area was the "result of information obtained from previous searches".

An aerial view of police at the Wonnangatta Valley site.
Victoria Police's search in the Wonnangatta Valley continues. Source: Victoria Police

The search will now focus on the area along the Dargo High Plains Rd, Cynthia Range Track, Herne Spur Track and the Wonnangatta Track.

Police believe Mr Hill left his Drouin home, in West Gippsland region, on March 19 and picked up Ms Clay from her home in Pakenham, in the outer southeastern suburb of Melbourne, in his white Toyota Landcruiser.

Mr Hill was last heard from on March 20 via HF radio, stating he was at Wonnangatta Valley.

Campers found Mr Hill's car with signs of minor fire damage at the duo's campsite near Dry River Creek Track in the Wonnangatta Valley the next day.

Their campsite had been destroyed by fire.

Dog search for campers proves fruitless

A number of searches have been conducted in and around the Wonnangatta Valley during the past 12 months, including on April 4 this year with cadaver dogs.

Police conceded at the time it was unlikely Mr Hill and Ms Clay were still alive.

They continue to investigate whether the pair met foul play.

Detective Inspector Andrew Stamper told 7News last month he believed Mr Hill and Ms Clay were dead.

Detectives continue to appeal to anyone who was in the Wonnangatta area around the time of the campers' disappearance to make contact.

They also want to speak to anyone who was in the Howitt Plains and Zeka Spur Track area on March 19 to 20, and the Wonnangatta Valley and Wonnangatta Station area from March 20 to 24.

With AAP

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a report online.

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