Witness detail sparks new theory about fate of missing campers

·3-min read

A possible new theory has emerged about what may have happened to two missing campers who vanished more than a year ago.

Russell Hill, 74, and Carol Clay, 73, went missing from the Wonnangatta Valley in East Gippsland, 350 kilometres east of Melbourne, in March last year.

Detectives are still perplexed over the case and continue to investigate whether the pair met foul play. Investigators have conceded it is unlikely Mr Hill and Ms Clay are still alive.

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

New reports published by the Herald Sun on Thursday speculate the long-time friends could have accidentally been killed by hunters who mistook them for deer.

A man given the pseudonym of Mick by the Herald Sun said he stumbled across the pair’s burnt-out tent and scorched white ute the week they went missing.

He reported the sighting to police but it wasn’t until detectives contacted him about the case that Mick said he remembered seeing a bright green crossbow arrow near the destroyed camping site.

Yahoo News Australia has contacted Victoria Police for comment.

Missing man’s wife speaks out

Earlier this month, Mr Hill's wife Robyn, who did not know Ms Clay was accompanying Mr Hill on the trip, said she did not expect to see her husband alive again.

"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.”

The pair’s burnt out tent and scorched white ute are seen. Source: ABC
A man given the pseudonym of Mick told The Herald Sun he stumbled across the pair’s burnt out tent and scorched white ute the week they went missing. Source: ABC

In April, 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.

Police believe Mr Hill left his Drouin home on March 19 and picked up Ms Clay from her home in Pakenham 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.

An aerial image of the Wonnangatta Valley search area.
Victoria Police's search in the Wonnangatta Valley continues. Source: Victoria Police

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.

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.

Do you have a story tip? Email: newsroomau@yahoonews.com

You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and download the Yahoo News app from the App Storeor Google Play.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting