A leading forensics expert has revealed why it took over two months to identify the remains of ‘secret lover’ missing campers Russell Hill and Carol Clay.
Greg Kelly, the director of the GKA Investigations Group, told Today Show host Karl Stefanovic the lengthy identification process was to be expected.
Mr Kelly said the human remains could only be confirmed after forensic examiners had scoured the scene and decided which laboratories would be used for testing.
‘It is common with what we expect particularly with the allegations and the concerns involved. The people had been missing for a lengthy period of time,’ he explained.
On Monday, the Coroner confirmed human remains found at a remote campsite in Victoria’s high country were those of Russell Hill, 74, and Carol Clay, 73.
Forensics expert Greg Kelly, (pictured) said the 11-week wait for answers on the human remains was to be expected because the campers had been missing for ‘a lengthy period of time’
‘You go from pathology through the different areas of science and individual disciplines and the forensic examiners would have had to record at the scene and identify what laboratories needed to be used.
‘Then of course the timing in regard to what exhibits and what order they could be examined in in order to obtain the best evidence that’s available to then.’
Stefanovic asked the expert how important timing was in the identification process in making sure the evidence didn’t erode any further.
‘They’re the things that have to be considered. Often in forensic investigation we have to look – they’ve got a multiplicity of opportunities to look at what exhibit and what the best way toss examine it,’ Mr Kelly said.
‘There could be different disciplines involved. You have to choose the best one where you might be destroying the exhibit as you check it.’
The forensics expert said the positive identification would give a ‘degree of finality’ to the case which has gripped Australia since the pair vanished in March 2020.
On Monday, the Coroner confirmed human remains found at a remote campsite in Victoria’s high country were those of Russell Hill, 74, (left) and Carol Clay, 73 (right)
Campers found Mr Hill’s car scorched by fire (pictured) at their campsite near Dry River Creek Track the day after the pair were last heard from on March 20, 2020
For over 20 months police have been investigating what happened to the two missing campers
The grieving families of the elderly campers have waited nearly 11 weeks to find out if the remains discovered in November last year were those of their loved ones.
Victoria Police announced the major development in the almost two-year-long investigation in a brief statement released on Monday afternoon.
‘Victoria Police can confirm that forensic testing on human remains located near Dargo in November 2021 has now been completed,’ the statement read.
‘The Coroner has advised Victoria Police that the remains are that of Russell Hill and Carol Clay. As the matter is before the court, we will not be providing any further comment.’
Jetstar pilot Gregory Lynn, 55, was arrested in November and charged with the couple’s murders, some 20 months after they vanished from a rural campsite while on a secret rendezvous in March 2020.
In the same month, forensic experts discovered remains off the Providence Spur Track north of Dargo in the state’s east within dense bushland.
Jetstar pilot Gregory Lynn, 55, (pictured) was arrested in November and charged with the couple’s murders, some 20 months after they vanished from a rural campsite
Forensic experts discovered remains off the Providence Spur Track north of Dargo in the state’s east in November (pictured, detectives in Sale, Victoria in November 2021)
Footage of the search showed plain clothes officers sifting through dirt by hand as an excavator worked ahead turning the soil over and digging up the packed ground.
It is understood the remains were found not far below the surface after four days of extensive searching in the rugged bushland.
The breakthrough came just a few days after Lynn was arrested and his Nissan Patrol seized in dense scrub on November 22.
The Caroline Springs man was stood down from his job as a pilot on the same day.
Daily Mail Australia previously revealed the 55-year-old had been grounded long before special operations group officers took him into custody.
The experienced check pilot and accused double killer had been training up-and-coming pilots before his dramatic arrest.
Lynn allegedly murdered the slain campers on the day they arrived at the Wonnangatta Valley in the Victorian Alps.
It is understood the remains – later confirmed to be those of Carol Clay (left) and Russell Hill (right) were found not far below the surface after four days of extensive searching
Lynn allegedly murdered the slain campers on the day they arrived at the Wonnangatta Valley in the Victorian Alps (pictured, their scorched campsite near Dry River Creek Track)
Mr Hill and Ms Clay had travelled to the high country, more than 200km northeast of Melbourne, for a trip away – having spent decades engaged in a secret affair.
The elderly campers were last heard from on March 20, 2020 when Mr Hill, an experienced outdoorsman, made a call via high-frequency radio saying he was located in Wonnangatta Valley.
Campers found Mr Hill’s car destroyed by fire at their campsite near Dry River Creek Track the following day.
Since the pair vanished, rumours have swirled about who may have been involved, including suggestions the couple may have been attacked by nefarious hunters, an ‘oddball loner’ called ‘Button Man’, or even a murder stalking the area.
Forensic experts discovered the remains off the Providence Spur Track north of Dargo in the state’s east within dense bushland often frequented by deer hunters (pictured)
Lynn (pictured) faces life in prison should he be convicted of double murder and is due to return to court in Sale for a committal mention on May 31
Detectives had been on the lookout for a dark blue Nissan Patrol, but it’s understood Lynn had painted his own car gold after the campers vanished.
A trailer being towed by an off-road vehicle – also captured on CCTV the night the lovers vanished, remains missing. Police believe it was likely sold on Gumtree.
In his first court appearance, Lynn’s lawyer Chris McLennan did not make any application for bail on behalf of the alleged killer, who was remanded in custody by Magistrate Greg McNamara until his next court appearance.
He faces life in prison should he be convicted of double murder and is due to return to court in Sale for a committal mention on May 31.
TIMELINE OF CAROL CLAY AND RUSSELL HILL’S DISAPPEARENCE
* March 19, 2020: Russell Hill, 74, leaves his Drouin home and picks up Carol Clay, 73, from her Pakenham home
* March 20, 2020: Mr Hill makes a call via high frequency radio saying he was at Wonnangatta Valley in the Victorian Alps. It is the last time anyone hears from either of the pair
* March 21, 2020: Campers find Mr Hill’s fire-damaged Toyota Landcruiser at their campsite near Dry River Creek Track
* March 26, 2020: When Mr Hill planned to leave the region
* March 28 to 29, 2020: When Ms Clay told friends she expected to return
* March 30, 2020: Police make public appeal for information amid search
* April 6, 2020: Initial search called off
* March 5, 2021: Police appeal for information about ‘mystery vehicle’, described as a ‘white dual cab ute’ seen in the area
* March 9, 2021: Drone handed into police ruled out as Mr Hill’s
* April 4, 2021: Cadaver dogs join search at Wonnangatta Valley
* April 14, 2021: Two shovels found near the Great Alpine Rd at Mount Hotham, about 100km drive from where the campers went missing
* November 8, 2021: Image released of blue four-wheel drive seen in the area
* November 22, 2021: Police arrest 55-year-old man from Caroline Springs
* November 25, 2021: The 55-year-old man is charged with two counts of murder
* November 30, 2021: Police find human remains during search for missing campers
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk