Dark twist in case of missing campers as police suspect foul play was involved in the disappearance and probe the couple’s last 18 hours following a chilling radio call
- Foul play is likely involved in the disappearance of Russell Hill and Carol Clay
- The elderly friends went missing after going on a secret camping trip in March
- Their disappearance baffled authorities who found their campsite burned out
- Now investigators are looking into the possibility a ‘third-party’ was involved
- Police say the mysterious circumstances suggests they’re victims of foul play
The mysterious disappearance of a married man and his female friend on a secret camping trip has taken a dark twist with police revealing the pair were likely victims of ‘foul play’.
Russell Hill, 74, and Carol Clay, 73, went missing after going on a secret camping trip on March 19 in the Wonnangatta Valley in Victoria’s East Gippsland region.
Their disappearance has baffled local authorities who found their campsite burned out two days later.
Now investigators are looking into the possibility a ‘third-party’ was involved.
Detective Inspector Andrew Stamper, from the missing persons squad, said the mysterious circumstances suggested Mr Hill and Ms Clay were the victims of foul play, the Herald Sun reported.
Police are now probing what happened in the 18 hours between Mr Hill making a chilling last radio call and their campsite being discovered abandoned the next day.
Carol Clay, 73, (pictured, left) was once the President of the Country Women’s Association of Victoria, and went missing with experienced bushman Russell Hill (right)
The pair went missing in the Wonnangatta Valley, more than 200km north east of Melbourne
Their disappearance has baffled local authorities who found their campsite burned out two days later
It was earlier established that Mr Hill had left his Drouin home on March 19 for a camping trip along the Dargo River in Victoria’s northeast and planned to leave the region on March 26.
Ms Clay, meanwhile, had told friends she was going away for a few days and expected to be home by March 28 or 29.
Mr Hill’s white Toyota Landcruiser was found with minor fire damage at their burnt campsite near Dry River Creek Track in the valley on March 21, but an examination of the scene by arson chemists was inconclusive.
A drone owned by Mr Hill is also missing.
Experienced search and rescue officers believe the couple aren’t located in an area which was the subject of a large-scale search.
Mr Hill’s wife of 50 years, Robyn, previously admitted she had no idea her husband had gone camping with another woman.
She said her husband had been friendly with Ms Clay for decades but was unaware they were travelling together.
Investigators haven’t ruled out a theory that the pair vanished intentionally, with three possible sightings two hours’ drive away at Black Snake Creek and Eaglevale River since their disappearance three months ago.
Detectives have not been able to verify the sightings, but locals sighted seeing a couple of similar age.
The apparent sightings came two days after Mr Hill last made radio contact with a friend on March 20 from a remote station in the Victorian Alps.
During the call, he said he was having radio transmission issues.
Police believe something happened to the friends overnight or the morning after the call, narrowing down the time frame they vanished from the campsite to 18 hours.
Two days later, a woman was seen at Black Snake Creek waiting to use a long-drop toilet, police said.
An older couple were also seen driving from Black Snake Creek hut, with the woman described as wearing lipstick and ‘looked out out of place’.
Mr Hill’s wife Robyn, 71, said her husband (pictured, left) had been friendly with Carol Clay (right) for decades but had no idea they were travelling together