Cops have taken a new direction in their probe into the disappearance of two friends who went on a remote camping trip.
Cops have taken a new direction in their probe into the disappearance of two friends who went on a remote camping trip.

Cops’ new tactic in missing friends case

The disappearance of two Victorian campers has left police that baffled they've turned to international experts for help.

It's been almost six months since friends Russell Hill and Carol Clay vanished while on a camping trip in the remote Wonnangatta Valley east of Melbourne.

Police are still keeping an open mind as to what happened to the pair but it's feared they met with foul play at their campsite near Dry River Creek Track.

Campers found Mr Hill's white Toyota Landcruiser with signs of minor fire damage at the abandoned site on March 21, but the examination of the fire scene by arson chemists was inconclusive.

Missing camper Russell Hill. Picture: Supplied
Missing camper Russell Hill. Picture: Supplied

The fire also destroyed their tent and damaged some camp furniture.

The Herald Sun reports detectives from the missing persons squad have now turned to overseas and interstate experts in their bid to solve the mystery disappearance.

Detective Inspector Andrew Stamper told the paper he could not go into detail about the nature of the foreign assistance sought but he said investigators had been making progress over the past few months.

Mr Hill left his Drouin home on March 19 this year and told friends he planned to visit various campsites along the Dargo River before exiting the region at Dargo on March 26.

He was last heard from on March 20 when he made a call via HF radio stating he was at Wonnangatta Station in the Victorian Alps.

Carol Clay has been missing since 20 March, 2020.
Carol Clay has been missing since 20 March, 2020.

Ms Clay, from Pakenham, told friends she was heading away and was expecting to return home on March 28 or 29.

Police believe the pair have travelled up through Heyfield and Licola, then into the valley in Mr Hill's Toyota Landcruiser.

Detectives have been told that he purchased a DJI Mavic drone before going camping, which is still yet to be recovered.

The damaged campsite belonging to Russell Hill and Carol Clay's who have been reported as missing in the Wonnangatta Valley. Picture: ABC
The damaged campsite belonging to Russell Hill and Carol Clay's who have been reported as missing in the Wonnangatta Valley. Picture: ABC

Despite a number of searches since their disappearance, the pair have not been found or contacted family or friends.

Insp Stamper told the Herald Sun he could not see the pair staging their own disappearance.

Police would still like to speak to anyone who was in the Wonnangatta Valley on March 19 and 20.

Anyone with any other information regarding their disappearance has been urged to urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

jack.paynter@news.com.au

Originally published as Cops' new tactic in missing camper case


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