The whereabouts of elderly campers Carol Clay and Russell Hill, who vanished while camping in the Wonnangatta Valley last March, have puzzled police and the general public for the last 19 months.
Despite having very few initial clues beyond a burnt-out campsite and locked car, it appears as though police have made significant headway in solving the case.
When asked how ‘persons of interest’ regarding the disappearance of Ms Clay and Mr Hill should be feeling, Missing Persons Unit Detective Inspector Andrew Stamper replied with a stern warning.
Mr Stamper’s colleague, Acting Sergeant Brett Florence, also shared his sentiment.
“Very uncomfortable,” he said. “We will leave no stone unturned.”
In a recent interview, Mr Hill’s daughters, Colleen and Debbie, tearfully described the anguish that they have endured over the last 19 months.
“It’s really hard, it’s not getting any better,” Debbie said.
“It’s just unknown. You can’t grieve for someone that you don’t know if they are really missing or dead, you are just stuck in the middle.
Debbie’s sister Colleen said that she often becomes overwhelmed with her own theories regarding her father’s disappearance.
“My mind keeps going around in circles with the possibilities. It never ends. It’s just not knowing at all what’s happened. There is just nothing to go by,” said Colleen.
Mr Hill was an experienced camper who knew the Gippsland region very well, having previously worked there as a logger.
Despite his experience though, his daughter Debbie has given up hope of finding her father alive.
“If he was alive he would not … not contact us,” she said.
Detective Inspector Stamper urged anyone with any information regarding the disappearance of Ms Clay and Mr Hill to come forward.
“If you do know something or have heard something, no matter what it is, then I urge you to come forward and hopefully we can continue to fill in all the pieces of this puzzle until we get the result and answers both families deserve,” he said.
HelloCare urges anyone with any information regarding the whereabouts of Ms Clay and Mr Hill to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.