Missing Persons Week – 2016 disappearance of South Coast man, Ray Speechley

NSW Police are renewing their appeal for information into the disappearance of a man from the state’s South Coast four years ago, as part of this year’s Missing Persons Week.

Ray Speechley, then aged 76, was last seen at an aged care facility on Ruth Place, Dalmeny, about 4pm on Thursday 7 July 2016.

Police were alerted after Mr Speechley left the home and couldn’t be contacted or located.

Officers from South Coast Police District, then Far South Coast Local Area Command, launched an extensive search of the area with assistance from the Volunteer Rescue Association.

Police were informed a man, similar in description to Mr Speechley, was seen on the Princes Highway, Dalmeny, about the same time Mr Speechley left the retirement home.

About half an hour later, a red/maroon four-door sedan, similar to a Honda Accord, was seen stopped on the side of the Princes Highway around 700 metres north of where the man was sighted.

A public appeal was launched to locate the driver of the vehicle; but to date no one has come forward.

Mr Speechley was described as being of Caucasian appearance, approximately 175cm tall, of medium build with grey hair and blue eyes.

He was last seen wearing jeans and a dark jacket with a pyjama top underneath.

Since the time of his disappearance, a number of comprehensive bush searches have failed to locate Mr Speechley.

Serious concerns were held for Mr Speechley’s welfare due to a medical condition and the inclement weather in the area at the time of his disappearance.

In December 2019, a coronial inquest found that it was likely Mr Speechley had died of hypothermia in bushland near the aged care facility he left from.

The Coroner recommended that police coordinate and carry out recovery searches for the missing man’s remains, utilising a cadaver dog.

South Coast Police District Commander, Superintendent Greg Moore APM, said a search is planned in the coming weeks.

“We have taken the expert advice of our Investigators and recommendations of the Coroner on board and will be conducting a land search, in the area near where Mr Speechley was last sighted, on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 August,” Supt Moore said.

Anyone with information about Mr Speechley’s disappearance is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Information is treated in strict confidence. The community is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.

Missing Persons Week is an annual national campaign to raise awareness of the issues and impacts surrounding missing persons and runs between Sunday 2 August and Saturday 8 August 2020.

For more information on the campaign visit www.missingpersons.gov.au.

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