Police charge man after disappearance of Russell Hill and Carol Clay

Detectives from the Missing Persons Squad have charged a man following the disappearance of Russell Hill and Carol Clay from the Wonnangatta Valley in March 2020.

A 55-year-old Caroline Springs man was arrested with assistance from the Special Operations Group at a campsite at Arbuckle Junction on Monday, 22 November.

He was subsequently interviewed by police and tonight was charged with two counts of murder.

The man will face court in Sale tomorrow morning.

The investigation remains ongoing however police can confirm that at this time, they are not looking for anyone further.

The pair were last heard from on 20 March, 2020 while they were camping in the Wonnangatta Valley.

Despite a significant number of searches over the past 20 months, the pair are yet to be located.

Campers found Russell’s vehicle with signs of minor fire damage at their campsite, which was completely destroyed by fire, near Dry River Creek Track in the Wonnangatta Valley on 21 March.

Earlier today police identified a crime scene within the Great Alpine area and forensic specialists will be searching that area over the coming days.

Investigators are also keen to speak to anyone who may have purchased a rusty silver/blue 7×5 trailer with off road wheels between March and July 2020.

The trailer is believed to have been sold on Gumtree.

Police also remain keen to speak to anyone who was in the Wonnangatta area around that time, including campers, 4×4 day trippers, hunters, fishermen or trail bike riders, regardless of whether they saw or heard anything.

Anyone with any other information regarding Russell and Carol’s disappearance is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or log onto www.crimestoppersvic.com.au

Quotes attributable to Assistant Commissioner Bob Hill, Crime Command:

“Our heartfelt thoughts are with both the Hill and Clay families. The past 20 months have been an incredibly difficult time for them and their grief remains as raw as ever.

“We are hopeful that this arrest brings us closer to providing the answers the families have been desperately seeking and deserve.

“This has been an exhaustive and complex criminal investigation which has attracted significant community interest.

“While we now have the opportunity to put this matter before the criminal courts, our efforts to locate the remains of Russell and Carol will continue.

“The investigative efforts relating to this matter, particularly by the Missing Persons Squad, have been extraordinary.

“The investigation has also been supported by a range of specialist units and local police, as well as several external agencies.

“Finally, we would also like to thank the media and members of the public who have provided assistance during the course of this investigation.”

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