Spotlight on search for Carol

Carol Clay at the official opening of the Country Women''s Association''s new garden in 2017. Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS 212735_01

The mysterious disappearance of Pakenham CWA president Carol Clay and her camping companion Russell Hill is no closer to being solved.

As part of National Missing Persons Week, Victoria Police is again appealing for any information that could assist with their investigation.

Pakenham CWA members Vicky Birch, Louise Heib, Carol Clay, Kaye Garton. Picture: ROB CAREW 191394_28

Missing Persons Squad Detective Inspector Andrew Stamper confirmed there has still been no trace of the pair, who have been missing since March.

“Almost five months after their disappearance, detectives from the Missing Persons Squad are continuing to appeal for information about missing Wonnangatta campers Russell Hill and Carol Clay,” Det Insp Stamper said.

“It doesn’t matter how small or seemingly insignificant that piece of information is, it could be crucial for investigators.”

Drouin man Russell Hill has been missing since March.

Russell, 74, left his Drouin home on 19 March where it’s believed he planned to visit campsites along the Dargo River.

Carol, 73, told loved ones that she was heading away and was expected to return to her Pakenham home on 28 or 29 March.

Bev Cottle, Max Jeavons, Carol Clay, Kaine Harris, George Hazzard and Roger Thornton in 2008.

The pair – who were believed to have been camping together at the Wonnangatta River near the Wonnangatta camping ground – have not been heard from since 20 March.

Russell’s vehicle – a white Toyota Landcruiser – was found on 21 March, with signs of minor damage at their campsite near Dry River Creek Track in the Wonnangatta Valley.

The pair’s tent was also significantly burnt, but investigators are yet to determine the cause of the fire and if it was suspicious.

Significant searches involving a number of specialist units, including the Search and Rescue Squad, have not yet been able to find Russell or Carol.

Carol Clay and Ann Laws in 2019. Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS 198632_03

It’s still unknown whether the pair’s disappearance is suspicious and investigators have not yet been able to rule out any avenues of inquiry.

In a bid to eliminate people and vehicles from the investigation, police hope to speak with anyone who was in the Wonnangatta area at the time, including campers, 4×4 day trippers, hunters, fishermen or trail bike riders, regardless of whether they saw or heard anything.

Detectives are also keen to speak to anyone who was in the area of Howitt Plains and Zeka Spur Track on 19 or 20 March, and the Wonnangatta Valley and Wonnangatta Station between 20-24 March.

Missing Persons Week is an annual week of action that takes place in Australia to raise awareness and profile long-term missing persons.

Pakenham CWA president Carol Clay.

Anyone who sights Russell or Carol is urged to contact triple zero (000) immediately.

Anyone with any other information regarding their disappearance or who has any CCTV or dashcam footage is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or log onto www.crimestoppersvic.com.au.