Third party 'clearly' involved in mysterious disappearance of campers
A former detective says it is "clear" a third party was involved in the mysterious disappearance of missing campers Russell Hill and Carol Clay.
A former detective says it is "clear" a third party was involved in the mysterious disappearance of missing Victorian campers Russell Hill and Carol Clay.
However, the two shovels discovered in dense bushland yesterday, after the search area was broadened to include Mount Hotham, may not hold the answers detectives were hoping for.
Speaking on Today, former homicide detective Charlie Bezzina said another party seemed to be involved in the elderly pair's disappearance.
"From the outset, it was clear someone else was involved," Mr Bezzina said.
"Be it a hunter or some passerby camper, so it will be very interesting but they certainly haven't staged their own disappearance."
Specialised search and rescue crews uncovered two shovels and other items of interest while scouring the terrain near the Great Alpine Road.
Mr Bezzina said the shovels may not lead to a breakthrough in the case, but they would be forensically examined.
"I don't think that it is so significant because they are shovels and not spades and you can't dig holes with shovels, but it has to be looked at," he said.
Looming theories suggest the couple were secret lovers because Mr Hill was married.
When asked if the affair theory would play a part in the investigation, Mr Bezzina said detectives would investigate "all avenues of inquiry".
"I think from the very outset as an investigator you look at all avenues of inquiry you have got," he said.
"The fact is they were having a clandestine affair of sorts and I think from the early aspect of the crime scene it was apparent to me that a third party was involved."
The expanded search area is 80km away from where Mr Hill and Ms Clay were last seen in the Wannangatta Valley in the Victorian Alps, in March last year.
It is the first time police have moved their search since the duo's burnt-out campsite was found near the Dry River Creek Track on March 21.
The thick terrain at Mount Hotham has been particularly challenging for search and rescue teams.
"There are parts of that bush that have probably never been walked on by humans," Missing Persons Squad Detective Acting Inspector Tony Combridge said yesterday.
Police believe Mr Hill left his Drouin home on March 19 last year and picked up Ms Clay from her home in Pakenham in his white Toyota Landcruiser.
The last known contact with the pair was on March 20 last year via HF radio when Mr Hill stated he was at the valley.
Mr Bezzina said a phone call from someone who has information would be the best bet for investigators to solve the case.
"I think time is a big enemy for an investigator," Mr Bezzina said.
"The trail has gone very, very cold and now I think it all hinges on that magic phone call."
Anyone who sights Mr Hill or Ms Clay is urged to contact triple-zero immediately.
People with any information regarding the couple's disappearance or who have any CCTV or dashcam footage are urged to contact on 1800 333 000.