New car clue in missing Victorian campers mystery

Victorian police have revealed another clue in the high-profile mystery of missing campers Carol Clay and Russell Hill, with investigators confirming more information about a car seen in the area at the time of their disappearance.

Missing persons squad detectives say they have narrowed-down the vehicle to a five-door wagon, “GU” model Nissan Patrol Series 1, built between 1997 and 2001.

They received information from Australia’s Nissan Patrol community following an appeal for information last week, police said on Sunday.

Detectives are calling for more information from anyone who may recognise the vehicle, particularly if the car is known to tow a trailer.

Last week, 60 Minutes and The Age revealed police had zeroed-in on a dark-blue four-wheel drive car seen leaving a remote Wonnangatta Valley campsite on the day Ms Clay and Mr Hill vanished last year.

The vehicle was captured on roadside cameras driving on The Great Alpine Road and matched a description of a car witnesses saw parked near their campsite and heard leaving the area about midnight.

Missing campers Russell Hill and Carol Clay.

Mr Hill and Ms Clay, aged in their 70s, disappeared on March 20 last year. Their campsite was discovered burnt-out, with police recovering charred camping chairs, a burnt-out battery, and a bucket used for Mr Hill’s gas canisters found inside their tent.

The fire could have been an attempt to destroy evidence.

“It certainly builds that picture for us that potentially someone was trying to cover their tracks,” Detective Inspector Andrew Stamper said last week.

Detectives have ruled-out the campers staged their disappearance and suspect they have been murdered, potentially after a run-in with other campers.

“My belief here is that this was random,” Inspector Stamper said.

“Everything seems to point towards this being some sort of confrontation, which has started as an argument maybe.

“But my belief is that the person that carried out this is probably just an ordinary member of the community, who’s operating in a normal job, but carrying this significant load on their mind. And potentially, they’re the only one that knows about it as well.”

Anyone with information is urged to phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or you can submit a confidential report online.

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