Suspect Is Charged With Homicide in Case of Two Vanished Campers


MELBOURNE, Australia — Twenty months in the past, Russell Hill and Carol Clay disappeared throughout a tenting journey in Wonnangatta Valley, within the distant excessive nation of Australia’s Victoria State. Their campsite was discovered burned to the bottom, whereas deer carcasses have been scattered across the valley.

On Thursday, the thriller of what had occurred to them, a case that had transfixed the nation, got here nearer to decision when the police announced {that a} suspect had been charged with their homicide.

“We are hoping this arrest brings us a step closer to providing the answers the families have been desperately seeking and richly deserve,” Bob Hill, the Victoria Police assistant commissioner, advised a information convention on Thursday night.

The announcement got here three days after the police arrested Greg Lynn, 55, who has been recognized by the native media as a pilot for the Australian airline Jetstar Airways.

Jetstar stated in an electronic mail assertion that it had been suggested by the police that an worker was underneath investigation for a “serious crime” and that, “as a matter of course, the employee has been removed from duty as a result of their arrest.”

He was arrested Monday night whereas tenting in Arbuckle Junction within the Victorian excessive nation, the police stated — about 15 miles south of the place Mr. Hill and Ms. Clay have been final identified to have been.

Police started interviewing Mr. Lynn, who lives in a Melbourne suburb, on Tuesday morning and on Thursday charged him with the murders. He’ll seem at an area court docket on Friday morning, Assistant Commissioner Hill stated.

Police stated they weren’t searching for anybody else in reference to the case.

The announcement follows a virtually two-year police investigation that drew nationwide consideration.

Mr. Hill and Ms. Clay, each of their 70s, set out in March 2020 for what was alleged to be a weeklong tenting journey within the Wonnangatta Valley. A five-hour drive from Melbourne, it’s one of the crucial distant areas within the state, accessible solely by four-wheel drive or on horseback.

The night they arrived within the valley, Mr. Hill, an novice radio fanatic, dialed in to let fellow hobbyists know the place he was.

That was the final time they have been heard from. The following day, hikers stumbled upon their burned-out camp. Mr. Hill and Ms. Clay have been nowhere to be seen.

Over the next months, police returned to the positioning repeatedly and scoured the realm, although its ruggedness made search efforts troublesome.

Rumours and media hypothesis swirled across the case: about unlawful deer hunters within the space; in regards to the risk that the pair, who weren’t married, had run off collectively; and a few native recluse often known as the Button Man — though there is no such thing as a proof he was ever a suspect within the case.

In April this yr, police found and took into evidence two shovels, after new data led them to go looking an space 20 miles northeast of the place Mr. Hill and Ms. Clay have been final seen. It’s unclear what significance the invention had.

Final month, the police, alongside members of Mr. Hill and Ms. Clay’s households, renewed requires details about the case.

“He just disappeared and you’re just stuck,” Mr. Hill’s daughter Debbie said on the time. “We can’t grieve for someone if you don’t know if they’re really missing or dead. It’s just left a really big hole, a deep hole.”

Regardless of the arrest, many questions stay.

Almost three weeks in the past, police launched photographs of a darkish blue Nissan Patrol automobile with a trailer that they stated was “yet to be eliminated from the investigation.”

When police arrested Mr. Lynn, they seized his automobile — a beige Nissan Patrol. Native media reported that the police intend to say Mr. Lynn had his automobile painted a special colour to keep away from detection.

The police are nonetheless searching for the trailer, Assistant Commissioner Hill stated on Thursday, and have been keen to talk to anybody who had purchased one between March and July 2020. The police imagine that the trailer was bought on Gumtree, a on-line categorised advert website.

He stated police had not positioned the our bodies of Mr. Hill and Ms. Clay, however that they had zeroed in on an space in Victoria’s excessive nation the place they’d start looking within the coming days.

“Police are hopeful we’ll be able to locate the deceased and provide ultimate closure to the families,” he stated.

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