Pilot Gregory Lynn has been charged with the alleged murder of two elderly campers who have been missing for 20 months.
Secret lovers Russell Hill, 74, and Carol Clay, 73, haven’t been seen or heard from since they snuck away on a camping trip to Victoria’s remote Wonnangatta Valley on March 20, 2020.
The case looked likely to go cold, with no major breakthroughs or suspects – until now.
Assistant Victoria Police Commissioner Bob Hill said detectives are ‘hopeful’ the couple’s remains will soon be located after a second ‘crime scene’ was established on Thursday.
‘This has been an exhaustive and complex criminal investigation,’ he said.
‘Numerous persons have been interviewed, vehicles inspected and data analysed.
‘Police have also adopted unique investigative techniques which culminated in Monday’s arrest.’
Keen camper and dad Gregory Lynn, 55, (pictured) has been charged with the couple’s murder
Russell Hill (pictured, left) and Carol Clay (right) are alleged by police to have been murdered during a camping trip
Lynn has been in police custody for three days after being arrested in dramatic scenes where helicopters swooped on him at a remote campground.
Special operations group officers arrested the Caroline Springs man on Monday afternoon after tracking his movements and flying into remote bushland north of Sale.
While Assistant Commissioner Hill said he’s ‘proud’ of police efforts, he added the ‘long haul’ investigation is ‘far from over’ as the focus now turns to uncovering the couple’s remains.
‘This morning detectives identified a crime scene within the Great Alpine area and forensic specialists will commence searching at that location over the coming days.’
‘We have located a specific area and we will establish a search parameter.
‘Police are hopeful we will be able to locate the deceased in order to find closure for the families.
‘My heartfelt thoughts are with the Hill and Clay families. The past 20 months has been a difficult time for them and I know their grief remains as raw as ever.’
Assistant Commissioner Bob Hill tells announces a 55-year-old man has been charged over the disappearance of two missing campers
Earlier this month, police released images of a blue four-wheel-drive – believed to be a mid-to-late-1990s model Nissan Patrol – taken by a CCTV camera in the area at the time the pair went missing.
Witnesses had reported a number of sightings of the vehicle.
Although police released a detailed photo of the vehicle, it appeared to have its registration plate digitally altered, suggesting they knew exactly who owned it.
Police seized Lynn’s beige Nissan Patrol upon his arrest and are investigating if it was painted after the couple vanished.
But police have not been able to locate a metal 7×5 foot box trailer the 4WD in the CCTV was towing on the night.
Mr Hill said the trailer with off-road wheels may have been sold on the classified website Gumtree.
He appealed for anyone who may have purchased the trailer or has any information about where it could be, to contact police immediately.
Mr Hill’s white Toyota Landcruiser (pictured) was found with minor fire damage at their burnt campsite near Dry River Creek Track in the valley on March 21
Greg Lynn is seen with his wife Melanie – who is a flight attendant with Jetstar – with the pair meeting through work
Lynn has been stood down from his job with Jetstar, with the airline saying it will assist investigators if needed.
Detectives had made repeated public appeals for information since the elderly campers went missing 20 months ago.
Mr Hill left his Drouin home on March 19 and picked up Ms Clay from her home in Pakenham in his white Toyota LandCruiser.
He was last heard from on March 20 when he made a call via HF radio saying he was at Wonnangatta Valley in the Victorian Alps.
The pair have not been seen or heard from since.
The following day, campers found Mr Hill’s car with minor fire damage at their completely scorched campsite near Dry River Creek Track in the valley.
Detectives believe the pair were attacked between 6pm and 11pm during a random confrontation with another camper who then torched their campsite to cover their tracks.
Possessions belonging to the couple were found inside Mr Hill’s Toyota 4WD at the scene.
The only things missing were their mobile phones and a remote control drone that is yet to be recovered.
Mr Hill’s wife Robyn, 71, said she had no idea her husband was with another woman when he went missing.
She said her husband had been friendly with Ms Clay for decades but was unaware they were travelling together.
Lynn will appear at the Sale Magistrates Court on Friday morning.