A new twist in the disappearance of campers as human remains were discovered high up in the Victorian Alps
A new twist has emerged in the disappearance of two campers in the Victorian Alps after human remains were reportedly found in the remote mountainous area.
Russel Hill, 74, and his friend and devoted grandmother Carol Clay, 73 were last heard on March 20 after a secret camping trip.
Mr. Hill – who did not tell his wife that he was going away with his longtime friend Mrs. Clay – was last heard on high-frequency radio when he was at the remote Wonnangatta Station.
Human remains have now been found 200 km from the station in Moondarra in the highlands of Victoria, 9News reported.
The state emergency department was called Saturday night to investigate the discovery, but police have pressed their lips to find out whether it is related to the elderly couple’s disappearance.
Carol Clay, 73, (left) and Russel Hill went missing on a camping trip in the Victorian Alps on March 20
Forensic teams depicted at Moondarra – 200 km from where the older couple went missing.
The police have got their heads together if the investigation in the small regional town is related to the disappearance of the campers
Victoria Police said the missing persons squad was in Moondarra as part of an “active” investigation, but said no further.
“Further information will be available when it is operationally appropriate,” said a police spokeswoman.
The images showed forensic investigators combing an area of bushland off a dirt road in Moondarra.
It comes as bizarre new details emerged from an ‘eccentric loner’ living in the Victorian Alps who has been questioned about some mysterious disappearances.
Known as ‘Buttons’ or ominous, ‘the Button Man’, the expert bushman became a person of interest after locals were concerned about his strange behavior.
Mr. Hill, who did not tell his wife that he was going to leave with her old friend Mrs. Clay, was missing from the devoted grandmother in the isolated region.
Their disappearance baffled local authorities, who discovered that their campground had burned down two days later.
Russel Hill, 74, and Carol Clay, 73, were discovered by police on March 21, burned out (photo), but there was no sign of the couple
Alpine National Park (pictured) has seen some strange disappearances, but a local bushman known as ‘The Button Man’ may hold the key to the mysteries
The couple went missing in the Wonnangatta Valley, more than 200 km northeast of Melbourne
However, sources believe that the Button Man may be useful for the investigation, as he often speaks to local campers and knows the area well.
He is said to have earned his nickname for his hobby of using deer antlers to make knots – which he then uses as large ear piercings.
Using well-crafted traditional spears, the man is known to camp for weeks in remote bushlands and hunt deer, the Age reported.
Despite being described as “spooky” and “bloody scary,” police have no evidence that he was involved in any disappearances, and there have been no reports of violence.
Police suspect that a number of items may have been taken from the site (photo), including a drone that is now missing
WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE ‘BUTTON MAN’?
– In the 1970s it is known that the expert bushman disappears for weeks
– Often ‘scary’ campers, he often asks them questions – but never answers them
He fills his tank in Mansfield and buys supplies before heading out
– He is an impressive walker and remarkably suitable for his age
– The ‘loner’ often builds bizarre stone pyramids along the road to track cars
– He drives a 4WD and uses a traditional spear to hunt
The man, described as being around 70 and very fit, is known for talking to local campers.
A bushman said that the Button Man had a “thousand-meter-long look that made the hairs on the back of your neck stand upright.”
In a particularly terrifying story, a wildlife photographer explained that he had stayed in the area around Button Man’s camp to take pictures.
When he came home to download pictures from his camera, he found an inexplicable picture of himself asleep – with no idea who took the picture or when.
It is also known that the Button Man builds pyramids from rocks along the road and piles pebbles to indicate when a car has passed.
A burned-out campsite was found in remote bushland in Victoria’s Wonnangatta Valley (pictured) after the friends went missing on March 19
He is known for spending long periods in a remote bush camp and was recently visited in Mansfield by investigators of missing persons, the Herald Sun. reported.
Mansfield is located 180 km northeast of Melbourne, at the foot of the Victorian Alps.
The police allegedly had a long conversation with the man, but found no new information on numerous cases of local missing persons.
Described by locals as an ‘eccentric character’, the mysterious man is said to have scared hunters and hikers in the area.
The man is said to have adopted an ‘alternative lifestyle’, but has no criminal record.
He is described as ‘eccentric but intelligent’ and often drives his 4WD to pick up supplies in Mansfield.
Friends of devoted grandmother Carol Clay (pictured right) were surprised to learn that she had gone camping with a close friend who described her as a glamor queen
The mysterious man would roam the Highlands for weeks, using a remote base camp near a weather station called ‘The Crossroads’.
But there is no evidence that he is linked to Ms Clay and the disappearance of Mister Hill, nor to other missing persons in the region.
Ms. Clay and Mr. Hill are just two of the many people who have disappeared into the area in the past decade, four of them in just nine months.
His 50-year-old wife, Robyn, previously admitted she had no idea her husband had gone camping with another woman.
She said her husband had been friends with Mrs. Clay, who was once the president of the Country Women’s Association of Victoria, for decades, but didn’t know they were traveling together.
It is suspected that the fire in their camp was caused by a mobile phone charger that had overheated in a tent.
Mr. Hill’s Toyota four-wheel drive was also found on site with the couple’s belongings still inside.
Investigators feared that the pair might have gotten lost in the remote bushland, but have not ruled out foul play – or that they have deliberately disappeared.
Two major searches with drones, helicopters, mounted police, search dogs and ground personnel have yielded nothing.
But friends of Mr. Hill who have been camping with the enthusiastic outdoorsman say he knows the area well and wouldn’t have strayed far.
Mister Hill’s wife, Robyn, 71, said her husband (pictured right) had been friends with Carol Clay (left) for decades, but had no idea they were traveling together when he went missing
Acting Sergeant Scott Wilkinson, who was on the team looking for the pair, said the search was significant, but ultimately was fruitless.
Bushwalker Niels Becker went missing in nearby Mt Stirling last October, while Conrad Whitlock went missing near Mt Buller last winter.
Mr Whitlock, a wealthy businessman, went missing in July – last seen at his White Water Court home, before his BMW was found 20 km away from Mansfield.
The Tomahawk Hut area was searched in 2011 after the curious disappearance of former prison boss David Prideaux.
Mr. Prideaux was pronounced dead in 2014 after missing from Mt Stirling in July 2011.
He would have been hunting deer with his brother-in-law, but had disappeared without a trace.
Missing Persons Squad inspector Superintendent Andrew Stamper said the police want to speak to anyone who may have seen the pair when they disappeared.
“This is a real and traumatic mystery and we need all the help we can get through Crime Stoppers,” said Inspector Stamper.