Wife of missing camper didn’t know other woman was on trip
The wife of a man missing in Victoria's High Country with another woman thought he was taking the camping trip alone.
Russell Hill's wife Robyn, 71, said she was hoping for the best after the search for her husband and Pakenham woman Carol Clay was abandoned on Monday.
Mr Hill, 74, of Drouin, and Ms Clay, 73, of Pakenham, last made radio contact on March 20, a day after setting off.
Their camp site, in the remote Wonnangatta Valley near Dargo, was found a week later but search efforts were marred by bad weather.
"I just wish they would find them both alive," Mrs Hill said.
"I thought he was going alone, I can't believe it.
"I've got a feeling they may have died."
She said Russell and Carol had been friendly for decades.
Mrs Hill said her husband "knew the area well" as he used to work up there for his work in logging.
She said she had an inkling something had gone wrong when he stopped communicating on his radio system.
"I knew something was wrong because he wasn't calling in on the radio," Mrs Hill said.
"It is not a good place to be when the weather gets bad."
She issued a message to her husband of 50 years.
"You silly bugger," she said.
The scene at Mr Hill and Ms Clay's camp site has only magnified the mystery of what happened to them.
Charred camping furniture and tent poles were found at their site.
Although it bore scorch marks along the side, Mr Hill's late-model Toyota four-wheel-drive was able to be driven, leading police to believe they walked away.
But an extensive search effort, aided by helicopters and drones, found no trace of them.
Mrs Clay's car was later found at her Pakenham home.
Detectives from Wellington criminal investigation unit are trying to unravel what happened to Mr Hill and Ms Clay.
Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit the website crimestoppersvic.com.au.
Originally published as Wife of missing camper didn't know of woman on trip