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Why cops kept the ‘crime scene location’ a secret in the case of missing campers

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Police are staying tight-lipped about their investigation into missing campers who were allegedly murdered by a Jetstar pilot because they want to keep a second crime scene from being ‘contaminated’. 

Greg Lynn, 55, appeared in court on Friday after being charged with the alleged murder of lovers Richard Hill and Carol Clay following a 20-month investigation. 

Forensic officers have ramped up their search for the remains of Mr Hill and Ms Clay after a crime scene was established in Victoria’s Great Alpine region on Thursday.

Police are keeping the exact crime scene location a secret, citing significant community and media interest.

Missing Persons Network chief executive Valentine Smith says police have a valid reason why they’re keeping the location under wraps.

Police have ramped up the search for the remains of missing campers and Carol Clay (left) and Richard Hill (right)

Police have ramped up the search for the remains of missing campers and Carol Clay (left) and Richard Hill (right)

‘They don’t want it contaminated, they don’t want anything interfered with,’ he told the Today show on Friday.

‘They certainly wouldn’t want to be  subconsciously or consciously distracted by other people sort of trying to get a look at what is going on there. They need to protect it.’

He added tracking down the missing silver and blue-coloured trailer with off road wheels which was attached to a blue four-wheel-drive last seen at the campsite the couple vanished from, will be vital.

‘I see that the police are really pushing that,’ Mr Smith said.

‘Without speculating on that as well, obviously of some evidentiary importance to them and may become another crime scene of some sort, depending on what they are looking for.’

Police are preparing for the dangerous task of entering the rugged Victorian wilderness yet again in the hope of finally locating the missing bodies of Mr Hill and Mrs Clay.

Victorian Police Assistant Commissioner Bob Hill said police had been provided ‘specific’ information as to where to find the burial site within the Great Alpine region. 

Missing Persons Network chief executive Valentine Smith (pictured) says police are tight-lipped about the new crime scene location so it isn't interfered with

Missing Persons Network chief executive Valentine Smith (pictured) says police are tight-lipped about the new crime scene location so it isn’t interfered with

Detectives (pictured at Sale Police Station on Thursday) are keeping the details of the new crime scene location a secret, citing significant community and media interest

Detectives (pictured at Sale Police Station on Thursday) are keeping the details of the new crime scene location a secret, citing significant community and media interest

But even with detailed information on a burial site, police have said it will take days to prepare for the dig in what is some of the most rugged terrain on the planet.

Last night, Assistant Commissioner Hill stole the spotlight from Detective Inspector Andrew Stamper, who has tirelessly led the investigation for near on two years.

‘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,’ Assistant Commissioner Hill told reporters.

‘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.’

While the search is taking place in remote bushland, forensic specialists will also be scouring Lynn’s two-storey home in Melbourne’s west.

Ground-penetrating radar which can uncover anomalies deep within the earth or even concrete structures will be brought to assist the evidence gathering operation.

Lynn was arrested on Monday by specialist police at a remote campsite in Arbuckle Junction, 280km northeast of Melbourne. 

Asst Comm Hill confirmed no one else was being sought for the murders and called for anyone with information on a trailer to come forward.

He said the silver and blue-coloured trailer with off road wheels, which was attached to a blue four-wheel-drive, was sold on Gumtree between March and July 2020.

Police would also like to speak to anyone who was in the Wonnangatta area around that time, including ‘campers, 4×4 day trippers, hunters, fishermen or trail bike riders’, regardless of whether they saw or heard anything.

Mr Lynn’s Nissan Patrol four-wheel-drive has also been seized. 

Jetstar pilot Greg Lynn (pictured) will appear in court on Friday charged with murder

Jetstar pilot Greg Lynn (pictured) will appear in court on Friday charged with murder

Asst Comm Hill said the arrest came after police adopted ‘unique investigative techniques’ with support from specialist services.

‘It is one of the most significant investigations we’ve undertaken in recent years,’ he said.

‘There’s been hundreds of people spoken to, hundreds of vehicles that have been eliminated, in excess of 1000 information reports are on the system.’

Mr Hill and Ms Clay were last heard from on March 20, 2020 while camping in the Victorian Alps.

Mr Hill left his Drouin home on March 19 and picked up Ms Clay from her home in Pakenham in his white Toyota LandCruiser.

On March 20, Mr Hill – an experienced outdoorsman – made a call via high-frequency radio saying he was at Wonnangatta Valley.

Ms Clay, a former Victorian Country Women’s Association president, told friends she was heading away and expected to return home on March 28 or 29.

Investigators were told the couple were camping together at Wonnangatta River near the Wonnangatta camping ground.

Campers found Mr Hill’s car destroyed by fire at their campsite near Dry River Creek Track on March 21.

Richard Hill and Carol Clay have been missing since March 2020  (pictured is their burnt out campsite)

Richard Hill and Carol Clay have been missing since March 2020  (pictured is their burnt out campsite)

TIMELINE OF MISSING VICTORIAN CAMPERS CASE

March 19, 2020: Russell Hill, 74, leaves his Drouin home and picks up Carol Clay, 73, from her Pakenham home

March 20, 2020: Mr Hill makes a call via high frequency radio saying he was at Wonnangatta Valley in the Victorian Alps. It is the last time anyone hears from either of the pair

March 21, 2020: Campers find Mr Hill’s fire-damaged Toyota Landcruiser at their campsite near Dry River Creek Track

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

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

Pictured: Russell Hill

Pictured: Carol Clay

Russell Hill (pictured, left) and Carol Clay (right) are alleged by police to have been murdered during a camping trip

March 26, 2020: When Mr Hill planned to leave the region

March 28 to 29, 2020: When Ms Clay told friends she expected to return

March 30, 2020: Police make public appeal for information amid search

April 6, 2020: Initial search called off

March 5, 2021: Police appeal for information about ‘mystery vehicle’, described as a ‘white dual cab ute’ seen in the area

The mid-1990s model Nissan Patrol (pictured) is now central to the investigation after it was pictured close to where the pair were last seen

The mid-1990s model Nissan Patrol (pictured) is now central to the investigation after it was pictured close to where the pair were last seen

March 9, 2021: Drone handed into police ruled out as Mr Hill’s

April 4, 2021: Cadaver dogs join search at Wonnangatta Valley

April 14, 2021: Two shovels found near the Great Alpine Rd at Mount Hotham, about 100km drive from where the campers went missing

November 8, 2021: Image released of blue four-wheel drive seen in the area

November 22, 2021: Police arrest 55-year-old man from Caroline Springs

November 25, 2021: The 55-year-old man is charged with two counts of murder

The pilot was charged with two counts of murder on Thursday night after an exhaustive investigation

The pilot was charged with two counts of murder on Thursday night after an exhaustive investigation  

 



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Written by Bourbiza Mohamed

A technology enthusiast and a passionate writer in the field of information technology, cyber security, and blockchain

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