That vehicle is described as a white dual cab, four-wheel-drive utility ute but the exact make and model is not confirmed.
“Now we understand that this vehicle was parked near the long drop toilet, or the public toilet and a small suspension bridge over the one again a river, which is, is within fairly close proximity to where we know that Russell and Carol camped,” Detective Inspector Andrew Stamper said.
“The next night – so I stress that this is on the Thursday night of the 19th – so the night before we believe, Russell and Carol disappeared.”
Investigators say there is nothing linking the car or the occupants with the 73 and 74-year-old’s disappearance from Wonnangatta.
However, police have not given up hope that those travelling in the ute may have some information that is new to investigators.
Police have been able to identify all vehicles seen in the area near Mr Hill and Ms Clay’s campsite on March 20 last year – with the exception of the ute.
“It might seem like only a very small possibility that those in the white ute will have information about Russell and Carol’s disappearance but we can’t afford to leave any stone unturned,” Det Insp Stamper said.
“I appreciate this is not an especially uncommon vehicle. However, if you or someone you know with a white dual cab ute was in the Wonnangatta area around 20 March last year then we need to hear from you.”
Police remain keen to speak to anyone who was in the Wonnangatta area around March 20, including campers, 4×4 day trippers, hunters, fishermen or trail bike riders, regardless of whether they saw or heard anything.
Detectives are also keen to speak to anyone who was in the area of Howitt Plains and Zeka Spur Track on March 19 or 20, and the Wonnangatta Valley and Wonnangatta Station between 20-24 March.
Detectives received information about the sighting of an older person or pair in the Black Snake Creek, Eaglevale River crossing and the Ollies Jump area on March 22-23, but have never been able to establish if this was the missing campers.
The pair’s disappearance has become a national story, with no sign of Ms Clay or Mr Russell since the investigation began.
Police say they are yet to fully determine if their disappearance is suspicious.
Mr Hill left his Drouin home on March 19 and collected Ms Clay from her home in Pakenham in his white Toyota Landcruiser.
He was last heard from on March 20 via HF radio stating he was at Wonnangatta Valley in the Victorian Alps when he made the call.
Ms Clay told friends she was heading away and was expecting to return home on March 28 or 29.
Their campsite was found burnt out with their mobile phones gone.
Mr Hill’s DJI Mavic drone was also missing and has not been found.
Ms Clay and Mr Hill were not married but are understood to have been in a relationship for some 20 years and were high school sweethearts.
Ms Clay was divorced but Mr Hill was still married at the time the two went missing.
Mr Hill was an experienced camper with friends saying he understood the rugged terrain of the area and would never wander into the dense bushland.
Det Insp Stamper said the families of the pair had suffered greatly over the last 12 months and wanted answers.
“The grief that these families have had to deal with over the past year, coupled with immense public speculation, is immensely difficult to comprehend.
“We will not give up on the possibility that we can give those families the answers they need – but we cannot do this without the public’s help.”