NATIONAL MISSING PERSONS WEEK 2020
The investigation into the mysterious disappearance of an elderly man from Dalmeny four years is being renewed as part of this year’s Missing Persons Week.
Ray Speechley, then aged 76, was last seen at an aged care facility at Ruth Place, Dalmeny, at about 4:00 pm on 7 July 2016.
Officers from South Coast Police District, then the Far South Coast Local Area Command, launched an extensive search of the area with assistance from the Volunteer Rescue Association.
Police were informed a man, similar in description to Mr Speechley, was seen on the Princes Highway, Dalmeny, at about the same time Mr Speechley left the retirement home.
About half an hour later, a red/maroon four-door sedan, similar to a Honda Accord, was seen stopped on the side of the Princes Highway around 700 metres north of where the man was sighted.
A public appeal was launched to locate the driver of the vehicle, but to date, no one has come forward.
Mr Speechley is described as being of Caucasian appearance, approximately 175 cm tall, of medium build with grey hair and blue eyes.
He was last seen wearing jeans and a dark jacket with a pyjama top underneath.
Since the time of his disappearance, a number of comprehensive bush searches have failed to locate Mr Speechley.
Serious concerns were held for Mr Speechley’s welfare due to a medical condition and the inclement weather in the area at the time of his disappearance.
In December 2019, a coronial inquest found that it was likely Mr Speechley had died of hypothermia in bushland near the aged care facility he left.
The Coroner recommended that police coordinate and carry out recovery searches for the missing man’s remains, utilising a cadaver dog.
South Coast Police District Commander, Superintendent Greg Moore, said a search is planned in the coming weeks.
“We have taken the expert advice of our investigators and recommendations of the Coroner on board and will be conducting a land search, in the area near where Mr Speechley was last sighted, on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 August,” Supt Moore said.
Anyone with information about Mr Speechley’s disappearance is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. Information is treated in strict confidence.
Missing Persons Week is an annual national campaign to raise awareness of the issues and impacts surrounding missing persons and runs from 2 to 8 August.
The AFP’s coordinator of the National Missing Persons Coordination Centre, Jodie McEwan, said she hopes the initiative gives both families and investigators answers to long-held questions, as well as provide the community with insight into the unresolved grief and loss felt by the loved ones of missing persons.
“In telling the stories of these missing people via social media, outdoor advertising spaces and traditional media, we hope to draw out new leads and piece together these sad and enduring puzzles,” Ms McEwan said.
“These are real people, with hobbies and dreams, who continue to live in the memories of those left behind. They are more than just statistics or photos on a missing persons’ poster.
“We hope the community connects with these stories and if you have any piece of information, no matter how small, please contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.”
You can find more information on the campaign on the Missing Persons website.