Two friends missing in Victoria's high country after they set off on a camping trip together could be victims of misadventure.
The state's Missing Person Squad detectives and local police want public help to find Russell Hill, 74, and his friend Carol Clay, 73, who went missing in the Wonnangatta Valley area.
Mr Hill's family did not know he was going away with Ms Clay, but some of her family were aware.
Detective Inspector Andrew Stamper said on Wednesday given the treacherous terrain of the bushland in the valley, finding the two alive was unlikely.
"We still maintain some hope that could be the case, but the focus is on finding answers for the families," he told reporters.
Det Insp Stamper said there were no persons of interest in the disappearance, nor any evidence to suggest Ms Clay and Mr Hill eloped, but every avenue was being investigated including foul play.
He said anyone who may have been unlawfully hunting or shooting in the area under COVID-19 restrictions should come forward if they have any with information.
Mr Hill left his Drouin home on March 19 for a camping trip along the Dargo River in Victoria's northeast and planned to leave the region on March 26.
Ms Clay, meanwhile, had told friends she was going away for a few days and expected to be home by March 28 or 29.
The pair has not been heard from since March 20 when Mr Hill made radio contact from a cattle station in the valley in the Victorian Alps.
Mr Hill's car was found with minor fire damage at their burnt campsite on March 21, but an examination of the scene by arson chemists was inconclusive.
A drone owned by Mr Hill is also missing.
Both families released statements on Wednesday, thanking those involved in the search and calling for any witnesses to contact police.
"Russell is our brother, husband, dad and pa and Carol has been a friend of the family for a long time. It is devastating for our family that we don't know what has happened to them both," the family said.
Ms Clay's family said the pair's disappearance was an "absolute mystery" and very out of character.
"This is a very difficult time for our family. We are living with uncertainty, loss and the continual stress of not knowing where they are and what has happened," her family said.
There have been several searches for the pair and more are expected to happen over coming weeks.
Australian Associated Press