Police are appealing for anyone who may have seen Ruth Ridley, 58, to come forward as they hunt for her body.  Ruth Ridley has been missing for more than a week. The 58-year-old’s last known sighting was at a supermarket in the Albury area.Ruth Ridley, 58, went missing in October, 2019 and is believed to have murdered by her husband Gary. Police have set up a strike force as they continue investigating the disappearance of NSW woman Ruth Ridley who they fear may have been killed in a “domestic violence incident”.Ruth Ridley’s son reported her missing on October 30, 2019. Picture: Facebook

Police were looking for Ms Ridley’s Pajero.Gary Ridley was found dead last week.The last photograph Ruth Ridley took of her husband Gary hours before she disappeared. Picture: NSW Police

The last known sighting of Gary Ridley, 61, at the Tumbarumba Petrol Station at 6:30pm on October 27, 2019.

The last known sighting of Gary Ridley, 61, at the Tumbarumba Petrol Station at 6:30pm on October 27, 2019.

Gary and Ruth Ridley at an Albury supermarket on October 25, 2019.

Gary and Ruth Ridley at an Albury supermarket on October 25, 2019.

A still image from a video Ruth Ridley took of Gary Ridley fishing at Neils Bend Reserve. Police suspect she was murdered hours later.

A still image from a video Ruth Ridley took of Gary Ridley fishing at Neils Bend Reserve. Police suspect she was murdered hours later.



Missing since: 
Wednesday, October 30, 2019
Last seen: 
Responsible jurisdiction: 
Year of birth: 


Police believe Ruth Ridley, aged 58, travelled from her home in Port Macquarie NSW to Tumbarumba in the Riverina region on Friday 18 October 2019.

Police believe that Mrs Ridley may have been travelling in a dark blue Mitsubishi Pajero towing a white caravan, heading towards camping and fishing spots along the Murray River, particularly near Jingellic on the NSW and VIC border.

Police continue search for Ruth Ridley a week after family files missing person’s report

Days after Ruth Ridley was reported missing, police found her estranged husband dead. Now the investigation has taken a dark turn.

It’s been a week since beloved grandma Ruth Ridley was reported missing by her distressed family, and fears only continue to grow about the 58-year-old’s welfare.

Ms Ridley left her home in Port Macquarie, on the NSW Central Coast, on October 18 and travelled to Tumbarumba in the state’s southwest to visit her estranged husband Gary and their children.

Ms Ridley had made the trip south to collect some of her belongings from her husband’s house, also visiting her son Steven and his children.

The Daily Telegraphreported the couple had taken out apprehended violence orders against each other before Ms Ridley moved hours away from her husband.

Steven has been active on social media, replying to people on the Facebook appeals put out by NSW Police to hopefully bring Ms Ridley home safe.

“We all are holding out hope for mum to be found one way or another for some sort of closure,” he said.

But in a horrific twist earlier this week, police confirmed they had found Ms Ridley’s estranged husband Gary dead in a 4WD near the border of NSW and Victoria.

Police had previously issued an appeal to find Ms Ridley’s vehicle — a dark blue Mitsubishi Pajero.

Officers found the caravan she was towing in Tumbarumba on October 30, the day her family contacted authorities.


And yesterday, police confirmed they had found the Pajero on October 29 with the body of 61-year-old Mr Ridley inside.

On October 27, Mr Ridley was caught on CCTV filling up his wife’s car with petrol in Tumbarumba, and three days before that, Ms Ridley was seen at a supermarket in Albury on the NSW-Victorian border.

Police are now widening their appeal in the hope of finding Ms Ridley, asking for campers who stayed at Neil’s Reserve near Walwa on the Murray River on October 26 and 27 to come forward.

They also want to speak to anyone who saw the Pajero towing the caravan between Walwa and Tumbarumba on October 27.

Ms Ridley is described as being caucasian in appearance, about 175cm tall, with a thin build, fair complexion and blonde hair.

Earlier, a crime scene relating to Mr Ridley’s death was established by Victorian Police who are leading the investigation into the circumstances of his death.

A post-mortem examination will be conducted to determine the cause of death.

Ms Ridley’s social media is filled with pictures of her children and grandchildren.

Her family has also been active on Facebook, calling for people to help share their appeals.

“We’re very worried about Ruth Ridley, so too is her family, that’s why our detectives are investigating this matter,” Detective Inspector Adrian Telfer told reporters yesterday.

“Obviously her family are extremely concerned about her and that’s what we’re dealing with today.”

Insp Telfer said the last sighting of Ms Ridley was at the supermarket in the Albury area, leaving days between her last known whereabouts and her husband’s death.

“That is the last time we can confirm her whereabouts,” he said.

“We are still appealing for anyone in the Riverina or wider community, including Victoria, if you have any information as to where she is or if you have seen her since the 24th of October to please come forward.

“What we do believe is that there was Ms Ridley’s vehicle and a white caravan at Neil’s Reserve, about seven kilometres east of the Walwa.

“We are appealing for anyone who was camping … to please come forward, we’d like to speak to you.

“Specifically, if anyone in that area has any dashcam footage to please come forward.”


Police fear missing woman Ruth Ridley died as a victim of domestic violence

Mrs Ridley was reported missing in NSW on Wednesday, October 30.

Police hold grave fears for her safety and suspect she may be the victim of a domestic violence incident that has resulted in her death.

Ruth is described as 58 years of age, Caucasian, about 175cm tall with a medium build, fair complexion and blonde hair.

Police believe Mrs Ridley travelled from Tumbarumba to Neils Bend Murray River Reserve or the Walwa area on Saturday, October 26 in the company of her husband, Gary Ridley, in a dark blue Mitsubishi Pajero, towing a Jayco Sterling Caravan.

The Pajero was located near the Shelley - Walwa Road, Shelley in Victoria, a few days later with the body Gary Ridley inside.

Victoria Police are investigating that death and are assisting NSW Police with their inquiries into Mrs Ridley's disappearance.

Police are seeking information from anyone who may have been in the

vicinity of Neil's Bend Reserve or the Walwa area in Victoria on the Murray River between October 26-28.

Police would like to hear from anyone who may have seen Ruth or Gary Ridley camped in the area during that period.

Police are also keen to hear from anyone who may have sighted the dark blue Mitsubishi Pajero, with or without the caravan attached over the same time period of the 26 to 28 October 2019.

Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Police work to explain death of husband of missing gran

Police are awaiting toxicology reports to explain the death of the estranged husband of missing grandmother Ruth Ridley, who they fear was killed in a “domestic violence incident”.

Police believe the husband of missing grandmother Ruth Ridley suicided in the car he was found slumped in after taking her life, as they renew appeals for witnesses in the hunt for her body.

Detective Acting Inspector Brent Fletcher appealed for anyone who saw former policeman Gary Ridley driving a dark blue Mitsubishi Pajero towing a Jayco Sterling Caravan, around the Murray River between October 26 and 28.

Officers have established Strike Force Alysse to investigate her disappearance almost five weeks ago in the Murray River border area with Victoria.

“It’s looking like Gary took his own life in his own car, we’re still awaiting results of toxicology reports to confirm exactly how he died,” Acting Detective Inspector Fletcher said.

“It’s very sad and upsetting for the family, the children have been coming to terms with what has happened to both their parents, it’s very tragic.”

Police have for weeks held grave fears for Mrs Ridley, whom they believe was the victim of domestic violence that has resulted in her death.


The search for her body has been hampered by the hilly and desolate landscape surrounding the Murray River.

The religious 58-year-old was reported missing by her son when she and her estranged husband, from whom she had split four weeks earlier, failed to make contact for several days. They were holidaying in the region in a bid to reconcile their differences.

Detectives are now working on the theory Gary, 61, killed her before taking his own life.

Both had taken out AVOs against each other in recent weeks.

Gary was found dead on the morning of Wednesday, October 30, in his wife’s blue Mitsubishi Pajero, abandoned on a dirt track on Shelley Rd at Walwa, Victoria — just across the NSW-Victorian border.

A motorist driving past saw him slumped over the steering wheel and raised the alarm.

Detectives have failed to electronically track Mrs Ridley’s movements because of the scarcity of mobile phone masts around the barren landscape.

Police are continuing to interview family and friends in a bid to establish the nature of the couple’s relationship in the weeks before they agreed to meet in Tumbarumba for a camping trip to work through their differences.

Mrs Ridley is described as 58 years of age, caucasian, about 175cm tall with a medium build, fair complexion and blonde hair.

Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.


Police are seeking the help of a couple from the state's south over the disappearance of Ruth Ridley of Port Macquarie

Police are seeking the help of a couple from the state's south who may be able to assist with information regarding the disappearance of Ruth Ridley.

In November, detectives attached to Riverina Police District established Strike Force Alysse to investigate the disappearance of the 58-year-old Port Macquarie woman.

As investigations continue, police are seeking the help of two people who may have been camping in the Neils Bend Murray River Nature Reserve on Tuesday, October 22.

The two people, believed to be aged in their late 50s to 60s, may reside in the Tumbarumba area and possibly drive a 100 series Toyota Landcruiser or similar vehicle. They have been described as having a dual axle caravan with distinctive yellow s-core pig-tail gas lines on twin gas bottles mounted on the caravan A-frame.

Police believe the couple intended to camp at Neils Bend for the week and may have been in the area on the October 26-27, when it is believed the missing woman was camping there with her estranged husband, Gary Ridley.

Police would like to hear from the couple or anyone who may know their identity as they may be able to assist with the investigation.

Police believe Mrs Ridley travelled from her home in Port Macquarie to Tumbarumba where her estranged husband lives on Friday, October 18 in a dark blue Mitsubishi Pajero.

The Pajero was found in Shelley, Victoria, 86 kilometres away on Tuesday, October 29 with the body of her 61-year-old estranged husband inside.

A crime scene was established by Victorian Police who are leading the investigation into the circumstances of his death. A post-mortem examination will be conducted to determine the cause of death.

The caravan was located the next day in Tumbarumba.

Anyone with information should contact CrimeStoppers on 1800 333 00 or Strike Force Alysse Detectives on 6947 7119.

Desperate search for Ruth Ridley, who is missing and feared dead

To most, Ruth Ridley was a bubbly, doting grandmother in a happy marriage. But for almost 40 years she was manipulated and abused by a man who refused to let her go. Now police are searching for her body.

On the dining table, Gary Ridley left what looked like a friendly note for his son Steven, explaining he had changed the gas bottle over and switched off the water.

But the last line hinted at the pain and suffering he was about to inflict on his family: “Look after yourself, everything will be OK in the long run. Love Dad.”

Less than 24 hours later, Steven would discover his father was dead, lying in the reclined driver’s seat of a 4WD. Worse, their mother Ruth Ridley, 58, had vanished in a remote pocket of southwest NSW.

While it will fall to a coroner to rule what happened, police strongly believe Gary murdered his former teenage sweetheart and then killed himself in a final, bitter act.

Mr Ridley, a former Queensland Police officer, not only robbed his three children of their mother but their ability to farewell her.

He disabled his and Ruth’s mobile phones in a crude but effective fashion that prevented police from tracking his movements, which investigators assumed was with Mrs Ridley’s body, across kilometres of remote countryside.


Seven weeks later and police are still grappling with a huge geographical area in which Mr Ridley could have dumped his wife’s body and no idea where to start searching.

“It would be like searching from Cronulla to Gosford,” Riverina Police District crime manager Detective Inspector Adrian Telfer said.

Mrs Ridley’s disappearance on October 26 followed more than 40 years of a relationship that was overshadowed by domestic violence.

Incidents of abuse dated back to the 2000s, when the couple were living in Queensland and after Mr Ridley left his job as a plain clothes investigator with the Criminal Investigation Branch in Gympie years earlier.

Even at the time he died in October, there was an outstanding warrant out for his arrest for assaulting a security guard at his wife’s work function in 2000.

While former acquaintances said Mr Ridley seemed like a “gentle giant”, his interactions with police showed he had a propensity to explode at his wife and sometimes his neighbours.

By contrast Mrs Ridley was a vivacious, caring woman who was proudly religious and could light up a room.

Nicknamed the “morning tea queen” by friends from her church in Tumbarumba, Mrs Ridley was the kind of woman who baked scones for visitors and wrote heartwarming notes to friends.

“It was hard not to love her,” best friend Marion Bremner said.

“They both wore masks but he hid it very well.”

Mrs Bremner was one of the few people Mrs Ridley opened up to about her abusive relationship and the fear that her husband would one day kill her.

The last time Mrs Bremner spoke to Mrs Ridley, who had moved to Port Macquarie several years ago to be close to her elderly mother, was in August.

Alerted by a local doctor, police had taken out an apprehended violence order to protect Mrs Ridley from her husband.

Enraged, he fought back with his own AVO against Mrs Ridley and took off to Tumbarumba, where their son Steven and his family lived.

“Ruth called me upset and said Gary had threatened to kill her and told her how he would do it,” Mrs Bremner said.

“He told her he’d put her somewhere no one would ever find her.”

Earlier in the year, Mrs Ridley had told Mrs Bremner that she feared: “Gary is going to kill me one day” and: “I wished he would do it already so I can go to heaven”.

It wasn’t the first time Mrs Ridley had tried to leave her husband.

In 2005, Tumbarumba police confronted Mr Ridley at his home after officers went over to help collect his wife’s belongings.

A church minister also once helped Mrs Ridley with emergency accommodation.

In a haunting diary entry, seized by police investigating her disappearance, Mrs Ridley asked God “for the strength” not to go back to the man she met as a 16-year-old.

After the AVO in August, Mrs Ridley appeared to find that strength.

“She was moving on with her life and she had a cruise booked this month and she was really starting a life for herself,” son Nathan Ridley said.

This was despite emails from her estranged husband, who claimed to have found God and reminded her that the Bible urged forgiveness.

“It is a pattern we see in domestic violence, that one person is going to change and things will be different,” Detective Senior Constable Michael Parker, the officer in charge, said.

“But it doesn’t and unfortunately it gets worse.”

Nathan said his mother returned to Tumbarumba on October 18 not to rekindle the relationship but to pack up her things and take them back to Port Macquarie.

“She was trying to start her life fresh but basically she was guilted by Gary into going down there for (her grandson’s) birthday.”

Nathan, who lives in Victoria, urged his mother to completely cut ties with his father after hearing he had tried to choke her several months ago.

Police also believe Mrs Ridley intended to return to the Mid North Coast as she’d booked a cruise with a girlfriend and purchased a new dress for her friend’s upcoming 70th birthday.

But, for reasons unknown, on October 26, Mr and Mrs Ridley jumped in her dark blue Mitsubishi Pajero, with a campervan on the back, and headed to Neils Bend Reserve on the NSW border.

Nathan suspects the only way Mr Ridley convinced his mother to go camping alone was assuring her other members of their family would be there.

“I believe dad made up a lie to get her down there,” he said.

At 6.30pm, Mrs Ridley recorded a video of Mr Ridley reeling in a large cod from the river and sent it to her daughter-in-law. At 10pm she tried to log into Netflix.

The next morning, about 7.30, both Mr Ridley and Mrs Ridley’s phones were disabled.

At the request of investigators, The Sunday Telegraph has agreed not to reveal how they suspect Mr Ridley did this.

“I believe it's been done to stop us being able to locate the phone and for us to stop tracking his movements in terms of what he has done with Ruth,” Det Insp Telfer.

Without finding Mrs Ridley’s body, it is impossible to know for certain how she died.

But, based on chilling admissions Ms Ridley made to friends about her husband strangling her to the point of passing out, police think they have a pretty good idea.

Later that day, Mr Ridley returned to the Tumbarumba home and told his son Steven that his mother was at Mrs Bremner’s house.

He noticed a mark on his father’s face but Mr Ridley brushed it off, claiming a tree branch hit him.

The two parted ways.

After struggling to get a hold of his parents, and finding the note, his mother’s handbag and medication in the kitchen, Stephen reported his mother missing at Tumbarumba Police Station on October 30

The first thing Senior Constable Peter Thomson did was knock on Mrs Bremner’s door.

“I told him she hadn’t been here for months,” Mrs Bremner claimed.

“Then I said she won’t be alive. That is what I believed in my heart.”

The investigation took another turn hours later when Victoria Police called Senior Constable Thomson to tell him they had found Mr Ridley’s body, lying in the front seat of his Pajero, parked at Pikes Dam in Victoria on October 29.

All indicators point to suicide.

Hidden under his seat were his and Mrs Ridley’s disabled mobile phones.

The hunt for Mrs Ridley’s remains has included searching the Murray River to Neils Bend Reserve, Pikes Dam and the family home.

There were no traces of blood or a struggle in the caravan or dirt to give police a rough idea of where to concentrate the search.


Detectives want to hear from anybody who might have spotted the dark blue Pajero with roof racks in the Riverina area on October 27 or October 28.

“We’ve got two objectives — to report to the coroner and find Ruth for her family,” Det Senior Constable Parker said.

Mrs Bremner recently travelled to Neils Bend and drove up and down dirt roads, hoping and dreading she’d find out what happened to her friend.

In her mind, Mr Ridley’s calculated attempt to cover his tracks was a final act of control.

“He would have got great pleasure from knowing she was out there in the bush somewhere and no one could find her,” she said.

“And that the family and people who loved her could not give her the funeral she deserved.”