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.
A still image from a video Ruth Ridley took of Gary Ridley fishing at Neils Bend
Reserve. Police suspect she was murdered hours later.
Wednesday, October 30, 2019
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
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.
Natalie Wolfe, news.com.au
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
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
“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
Ms Ridley’s social media is filled with pictures of her children and
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
“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
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
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
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”.
Danielle Gusmaroli, The Daily Telegraph
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
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
“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
Police have for weeks held grave fears for Mrs Ridley, whom they
believe was the victim of domestic violence that has resulted in her
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
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
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
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
The caravan was located the next day in Tumbarumba.
Anyone with information should contact CrimeStoppers on
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
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
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,
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
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
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
The next morning, about 7.30, both Mr Ridley and Mrs Ridley’s phones were
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
Without finding Mrs Ridley’s body, it is impossible to know for certain how she
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
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
“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
“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