Above - Ray Speechley's wife Jan can be seen standing next to her car on the left, while the car that stopped and possibly chatted with Ray is on the right.
IRT has joined the appeal to help find missing 77-year-old man Raymond Speechley.
Mr Speechley climbed two fences to leave an IRT retirement village at Dalmeny on the Far South Coast last Thursday, according to the aged care provider.
Police suspect he may have tried to get a lift with a passing motorist to Wollongong.
Mr Speechley had worked in the area as a boilermaker and professional fisherman, and played local competitive rugby.
He is described as being of Caucasian appearance, about 175cm tall, of medium build with grey hair and blue eyes, and was last seen wearing jeans and a dark jacket with a pyjama top underneath.
"Everyone at IRT is deeply concerned that Mr Speechley has not yet been found,’’ CEO IRT Care Craig Hamer said.
"We join police in asking members of the Wollongong public to remain vigilant and report any potential sightings of Mr Speechley to local police on 4472 0099 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
"Ray is a much-loved husband, father and grandfather and we continue to hope and pray for his safe return," Mr Hamer said.
Police were alerted after he left the home and couldn’t be located or contacted.
The disappearance prompted an extensive land of air search of the area, carried out by members of the Volunteer Rescue Association, State Emergency Service, Rural Fire Service and Westpac Lifesaver helicopter.
“Serious concerns are held for Mr Speechley’s welfare due to a medical condition
and the inclement weather in the area,” police said in a statement.
Police have been told a man similar in description to Mr Speechley was seen on the Princes Highway, Dalmeny, shortly after 4pm on Thursday.
A red vehicle was stopped nearby.
Inquiries have also revealed Mr Speechley may have attempted to make the 260km journey from Dalmeny to the Wollongong area.
“Mr Speechly [sic] has ties to the Wollongong area and may have made his way to the area. He is a keen fisherman and may frequent local fishing spots,” a post on the Illawarra Police Rescue Squad’s Facebook page, on Friday night, said.
“Police are appealing for anyone who was travelling north on the Princes Highway through Dalmeny at that time [about 4pm on Thursday] that may have picked up a man fitting the description of Mr Speechley, to contact police,” the NSW Police statement said.
Police also want anyone who may have seen a man fitting Mr Speechley’s description on the Princes Highway at Dalmeny to contact Batemans Bay Police Station on 4472 0099 or via Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000.
Police have released an image of a car that might have information on missing South Coast grandfather Ray Speechley.
The 77-year-old was last seen at IRT’s Dalmeny Care Centre on Ruth Place
last Thursday at 4pm.
Mr Speechley, a former boilermaker, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's about a year ago. He became a resident of IRT’s Dalmeny Care Centre on July 4 when his health declined.
He is described as being of Caucasian appearance, about 175cm 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.
Police have been told a man similar in description to Mr Speechley was seen on the Princes Highway, Dalmeny, shortly after 4pm on Thursday.
A red/maroon, four-door sedan, similar to a Honda Accord, was stopped nearby
and it is possible the driver might have seen Mr Speechley in the area.
Police are appealing for the driver of the car in the released image, and anyone who was travelling north on the Princes Highway through Dalmeny at that time that may have picked up a man fitting the description of Mr Speechley, to contact them.
Mr Speechley may have attempted to travel to the Wollongong area.
Anyone with information: Crime Stoppers, 1800 333 000.
The family of missing man Ray Speechley remains desperate for any answers, while
Narooma police on Sunday coordinated another search of bushland where he was
Three police officers and 10 local volunteers from the Narooma VRA rescue squad combed bushland west of the Princes Highway, but nothing was found in very difficult terrain and vegetation.
Ray’s daughter Nikkii Smith continued to make appeals on social media on behalf of the Speechley family.
She was keen to get the message out that the driver of a car seen with Ray at the time he went missing would not get into trouble, but just needed to be spoken to.
Nikki has also published the full photograph taken from video of the scene where
Ray was last seen on Thursday. Ray’s wife Jan can be seen standing next to her
car on the left, while the car that stopped and possibly chatted with Ray is on
“I know I have bombarded (Facebook) with photo after photo of dad and I'm sorry but I won't and can't stop now. It's so heartbreaking, and frustrating not knowing where he is, or if he is ok,” Nikkii posted on Facebook on Sunday. “It been 10 days since dad went missing. There has been no confirmed sighting of him since Thursday the 7th.
“We are searching over an area of approx 250km and at this stage relying on one person in a red vehicle who may or may not have picked dad up to contact the police, the wait is agonising. We just hope that somehow someway we find dad and can bring him home.”
Police last week released images of that vehicle they believe Ray may have received a lift in and are appealing for the driver to come forward, as the search for the man continues.
Raymond Speechley, aged 77, was last seen about 4pm last Thursday, July 7 at the IRT Dalmeny retirement home in Ruth Place, Dalmeny. He was staying at the home for respite and does have Alzheimer’s.
Police have been told a person was seen on the Princes Highway at Dalmeny,
shortly after 4pm on July 7, leaning into a red/maroon, four door sedan, similar
to a Honda Accord.
The vehicle was seen stopped south of the timber mill at Dalmeny facing a northerly direction. When the witness returned to the location the vehicle was seen to head north on the Princes highway with the person in the vehicle. This location was in the vicinity of where Mr Speechley was last sighted.
Police said information indicates that Mr Speechley might have attempted to travel to the Wollongong area. The images of the vehicle were taken at 4.41pm on July 7, by a passing motorist.
Police are urging anyone with information in relation to this incident to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or the Narooma police on 4476 2044.
Police as part of National Missing Persons Week are renewing appeals for public assistance to help locate an elderly man suffering from Alzheimer’s who went missing from Dalmeny last month.
Raymond Speechley, aged 77, was last seen at the IRT Dalmeny retirement home on Ruth Place about 4pm Thursday, July 7.
He is described as being of Caucasian appearance, approximately 175cm tall, of medium build with grey hair and blue eyes. He was last seen wearing jeans, a dark jacket with a pyjama top underneath.
In addition, a vehicle may have stopped to assist Mr Speechley at the time and police are appealing for the driver to come forward.
Police have been told a person was seen on the Princes Highway at Dalmeny, shortly after 4pm leaning into a red/maroon, four door sedan, similar to a Honda Accord.
The vehicle was seen stopped south of the timber mill at Dalmeny facing a northerly direction. When the witness returned to the location the vehicle was seen to head north on the Princes Highway with the person in the vehicle. This location was in the vicinity of where Mr Speechley was last sighted.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Batemans Bay Police Station on 4472 0099 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Mr Speechley’s family is also continuing its efforts with continued social media posts and posters around the area. His daughter Nikii Smith said they just wanted to speak to anyone who saw Ray on the highway or knows where he is.
“We are stressing if someone is looking after him that they won't be in any trouble,” she said.
Jan Speechley goes to sleep each night looking at a hand-drawn picture of her husband Ray’s face. In the morning it’s the first thing she sees.
She eyes up Ray’s likeness with frustration sometimes; other
days she has only tenderness for him. Always - for more than a
year now - she asks him the same question: “where are you?”.
Mrs Speechley was 16 years old when her path crossed Ray’s at TAFE’s West Wollongong campus, where she was studying to become a stenographer and he, a boilermaker.
At 18 they went to the same dance, before she let him walk her home to her Narooma door. They were married at age 19 and spent 57 years, nine months and 10 days together, until the day Ray scaled two fences to get clear of a South Coast nursing home, made it to the Princes Highway, and vanished.
Now Mrs Speechley, 78, must live without Ray. She has collapsed
a few times from the stress of his disappearance. Recently she
sold the South Coast home they had shared, with its views of the
ocean, and moved to a more modest house in Albion Park so she
could be close to her Illawarra-based son and grandchildren.
Once the fog of her early shock lifted, it all seemed so
avoidable. Ray had changed with Alzheimer’s, but she had only
placed him in the home – an IRT facility – for temporary
respite. She had visited him about an hour before he
Despite the above-and-beyond effort of individual local
officers, she questions why the NSW Police Dog Unit wasn’t
brought in, in the immediate aftermath of her husband’s
vanishing. She says it was a month before two police dogs – one
of them a cadaver dog - searched the bush near where Ray was
“They did have SES and some firefighters searching (initially),
but it was nothing of the scale that at it was a month later.
Why wasn’t it done sooner?" Mrs Speechley said.
“For us as a family, it was wrong. Those first days are crucial, and that’s what we lost.”
In a short statement, a NSW Police spokeswoman cited “operational reasons” as cause for delaying the dog unit.
"There were a number of operational reasons the Dog Unit was not
called at the earlier time during this investigation and NSW
Police Force and other relevant parties have spoken to the
family of Mr Speechley directly about these reasons,” the
“The matter is now before the Coroner and NSW Police Force will
not be commenting further on the incident."
Alerted to her husband’s abscondment, Mrs Speechley was returning to the nursing home when she saw a red car parked in a strange position beside the highway. Something about it caught her eye, but there was nowhere to turn around. By the time she came back to it, the driver was pulling away with someone in the passenger seat. Could it have been Ray? The question plays on repeat.
“I beat myself up every day for not getting the number plate,” Mrs Speechley said.
The Speechleys have turned to the new not-for-profit Sydney
Search Dogs to carry out further searches of the area. Mrs
Speechley wonders if her husband could have gone into one of the
She knows in her heart that Ray is not alive. If he were, he would have made it back to her by now.
At night she hears him calling to her. She cannot sleep
sometimes because of it. She remembers their teenage courtship
– the dance, and how he walked two kilometres out of his way to
take her home that night, with her brother chaperoning. How they
traveled the world and made a family together.
“He was gorgeous, he was gentle, he was lovable. He was funny.
He was just lovely to look at,” Mrs Speechley said.
“Even to the end, he had a special way of looking at you, with a mischievous look on his face. He was just so special, to me anyway.”
“For it to end the way it did is heartbreaking. I just want to bring him home now, and put him to rest.”
An artist drew Ray’s picture as part of a campaign by the Missing Persons Advocacy Network – Unmissables – which aims to help jog the memories of the public and reignite interest in the missing.
Mrs Speechley keeps the picture close. Ray looks out from the frame, still a hint of mischief behind his eyes. He’s there for the sleepless nights and to ask until an answer comes: “where are you?”
Almost three years after a man went missing from his Far South Coast home, police have again released an image of a vehicle, and are appealing for the driver to come forward, as they continue to search for him.
Raymond Speechley, then aged 77, was last seen about 4pm on Thursday 7 July 2016, at a retirement home on Ruth Place, Dalmeny.
Police were alerted after he left the building and couldn’t be located or contacted.
A man similar in description to Mr Speechley was seen on the Princes Highway, Dalmeny, 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.
Since this time, a number of comprehensive bush searches have failed to locate Mr Speechley.
Mr Speechley is described as being of Caucasian appearance, about 175cm 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.
Mr Speechley’s family are desperate to identify his last known location.
The matter is set to be heard before the NSW Coroner in September 2019 and investigators are again appealing for public assistance.
In particular, police are asking the driver of the vehicle, anyone with information about the driver, or anyone who may have been travelling north on the Princes Highway through Dalmeny at that time who may have picked up a man fitting Mr Speechley’s description, or who may have seen someone pick up a man fitting Mr Speechley’s description, to contact them.
Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.
New South Wales Police say they plan to conduct a fresh search of bushland on the state's South Coast where a man is believed to have gone missing four years ago.
Ray Speechley was last seen leaving an aged care facility at Dalmeny, near Narooma, on July 7, 2016.
His wife Jan believes the then 77-year-old — who had dementia — had attempted to walk 10 minutes through bushland to his family home but became disoriented.
"He was trying to get to me," Mrs Speechley said.
"Ray and I were extremely close, we met at 18 and were married nearly 58 years."
A coronial inquest into his disappearance held in December 2019 determined it was likely Mr Speechley had died of hypothermia.
Mrs Speechley said she has struggled daily to find closure since he went missing.
"I was at the shop the other day and I saw this sweater on a man and that sweater was the same sweater Ray used to wear," she said.
"Just silly little things bring you back."
"He's the last thing I see when I go to sleep and usually the first thing I see when I wake up … he'll just never be forgotten."
The Coroner recommended that police coordinate and carry out recovery searches for the missing man's remains, utilising a cadaver dog.
Police are now renewing their appeal for help from the public for information to help determine his whereabouts.
"One item of interest is a report of a cherry red coloured four-door sedan that was seen pulled up on the highway at about 4:30pm that afternoon, not far from where Mr Speechley was last seen on the Princes Highway," South Coast Police Superintendent Greg Moore said.
"An aspect of this latest investigation is a fresh bush search in an area that we've identified may hold some leads for us," he said.
Superintendent Moore said the force was determined to provide some answers for Mr Speechley's mourning family.
Mr Speechley was described as being of Caucasian appearance, approximately 175cm tall, of medium build with grey hair and blue eyes.
According to police, he was last seen wearing jeans and a dark jacket with a pyjama top underneath.
The new investigation into his disappearance coincides with National Missing Person's Week.
Nikii Smith hoped the inquest into her father Ray Speechley's
disappearance would bring some closure - but that's unlikely
unless another official search is undertaken.
Ms Smith supports the coroner's recommendations that
another, more thorough, search be undertaken with more
resources - and hopes police will too.
However, the coroner's report shows NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller was resistant to another search.
Over three days, from September 9-12, the inquest looked
into the disappearance and suspected death of Mr Speechley
On December 6, coroner Elaine Truscott released her finding
that the 76-year-old dementia sufferer became lost in
bushland after scaling fences at a Dalmeny retirement
facility, hoping to return home to his wife.
He was never found.
The inquest determined Mr Speechley died of hypothermia in bushland west of the Princes Highway, north of the Dalmeny turnoff, some time between July 8-10, 2016.
The coroner found the South Coast should consider having dedicated general purpose, air scent and cadaver dogs available.
She also found that South Coast and ACT police should consider having emergency liaison procedures.
Importantly, she urged police consider that all land search operations for missing persons should continue for three days beyond the maximum survival period.
They should also conduct another, more thorough search of certain areas, using a fit-for-purpose cadaver dog.
However, according to the coroner's report, police were
unconvinced it would help: "In relation to carrying out a
further search with a cadaver dog, (the Commissioner) says
there is no evidence that a cadaver dog would locate remains
of this age, there is no evidence that there is a fit for
purpose dog, there is no evidence identifying it would be
reasonable to conduct another search of the same area where
a search has already been conducted."
Ms Smith said that view was "weird, untrue and misleading". She said
cadaver dogs could find bodies up to 50 years old.
She referred to the case of William Tyrell who disappeared aged three in 2014.
"Why did they send a dog out for William Tyrell's case
earlier this year - which is five years old?" she said.
The authorities have six months to respond to the findings.
Ms Smith and supporters have spent days searching with
drones and civilian search dogs.
She fears the commissioner won't act on the findings.
"We were on our own, doing our own searches, and we are still going to be," she said.
She said the other recommendations were crucial.
"They are so important for everybody on the Far South Coast," she said.
"To have a dog unit and an extra three days to search would help so many families."
She won't stop working to bring her father home.
"At least I can sit and talk to my grandfather at his plaque at the cemetery - you can touch it with your fingers and I know he is there," she said.
"But with dad - there is nothing. My heart feels like it's going to break."