Ray Speechley still missing one year on

Friday, July 7 was the one-year anniversary of when Dalmeny man Ray Speechley went missing on the Princes Highway after leaving the nearby IRT aged care facility.

Mr Speechley was suffering from Alzheimer's disease but had only been placed in care temporarily for respite while his wife Jan took a break. 

Even though have been no new leads as to his whereabouts, his family and wife Jan have not given up hope.

“We will never stop looking for him and never stop loving him,” said Mrs Speechley, who has now moved to Wollongong to be closer to other family members.

Wollongong is also where the family suspect Ray may have been trying walk to once he got out of the aged care facility, as they used to live there and he often mentioned it.

There has been nobody come forward in relation to the red or maroon car, possibly a Honda Accord, seen stopped on the highway where Mr Speechley was last seen.

The weather that Thursday and the following few days was horrendous with cold and rainy conditions.

The retirement home at Dalmeny operated by IRT following the incident has improved its facility in an effort to prevent other elderly patients with dementia from escaping.

A memorial cross to missing man Ray Speechley built by the Narooma Men's Shed has been erected on the Princes Highway at Dalmeny, near where he was last seen on July 7, 2016. 

His daughter Nikii Smith also continues to do everything she can from her home at Musswelbrook, including running the Help Find Ray Speechley Facebook page.

Ms Smith is also working with the new Sydney Search Dogs group, which is training a human remains search dog named Rufus.

Rufus and his handlers came down to the Narooma area on the June long weekend and did a preliminary search of bushland west of the Princes Highway at Dalmeny where Ray was last seen.

“It’s like looking for a needle in 10,000 haystacks but we’ve got to keep going,” she said.

The dog is still in training and would be back to do a more thorough search in upcoming months, she said.

She had also organised her own volunteer searches in October and again in December, involving up to 20 volunteers and plans to do more searches in the coming year, with or without Rufus.

“It’s a Catch 22 situation because the police won’t organise another search until there is a new lead, but we won’t get any new leads unless we do a search,” she said.

Anyone who has any information about Mr Speechley can contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or Batemans Bay police on 4472 0099.  

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This story Ray Speechley still missing one year on first appeared on Narooma News.

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