Mystery of ex-cop found dead after ‘domestic 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.
QUEENSLAND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SERVICES