ON the 15th anniversary of her sister Janine Vaughan’s disappearance, Muswellbrook resident Kylie Spelde made an impassioned plea for answers – anything to give the family some closure.
However, almost two years later, she’s no closer to finding the truth… or what happened on that fateful night in December, 2001.
Mrs Vaughan, who grew up in Muswellbrook and went to school at Scone, ventured out with friends to a Bathurst nightclub.
After enjoying a night of drinking and dancing, she hopped into a vehicle.
And, the woman was never seen again.
Two police strike forces, a Police Integrity Commission inquiry and a coronial inquest all failed to provide any clues as to who was driving the car she got into – or what occurred next.
“We’re still in the dark,” Mrs Spelde said.
“But, with National Missing Persons Week upon us (August 5 to 11), I guess I’m living in hope that someone may remember something.
“I’m heading to Bathurst on Tuesday; and staying there a few days.
“We’ll lay some flowers in the area where Janine was last seen.
“Also, we’re hoping to meet locals [there] who might have some information to share.
“People can contact us via Facebook or #helpfindjaninevaughan.”
Mrs Spelde admits she finds it hard to believe the mystery’s never been solved.
“There’s security footage of Janine leaving the premises and witnesses indicated to police she got into the front passenger seat of a bright red four-door medium-size sedan similar to a Mitsubishi Magna or a Toyota Camry,” she said.
“Unfortunately, that’s where the trail ends. We’ve placed ads in papers and tried other things, without any luck. I want to find out what happened to Janine – I need to know.
“We always had a great time together, that’s my fondest memory. She loved life so much; and a lot of her family and friends still live in Muswellbrook.
“We have a plaque in her memory at the town’s cemetery. It’s not the same, however, because you know no-one’s there.”
Mrs Spelde feels the police investigation was “botched from the start”.
“I have no problem saying that,” she explained.
“If it had of been handled better in the first place, we’d all be better off.
“There’s evidence to back me on that, too.
“Police have received numerous leads over the past 17 years, however nothing gets done.
“Others came forward, offering info, but none of them were ever questioned. Over time, people forget things, which make it harder. I also understand police had three POIs (persons of interest).
“So, why is it taking so long?
“To say I’m frustrated is an understatement. I, and my family, need closure. Janine’s disappearance has consumed me so much.
“It’s put a strain on relationships, as you don’t trust anyone, and torments me [and our family] every day. We want to heal our hearts.
“However, it’s hard when a piece of it is missing.”
The Muswellbrook Chronicle