The brother of missing woman Janine Vaughan has welcomed a decision to renew an appeal for information into the disappearance of Bathurst teenager Jessica Small in 1997.
Adam Vaughan, formerly of Aberglasslyn, said the decision by NSW Homicide Squad detectives to renew their appeal for public assistance into Jessica’s disappearance is hopeful.
“Obviously Jessica’s case is close to my heart and this news offers hope that even after all these years anything can happen,” Mr Vaughan said.
Jessica, aged 15, was last seen about 12.35am on Sunday, October 26, 1997, in the Bathurst CBD.
Jessica and a female friend, also aged 15, had attended an amusement centre and afterward attempted to hitch-hike home. They entered a white Holden Commodore sedan driven by a man.
The man stopped the car and turned off the headlights before allegedly assaulting both girls and attempting to detain them.
The female friend managed to escape and then fled the scene before alerting nearby residents a short time later.
Jessica has not been seen or heard from since the incident.
Investigators believe a male who was present at the amusement centre on the night of Jessica’s disappearance might be able to provide information about the incident.
Investigators are asking for a witness, who had previously contacted Bathurst police anonymously, to again make contact with detectives.
The circumstances of Jessica’s disappearance are being investigated under Strike Force Carica II, which comprises detectives from the NSW Homicide Squad and was established in October 2007.
On December 7, 2002, Janine Mary Vaughan, then 31, also went missing from the central west city.
She was last seen entering a red vehicle in Keppel Street in the early hours of the morning.
An inquest into her disappearance found that Ms Vaughan was murdered by a person or persons unknown and her body disposed of in such a way that it had not been found.
Mr Vaughan travelled to the scene of his sister’s disappearance last year to launch his own investigation.
He has since returned to Bathurst, the impetus being an investigation into Jessica’s disappearance.
Mr Vaughan sees the news of Jessica’s appeal as an opportunity to again bring the story of his sister’s disappearance to the fore.
“Both Jessica’s and Janine’s cases are like a cloud over the town of Bathurst, but one day someone may have the courage to come forward with what they know. One day someone will talk,” he said.