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A family of missing Bethesda woman Janine Vaughn has made an emotional plea for information into her whereabouts with. I mean, this stuff has taught me for a long time.
It means I look like an. On a Wednesday afternoon, five days after Janene had disappeared, a member of the public spotted something lying on the ground, a sharp knife. There was blood and hair on the blade when police were alerted to the find. It led to an immediate visit to the scene. The entrance of a local nursing home in a suburb called Kelso. At this time, there was widespread public knowledge that police feared Geneen had been abducted and possibly murdered.
Police had been looking for her body with cadaver dogs and a helicopter, and searchers on foot had fanned out around Mount Panorama and in other locations since Monday. The discovery of a knife with blood on the blade was possibly a major breakthrough. It might be a murder weapon. Here's how Senior Constable Lisa Anderson would describe it. These are her words. It's not her voice.
About 350 6pm, I attended this location in company with Constable Kylie Holland. At this location, I confiscated a red handled knife which was located beside the exit driveway to the nursing home. I recall seeing blood and hair upon the knife blade from common practice. I would have retrieved the knife using rubber gloves and placed same in a paper or a plastic bag.
The possibility of DNA evidence was obvious. Then the officers took the knife back to the Bathurst police station. It needed to be formally logged and then subjected to forensic analysis. The police records that we've been examining show that the knife was logged in the miscellaneous property book Capital C eight six nine seven five three. I can see the knife in the photographs taken at the time. It's got a red handle and an imperfect blade, as if it's been slightly damaged.
Somehow it looks like a sharp kitchen knife, one that could do serious damage. At 450 ppm, the knife was handed to forensic crime scene expert Senior Sergeant Noel Payne. Detective Sergeant O'Donnell asked him to examine the knife because of the chance that it was related to the Vaughan case. At that time, detectives from Sydney were newly arrived in Bathurst as part of Strikeforce Toco, the newly minted name for the homicide investigation.
Police today revealed new developments that they hope may lead to a breakthrough in the case. These images of Janine Vaughan were taken by security cameras at the Metro Tavern just minutes before she disappeared in the early hours of Friday, December 7th. Bathurst police hope the footage may trigger someone's memory.
They also want to hear more from people who were at the tavern around closing time that morning or hoping that someone might recognize himself or some friend on the image and come forward to the police. They may hold the key to some further information.
That's the voice of Paul Jacob. He's a veteran detective now with experience in numerous murder probes involving Sydney's homicide squad. Jacob came from Sydney to Bathurst and he led the Janine Vaughan investigation when the trial was still fresh after leaving the tavern.
Janine Vaughan walked from George Street into Kepel, where she was seen getting into a car. While police are disappointed, they don't have answers for her distraught family. They aren't giving up from an operational investigative perspective, we are very happy that the team is working as hard as they can to get to the bottom of us. We just haven't got that break yet. Vanessa Fabris, Prime News.
Senior Sergeant Noel Payne, who photographed the knife in the station, made a number of precise notes about its appearance. These are his words from a police statement. It's not his voice.
There was an apparent blood standing on both sides of the blade, a group of apparent here that hit the blade near the handle. The blade was a single edged with a point or a tip slightly bent. There was a chip or dent in the edge of the blade near the tip.
Here's what should have happened next. The knife in its sealed bag should have been provided to police experts in forensics. The blade, the handle and everything else on the knife would have been carefully examined under laboratory conditions for fingerprints and DNA of a potential offender and a possible victim. The blood on the knife would have been compared with Jeanine's known blood type. The hairs on the knife would have been compared with the hairs from Janine's hairbrush that had been taken from her home in Rockit Street.
Now, here's what actually happened. Nothing. And then inexplicably, it was destroyed by police. The fact that a bloodstained knife found just five days after a woman's apparent abduction ended up being destroyed before any testing was conducted was and still is bizarre. But the destruction of the knife was not publicly disclosed for eight years. The circumstances surrounding the destruction of potential evidence came out. During a coronial inquiry in 2009, here's Detective Sergeant Peter McGlocklin cutting to the chase after explaining that the Bathurst police staff responsible for handling and disposing of miscellaneous property had destroyed the knife, apparently ignorant of the ongoing murder investigation by colleagues.
These are his words from a police statement. It's not his voice.
It appears conclusive that there's been no consultation between the Bathurst exhibits, the originals, the police officer, other investigators or the Bathurst crime scene unit. But the destruction of such property in opportunity has been lost for further forensic investigation into the current matter.
Janine's father, Ian Vaughn, could scarcely believe what had happened. He had developed a good rapport with Lisa Anderson, the senior constable who brought the knife back to the station. She'd had nothing to do with its destruction and described her as a rock of support. When he was in Bathurst and at the police station for interviews and updates, they'd have a cigarette and a cup of coffee together. Where is it? Ian asked. And then he answered his own question.
It's gone. Gone forever. It is impossible to know now whether the knife was the murder weapon or completely unrelated. But for some in Bathurst, the knife destruction in police custody would reinforce suspicions of a cover up to protect other police.
I don't understand why, you know, it wasn't sent away immediately for analysis. Why is it still sitting in the station in February?
Janine's sister, Kylie, is a tower of strength. Most days she works hard to contain her emotions. When we talk about Janine. Now we're talking about the knife to try to make sense of what happened to it. Peter Murphy has been studying the evidence about the knife, too, and he's sharing his view about whether it was a deliberate destruction because the knife was damning evidence in Jeanine's murder, which is Collie's suspicion or a colossal, almost unforgivable mistake.
This could be wholly unconnected with anything to do with Janine, but they could be the key.
But it also could be the case also could be like the whole investigation could have been solved.
And let's bear in mind in that respect that we've got what we'll call a confession from Mr Briggs nominating slicing Janine's throat as being the means by which he murdered her. So it's not fanciful to say that it could be connected with her murder.
So this is what it looks like and this is the indentations that I was telling you about that, you know, like if there is a body recovered at some point, you know, maybe they'll have that indentation where the knife on it or if the bone or these are official police photographs.
Yes, we agree. The knife might just might have been vitally important.
And the reason and this is clear from the internal police documents, the reason is police are concerned that knife is connected to your sister's abduction and probable murder. Yeah, I mean, we know right back then that the police were concerned they were dealing with foul play within hours of Janine disappearing. So then within five days of disappearing, they had this knife, but the knife disappears. In fact, it was destroyed while in police custody and it was destroyed in February of 2002.
So without two months been analyzed, no analysis photographed.
Yes, we can see the blade. We can see the handle measurements are taken. Even got a chip in it. Yeah.
Needs to be tested forensically, but nothing nothing happens and it's actually destroyed. And if that's the murder weapon prints, possible DNA from the killer have been destroyed as well.
Peter Murphy has been reading many witness statements about it. It's a complete mystery as to how something like this happens. This is, you know, murders. This is not the sort of south side of Chicago. Murders don't happen in Bathurst every day or every week. Just common sense would dictate that you would take the greatest possible care with it. And as to what happened to it, no one seems to know except that it was destroyed. How why was there any inquiries made of any active investigations before it was destroyed?
Was there any contact made with those who were investigating Jeanine's disappearance before it was destroyed? Doesn't seem so. The police immediately believed that it could be connected.
I mean, is it possible that the police investigating today's case, picking up a knife and bagging it because it might be connected to Jardines case, have actually destroyed the murder weapon?
Yeah, of course it is. Of course it is. Of course, that's possible. And it's equally possible that it may have nothing to do with Jeanine's disappearance or murder, but we don't know and we'll never know and can never know.
Kylie asked whether a police officer in Bathurst had identified the knife and organized its destruction to protect himself or a colleague.
That's the conspiracy over a cover up.
So could, you know, cock up Trump's conspiracy?
Almost always. I can see inefficiencies, I can see slackness, I can see things not being investigated. That should have been investigated at a much, much earlier stage. Yes. I can't see evidence of conspiracy.
Note the words evidence of conspiracy, incompetence, cockup in the absence of evidence to suggest this really was a wicked act by a cop to protect somebody. I find myself agreeing with Peter. The alternative is very dark.
You can turn left here and we'll just go back, right, if you like, at the church where Janine got married. I got married. Their first marriage I got married to. Kiley is pointing out pubs that she's performed in and the resting place of her grandparents in her hometown of Musselburgh. We've been to the arcade where Janine worked in the jewelry store and Kyly in the news agency, but the town has been doing it tough. Much of the retail has shut down.
The mines are hiring. Many fly in, fly out workers. Kylie's second husband, David, is an electrician at a major energy company. I asked Kylie if her first marriage was affected by Joleen's disappearance.
Yes, most definitely. You know, when you take a piece of someone's soul. There's no coming back and, you know, people used to say, oh, you could go back, I wouldn't call it coming back, you know, and I haven't gone anywhere. I'm still here. You know, I used to get so frustrated because I'm like, you know, I was the person that they'd invite to the parties because it's always party with all room.
I was always there to be the entertainment for the guests. I suppose I was found and always, always make people happy. And yeah. So, yeah, I definitely, definitely went missing the same night tonight. I felt like I couldn't continue on as that happy go lucky person because, you know. I mean, one just physically couldn't. Kylie's father, Ian Vaughn, started packing up his daughter's personal things at her home in Bathurst a few days before Christmas 2001.
He didn't know if Janine was alive or dead a fortnight after she got into a red car and disappeared into a rainy night. But local speculation about her fate was rife and grim. Ian hoped for a simpler, innocent explanation, maybe she'd just hit her head and suffered temporary memory loss and she'd breeze back into everyone's lives as if nothing had happened in you. Few people in Bathurst, a three hour drive from his hometown of Aberdeen near Muswellbrook, but he didn't need to have his finger on the local pulse to know that the community suspected the worst.
The grave looks on the faces of detectives and uniformed cops were unavoidable. As Ian went through Janine's belongings in her house in Rockit Street, he looked in a green bag in a wardrobe in her bedroom. There was a handwritten note inside the bag. Don't be scared of me. I don't want to hurt you. I just want to get to know you. I'll be in touch. Another note was brief. I've missed you. Janine's father read a third note.
It's not over. You found some handwritten notes in her wardrobe. You don't ask me where they are. Please take got time, I think. Can I show you copies of them? No, no.
I wondered why you'd found them. The only thing they took from the house then when she disappeared, I knew it was cold over in Bethesda. And I grabbed the jacket that I'd worn on the day of the grand final. And that's why I went to put it on one of her long blonde hair on the back.
So I went. When I went over there, I said to this, I can't think of his name. I can't think of it for love or money. And I said, I haven't touched this. And he said, don't worry. We got we got a hairbrush full of them.
So the only thing they took apparently was the hairbrush.
Not fingerprinted or anything? No, nothing. Not one utensil or anything.
Looks like he took those notes straight to the police when you found them. Yeah. Yeah. Well, I didn't know I thought any of these could be some sort of evidence. You know, when you're in a state like I was in, you don't think straight.
They're a bit creepy. That's nice, but I don't want to see him again.
Don't taken the stalking of Janine had started shortly after she went to Bathurst in 1998 to share her life with the man who had asked her to leave her family in her hometown of Muscle Brook to be with him. After the breakdown of her marriage, Janine had fallen in love with Phil Evans. The electrician doted on her. But police investigation records show that Janine was increasingly scared because of the unwanted attention she was receiving from someone else. There were strange telephone calls and heavy breathing down the line.
Handwritten notes had been put under the windscreen wiper of Janine's car and in the letterbox of the home she shared with Phil Evans. Sometimes, when the culprit had only a very brief opportunity, Janine believed she was being watched closely. One of the notes at her home came with a white flour, and it appeared to have been picked from her garden. A pair of black lacy panties size ten was left for her in a standard envelope. After each stalking event, she reported the facts to police.
It's important at this point to look at the case of another female in Bathurst who went missing after a stalking. Jessica Small and her friend Vanessa Connellan were thumbing a ride when they got into a man's white car. The 15 year old girls had been videogaming at the Amuse Me parlour a few hundred metres from where Janine subsequently disappeared. Jessica and Vanessa did not know the driver. They asked him to drop them at their friend's house, a short drive out of town.
As he drove, he asked if they had been enjoying playing pool and videogaming at Amuse Me. He had clearly been watching them. He must have gone to his car before they left. Amused me. He was driving slowly back and forth when they thumbed a ride. He drove the car in the direction of their friend's house. But then he slowed down and stopped beside a wire fence on a dark stretch of road. His hands went around Vanessa's throat and she screamed in terror.
Jessica opened the car's back door to try to escape. As the driver swung around in a bid to restrain Jessica, Vanessa broke free from the stranglehold. She ripped hair from her scalp to break his grasp, yelling and pleading for help. Vanessa ran ahead of Jessica. She didn't look back, but she knew Jessica was running and must be panicking, too. And hopefully not far behind. The lights were on in houses farther along the road and the girls ran towards them.
Good evening and welcome to sixty Minutes.
Vanessa reached safety as residents came out of their homes and onto the street. His 60 Minutes reporter, Alison Langdon with Vanessa in Bathurst, woman Faye Connors.
It's the night Vanessa will never forget she and her best friend, Jessica Small, both only fifteen. Were abducted from the main street of Bathurst. Vanessa breaks down as she thanks Faye, who opened her door on hearing the screams the last time these two women saw each other.
Vanessa was a terrified teenager banging on Fay's front door in the middle of the night.
She was just shaking, like very, very scared. I thought she was so scared that she might have even been going to be sick. It's very hard to understand because all she kept saying was, my friend, my friend, I need you to help me find my friend. And we didn't realize, like, what had happened, so we didn't know where her friend was.
If he didn't let me in that night, I probably would be. Yes.
Jessica must have been caught by her abductor in the seconds after fleeing the car. She was not seen again. The night driver sped off. The neighbors immediately called police, but the police response was woefully inadequate, given the seriousness of what had just unfolded. A girl was missing and every minute counted. There should have been roadblocks on highways and a significant manhunt. Instead, one car with two police officers drove around for a while that night with a traumatized Vanessa to see if she could spot the white car on the road.
You'd like to think that if they had a police there and got more cars out and more police out, that they would have been able to do a bit more.
In the 23 years since Jessica was abducted, her mother, Ricky, has thought of the many ways her daughter could have been murdered had things worked out for her quickly.
If I stayed like that. But I can't think or could entertain the ideas of. They locked up for days or held for days or tortured or I hate to go. It's a pretty dark place to be, a very dark place.
It is possible that there are connections with Jeanine's case. There's the case of teenager Michelle Bright, brutally murdered and sexually assaulted in the small town of Gulgong a little over an hour's drive from Bathurst. And there's the case of Michelle Mills last seen in nearby Mudgee, two girls aged 17 and 15 and two women, 31 and 39, murdered in four years from 1997 in a region with historically low female murder rates. Only one body that have Michelle Bright has been recovered.
The others are still out there. But in December 2001, as Ian Vaughn went through his daughter Jeanine's personal effects, he knew nothing about Jessica's case because even though Jessica, a teenager, was almost certainly murdered in circumstances where a credible witness in her friend Vanessa Connellan described a terrifying abduction. Police in Bathurst didn't take the case seriously, even though several people came forward to police to report hearing a girl's obvious piercing screams and terror and to report seeing a man restraining a girl in a car like the one described by Vanessa.
And even after police were told that this car looked highly suspicious, too, driven at speed along a little used dirt road at night with headlights off, Jessica's disappearance commanded relatively scant attention from Bathurst police in the four years leading up to Jeanine's probable murder and for several years afterwards. But in 2013, the deputy state coroner for New South Wales began an inquest which would hear from witnesses over three weeks. The deputy state coroner, Sharon Freund, concluded that Jessica Beth's small was abducted and murdered in her findings.
She sharply criticized the failures of police to properly investigate Jessica's murder, which by then was six years old.
This matter has unfortunately been complicated by the serious inadequacies of the initial investigation into Jessica's disappearance. It is, quite simply an indictment on those initial investigating detectives in the days and weeks following Jessica's abduction that their assumptions and prejudices compromised. The investigation caused immeasurable additional distress and hurt to the family of Jessica and may also have put other future lives at risk. It is hard to believe that so little was done by Bathurst police to investigate or take seriously Jessica's disappearance in the days, weeks and months which followed.
You heard earlier about the murder of 17 year old Michelle Bright in the small community of Gulgong in 1999, a few days after the release of the first episode of the night, driver, Michelle Bright's mother joined a top detective at a media conference in Sydney to plead for public help and reveal a one million dollar reward for information.
I'm Detective Superintendent Danny Doherty, commander of the Homicide Squad State Crime Command, and which may have got Michelle Bright's family with both the mum, Lorraine, Gregg and Brothers doesn't feel in my heart I am sure that someone knows who took Michelle's life. It has left us with immense pain, heartache. Dougherty is in charge of numerous murder investigations across New South Wales, including Janine Vaughn's murder in Bathurst, an hour from Gulgong.
We have lived with this for 21 years. And all I ask is that somebody, if they know something, to please come forward and give us the answers that we need. It's it's the most unbearable pain that we have to live with every day of our life. And we miss her so much. She was just the glue in our family. All I ask is, please, please just come forward to the detectives, to the Crime Stoppers and give us some release of a pint, because we need to know who did this to Michelle.
Initial inquiries revealed that Michelle was sexually assaulted prior to her death. And as part of the ongoing investigations into the review into this murder, we are looking at links to other sexual assaults of young women in the Gulgong area around the time that Michelle was murdered. She's never, ever coming home. We know that. But we want someone to be responsible for what they've done to us. That's what Michelle. One day after that plea by Michelle's mother, Lorraine, police swooped and arrested a man over the murder.
Here's Sydney radio broadcaster Ben Fordham.
Breaking news is very encouraging. New South Wales police have charged a man with the murder of Michelle Bright. And this is a cold case. On Monday, police upped the reward to a million dollars. Then last night, after 21 years, police arrested a 53 year old man and charged him with murder. Lorraine, good morning.
Oh, what, 21 years to hear this news.
So I suppose at the start of our next journey in our life, I can't believe it was only yesterday we were talking about this 21 year old cold case.
More tears in the last three days. And I've said it a lot time. I'd say something that they've heard my calls for help, hopefully. And this is where we're at now.
I want to play you the moment that Emma Partridge from Channel Nine confronted Craig Henry Rum's B as he was being led away by police.
Did you have anything to do with her death? No. Would you like to say anything to her family or her mother, Lorraine? I've known him for ages.
He was probably two houses down from us, so our kids went to school together. I'm just so pleased that we've had all the help from the media and they kicked us to get us where we are today.
It was February 27, 1999, and Lorraine was waiting on the driveway in the rain for her daughter to return from a party. She never came home. Her body was found in long grass three days later, and for 21 long years, Lorraine has been waiting for answers.
It is not suggested that the alleged killer of Michelle Bright has anything to do with Janine Vaughn's disappearance. But for Kylie Vaughan and the rest of Janine's family. News of this stunning development brought relief and great hope, hope that these old cold cases can still be solved. Kylie and Lorraine have forged a bond these past two decades, but it started in the months before Janine disappeared.
She started to build up a rapport with me and, you know, all of a sudden she was telling me about this daughter affairs that had been, you know, found murdered. And so it was a really, really sad at this at the start of our relationship. And then not long after, you know, her starting working with us at the RSL club, when I say that was my dad as well, my dad was working there at the same time and then obviously went missing.
Kylie's father, Ian, would often call Michelle's mother, Lorraine, on the phone and they'd talk about the loss of their daughters. They've supported each other over the years.
My dad has kept a relationship going with Lorraine all of these years, and he gave her a call on Monday when I told him about the reward money being raised. You know, we're all so excited for them. And today I've woken up and straight away it come up on my knees and I just it just blew me away. I was so excited and it sort of gave me that little bit of hope that with everything that you're doing headly, that maybe, you know, someone may come forward with something.
Can you give us a little bit of peace as well?
There's a community of deeply distressed families there, the living victims of the murder victims, and they're stronger for their ties and talking among themselves about their grief and their shared experiences and their hope that police never stop trying.
It is amazing after 21 years. And I think it just reinforces the point that these cases are still being closely investigated by detectives. And you shouldn't give up hope.
You know, they're clearly working on the same doing that the families are unaware of.
Let's return now to Janine Vaun. Stalking. There seemed to be a pattern in those incidents when Phil Evans was away from Bathurst four, sometimes five days at a time for his work as an electrician. The intimidation and stalking of Janine restarted. Janine suspected her pursuer was watching her, and he seemed to know when she would be alone and most vulnerable. Senior Constable John, I have now documented a concerning detail about the timing of one of the notes with the words, I don't want to hurt you.
Janine had parked her car at a barbecue chicken takeaway joint called Red Rooster for this police officer and the one who comes after him. These are their words, but not their voices. She was away from a vehicle for a short time, and upon returning, she discovered a note on a vehicle windscreen. The victim has no knowledge who may have left the note, but she believes it to be the same person who has made two unwanted telephone calls to her.
Janine told the police officer that she had parked about 550 5pm, went into the Red Rooster outlet and walked to her car a short time later to find the note. She drove home and received two telephone calls about 20 minutes apart. Another note, which was put there after a visit to the Red Rooster says Get rid of him or I will. You, too. Good for him. The stalker's demand begs several questions. Did Janine Stalker know her boyfriend, Phil Evans?
Did he know Janine through Phil? Is this how he knew when to leave his mark when Phil was away for work? After the more threatening note left on her car telling Janine to get rid of him, she went home and saw that the garage had been broken into. Phil was a car buff. Like many men in Bathurst who worshipped the Supercars and the racing at Mount Panorama in the garage at home, he enjoyed pulling apart and rebuilding car engines.
The stalker had come in and strewn Phil's engine parts across the garage floor. In the police files, there's a note written by Senior Constable Chris McGill.
Police believe the person of interest is someone close to the victims and has frequent contact with them. The victim's movements and work patterns are known, and the phone calls stopped when the trace on phone earlier was placed. Letter taken for fingerprinting.
A few weeks later, in December, again, when Janine was alone, there was another break in and fills things in. The garage were strewn about. It was as if the offender was becoming angrier, losing his composure. Some of Janine's jewellery pieces, yellow gold rings with diamonds, sapphires and emeralds were stolen with a coin tin and wrapped Christmas presents that were under the tree. I know from talking to Janine's former husband, Rodney Ether, in Musselburgh that she had a lot of anxiety about men who might hurt her.
Look, I'll I'll share something with you. That's where the airline. Not because it was. A year 10 party after year 10 finished and is a couple of guys that you went to school with that tried to attack her on that night and I don't know, but they didn't go through with the whole plan or what they were trying to do.
And that's always frighten the hell out of because these are people that she trusted. So I know that she'd be very she would not get in a car with someone that she didn't know. Hmm. I said that with the police. And when she told me, she said, you are the only person. The juveniles and, yeah, like Jeanine, sort of was frightened in any way it would bring on an emotional asthma that she had, she started hyperventilating and she'd have to be on the puffer so affected.
Actually, 15, 16 at the time, and she was describing it to you as an attempted rape. Yeah, to the point where they hold her down and. We're trying to get a close off, but it's like she just stopped and they ran, it made her realize that the bad that is out there and she would have known these guys and because she was the school and.
Yeah, Trusters is the fire station wouldn't have got into a car. Because it has left its imprint. The attempted sexual assault had made Ginnane permanently wary, but if you didn't know Janine's history, it's not inconceivable that you might wonder whether at least some of her anxiety was attention seeking. Another Janine in this case is Phil's sister, Janine Evans. In an early statement to police, Phil's sister described Janine Vaughan as bubbly, honest, friendly and outgoing. They got along really well.
When Janine first moved to Bathurst, they worked together in a sandwich shop that Phil's sister had bought in the town. These are her words. It's not her voice.
Sometime in 1998, when Janine was working for me, she told me that she'd received several harassing telephone calls. These calls would happen when she was in the shop by herself. The calls seemed to panic her. I remember I signed a consent for Telstra to monitor incoming calls to the shop. I did not believe that Janine was receiving those harassing phone calls. The main reason I didn't believe her was the fact that no one was ever there when she received the calls and the fact that we pursued every avenue to find the caller and didn't.
I thought she just wanted another drama. She was a bit of a drama queen. She remembered the time that a frightened Janine Vaughan had called her about one of the notes left on her windscreen and the time that she received the black panties. I think I went to her house and brought her back to my home. She showed me the note. It was handwritten in blue ink on an exercise book page. Janine was frightened over receiving the note, particularly because Philip was away at the time.
At this point, I did not believe what was happening to Janine, my fiancee, and I thought that she was setting the scenes up herself. So much so that my fiancee went around stores in Bathurst trying to locate similar underwear.
After the break in, Janine Vaughan did not want to stay in the house alone.
She told me that some of her jewellery had been stolen and oddly enough, only the female Christmas presents had been taken after this occasion whenever Phillip was away. Janine stayed with my parents. Shortly after the break in, Phillip stopped travelling away for work. To my knowledge, the break in was the last time Janine was harassed. My fiance and I help Janine with all the harassing things that were happening to her. I felt sorry for her because she was so disturbed.
I never believed that the incidents had occurred. We helped her because she was my brother's girlfriend, and I felt obligated to help her when he was away as each threatening incident occurred. I dealt with it. I took these situations seriously, whether it be notes, telephone calls, a break entry underwear left on her car, she always became quite emotional and fearful and afraid she would cry. She would become depressed. She would want to vacate the home and come and stay with a family member.
And it affected her work and affected her general functioning just on a day to day basis. It seems unlikely that Janine Vaughan would have gone to the trouble of inventing stalking incidents, friends, people who knew her from work and her family described her as completely trustworthy, as honest as the day is long. Janine's father, Ian, recalls his daughter's distress over the stalking, which she obviously worried when she spoke to you about that.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. He actually got over it like the rest of us. You got to bite the bullet and get on with your life and in some cases, his bodyguards. In the opinion of Jeanine's doctor in Bathurst, the intimidatory stalking was very real. Here's how Dr and Gilroy described her former patient to investigators from the Police Integrity Commission, the once powerful government agency set up to probe reports of police corruption and wrongdoing. These are her words.
It's not her voice.
After I read the notes and it jogged my memory, I remembered that she had been extremely anxious. I remember her as being an exceptionally attractive woman. I remembered she was very, very anxious and shaky and that she had said she was being stalked. And I remember at the time, as I normally would have done in that situation, asking her or telling her I thought she should go to the police about that. Dr. Gilroy produced a medical progress note dated 29 August 2000, some way down the page it says Stalker.
Not long after moving here, I've read an Gilroy's file on Ginnane. It records the notes the doctor took during and after seeing her patient a year before her disappearance. In its relatively brief summary, it is a sad account of a popular young woman, her short life and some of the challenges that she faced growing up, it says, stressed and depressed, not eating or sleeping properly.
A 27 divorced moved to Bathurst from Muswellbrook two years ago. New partner. She had a stalker not long after moving here, has been managing a store in Harry's menswear. No children tried last 12 months. Father was in the Navy, gets on well with her natural father. Her biological mother gave her up at birth. Feels a failure. Janine grew up knowing her mother lived down the street. Early rejection. Mother gave her away.
She's up there, Mount Panorama, sure, right next to Everest or Kilimanjaro and the travel brochures perusing coziest Yozgat. As far as man's, gosh, not the biggest or the most beautiful. Because she's the most. Symbol. Of the scallywag A. It's a Mecca for tens of thousands of motoring enthusiasts and rev heads from across Australia who come once a year for one of the world's great car racers and a long party weekend, Jeanine would come here to. Towards the end of her life, she had become close to students a decade younger than her and living in Bathurst to study at the highly regarded Charles Sturt University.
Its campus is on the edge of the race circuit. She had bought a house in Rockets Street, a five minute drive away from her brother. Rod remembers weekend trips from Muswellbrook, where they grew up to Bathurst to visit Janine. There, they spent time together at Mount Panorama.
Show me that sorts of town. I think one of the first times went over when it was the Bathurst car race.
So I got introduced to a lot of her friends that she already made, you know, at the car races and stuff like that. We were sort of running into people that she knew.
This iconic race in Bathurst is etched into the minds and calendars of car people as a must see. The TV broadcast of Fox Sports and commentator Matt Nable hit the high notes with lusty coverage.
For those who can't get trackside crowds, they just keep coming, growing as this spectacle becomes. For generations, it's DNA. Still on the run, anything can happen at any moment. Never like like. To treat. Go ask any juror. The mountain, she ultimately decides the outcome. She turns gentlemen into animals on your pack of household and battler's in the demi gods and she makes heroes, everyone has a better story.
You see, life here isn't measured by the breaths you take, but rather by the moments that take your breath away when the race is on, the overwhelming horsepower and roar from souped up V8 engines can make this mountain overlooking Bathurst feel like it's reverberating too, fuelled by rising ethanol, beer, bourbon, adrenaline and testosterone. The machines and the drivers and the spectators went all out in October 2001. Eight weeks later, in the gullies and paddocks around Mount Panorama, police with cadaver dogs would mount searches for Jeanine's body.
Residents had reported hearing a woman screams in the area. I've been watching footage from YouTube and mail order DVD from the 2001 race won by drivers Mark Skaife and Tony Longhurst, hoping to catch a glimpse of a beautiful young woman with long blonde hair. Joyful strains, then let us sing. Very, very nervous times, the heart's pounding on the engines revving. It's a long day, 161 laps. All the drivers say it is difficult enough to put together one good lap around this six point two kilometre circuit, let alone one hundred and sixty one of them.
We're counting down now to the order to start their engines. Local Mayor Ian McIntosh will tell them.
My friend Steve Price is a long time broadcaster and veteran of Bathurst race weekends. He understands its place in Australian sporting legend.
We have to say Mount Panorama in Bathurst is a rite of passage for many Australians. And it's one of those iconic events that you have to go once in a lifetime. And I think when people go once, they want to go back year after year after year, it was a real pilgrimage and still is. I mean, yeah, arguably it peaked at that time around the turn of the century, around 2000, 2001. But still, the crowds keep coming.
It's just one of those things that many mums and dads, dads in particular, say to their sons, son, I'm going to take you to Bathurst one day and you're going to love it. And it's just gone down generation to generation, family to family.
I remember you once telling me that the atmosphere on the mountain during that race weekend is just electric and that people go up there and they they bury cartons of beer weeks beforehand and they drag on sofas. Have you seen that?
Yeah. Look, I mean, in the old days, you could take as much grog as you wanted and no one cared as long as someone didn't drive home drunk. No one worried about how drunk the people were on the mountain. And boy, I can tell you, when you get up there, the atmosphere is unbelievable. And they they do consume a lot of beer. And they would sneak up there probably in the middle of winter when there is no one around, dig a hole, bury eight, 10, 12 slabs of beer, and then they would know exactly where it was to go back and dig it up again.
And I think in the end, the coppers just laughed. But, you know, plenty of people can look at scenes on YouTube of things that happened on the mountain, including I remember one year they actually set fire to the toilet block up there. For some reason, the whole thing was on fire and on the Saturday night burned down. No way to go to the bathroom on the Sunday, but no one cared as long as the race was on 2001 was very different to 2020 or 2021.
You wouldn't get away with today.
Some of the things that they got away with back then, they the nerves are starting to really fray. They are built. There's a championship on the line. There's Australia's greatest motor race on the line right here today in Mount Panorama. And look at that. What a wonderful career it is overflowing with talent. It only happens once a year. That's why it is Australia's greatest race as a second step. By the way, we are building up to the start.
The 2001 classic. A renewed search for a missing Bathurst woman fails to yield results. On the weekend, more than 70 personnel, including the city's Chifley police, the dog unit and police divers searched the 50 acre area around Mount Panorama in the hopes of finding some clues to Jeanine's whereabouts. This is the second search of the Mount Panorama area, the first May, just two days after Jeanine's disappearance. Strikeforce toco hoping this weekend's effort will help them refine a number of lines of inquiry.
We've received some information. We've looked at that information. We can't discount it.
That's the Sydney based homicide detective, Paul Jacob. Again, he would stay actively involved in the case for several years.
It's been a harrowing week for Jeanine's family and close friends. Adding to the worries, the fact that two people in a home some distance apart heard a woman screams coming from a bushland car park not far from the city's popular motor racing circuit on Mount Panorama. You've got my daughter. Bring her back. And it was we miss her so much. We want a home. We want a home so badly.
Her desperate dad now saying that she was too mature, too smart to hitchhike. He thinks she knew the driver who abducted her. We just want to contact the police. Please, somebody. If you've seen some, Harry Potter can use a police investigation.
Files describe the searches mounted in the days after Jeanine's disappearance.
The search extended to the lower grounds of the Charles Sturt University. The search concentrated in an area where a female was heard screaming on the evening of Sunday night in December. Information was received from a council worker that he had discovered a black lady's bra near the VIP stand at Harris Park near the Mount Panorama racetrack.
The search party was doubled in size the following day, a police helicopter joined in to conduct an aerial sweep of an orchard and the top of Mount Panorama. Searchers looked for Jeanine's body and large bins near what motoring fans know as the pit lane part of the racetrack. A woman who lived nearby told police she had heard suspicious noises. She described them as the sounds of the heavy lids of the bins being slammed shut. But there were no signs of Janine.
The missing person's father, Ian Vaughn, and her uncle, Geoff Vaughn, were also involved in the search. The search included all bins, tire stacks and the disused amenities buildings, the black lace bra, which had been found in one of the searches, was bagged.
But it was excluded from evidence when Jeanine's friends told police it would not have been hers. It was the wrong size.
We're coming to a point in the inquiry where we're encouraging people to come forward. Someone must know what's happened.
Janine Jeanine's family making a renewed appeal to the public for her uncle, describing the 31 year old's disappearance as an emotional torment for her loved ones.
Well, that's the worst part, the not knowing and just sitting, waiting and waiting and not getting anywhere. We're just all missing so much. So much.
While the search failed to turn up any new leads, investigators aren't giving up hope. Madeleine Denham with news. Two decades later, and I'm in bath driving with Peter Murphy to the mountain like a lift of a. In front of the NRA on that ridge of. To the famous rise and fall of this, I know this from watching on the TV. Which is all, you know, like I mean, there is a body that, you know, but seriously, he was ordered in a place like it is to 60000 people.
In the hire car, Peter and I roll past Jeanine's old house on the way back from a lap of the famous racetrack at Mount Panorama nine 11.
This is the one, the extreme separation.
I think it's been rendered over every little place. And that is. It's been a long day of interviews and digging into possible leads, you know, feels like new day, new suspect and a new day, someone else contacting Kylie and I can understand her frustration. I mean, she she primarily but other members of the family, too, of course, have been beavering away now for years, you know, trying to unpick this mystery. Things turn up and you think, where the hell did that come from?
Yeah. How come that wasn't investigated or was it investigated and eliminated? It's a mystery within a mystery is bizarre. And I also have sort of some sympathy. That's the right word, I guess, with people who now want to say 20 years later, I just want to get on with my life.
I don't want to revisit all this for for us to say, well, hang on, then. You want to help as best you can, you know, try and solve this. Try and solve this mystery. This is terrible what's happened to this woman, et cetera, et cetera, and their response effectively. Yeah, but I've been living this the last 20 years, you know, and for some of those 20 years, many of them have been under suspicion and or convicted by the Bathurst rumor mill and town gossip.
And rumor gets repeated over and over again and it gets repeated if it gets repeated often enough by enough people in enough different circumstances. And I think it becomes a fact by reason of that alone.
You know, I can imagine when the cops go knock on a lot of doors to follow up leads and and just call in on people they haven't seen for a while. Some of these people they're talking to, trying to get information from will be saying, well, you just protecting one of your own, but she must be hard to receive.
This case is a cold case, as it were. And to know that so many police officers have trodden this territory before and no new information seems to be coming out of the town. Jeanine's offense, it just feels to me like a prowler, a stalker, you know, someone who's out in the middle of the night looking for a vulnerable woman by herself.
Now, having said that, everyone seems to want to tell us that this person, this person is out stalking in the middle of a rainy December night is someone who's known to Jenny because she would never have got into a car with someone she didn't know.
Okay, well, look, what people are saying is that effectively this person is a local and someone who Janine knows. And if it's someone Jenny knows, it's someone that other people in the town that as well, someone is in Janine Circle, someone who she sees, someone who she's at least well enough acquainted with to jump into a car.
She was an awesome friend of mine for only six months, but if I knew something about her, about what happened that night, I would have done something about it straight away. When Peter Murphy was one of the very last people to see Janine that rainy night in December 2001, it really upset about just talking about this whole Liverpool.
That's because you think people have a perception about what you do or don't know. Can you tell me about that?
I've had numerous people call me and say, if you feel like you've been threatened or whatever powerbomb that don't be don't feel that way. And it just really irks me as a person because I am not that kind of person.
They were dancing together, drinking and laughing at the Metro Tavern. One of Jeanine's admirers that night was also a cop, Andrew Holland, and he had noticed her earlier in the night at the pub known as The Ox. These are the words from his police statement. It's not the officer's voice. I was drinking with friends when I noticed the female I now know as Janine Vaughn standing at a table with a group of other females. She was laughing and joking with these people and appeared to be in a good mood.
A short time later, she walked past me and I followed her to the bar whilst ordering a drink. I spoke with her for a short time, arranging to have a dance with her at a later time. I think it would have been around midnight when I danced with Vaughn for about two or three songs on the dance floor of the hotel. Whilst at the hotel, there was no shortage of men wanting to dance with Vaughan.
Holland was out with other cops who were also there that night. It had turned into a late one earlier. They had been doing an alcohol breathalyzer course while on shift, Holland recalled leaving the orcs about two 45 am and walking to the Metro Tavern, where Janine had also gone.
I didn't have anything to drink while I was at these premises, and at about 3am or shortly thereafter, I noticed Vaughan had also come across to this location. She arrived with two or three men with whom I'd seen her dancing at the hotel. The last time I saw her was when she was on the dance floor of the Metro nightclub about three 20 am.
When I left, the senior constable from the nearby town of Lefko said he walked two blocks to his home and went to bed when he said just wishes she could remember as much about the night.
There's no way I would get to hear it. Forty three years of age and still be alive. Seriously, if I knew what happened to her and I didn't say anything, I would have killed myself by now if I was threatened by somebody. I couldn't live with the guilt.
There's no way in the world this stuff really upsets me, and it's like one of the things that I'm set to launch is that people suspect you've withheld information.
There are comments from random members of the public, people who didn't know Janine. And some have suggested that Janine's friends haven't told police all they know and everybody making their comments.
And I know it's public comment, but people who don't even know that, like, oh, well, somebody knows. And I wish the people that knew the secrets would come forth and tell the truth and blah, blah.
I just I feel guilty if you think talking about you oh, I don't know who else would have told me Janine was special.
She was up front with her friends. They loved and respected her for being an open book. She was authentic and candid and friendly and outgoing.
I don't do like people. I'm not into fake and lies in pretending and whatever.
And she was not that she was the sort of friend who'd back you up if you're in a fix. Yeah, but when things come up, anything in relation to Janine, it does traumatize me, really. But the thing is, I can't relax about any of this. The reason why I don't respond to it is because it kills me.
Oh, my God. It kills me that I like oh, we were the last people to see her. We didn't think about it all the time, I haven't for a few years now, but because I had to make myself understand that it wasn't my fault, but. I was like, why did you not pay more attention? How come you didn't drink less at night? Like if you had not been so drunk you might have paid more attention?
You've been blaming yourself for. I have been for a long time. And then I just took it out of my mind so that I don't have to deal with it.
She will. Go ahead, Janine. Well, ahead of you both.
You know, you went on a normal night out and your friends, like, end up in a situation like that, like we did, you know, getting upset and just like not I don't care. And Jordan and I live with each other, so it wouldn't matter. We'd wake up the next day and everybody be like, are you drunk idiots? Like, it's OK. But it has haunted me ever since then because it wasn't like this stuff has tortured me for a long time.
I'm sorry. And we went back to parties to do a video walk through and Holly and Adam were there. And I heard Adam say, well, if there was anarchy, why the fuck would you know that? It was just like he was questioning what we knew.
Did you try to explain to him? Not really. Because he was so angry and I don't know. I don't know. Colin Adam Price will be the next day I went down to the coffee shop in L.A. and I kind of tried to explain that. But I'm I'm a very, very anxious kind of person, so I don't think too much about it. You're speaking from the heart. You speak very rationally and you think he'll be looking closely at us for a long time.
I feel like when it finally comes out, we're all going to be like, I started like, oh, my God, we lived by this person because it's going to be a local place. And I'm assuming so I cannot blame anybody. I don't know who to blame on her. I wish I did. I want Janine's family to find a. But I can't do it.
People might come forward as a result of hearing your voice and hearing other voices, and we like 19 years on and I just choose not to think about it anymore until I have a phone call from somebody like you. Call me, ask me to do something, and I just bring it all back up again. I feel so helpless and so guilty and guilty because of the night that I didn't pay more attention, I didn't drink less I. Had I think it absolutely breaks my heart, I'm being really tough talk to you right now.
You've been incredibly brave and I know I'm not because you didn't even have to call me back. You call me, but I didn't want to.
And it just means I ain't.
Breaks law breaking ice. Colleen and her family, so please, like, OK, I just I hope it helps. I asked Wanita about one of Jeanine's other friends and did you know a guy called Scutti? He was an Army reservist?
Yeah, yes. He was the guy that kissed her that night. Is that correct? Yes. OK, I thought he was a police officer.
He also ended up working for the police, but not as a sworn officer. I talked to him today. Scott, tell me you were working at the ARC's in December 2001, what do you remember about the night Janine disappeared? In a newspaper article from 2002, a young man called Scott Himan was briefly quoted. He described having met and kissed Janine on the night she disappeared. Scott says he's thought about Janine a lot these past two decades.
I was there and I am a former employee of the Oxford Kevin being security. But that night I was off duty and I was drinking myself and with Janine with was actually started outside on the old beer garden wall. And then we ended up moving inside. And then from there, once the oxidated closed down with of patrons, we moved down to the dirty towers or what's known as the Metro Tavern. I recently had a break up with a girlfriend and of getting familiar with Janine.
And another couple of gentlemen were at the same location trying to get her attentions as well. The night was jovial. It was just fun and drinks. And I left before she she did because I was due to do some work at the local Army Reserve Depot. As a reserve officer myself, I needed to leave and by calculations, I probably left about an hour before she did.
And that's based on what you were told later about the time she left?
Yeah, I've been interviewed at least three times by the New South Wales Police Force on this. If you remember when the last interview was, the last interview was in 2000. And seven of her firearms trainer for the Australian Federal Police and New South Wales detective came in and conducted an interview at my office location in Canberra.
Did he ask you whether you had a red car?
He was asking about a small red car. I didn't see anything. He also asked about what were my my thoughts on her disappearance. The Bathurst dame was having works conducted on it at the time. Extension works. And there were thoughts that if anybody was going to bury a body, that this place would be in that because it'd be concealed forever.
Scott came to know Bathurst well as a student. He moved away years ago, but he has a high regard for the community. He's gone on to become an expert archer, and he gives professional advice via his website about survival techniques in the Australian bush. This is the home in Hatchet, this one is mine. I've got another one waiting for you. It has many edges spade, axe, machete, knife along the spine of the knife.
You've got to notching saw with his wife and child, his often adventuring away from home. And the family has become adept at reviewing camping equipment.
Scott also appreciates the difficulty of a challenge like finding Jeanine's remains in the Army Reserve. He specializes in the recovery of human remains and those of Australians who fell in battles overseas, such as the Vietnam War half a century ago. There's painstaking research, a need for a forensic eye.
You must have over the years tried to sort of figure out what might have happened to Ginnane. Have you got some theories yourself?
You don't have to go far to get into the bush. And then whether you bury you or leave on the ground, you can see how long a kangaroo last on the side of the road before it's just bare bones. Imagine what happened in the middle of a forest. Perhaps the perpetrator might have left something behind him or perhaps even taken some sort of souvenir at home. And it's on on some sort of mantelpiece, like a trophy. Obledo that necklace or a piece of clothing.
The 30 tafel metro pattern was a bit of centre for drugs as well back then. So and it was like a dance night club playing to stuff. That's the sort of crowd that hung around that area. As I said, there was a number of boys trying to get her attention that evening, including myself. There's so many different avenues you can look at. It's like writing a novel. There was just so much going on in and around Bathurst at that time.
Why did you leave when you were getting on so well? You were kissing her that night and clearly she was fond of you. She wasn't necessarily fond of me. I think it was more like the alcohol talking and she kissed me twice and I didn't see her kiss any other boy, even though there were some others looking for her attentions as well. There was a groping. There was no there was no nothing. There was more teasing, kissing sort of thing.
I decided to leave because I didn't think it was going to come to any sort of fruition or sexual advancement that night. And when you're trying to make some advances and everything is going well, it seems seems like you I was getting somewhere but that in the end it never happened. So that's why I left. I've often wondered about how unlucky Janine was that night in the rain, perhaps suspiciously lost her handbag, and then she's walking ahead of her friend when Nita and Jordan, they're having a distracting lover's tiff while talking to Scott.
I thought about another unlucky break. It, too, might have meant the difference between life and death.
I mean, fights a cruel thing sometimes. You were with her in terms of, you know, having a kiss at two pubs. If you and her and hooked up and gone back to her place or yours, she might be raising children now with her own family. And you always think about that. But what if what would happen if I stayed on a little bit longer? Perhaps I could have go nowhere again. Perhaps I could have been walking home.
Or perhaps again, nothing would have eventuated. I just simply would have stayed there for an extra hour and then rest left an hour later. There's many different endings to that story, but no amount of thinking or dwelling on anything like that will actually bring her back. I'd love to know what happened to her and especially for her family to resolve that and to have some sort of ending. But if you dwell on the what if in these matters could you could see yourself crazy, I'm sure that's exactly what's happening to Jimmy's family.
In the next episode of The Night Driver, one of Janine's best friends, speaks about the blame game in the Baathist community if he has had nothing to do with this.
I feel really sorry for him because he's basically being forced out of town. He's lost his career.
The Night Driver is a podcast series investigated and written by me, Hedley Thomas, with assistance from Peter Murphy. Music and audio production is by Blacksmith and Co. with additional audio support from Chris Bossley. This podcast series is brought to you by the Australian newspaper and digital site. Visit the Night Drive a dot com dot iue for additional documentary material, as well as credits for the full team behind this multipart production. Anyone with information about the disappearance of Janine Vaughan can contact me confidentially by email, by going to the night driver Dotcom.
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