KYLIE Spelde knows no end to the heartbreak.
For almost two decades, the Muswellbrook resident has sought one simple answer: what happened to her much-loved sister Janine Vaughan?
Her sibling, then aged 31, left a local nightclub and was last seen getting into a red car on Keppel Street, Bathurst, about 3.50am on Friday, December 7, 2001.
But, on Friday, Mrs Spelde's hopes were raised somewhat when the NSW Government increased its reward - to $1 million - for information into the disappearance and suspected murder of Janine Vaughan.
She told a media conference the past 18 years had been very tough on the entire family.
"Every day without my sister, who was so full of life, is unbearable," she said.
"And, 18 years is a long time without any contact and any answers.
"It's heartbreaking to know Janine was living her life, and then someone - or some people - took all of that away from her and from us.
"Someone knows what happened to her and, on behalf of our family, I'm asking for anyone who has information to come forward and contact police.
"It's great that the NSW Government has increased the reward money.
"However, it's also sad it has had to come to this after so long."
Local officers began an investigation into Ms Vaughan's disappearance before the case was referred to the State Crime Command's Homicide Squad.
A coronial inquest conducted in 2009 found she had died but her cause of death remained undetermined.
Her body has not been located.
In 2013, detectives from the Homicide Squad's Unsolved Homicide Unit established Strike Force Toko II to re-investigate Ms Vaughan's suspicious disappearance and suspected murder.
As part of a re-appeal for information, the NSW Government has increased the reward for information, which leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible to $1 million.
Homicide Squad Commander Detective Superintendent Scott Cook said the reward was another opportunity to appeal to those who may have otherwise been uninclined to talk to us to come forward.
"Our investigators have been meticulously working through what happened to Janine in the moments leading up to and after she got into the red car that morning," he explained.
"We know about 10 minutes before Janine was seen getting into the car, another woman was approached about 750m away by a man in what we believe is the same vehicle."
In 2008, a vehicle of interest was seized by strike force detectives and forensically examined, which has provided investigators with some further lines of inquiry.
"New technology will allow us to re-examine some weak DNA samples recovered during the initial examination which we hope will be matched to Janine," Det Supt Cook said.
"Strike Force Toko detectives are confident they can provide answers to Janine's family and give them some peace, but there is still work to do and we are following a very strong line of inquiry."
Anyone with information that may assist Strike Force Toko II investigators is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au
Information is treated in strict confidence.
The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.
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