New Hedley Thomas podcast gives family of missing Muswellbrook woman Janine Vaughan some renewed hope in their quest for answers

DETERMINED: Adam Vaughan and Kylie Spelde continue to search for answers about their missing sister Janine Vaughan.
DETERMINED: Adam Vaughan and Kylie Spelde continue to search for answers about their missing sister Janine Vaughan.

A NEW podcast and documentary about missing Upper Hunter woman Janine Vaughan could give her heart-broken family some renewed hope.

For almost two decades, her siblings Kylie Spelde and Adam Vaughan have searched for answers as to what happened to their sister.

Mrs Vaughan, who grew up in Muswellbrook and went to school at Scone, ventured out with friends to a Bathurst nightclub.

The then 31-year-old left the premises and was last seen getting into a red car on Keppel Street, Bathurst, about 3.50am on Friday, December 7, 2001.

Local officers began an investigation into her whereabouts 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 still 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 final moments.

And, in March last year, the NSW Government increased its reward - to $1 million - for information into her suspicious disappearance and suspected murder.

Now, the family's quest is about to enter another chapter.

"We're pretty excited about the podcast, which will be released on Friday, August 7," Mrs Spelde said.

"It's with Hedley Thomas, who's won awards for his The Teacher's Pet series.

"Documentary filmmaker Janine Hoskings, from iKandy Films, reached out to him and mentioned our 'very interesting case'.

"He jumped on board straight away.

"So, it's been a year-and-a-half in the making.

"Hedley's great - and very supportive.

"He said he'd give it a good crack for us."

Mrs Spelde and Mr Vaughan will also put up a billboard in Bathurst mid-August to coincide with Missing Persons Week.

They're determined to do whatever they can to jog someone's memory.

"It's crazy that we don't know more after all these years," Mr Vaughan said.

"People have come forward but they all remain anonymous.

"And, they're not in it for the reward money either.

"They just want justice [for Janine].

"However, a lot of them believe the police were allegedly involved, so they're scared.

"Unfortunately, we're no closer to finding the truth."

Mrs Spelde said the podcast, documentary and billboard were extra steps necessary to obtain some much-needed closure.

"We're not putting all our eggs in the one basket, so to speak," she explained.

"But, we're hopeful it might lead to something concrete.

"For me, it's an obsession.

"I'm doing something every day, whether it's reaching out to people or sending off an email.

"And, being a wife and a mother with a career, too, I am juggling so many things.

"This is a full-time job for me: to find Janine.

"It's also tough for my brothers - Adam's in Sydney and Rod's in Scone.

"Rod handles the situation differently than Adam, who I speak to regularly.

"However, none of us will ever give up.

"We can't sit around and wait for a phone call.

"To be honest, we did that for the first 10 years.

"And, it never got us anywhere.

"But, we're just so grateful for everyone's assistance over the past 19 years.

"It's been amazing.

"We picked up a further 800 members to our Facebook page, Help Find Janine Vaughan, last month.

"Thank you for your support."