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Lawmen excavate at Patty Vaughan’s former home
Chief Deputy Johnie Deagen of the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office directs a heavy-equipment operator onto a property on Oak Park Road in Adkins March 24, where investigators are seeking clues into the unsolved 1996 disappearance of Patty Inez Brightwell Vaughan.
Video to come...
ADKINS -- The investigation into what has become of the woman at the center of perhaps Wilson County’s most infamous missing-person case has taken a new turn. Lawmen from various agencies conducted a dig at the former home of Patty Inez Brightwell Vaughan, who last was seen Dec. 25, 1996.
Officials from the Texas Rangers and Federal Bureau of Investigation and deputies from both the Bexar and Wilson county sheriff’s offices began arriving at the home on Oak Park Road at approximately 10 a.m. March 24. An excavator was delivered to the location about an hour later. Wilson County Sheriff Joe D. Tackitt Jr. said investigators are “going on some rumors.”
Patty was reported to have last been seen Dec. 25, 1996, when her husband, Jerry Ray “J.R.” Vaughan, reported that she left home after a heated argument. Patty’s mother, Patsy Wallace, said during an August 2013 interview with the Wilson County News that neighbors reported hearing J.R. operating his backhoe for 90 minutes during the early morning hours of Dec. 26, 1996.
While investigators performed searches in various locations J.R. might have traveled through working with his construction business, Wallace said they never searched the back yard.
“After it happened, the place was checked out,” Tackitt said. “There’s no sign of anything being disturbed.”
Officials from the 81st Judicial District Attorney’s Office confirmed in December 2013 that they were finalizing plans to conduct a further search -- which they would finance -- for additional evidence at an undisclosed location.
Vaughan was described as a white female with blonde hair and green eyes. She stood 5 feet, 5 inches tall and weighed 120 pounds. She was last seen wearing dark-colored pants and a cream-colored blouse.
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