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Section A: General News


Patty Vaughan investigation continues


Patty Vaughan investigation continues
Patty Vaughn


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Wilson County News
April 2, 2014
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ADKINS -- An all-day dig March 24 at the former residence of a woman missing since 1996 has not turned up any additional clues into her disappearance, officials said. However, the investigation into what might have become of Patty Inez Brightwell Vaughan is not over.

Assistant District Attorney Audrey Louis of the 81st Judicial District said that the district attorney’s office financed the cost of the dig. This was after Vaughan’s mother, Patsy Wallace, said in an August 2013 interview with the Wilson County News that officials never conducted a dig at the site. This was despite neighbors reporting that Patty’s husband, Jerry Ray “J.R.” Vaughan, was operating a backhoe at the site in the predawn hours of Dec. 26, 1996 -- the same day Patty was reported missing.

“At this time, no remains have been found,” Louis said March 24.

Investigators from the Texas Rangers, sheriff’s offices in Bexar and Wilson counties, and an evidence recovery team from the Federal Bureau of Investigation converged on the Vaughans’ former residence on Oak Park Road in Adkins March 24. Heavy equipment was used to excavate trash pits and other locations at the site. Louis said further investigation on the property was planned for March 26, but it was called off, due to inclement weather. She was unable to specify the nature of what officials would do when they returned.

The case has been open for much of Joe D. Tackitt Jr.’s 22-year tenure as the Wilson County sheriff. Tackitt, who was present at the Vaughans’ former residence for much of the dig, said it was important to be able to rule out the possibility that Patty was buried there.

“I can understand it must be hard for her family, not knowing where she is and not knowing what happened,” Tackitt said.

Wallace could not be reached for comment prior to press time March 31. Her sister, Barb Kiolbasa, said the areas that were excavated included those that family members suggested after taking aerial photos of the property in early 1997. These locations, she said, were those that appeared to be newly disturbed.

Kiolbasa and her other family members continue to hold out hope that they might find Patty. While she believes that those assigned to the case are handling the investigation to the best of their ability, she would rather see the Texas Rangers take the lead in the probe.

“They have the manpower, they have the experience, and they have the equipment,” Kiolbasa said.

Patty was reported missing after failing to drop off her then- 5-, 7-, and 9-year-old children at the home of a family member in San Antonio. She did not report for work at Quinney Electric, and her Dodge Caravan -- which contained traces of Patty’s blood that someone had tried to clean -- was found five miles from there on South Loop 1604 in Bexar County. Also on that day, J.R. filed for divorce.

J.R. reported that he and his 32-year-old wife had become involved in a heated argument Christmas Day and that Patty had left. Her relatives long have disagreed, saying that Patty never would have left her three children.

Patty was last seen wearing dark-colored pants and a cream-colored blouse. She is described s a white female with blonde hair and green eyes. She stood 5 feet, 5 inches tall and weighed 120 pounds.

Anyone with information is urged to call the district attorney’s office at 830-393-2200.

Those wishing to remain anonymous can contact Crime Stoppers of Wilson County at 830-393-INFO (4636) or http://bit.ly/NDrIut.

 

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