Investigators still trying to close Patty Vaughan case 15-years later

Mom, sister convinced husband killed Patty

SAN ANTONIO – Christmas is time for joy and happiness for many people but for the family of Patty Vaughan it's a day that brings back nothing but pain and heartache. This Christmas will mark 15 years since Vaughan disappeared.

"One of the last videos I saw of her was her singing a Christmas song and she had a beautiful voice," Jeannie Iiams said recalling her older sister's love of the holidays.

Iiams' said her older sister Patty loved Christmas. Even when money was tight she made sure everyone got something. One year she made an ornament for her little sister that still goes on her tree ever year.

The last time anyone saw Patty was on Christmas day 1996. While her body has never been found and no one's been charged, Iiams believes Patty's husband JR Vaughan killed her.

"When we got the call that night, we all said the same thing, 'What has he done to her,'" Iiams said. "He was the only one with the motive, he was the only one with the opportunity and he was the only one that had the rage."

Iiam's mother Patsy Wallace is also convinced she knows who killed Patty. "With all my heart and soul I know that JR Vaughan killed my daughter," Wallace said.

Even though investigators have now officially confirmed they found Patty's blood in the home and her van as well as other circumstantial evidence linking JR to the disappearance, he's never been charged.

Over the years, investigators have conducted digs that turned up nothing. Patsy Wallace said that's because they're looking in the wrong place.

She thinks the body is in the backyard of the home Patty shared with JR Vaughan, possibly under a wood pile.

"I know that Patty is 50 feet from the road in a pit and covered up," Wallace said.
The family said other than a brief, surface search of the property back in 1997, investigators haven't searched the property and Iiams said the current home owners refuse to cooperate.

"They aren't cooperative. They said, 'Your sister is not here, get off my property,'" Iiams said.

The family continues to hold out hope investigators will eventually come to the same conclusions they have. Meanwhile, they're left clinging to the hope that Vaughan might confess someday.

"I think that his conscience is going to get to him and he will confess and tell us where Patty is," Wallace said.

Bexar County cold case investigators said despite their best efforts to rule Vaughan out as a suspect, the evidence keeps pointing to him.

Investigators said they have a strong circumstantial case against Vaughan, but without the body it's a tough case to sell to prosecutors.

About the Author:

Tim Gerber is an investigative reporter and anchor on the KSAT Defenders team.