New DNA findings in Patty Vaughan's 1996 disappearance

BCSO: Unknown female in victim's van

SAN ANTONIO – New DNA findings in the 1996 Christmas Day disappearance of Patty Vaughan are being reported by the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, pointing to an unknown female in the victim’s van.

“I was very surprised, didn’t expect that at all,” said Deputy Adrian Ramirez with the BCSO cold case homicide unit.

Ramirez said Vaughn’s ex-husband, J.R. Vaughn, remains a person of interest, given he was the last one to see her alive, and the estranged couple had argued that evening at their Wilson County home.

Vaughn’s blue Dodge van was found two days later in south Bexar County.

Ramirez said undisclosed items found in the van had been tested before, but the latest DNA science pointed to a female not related to the victim.

He said it was someone “who could have assisted with her disappearance and was in the van at one time.”

However, Vaughn’s body has yet to be found, although at one point it was believed to have been encased in a concrete foundation.

Ramirez said the latest findings bolster what was first thought.

“We’ve always felt that there was somebody else involved,” Ramirez said, given the distance from her home to where her van was abandoned.

Ramirez said, “Someone will have to explain why their DNA is in that vehicle.”

Based on other information, Ramirez said he thinks he knows who that female someone is, but to obtain their DNA as further proof, he needs probable cause.

He said that is why he hopes to hear from “somebody who saw something, someone who definitely knows that the people are involved.”

Ramirez said they are urged to call him directly at 335-6041 or Louis Antu at 335-6034 in the cold case homicide unit.

About the Author:

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.