Search for Patty Vaughan on former husband's property turns up empty

Patty Vaughan missing since 1996

There is new information this week on a nearly 20-year-old missing persons case.

Patty Vaughn has been missing since 1996, but a tip on her disappearance has prompted investigators to search for her on her husband's property.

Martha Bower, a neighbor who lives close to that property, said she's not surprised investigators are back.

"I think she could be back here," said Bower. "They've looked everywhere else."

Crews in Wilson County finished their latest search for the body of Patty Vaughn on Tuesday.

And just like nearly two decades ago, the search has come up empty.

An anonymous tip led crews to the area behind a home in the 100 block of Oak Park Road, which is the property of Vaughn's former husband, J.R. Vaughn.

"We were out there shortly after and saw no signs of any activity," said Wilson County Sheriff Joe D. Tackitt Jr. "The DA's office said, "Let's go out there and squash rumors."

Rangers were informed that someone had been digging in the area around the same time Patty Vaughn disappeared.

Bower said she heard it too and she told police about it.

"When I would sit up late, like at 3:14 in the morning, I'd watch TV," said Bower. "I heard digging for two nights solid, digging, digging. And, I didn't know why. Why was someone digging that late at night?"

However, after investigators did their their own digging on Monday, they did not find anything.

"I'm sure it's very hard on the family because its been a long time," said Tackitt. "They've been looking for her for a long time and you know, we have to try to do whatever we can to help them"

Tackitt said crews dug about 4 to 5 feet down in several locations behind the home.

He said this isn't the first tip they've received on the case. However, the tips they have received so far have turned up nothing.

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About the Author:

Stephanie Serna is a weekday anchor on Good Morning San Antonio and GMSA at 9 a.m. She joined the KSAT 12 News team in November 2009 as a general assignments reporter.