WMM: Where is Kyle Vaughan?
On the 30th of December 2012, Kyle Vaughan disappeared, with his car having been found abandoned on the A467 between Crosskeys and Risca.
There appeared to have been an accident, the car having been severely damaged but the driver was never located. In the years since, there have been a number of arrests, none of which resulted in a conviction. In today’s episode, Kay Page tells Kyle’s story and asks the question of where is he?
Find out more about Kyle’s case
There is now a dedicated Facebook page for Kyle’s case, which is occasionally updated.
There is also a fundraiser in relation to Kyle Vaughan’s case.
There is currently a £20,000.00 in relation to the case from Crimestoppers.
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On the 30th of December 2012, Alan Vaughan experienced the one thing that no parent ever wants to – an early morning knock on the door. For good reason it’s often considered to be one of life’s most ominous of communication methods, because rarely does good news ever delivered that way. As he opened the door, greeting the two officers who stood there, Alan was surprised. His initial shock quickly shifted to concern, as the police advised that they were there to arrest him.
According to the officers, Alan’s Peugeot had been found on the side of the road, abandoned and damaged, having clearly been involved in a collision. The car itself had been located at 11.35pm, discovered on the A467, somewhere between Risca and Crosskeys in South Wales. To the police, there appeared to have been an accident, but the driver nor any of the passengers were in the vehicle.
The police advised Alan that the car had hit a ‘tree at the side of the road, careered across the second lane, made contact with the central reservation, then skidded back across the road into the trees.’ According to the police, the accident itself was minor and they believed that whoever had been driving had likely walked away from the scene unscathed. Their working theory being that the driver had jumped into a second car, perhaps hoping to escape what might have been a drink-driving incident.
For a moment, Alan was astounded, he hadn’t left his home that evening and he was finding it hard to process what they were saying. And then, it dawned on him. There were two registered drivers of the Peugeot, Alan and his son, Kyle.
Outside of the home rain was lashing against the windows, it was the night before New Year’s Eve and the country was beginning to celebrate the almost beginning of a new year. But for the Vaughan family, that evening represented the beginning of something altogether different. Their son was missing and from that day on, the Vaughan’s were left to wonder what had happened to their boy.
Having established that Alan wasn’t the person that they were looking for, the police agreed to show Alan the vehicle. What he saw was to stick with him forever and led him to believe that the accident was far more sinister and serious than the police had initially believed. In an article marking the anniversary of his disappearance, Alan told Wales Online that: ‘I went down to the car and thought, ‘how did he walk away from that. I’ve seen accidents like that before where people have died.’
The family believed that something was wrong from the get-go, the entire situation, and circumstances at odds with the usual behaviour of their only son. And yet while they thought there was something more at play, they never once believed that their son had vanished. At first, they were surprised and slightly concerned, but fully believed that Kyle would show up within a few hours.
Shortly after being told of the car’s discovery, Kyle’s parents were advised that he’d been admitted to the Royal Gwent hospital. Presumably receiving treatment for the accident that he’d been involved in. However, it didn’t take long for it to be discovered that this was an error, some communication issue in the police’s chain of command. A few hours later, with there having been no sign of Kyle, he was reported missing. Eleven years later, that description still fits Kyle’s case, Kyle Vaughan is still missing.
The area from which Kyle vanished is usually a well-travelled and busy road, but at the estimated time of Kyle’s disappearance, there were few other vehicles on the road.
At first, the police believed that Kyle was within the immediate vicinity of the incident, theorising that perhaps a head injury had led him to walk off in the wrong direction. On the left-hand side of the carriageway is a steep and untamed banking, a forest that stretches for a few miles. It’s slippery and unforgiving, something that Alan Vaughan himself witnessed when injured in one of the initial searches.
While police were searching Kyle in the dense forest, one of Kyle’s friends had a strange encounter, recently sharing their story on the podcast, Someone Knows. While the exact timing of this incident has never been given, the friend revealed that Kyle’s status was showing as active on Facebook shortly after he was last seen. Initially, the friend was releveled, believing that the whole disappearance must have been a misunderstanding. However, this quickly unravelled, and the interaction was to only heighten concerns. The friend told the podcast that he had engaged with the account, only to be told by ‘Kyle’ that it was someone else, someone who had admitted to possessing Kyle’s mobile phone. The person is said to have then refused to say anything further.
For a few days after the car’s discovery, the case remained an accident and a missing person enquiry, but it didn’t take long for that to change. In early January 2013, based on information that has never been made public, the police changed it to murder. Revealing that there was now to be a substantial increase in the amount of money and resources being spent on the investigation, police appealed to the public. In the years to come it would come to light that an important new lead had prompted this shift, the nature of which has never been revealed, but in that moment, the police needed the public’s help.
Whatever their logic or reasoning for this shift, it was now clear that the police were suspecting foul play. While searches in the local area continued, they now tended to focus on the river, perhaps suspecting that Kyle had been hidden within that vicinity.
The new focus and attention are said to have generated new leads, some of which have been made public in recent years. One of these is that the police had received evidence which suggested that Kyle had been seen on the A467 slightly later than first suspected. According to the witness, they’d spotted someone matching Kyle’s description hitchhiking on the A467, Northbound, between Risca and Crosskeys at some time between 10.35pm and 12.30am. If this sighting is correct, it places Kyle near the abandoned car at potentially an hour either side of the car’s discovery.
Shortly after this, in early 2013, there was to be a potentially ground shaking development in the investigation. Over the course of a few days, eight people were arrested in connection with various crimes related to Kyle Vaughan.
On the 10th of January 2013, a 27-year-old man from Blackwood was arrested on suspicion of murder. This arrest was then followed by three more on the 13th of January. A 62-year-old was arrested for perverting the course of justice, along with a 21-year-old and a 15-year-old who were also arrested in connection with the alleged murder. One day later, on the 14th of January, all were released on police bail.
On the 18th of January 2013, a 24-year-old man from Blackwood was arrested for murder, alongside a 22-year-old who was arrested for perverting the course of justice. Again, both were released on police bail. While the bail of each of the eight arrested was eventually to be extended while investigations continued, no charges were ever brought against them and the cases against them were dropped. To this day, little information about these suspects, the allegations or the evidence against them has ever been released.
Publicly, this is the only action that has happened in this case over recent years and as far as we know, there has been nothing further. However, the case does remain open and is still being treated as a murder enquiry.
In 2013, Crimestoppers intervened, offering a £5000.00 reward for information that led to the location of Kyle Vaughan. In the summer of 2013, the police used targeted Facebook adverts during a Welsh rugby game, in a bid to encourage those with information to come forward. As far as we can tell, nothing has ever come from this.
In this case, the verifiable facts are few and far between. What we’re left with is a little more than a bare bones timeline of when, whatever happened could have happened to Kyle Vaughan. What we do know is that the police have obvious grounds to now view this as a homicide, as they quickly and willingly changed their investigation into his disappearance. We might never know what prompted this change in the enquiry and speculation and theories are all that remain.
The first theory here is that his disappearance was simply an accident, and that the police’s initial theory was the correct one. Its basis being that Kyle was injured in the accident and that he disappeared because of an injury sustained. This theory ends with Kyle having died soon after the accident, either because of the accident or due to exposure. At first, this theory seemed to have held some weight, but the police’s change in focus clearly suggests that there is something more at play. They know something that we don’t, and I’m inclined to believe that it must be something substantial.
The second theory – and the most widely believed – is that Kyle was deliberately run off the road with something even more sinister having happened to him afterwards. In an interview with Crimestoppers, Alan admitted that this is what he believed happened. He told them that he was confident that his son had not crashed the car. It was in this same interview that Crimestoppers revealed that they were increasing the offered reward to £10,000.00.
It’s worth noting here that this is the only theory that does have some corroborated evidence. Although that said, the evidence is unverified, unprovable and from a third party.
According to information that was released via the aforementioned podcast, Someone Knows Something, there are witnesses that are alleged to have witnessed what happened to Kyle. The account, which was made public in 2022, claims that two undertakers were at the scene on the night that he vanished. This version of events alleges that Kyle spoke to the undertaker before they witnessed him being restrained and pulled into a car. That car then sped off into the distance, Kyle secured within it. We might never know the sincerity of this account or if it’s what changed the police’s focus, but we do know that something triggered this shift.
In 2015, the Vaughan family’s grief was compounded further, when Mary Vaughan – Kyle’s mum – was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. At this point in time, she pleaded with the public, urging anyone with information to come forward before she died. In 2016, Kyle Vaughan was declared legally dead by his family.
In 2017, Kyle Vaughan’s former employer, Unilever, who had continued to hold his job open for him offered his family a pay-out. The time that had passed and the declaration of death know making public what had been feared for years. Kyle Vaughan was not coming home.
Unfortunately, Mary’s emotional appeal didn’t illicit answers from those who know what happened to Kyle and in January 2018, Mary Vaughan died without the answers that she wanted. Her husband described Mary as the love of his life and vowed to continue his wife’s search for Kyle.
At the time of his disappearance, Kyle Vaughan was around 5f8in tall, he was slim with short dark hair and dark eyes. He was wearing long denim shorts and a gold necklace. Kyle Vaughan also had a unique bar code tattoo on his inner left forearm.
I was unable to find the podcast that I referenced in this episode, and it seems as if it is no longer available. However, it was called ‘Somebody knows’.
Birt, E. (2023) Search for missing man continues – 11 years after murder investigation launched, South Wales Argus. Available at: https://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/24011242.eleven-years-newbridge-man-kyle-vaughan-disappeared/ (Accessed: 02 January 2024).
Evans, T. (2023) Kyle Vaughan: Renewed appeal decade on from man’s disappearance after crash, Sky News. Available at: https://news.sky.com/story/kyle-vaughan-renewed-appeal-decade-on-from-mans-disappearance-after-crash-12932591 (Accessed: 02 January 2024).
Gurner, R. (2022) Ten years since Kyle Vaughan went missing and police are still no closer to what happened, Caerphilly Observer. Available at: https://caerphilly.observer/news/1014892/ten-years-since-kyle-vaughan-went-missing-and-police-are-still-no-closer-to-what-happened/ (Accessed: 02 January 2024).
ITV News (2023) Reward doubles for details about man who went missing a decade ago, ITV News. Available at: https://www.itv.com/news/wales/2023-08-03/reward-doubles-about-man-who-went-missing-a-decade-ago (Accessed: 02 January 2024).