Missing Persons Week – 2002 disappearance of Armidale teenager, Niamh Maye

As part of this year’s Missing Persons Week, police are renewing their appeal for information to locate a woman who went missing from the state’s Riverina region more than 18 years ago.

Niamh Maye, then aged 18, left a campground at Jingellic on Saturday 30 March 2002.

The Armidale teenager had travel arrangements to leave Batlow for Sydney to stay with her sister, however never made the journey and was reported missing by family.

Police were told that Niamh had been fruit picking in the Riverina region prior to her disappearance and that she had been driven to Gocup Road at Tumut by an associate.

A coronial inquest in March 2012, determined Niamh had died at or near Tumut, by a person or persons unknown to her, on Saturday 30 or Sunday 31 March 2002.

Despite extensive investigations, no trace of Niamh has ever been found and no one has been charged in connection with her disappearance.

Investigations are continuing by detectives from Riverina Police District, together with the State Crime Command’s Unsolved Homicide Unit and Missing Persons Registry, under Strike Force Yola.

The investigation is currently being formally reviewed under the new unsolved homicide framework.

Niamh Maye’s father, Brian Maye, remembered his daughter as a happy and creative young woman with a great sense of humour.

“Niamh is always with us in spirit and we will always honour the 18 years she filled us with her brightness,” Mr Maye said.

“Not a day goes by we don’t think of Niamh and the life she would have lived. We miss our beautiful, loving, cheeky, fun daughter, sister and aunt.

“On behalf of our family, we would like to thank the local community for their support and police for their dedication to finding Niamh – we hope one day we can bring her home,” Mr Maye said.

Niamh Maye’s mother, Anne Maye, said her daughter was a devoted and much-loved sister and aunt to her six siblings and one niece.

“As a family, we have never given up hope that we might be able to find Niamh and give her a proper resting place,” Mrs Maye said.

“Niamh’s memory lives on with us – including eleven new nieces and nephews, two of whom carry her name as their middle name, in honour of the aunt they never had the opportunity to meet.

“After 18 years of unanswered questions, we’re asking anyone in the community who may have information to please come forward,” Mrs Maye said.

At the time of her disappearance, Niamh was described as being of Caucasian appearance, about 170cm tall, with a slim build, shoulder-length dark blonde hair and blue/grey eyes.

She was last seen carrying a backpack, tent, sleeping bag and metre-long stick.

Anyone with information about Niamh Maye’s disappearance is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Information is treated in strict confidence. The community is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.

Missing Persons Week is an annual national campaign to raise awareness of the issues and impacts surrounding missing persons and runs between Sunday 2 August and Saturday 8 August 2020.

For more information on the campaign visit www.missingpersons.gov.au.

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