Missing Niamh

The disappearance of teenager Niamh Maye, missing since 2002

Missing Niamh

The disappearance of teenager Niamh Maye, missing since 2002

About Niamh…

Before she went missing, Niamh Maye was an adventurous teenager. She grew up in a large family in Armidale, in northern New South Wales, Australia. After finishing school, she took a gap year before university and embarked on a working holiday fruit-picking down south in Batlow, New South Wales, Australia. As Easter 2002 approached, Niamh made plans to travel to Sydney to meet her sister, Fionnuala so they could travel back to Armidale for Easter with their family.

But Niamh never made it home. Investigations have now spanned two decades. There are so many theories about what might have happened. Numerous reported sightings of her led nowhere. 

For the past 20 years, Niamh’s family has never stopped looking for her. Working with Niamh’s family, Casefile is doing a deep dive into her disappearance in the hope a podcast series with an international reach might bring her family some much needed answers.

The 2002 fruit picking season in Batlow – where Niamh vanished – attracted fruit pickers from all around the world. Backpackers and travellers converged on Batlow to work the season. This means that somewhere in the world, someone might hold the key to what happened to Niamh.

Were you in Batlow around Easter in 2002? 

Do you know someone who was?

If not, you can still help. You might have heard something, or found something.

The Timeline

16 February  2002

Niamh and two friends from Armidale, Jess and Brodie arrive at the Batlow Caravan Park in the early hours of the morning.

Feb-March 2002

Niamh, Jess and Brodie stay at the Batlow Caravan Park and pick fruit at various orchards around Batlow. They meet fruit pickers from all around Australia and the world.

 

16 February  2002

Niamh and two friends from Armidale, Jess and Brodie arrive at the Batlow Caravan Park in the early hours of the morning.

Feb-March 2002

Niamh, Jess and Brodie stay at the Batlow Caravan Park and pick fruit at various orchards around Batlow. They meet fruit pickers from all around Australia and the world.

 

21 March 2002

Jack and his friend Garth arrive at the Batlow Caravan Park in a 1969 HK black Holden hearse, with Victorian registration plates KFT 560.

Jack (Full name: Jason Nicklason)

Garth (Full name: Garth Gemmell)

The hearse (Registration plate KFT 560)

The hearse (Registration plate KFT 560)

23 March 2002

Niamh and Brodie leave the Batlow Caravan Park to stay at the Ardrossan orchard in Batlow, where they start new jobs with cheaper accommodation. Whilst staying at Ardrossan, Niamh books a Countrylink bus and train ticket to Sydney, which is scheduled to leave Batlow on Easter Thursday, 28 March 2002. Upon arriving in Sydney, Niamh planned to travel home to Armidale with her sister Fionnuala and brother Kieron to spend Easter weekend with her family.

27 March 2002

Niamh and Brodie leave their jobs at Ardrossan. Brodie decides to leave Batlow and heads to Healesville, Victoria with Natalie and Bruce that day. Niamh discovers there has been a mix up with her ticket, and that it has been on-sold, leaving her stranded in Batlow until the next available ticket home on Easter Sunday. 

Niamh calls her mother Anne and sister Fionnuala to express her disappointment that she won’t be able to make it home to Armidale in time for Easter. Niamh also expresses concern about what she is going to do in Batlow until Sunday now that her close friends have left.

28 March 2002

Easter Thursday. Niamh pays for a new Countrylink bus and train ticket home. Her bus is scheduled to leave Batlow on Easter Sunday Morning, 31 March. In her final days in Batlow, Niamh visits Adelong Falls and Blowering Dam with Jack, traveling in his distinctive black hearse.

29 March 2002

Good Friday. Niamh travels from Batlow to Jingellic with Jack and Garth in the hearse. They make a brief stop in Tumbarumba, before having lunch at Jingellic pub. They like the vibe there for the Easter long weekend and decide to camp the night at Jingellic campground. They drive back to Batlow to pick up supplies, then return to Jingellic where they mingle with other campers. Niamh is reluctant to camp at Jingellic, but Jack offers to drop her back to Batlow in time to catch her bus.

30 March 2002

Easter Saturday. Jack agrees to drive Niamh back to Batlow so she can catch her bus home the following morning. They leave the campground in Jack’s hearse between 10am and 11am.

31 March 2002

Easter Sunday. Niamh’s friend Joel waits for her at Batlow bus stop, so he can  say goodbye. Niamh does not arrive and her ticket remains unused. Joel asks around Batlow looking for Niamh but does not locate her. Niamh fails to arrive in Sydney that night and her family begin to make enquiries.

3 april 2002

Niamh is reported missing to Armidale police.

 5 april 2002

Kieron Maye, Niamh’s older brother, arrives in Batlow to search for her.

31 March 2002

Easter Sunday. Niamh’s friend Joel waits for her at Batlow bus stop, so he can  say goodbye. Niamh does not arrive and her ticket remains unused. Joel asks around Batlow looking for Niamh but does not locate her. Niamh fails to arrive in Sydney that night and her family begin to make enquiries.

3 april 2002

Niamh is reported missing to Armidale police.

 5 april 2002

Kieron Maye, Niamh’s older brother, arrives in Batlow to search for her.

8 april 2002

NSW Police establish Strike Force Yola to investigate Niamh’s disappearance.

6 march 2012

A Coronial inquest is held into Niamh’s disappearance, during which a theory is raised in court that implicates a group of previously unnamed men who were based in the Tumut area at the time of Niamh’s disappearance.

Do these men hold the key to her disappearance?

Does Jack?

Does someone else?

Do you?

Niamh’s Belongings

Niamh had a lot of property with her when she disappeared, including her SLR camera and tripod. None of which has ever been recovered. Did you ever find any property matching anything in the description below? You might have seen something dumped around Batlow or the Riverina Region, or anywhere in the country really. We can’t rule out that Niamh’s property might have appeared in pawn shops, despite her family canvassing as many of them as possible.

Backpack similar to Niamh’s

  • Tent
  • Backpack
  • Pentax SLR Camera (ME 35 – 70 + 8 with lens and tripod) 
  • Pentax PC 50 Compact camera (black)
  • Single fold men’s wallet, containing Niamh’s driver’s license, National Australia Bank card, Commonwealth Bank card and Medicare card.
  • ADEC girl’s watch (model number ETI-316-15. Chrome with narrow stainless steel link band)
  • TEAC slimline portable Discman with 10-second anti-shock (Model number PD-P215. Serial number 533)
  • Sunglasses (Inexpensive, medium thickness black plastic frames, narrowed oval shape lens, slight wrap around appearance)
  • Tent
  • Backpack
  • Pentax SLR Camera (ME 35 – 70 + 8 with lens and tripod) 
  • Pentax PC 50 Compact camera (black)
  • Single fold men’s wallet, containing Niamh’s driver’s license, National Australia Bank card, Commonwealth Bank card and Medicare card.
  • ADEC girl’s watch (model number ETI-316-15. Chrome with narrow stainless steel link band)
  • TEAC slimline portable Discman with 10-second anti-shock (Model number PD-P215. Serial number 533)
  • Sunglasses (Inexpensive, medium thickness black plastic frames, narrowed oval shape lens, slight wrap around appearance)

Backpack similar to Niamh’s

Tent similar to the one Niamh had

Contact Us

If you have any information, please contact us. You might have seen or heard something that might not seem significant to you, but it might help us put the jigsaw pieces together. Your information may be the missing piece. You can call Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000 or email us any time. You can remain anonymous.

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