Niamh Maye, the adored progeny of Brian and Anne May from Armidale, New South Wales, was last sighted on 30 March 2002, at the tender age of 18. Niamh was engaged in fruit picking during her gap year, diligently saving funds for a film production course at the University.
Her father, Brian, spoke of her with profound fondness in 2020, expressing how they miss their enchanting, affectionate, mischievous, and delightful daughter, sister, and aunt every single day, pondering about the life she could have embraced.
According to reports, Niamh’s last known departure was from a campground in Jingellic, approximately 520 km south-east of Sydney, accompanied by only one individual. The person in question was an acquaintance whom Niamh had encountered while picking fruit earlier that year. He offered her a ride from Jingellic to Tumut, a regional town, and purportedly dropped her off on the side of Gocup Road. This individual was driving a black HT Holden Hearse, and he stood as the final witness to Niamh’s presence.
Before vanishing, Niamh informed her mother of her intentions to visit her sister’s residence in Sydney, with a plan to spend Easter with the family. She might have considered hitchhiking the 36 km to Gundagia, then continuing her journey by coach or hitchhiking to Sydney, as there were no direct trains from Gundagai to Sydney.
Despite exhaustive investigations and the involvement of a clairvoyant, no one has ever been indicted in connection to Niamh’s disappearance. In 2005, a massive ground search was conducted in the Tumut area by 50 police officers, numerous volunteers, and Niamh’s family. They meticulously combed through 25 square kilometers of rugged bushland on horseback, motorcycles, and foot, but neither Niamh’s belongings nor any trace of her body was ever discovered.
In 2012, a coronial inquest concluded that Niamh fell victim to homicide on 31 March 2002. The sole suspect in the case was a fellow fruit picker who had given her a lift to Tumut, Jason Niklasen. Niklasen was arrested for a violent rape in October 2002 in Brisbane, QLD, and tragically passed away on the day of his arrest, reportedly falling to his death while being escorted to his cell by two officers. NSW police had named Niklasen as a suspect in Niamh’s disappearance six months prior, stating that his demise hindered their ongoing investigations.
In recent developments, the Maye family has called for a review of Niamh’s case, prompting the police to commence a search on a property near Tumut in August 2021. Niamh’s family has been actively searching for her, ensuring that her story remains in the spotlight and that her name is never forgotten. They actively maintain a Facebook page, continuously renewing public interest in her case through the media. The family recently appeared on an episode of ABC’s “You can’t ask that,” a TV series where individuals with somewhat taboo life experiences respond to anonymous questions.
In conclusion, we fervently hope that Niamh may find eternal peace, and we acknowledge the fortitude and resilience displayed by her family. Our deepest wish is that the recent police investigations bring closure to Niamh’s family and cast light upon the mystery of her disappearance.