Desperately seeking Sylvia: MISSING PERSONS WEEK

Rachael Staunton-Bush was best friends with Eden grandmother Sylvia Pajuczok, who disappeared just before Christmas in 2008 from near Rockton. 

Nearly six years after Sylvia’s disappearance, and with no Coronial Court finding as yet, Rachael fears that people have forgotten her friend.

She is determined to jog memories, and is travelling the footprint between Eden, Bombala and Bega in coming weeks, putting up a new missing person’s poster, in the hope that Sylvia’s case may be resolved. 

Rachael has asked Fairfax Regional Media to help her in her efforts.


Rachael Staunton-Bush of Eden experienced a tragedy every parent fears, the death of a child.

Her 17-year-old son Jason went surfing with four mates and never came out of the water.

Dealing with Jason’s death shattered the mother of five.

Throughout the years of grief she has since suffered, Rachael managed to draw comfort and support from her best friend of nearly 20 years, Sylvia Pajuczok.

That was until Sylvia also went missing, just before Christmas in 2008.

“She was a very beautiful person, she had a big heart,” Rachael told the Magnet.

“I loved her to death.

“When I lost my boy, which was in 1999, we had only been friends for about four years then, I couldn’t physically look for my son.

“And they wouldn’t really let me anyway, I suppose...

“I remember Sylvia said to me at the time, ‘Don’t worry, I’ll be your eyes and your legs.’

“In going through that together she was my rock, she held my hand through the whole thing.”

Supporting each other through the grief, the best friends made a pact with each other.

“If something happened to one of us, we would make sure we would find a way to let each other know where we were.

“We both knew how it felt to not have a body to put to rest, there’s no closure.

“The grieving process never stops.”

Rachael’s grief for her best friend Sylvia, missing now for nearly six years, remains fresh.

“The hard bit for me has been to drive past her house, nearly every day, just round the corner from me.

“It’s in my face all the time.

“Sylvia and Grace (Rachael’s daughter) planted a tree in the front yard. I remember that every time I see that tree.”

Sylvia is godmother to Grace, mother to three children and grandmother to five, the youngest of whom she has never met.

It was Rachael and her family who first found Sylvia’s abandoned Tarago on the Road between Rockton and Bombala, just after Christmas Day in 2008.

According to Rachael, Sylvia had travelled to the remote area to spend a quiet Christmas on a relative’s property at Rockton.

She did not make contact with her children or friends on Christmas Day.

No one could reach her on the landline or mobile phone.

Alarmed, Rachael and her family drove up to Rockton, and discovered the Tarago, but no Sylvia.

Extensive searches and investigations by Police since have uncovered no further trace of Sylvia.

Appeals to the public for anyone who may have been travelling from interstate on those roads over Christmas have failed to solve the mystery of her disappearance.

The Coroner’s Court has met a number of times in the interceding years, and will meet again in Bombala on October 20, 2014.

“People just forget,” Rachael said.

“I don’t want this to happen with Sylvia.

“None of us are in a really good place, none of us will ever be ‘normal’ again.

“I don’t think we will ever find her…so long as we can get some justice for her at least we have done something.”

Anyone with any information on Sylvia Pajuczok’s disappearance are asked to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.  

An inquest into the disappearance of Eden grandmother Sylvia Pajuczok in July heard police are still no closer to finding out what happened to her.

Ms Pajuczok, 53, went missing from a friend’s home in Rockton, near Bombala, on Christmas Eve in 2008 and is presumed to have been murdered, but her body has never been found.

Police offered a $100,000 reward for information on the case and launched a fresh search of farmland and waterways in the area earlier this year, but found no new leads.

At the time of her disappearance, an extensive ground search involving the police rescue squad and a police cadaver dog was conducted.

The inquest into her disappearance reopened in Sydney’s Glebe Coroners Court after being adjourned to allow police to continue their investigation, and has again been adjourned until October.