Nineteen-year-old Rachel Louise Cooke was staying with her parents in Georgetown, Texas during the winter break from Mesa Junior College in San Diego.
On the 10th of January, 2002, Rachel’s mother, Janet, left for work at around 8am. Rachel was still asleep on the couch at this time, but she awoke shortly after. Rachel decided to go for a training run, as she had been on the school’s cross-country team and was regularly running four miles every morning.
Police believe that Rachel left her parent’s home at around 9:30am. A few people saw her at different places along her run, with the last sighting of her being at around 11am. Rachel was around 200 yards from her parent’s home when neighbours last saw her.
At around 3pm, Rachel’s father, Robert, returned home from work to go shopping with Rachel – but Rachel was not there, and she had not left any type of note indicating where she could be. Her family became even more concerned when she didn’t return home at all that day, and they contacted the authorities.
Despite an extensive search, the police found no sign of Rachel. She has not been seen or heard from, again.
Despite not having any suspects, police did find out a few pieces of information. There was an unidentified native American male, who was in his late teens or early twenties, who was seen talking to a jogger that morning (potentially Rachel). There were also several reports of a late model white or blue Chevrolet Camaro or Pontiac Trans Am with black or white stripes along the hood and trunk driving around Rachel’s neighbourhood on the morning of her disappearance.
Rachel’s case went cold for a few years until, in 2006, Micheal Keith Moore confessed to Rachel’s murder. Micheal was already in jail serving time on an unrelated murder. Micheal said that he abducted Rachel, killed her with a hammer, and then dumped her body into the Gulf of Mexico.
However, just as Micheal was about to plead guilty to Rachel’s murder, he backed out of the plea deal and admitted that he had lied about the confession to get better treatment whilst in jail. Authorities still believed that his confession was accurate, but nonetheless all charges against Micheal, in relation to Rachel’s case, were dropped.
In July 2017, investigators received a tip that some human remains had been buried in a field and they could belong to Rachel. Despite a search of the area, no remains were found.
Investigators announced, in April 2018, that there had been a possible break in Rachel’s case. They had managed to locate a car that matched the description of the one seen driving around Rachel’s neighbourhood on the morning of her disappearance. It was a Pontiac Trans Am, and it was located in Dallas, Texas. The car has been linked to three people of interest in Rachel’s case.
The FBI conducted an analysis of the car, hoping to find some traces of DNA or other evidence linking to Rachel’s disappearance. In September 2018, the FBI announced that the car had tested positive for the possible presence of blood. A search was conducted in Georgetown in December 2018, but the results of the search are unknown.
Authorities announced in January 2021 that they are searching for a man who lived in Georgetown in 2002 and was an acquaintance of Rachel’s, he is also thought to have been involved in the cattle and horse industry. The police also believe that this man may have spoken about Rachel’s case to acquaintances of his own, but that he would likely have spoken about it in the third person, and distanced himself from any actual involvement in Rachel’s case.
The FBI are offering a reward of up to $50,000 for any information that leads to Rachel’s whereabouts.
Do you know what happened to Rachel?
Unsolved, Missing, Missing Person, Texas, 2002, True Crime, Abduction, Mystery