Rachel Cooke was home at her parents' home in Georgetown, Texas during winter break from Mesa Junior College in San Diego, and just enjoying some time off as a typical 19-year-old. But Rachel wouldn't end up returning to college at the end of break like so many of her classmates. Instead, she went missing.
FBI Still Searching For Answers About Rachel Cooke's Disappearance 20 Years Later
Rachel Went For A Run In Her Parents' Neighborhood And Went Missing
When her mother, Janet, left for work at 8 a.m. on January 10, 2002, Rachel was still fast asleep on the couch, as she finally had some time to relax since college was out for the semester.
When Rachel woke up, she decided to go for her training run since she was on the school cross-country team and was taking regular four-mile runs in the morning to keep in shape during her off-season.
Authorities believe that Rachel left home at around 9:30 a.m. Witnesses reported seeing her at various points on her route. Several neighbors saw her at 11 a.m., near the end of her run, just about 200 yards from her home. That is the last time someone is confirmed to have seen Rachel alive.
Her Dad Got Alarmed When She Never Came Back
Her father, Robert, returned home at 3 p.m. to go shopping with Rachel, but she was not there and had not left a note, which was not like her at all.
Rachel's family became concerned when she didn't return home that day. An extensive search was conducted, but no trace of her was found around her home.
Police Questioned Several Men
An unidentified Native American man was seen talking to a female jogger, possibly Rachel, on the day she vanished, but he was never publicly identified as a suspect in the case. Also, a late-model white or blue Chevrolet Camaro or Pontiac Trans Am with white or black stripes along the hood and trunk was seen in Rachel's neighborhood around the time she vanished. But that also has not been confirmed as having direct links to Rachel.
A Convicted Killer Confessed To Her Murder, But Then Retracted
In 2006, inmate Michael Keith Moore confessed to Rachel's murder while in prison for an unrelated murder. He later backed out of the plea and said he made up the confession for preferential treatment. Authorities still believe that his confession was accurate, but the charges were later dropped.
Several other searches have taken place as well. In April 2018, investigators announced they had located and impounded a car matching the description of one seen in Rachel's neighborhood the morning of her disappearance.
In January of 2021, investigators announced that they were searching for a man who may have information on this case. He had lived in Georgetown in 2002 and was an acquaintance of Rachel's who possibly worked in the cattle and horse industry. They believe that he may have mentioned details of this case to an acquaintance, yet they have not elaborated on what led them to this assumption.
The FBI Is Seeking Information In The Case
Rachel was wearing a gray running outfit, a green sports bra, and Asics running shoes. She was also wearing a yellow Walkman on her arm with sports-style headphones. She has two heart-shaped cherries tattooed on her left shoulder and a black star tattooed on her left foot near her pinky toe. Rachel also has multiple ear piercings and a naval piercing.
The FBI is offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the location of Rachel Louise Cooke.
If you have any information concerning the disappearance of Rachel Cooke, please call 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324) or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov.
You may also contact your local FBI office or the nearest American Embassy or Consulate.