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Author Topic: Rachel Cooke 19, Williamson Cty, TX-Last seen 1/10/02  (Read 14583 times)
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Nut44x4
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...and Injustice for most


« Reply #20 on: June 10, 2017, 01:14:01 PM »

Thanks Muffy!!
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« Reply #21 on: September 28, 2017, 08:07:46 AM »

http://kxan.com/2017/09/28/officials-to-announce-reward-for-missing-rachel-cooke-case-information/
Officials to announce reward for Rachel Cooke case information
September 28, 2017

GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — Later Thursday morning, officials are set to announce a reward for information in a missing persons case from 15 years ago in Georgetown.

Rachel Cooke disappeared while on a morning run in January 2002. A neighbor saw her walk past her driveway during her cool down. Cooke was 19 years old at the time.

Representatives from the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI and the Texas Rangers are holding a press conference at 11 a.m. in the area where she was last seen. It is not known how much of a reward they will be offering.

Back in June of this year, authorities excavated an area in Liberty hill after they received a tip in the case. Ultimately, they did not find any evidence.
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« Reply #22 on: September 28, 2017, 03:35:00 PM »

http://kxan.com/2017/09/28/officials-to-announce-reward-for-missing-rachel-cooke-case-information/
Up to $100,000 reward offered for information in Rachel Cooke case
September 28, 2017

GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — Officials announced they will offer up to $50,000 for information in a missing persons case from 15 years ago in Georgetown.

Rachel Cooke disappeared while on a morning run in January 2002. Her family is also offering a $50,000 reward, for a total reward of up to $100,000.
 
Representatives from the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI and the Texas Rangers are holding a press conference at 11 a.m. in the area where she was last seen.

“I vow to utilize all the resources available and partnerships with my fellow law enforcement agencies to bring Rachel home,” said Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody. “We can only achieve this with your help. This is my promise and my plea.”

Anyone with information can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324) or submit tips online.
 
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« Reply #23 on: September 29, 2017, 01:45:00 PM »

http://www.mystatesman.com/news/crime--law/officials-renew-push-find-clues-rachel-cooke-2002-disappearance/pLndFtvf1Xo8PR9mMGMfAN/
Officials renew push to find clues to Rachel Cooke’s 2002 disappearance
September 28, 2017

GEORGETOWN —
When Robert Chody became Williamson County’s new sheriff in January, he promised to devote new energy into trying to solve a dozen cold cases, including the disappearance of Rachel Cooke, a 19-year-old who vanished after going for a run while home from college in January 2002.

On Thursday, surrounded by federal, state and local law enforcement officers who were combing a wooded area with metal detectors, Chody announced a new $50,000 reward for information about what happened to Cooke in a case that has long frustrated investigators.
He stood next to Cooke’s mother, Janet, and both delivered impassioned appeals for any clue that would help solve one of the region’s biggest mysteries.

“It’s time,” Cooke said through tears. “Rachel’s little sister deserves to have closure. I deserve to have closure. Let us put an end to this. Let’s bring Rachel home, please. … I want my baby home.”
 

With Thursday’s additional money, the total reward being offered is $100,000 because it includes the $50,000 reward Cooke’s mother is already offering, Chody said.

Cooke was last seen walking toward her residence from approximately 200 yards away and was wearing a gray running outfit, a green sports bra, ASICS running shoes and a yellow Walkman with sports-style headphones.

FBI officials were searching with metal detectors Thursday in the area where Cooke disappeared. “We are looking for evidence because Rachel was known to wear earrings and have jewelry,” Chody said.

He declined to comment further on the investigation, saying it might hinder the work of investigators.
Chody said he approached the FBI for the Cooke case.

“He filled us in and we felt we could come to the table and be helpful,” John Scata, the FBI assistant special agent in charge in the Austin area, said at the news conference. The FBI was involved with the investigation when Cooke first disappeared, Chody said.

He also read a statement at the news conference from Beth Holloway, the mother of Natalie Holloway, an 18-year-old from Alabama who has been missing since 2005 from the Caribbean island of Aruba, where she was on vacation.

“I stand with this town and this family,” the statement said. “With the help of this community, justice will prevail.”

Cooke’s disappearance initially drew national attention. In 2004, the sheriff’s office put together a team of 10 investigators who spent 1,000 hours interviewing people.

In 2006 convicted murderer Michael Keith Moore made a false confession that he had killed Cooke with a hammer, raped her and dumped her in the Gulf of Mexico near Matagorda Bay. Moore was expected to plea guilty, but he backed out of the deal. A search by divers of the area where Moore claimed to have left her body failed to turn up any evidence.

Robert Cooke had a billboard erected about her disappearance in 2008 on Interstate 35 in North Austin.

Efforts to find her continued in 2014, when material from a car related to the case was tested but the material yielded no new information. The sheriff’s office also got a tip in June that there might be possible human remains connected to Rachel Cooke near the San Gabriel River in Liberty Hill, but diggers found nothing.

Anyone with information about Cooke is asked to call 1-800-CALLFBI (1-800-225-5324) or text tips to fbi.gov or contact their local FBI office or the nearest American embassy or consulate.

“We truly believe there is someone out there who has information about Rachel,” Chody said. “If she is no longer alive, her family deserves closure. Give them the opportunity to say goodbye. Give her a proper burial and allow Rachel to rest in peace.”
 
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ARUBA: It's all about Natalee...we won't give up!


« Reply #24 on: September 29, 2017, 11:41:44 PM »

Thanks for keeping us posted on Rachel's case, MuffyBee.   

Praying for peace for this family.   an angelic monkey

http://www.kvue.com/news/local/williamson-county/wilco-officials-expected-to-announce-new-reward-for-15-year-old-cold-case/479265006

 

If you have information regarding Rachel Cooke's location, you are asked to call 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324) or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov.

"The fact is someone out there knows something, and it's time. Rachel's little sister deserves to have closure. I deserve to have closure. I don't care what it is you think you know. Call it in. Let us put an end to this. Let's bring Rachel home. Please," said Janet Cooke.

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I stand with the girl, Natalee Holloway.

"I can look back over the past 10 years and there were no steps wasted, and there are no regrets,'' she said. "I did all I knew to do and I think that gives me greater peace now." "I've lived every parent's worst nightmare and I'm the parent that nobody wants to be," she said.

Beth Holloway, 2015 interview with Greta van Susteren
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« Reply #25 on: September 30, 2017, 10:00:00 AM »

Thanks for keeping us posted on Rachel's case, MuffyBee.   

Praying for peace for this family.   an angelic monkey

http://www.kvue.com/news/local/williamson-county/wilco-officials-expected-to-announce-new-reward-for-15-year-old-cold-case/479265006

 

If you have information regarding Rachel Cooke's location, you are asked to call 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324) or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov.

"The fact is someone out there knows something, and it's time. Rachel's little sister deserves to have closure. I deserve to have closure. I don't care what it is you think you know. Call it in. Let us put an end to this. Let's bring Rachel home. Please," said Janet Cooke.



It's been so long since the day Rachel disappeared.  Her Dad passed away and never got to see her brought home.  I hope she will be found soon, texasmom. 
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« Reply #26 on: September 30, 2017, 10:03:25 AM »

http://kxan.com/2017/09/29/investigator-says-sheriffs-office-made-crucial-mistakes-in-rachel-cooke-case/
Investigator says sheriff’s office made crucial mistakes in Rachel Cooke case
September 29, 2017

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — The FBI is awaiting tips, after they increased reward money this week to $100,000 for information leading to Rachel Cooke.

A former lieutenant who worked the missing person case during his time with the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office hopes the money will help. But he said the sheriff’s office made crucial mistakes when Cooke first disappeared.

“There was no reason to think she was a runaway, she had no history of it,” John Foster said.

But that’s exactly what the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office said Rachel Cooke was, the day her family reported her missing in 2002.
Foster points to then-Sheriff John Maspero.

“Sheriff Maspero was hopeful she would just turn up.”

It was days later, after the Cookes started their own search, Foster says, that detectives started treating Cooke’s disappearance as a missing person case. By then, Foster says, the investigation was tainted.

“You look at the people closest to Rachel immediately, not days later, the Cookes should’ve been immediately interviewed.”

Foster says he made that suggestion to his supervisor when he was still a deputy, the night he responded to the Cookes home to take the missing person report.

“I was told that that was not going to happen, and that was per the sheriff that we were not to question the Cookes.”

Foster believes it’s because the sheriff and the Cookes knew each other. “It’s investigation 101, rule in or rule out people that are close to the victim.”

Had detectives followed protocol from day one, Foster believes there’s a greater chance the Cooke family would have closure by now.

“In any investigation, when you put your bad foot forward, it is usually haunting for the duration of the investigation.”

The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office does not currently have a policy stating they must wait a certain amount of time before they consider a person missing. Foster says that wasn’t a rule when he was in the office either.

Foster resigned from the sheriff’s office in 2014.

Others involved with the search for Cooke have shared Foster’s concerns about the investigation.

In 2011, KXAN interviewed  Equusearch founder Tim Miller, who also blamed Maspero, saying the sheriff botched the case.

“I think Maspero from the very beginning dropped the ball,” Miller said, suggesting the sheriff was too quick to dismiss Cooke as a runaway or a college girl who was looking to party.


Equusearch is one of the nation’s leading missing-persons organizations, and was brought in to assist state and local law enforcement agencies with the Cooke case.

“I think some mistakes were made early on with law enforcement without taking a missing person’s report as early as they did,” Miller said in a 2011 interview with KXAN. “The sheriff made a huge, huge mistake.”

Maspero told KXAN in a 2011 telephone interview that Miller’s assertions were unfounded.

“I brought in the finest people I could think of — the Rangers, FBI, APD,” Maspero said. “We went beyond the scope of what was called for, and I’m disappointed Rachel’s case is still unsolved.”
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« Reply #27 on: November 30, 2017, 08:55:48 AM »

http://www.kvue.com/news/local/fbi-turns-to-social-media-for-leads-in-rachel-cooke-case/495264566
FBI turns to social media for leads in Rachel Cooke case
November 28, 2017

GEORGETOWN, TEXAS - The FBI is now turning to social media through paid ads to help finally learn what happened to Rachel Cooke.

It's an unusual approach that comes as part of a renewed effort to help solve the missing persons case from 2002.

Over the past 15 years, investigators have relied on all kinds of approaches -- from tip lines to increased cash rewards. Now, they say it's time to draw interest where many people get their information and spend a lot of time these days -- from sites like Facebook.

A paid ad that recently started popping up on Facebook has two pictures of Rachel Cooke -- and gives a bit of background about her case. So far, it has been shared more than 530 times among Facebook users alone.

It also gives a number for tips: 1-800-225-5324.

This social media campaign comes a couple of months after Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody and other authorities announced a $100,000 reward for information in the case.

It's a case that has frustrated law enforcement for years. Cooke vanished after going for a morning run while at her family's home outside Georgetown more than a decade ago.

Investigators have pursued numerous tips through the years, but none have led to conclusive information about Cooke's whereabouts or who may have harmed her.

When Sheriff Chody took office in January, he created a new cold case team to help solve this case and about a dozen others. KVUE and Austin American-Statesman reporter Tony Plohetski checked with that team on Tuesday, and they said they are working on finding out what happened to Rachel Cooke every day.

Meanwhile, no information was available Tuesday about how much the FBI is paying for this social media ad campaign and, more importantly, whether it has generated any new leads in this case.

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« Reply #28 on: January 10, 2018, 08:53:24 AM »

http://kxan.com/2018/01/10/rachel-cooke-remembered-on-16th-anniversary-of-disappearance/
Rachel Cooke remembered on 16th anniversary of disappearance
January 10, 2018


GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — Sixteen years ago Wednesday, Rachel Cooke went for her usual four-mile run while visiting her parents’ house in Georgetown. She was never seen again, and while there have been numerous tips over the years, none have helped the sheriff’s office or her family find her. That doesn’t mean they’ve stopped looking, or stopped remembering.

Cooke’s family and the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office are holding a ceremony at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the tree planted in her memory at Georgetown High School. Cooke was 19 years old when she disappeared in January 2002. She was back home from college in San Diego.
 

Most recently, agencies involved in the search have offered a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to Cooke, an announcement they made last September. Cooke’s family is also offering $50,000. Investigators say they have more than 100 persons of interest and several theories. The case was recently featured on the national show “Crime Watch,” where Sheriff Chody said his team is trying to re-interview everyone in the case file.

On the 15th anniversary of Cooke’s disappearance,  her family and the community held a memorial run in hopes of getting more tips about where she might be. Money raised from the run went to the Central Texas Chapter for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Last June, authorities excavated an area in Liberty hill after they received a tip in the case. Ultimately, they did not find any evidence.

(Modified 01/11/18 to correct date of article from January 10, 2017 to January 10, 2018)
« Last Edit: January 11, 2018, 09:36:18 AM by MuffyBee » Logged

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« Reply #29 on: January 11, 2018, 09:34:11 AM »

http://www.kvue.com/news/local/remembrance-ceremony-for-rachel-cooke-planned-for-16th-anniversary/506293913
Georgetown community remembers Rachel Cooke 16 years after disappearance
January 10, 2018

GEORGETOWN, TEXAS - The community of Georgetown gathered for a remembrance ceremony for Rachel Cooke on the 16th anniversary of her disappearance Wednesday.

A 19-year-old Cooke was visiting family members on winter break when she vanished near her home on Jan. 10, 2002.

“Sooner or later they are going to realize they know something they may not realize they know something,” said Janet Cooke, Rachel's mother. "I’m not giving up because I don’t know and until I know I’m not giving up."

Cooke was described as having blonde hair with high-low lights and blue/hazel eyes. She was wearing a gray running outfit with a green sports bra when she was last seen approximately 200 yards from her family's residence at 9:30 a.m.

"As time goes by you learn to look at all the good things Rachel did, all the joy she shared with people and all the fun and the laughter,” Janet said. "She touched a lot of lives and that counts in the long term."

Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody was also in attendance.

"Rest assured, we are not being silent, we’re getting tips pretty regularly, we’ve been out of state to interview people in reference to the Rachel Cooke case," he said. "We will not solve this case or get any further than we are now without the help of the public."

The ceremony was held at Georgetown High School at the tree planted in her memory.

Multiple law enforcement agencies are offering a $50,000 reward for information that leads to Cooke's location. Combined with Cooke's family's reward, the total amount is $100,000.
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« Reply #30 on: April 12, 2018, 03:45:03 PM »

http://www.kvue.com/article/news/local/authorities-may-have-found-car-possibly-linked-to-rachel-cooke-2002-disappearance/269-537714101
Authorities may have found car possibly linked to Rachel Cooke 2002 disappearance
The case remains one of the region's most mysterious unsolved crimes

April 12, 2018

GEORGETOWN, Texas -- More than 16 years after a Georgetown 19-year-old disappeared, authorities have found a car which they hope will help finally unlock the mystery behind her disappearance, KVUE and Austin American-Statesman reporter Tony Plohetski has learned.

Sources tell Plohetski this is a major development in the case because at the time of her 2002 disappearance, witnesses described seeing a white Pontiac Trans Am or Camero in the area surrounding her home. Investigators now think they have found that car in the Dallas-area.

Authorities have called a news conference for Friday to discuss more about this new, potentially critical clue in a case that remains one of the region's most mysterious unsolved crimes.

The car that was found is now on its way back to Williamson County where FBI experts will analyze the car to see if it holds any forensic evidence in this case, including DNA.

Cooke was a college student who was home for the holidays when she went for a run on Jan. 10, 2002. She was never seen again. Over the years the case has frustrated investigators, who have chased numerous clues and tips, only to be left empty-handed.

In 2017, Sheriff Robert Chody created a new cold case unit that has been working this case and about 10 other unsolved crimes. The car's discovery is a result of their efforts, Plohetski has been told.

In June, sheriff’s officials and FBI agents spent several hours digging near the San Gabriel River after authorities received a tip that human remains might be found there. They called off the search hours later after they couldn’t find anything. Chody said at the time that Cooke’s name was brought up by the tipster.
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« Reply #31 on: April 12, 2018, 04:44:34 PM »

https://www.statesman.com/news/crime--law/car-linked-rachel-cooke-case-impounded-for-forensic-analysis/RqPMhsRpyVhRgYgT64qmxI/
Car linked to Rachel Cooke case impounded for forensic analysis
April 12, 2018

More than 16 years after Rachel Cooke vanished in Williamson County, authorities think they have have located a sports car that could be the same one that raised the suspicions of witnesses in her neighborhood around the time of her disappearance, law enforcement sources told the American-Statesman and KVUE-TV.

The car was located in recent days in the Dallas area, the sources said Thursday, and is being brought back to Williamson County so that forensics analysts from the FBI can scour it for possible evidence. It is possible multiple persons of interest may be linked to the vehicle, the sources said.
 
Detectives hope that even with the passage of significant time, the car will contain clues that could help lead them to the person or persons behind Cooke’s disappearance.

Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody and other officials are planning a news conference Friday at an impound facility in Georgetown.

The elusive white car was one of the first clues to emerge in the investigation of Cooke’s disappearance in January 2002. But until now, authorities have been unable to locate it. Other details, including how authorities were able to find the car and why they think the vehicle they recovered is the same one witnesses reported seeing, were not immediately clear Thursday.

For years, investigators have been trying to find what witnesses described as a white passenger sports car — possibly a Pontiac Trans Am or Chevrolet Camaro — that was seen in the area where Cooke was running on the morning of Jan. 10, 2002.

They identified the car as being an older model with a wide black stripe across its lower portion, according to published reports. Witnesses also claim to have seen two men who appeared to be between 17 and 21 in the car.

Cooke, a 19-year-old student at Mesa Junior College in Southern California, was home on winter break when she went jogging alone in her parents’ neighborhood in the North Lake subdivision northwest of Georgetown.

Witnesses reported seeing the car traveling on Navajo Trail and turning south on Neches that day, about 100 yards from Cooke’s home.

The last person to see Cooke was a neighbor who saw her walking on Neches Trail to cool down at the end of her run.

Over the years, the case has received national attention, but no solid clues about what happened to her, torturing her mother, Janet Cooke, in the years since.

Janet Cooke has remained an outspoken advocate for her daughter and is likely to attend Friday’s news conference — as she has done through the years. Her father, Robert Cooke, died in 2014.
 

In June, sheriff’s officials and FBI agents spent several hours digging near the San Gabriel River after authorities received a tip that human remains might be found there. They called off the search hours later after they couldn’t find anything.

Chody said at the time that Cooke’s name was brought up by the tipster.

Lawrence Presley, a former chief of the DNA Analysis Unit of the FBI laboratory, said Thursday that it would be possible to recover DNA from a car involved in a kidnapping/murder crime 16 years ago. If the victim was placed in the trunk of the car, the possibility of finding DNA is “very real,” he said.

Trunks tend to be less contaminated by other sources of DNA than the inside of a car, said Presley. It’s very hard to get rid of blood and other body fluids left in a trunk, he said. A person could rip up the carpet in the trunk but would still have to clean all the metalwork and cracks underneath it, which is very difficult to do, he said.

He also said the chances of recovering DNA from the car would be better if the vehicle had been abandoned over a long period of time rather than used for the last 16 years, which would introduce multiple sources of contamination. Other factors also come into play when trying to recover DNA from a car 16 years after a crime, Presley said.

The quality of the DNA is better if it is preserved in a dry environment at room temperature away from the sun because ultraviolet light may degrade the DNA, he said.

Presley also said it would be very hard to get rid of all the DNA evidence in a car unless someone went through extensive measures including replacing the carpet and the seats.

Bill Tobin, a retired 27-year FBI agent and forensics expert, said it is “very common” to find traces of body in cases where people had cleaned vehicles to get rid of it. “The bad guys just think they are smarter,” said Tobin, who owns Forensic Engineering International in Virginia and has testified as an expert in forensics at 275 trials across the country.

“It turns out they underestimate the diligence of a forensics examiner and the processes and techniques used.”

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« Reply #32 on: April 13, 2018, 05:33:54 PM »

https://www.statesman.com/news/rachel-cooke-case-williamson-sheriff-discusses-new-evidence-today/0u9QKcWodrBtNX4uvGC5KL/
Trans Am found in Dallas linked to Rachel Cooke case, Williamson sheriff says
April 13, 2018

9:15 a.m. update: A Pontiac Trans Am that authorities found in Dallas is the car that witnessses reported seeing when Rachel Cooke, 19, disappeared while jogging in Georgetown in 2002, Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody said Friday morning.

Chody said the car is linked to three to four “persons of interest” in the Cooke case
. He said a tip after a media event about Cooke’s disappearance led authorities to the vehicle.

Earlier: Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody is hosting a press conference this morning to announce that deputies have seized a car that they believe may contain forensic evidence in the disappearance of Rachel Cooke in 2002.
 

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