GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — Nearly 15 years after she disappeared, the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office is still getting tips on Rachel Cooke. The 19-year-old vanished during her morning run in Georgetown on Jan. 10, 2002. Walking the streets of her old neighborhood where Rachel disappeared brings back a lot of memories for her mother, Janet Cooke.
“Just makes you wonder what happened between here and the house.” Cooke says her daughter was last seen about 200 yards from their home on Neches Trail near Navajo Trail, around 11 a.m. Cooke says a neighbor saw Rachel walk past their driveway around that time, during her cool down. She had earbuds in at the time. Rachel’s mother and advocates are sending a warning to other runners to pay attention.
“Who’s walking by you? Who’s driving by you? Look around. A lot of people will get so focused on listening to their music and zoned out,” explains Wade Knutson, co-coordinator for the Rachel Cooke Memorial Run.
Cooke says she will even pull up to runners with ear buds and warn them of the dangers. “You just never know when that might be the person that they target. I bring awareness any way I can.”
That is what Cooke and the Georgetown community are trying to do with a memorial run on Saturday. Organizers are hoping the run leads to more tips on Rachel’s disappearance. “We’re not forgetting after 15 years, Janet’s still in town, the community is still with her, so you’re not going to be able to hide from this,” says Knutson.
“One day I’m going to have closure, whether it be on earth or in heaven,” says Cooke.
The Rachel Cooke Memorial Run starts at 8 a.m.Saturday at San Gabriel and Rivery Park in Georgetown. The race will start on the granite trail at E. Morrow Street, on the north side of Morrow. The race costs $25 and all proceeds will go to the Central Texas Chapter for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. If you don’t want to sign up to run, you can walk a half mile with Cooke to show your support.