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. A neighbor saw her walk past her driveway during her cool down. Cooke was 19 years old at the time.
“Taking somebody’s child is not right,” said Janet Cooke, Rachel’s mother.
Not knowing what happened to her daughter Rachel, is the hardest part for Cooke. Now there’s renewed hope. Dozens of volunteers and people with the FBI were canvassing the area where Rachel was last seen, using metal detectors to look for evidence, no matter how small.
Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody says Rachel liked to wear jewelry. Cooke says she’s unsure if her daughter was wearing earrings or jewelry the morning of her run.
Cooke says she didn’t see this type of extensive search when her daughter first disappeared. “This to be honest with you, should’ve happened 15 years ago.”
However, John Foster, a detective on the case then, tells KXAN, his team walked the area several times. He couldn’t recall whether metal detectors were used at this same spot, on the street where Rachel was last seen, but he says they were used.
Sheriff Chody says metal detectors were never used at the spot volunteers were searching Thursday morning, along Neches and Navajo trails. “I can promise you we are working hard to find some answers,” said Chody.
Foster welcomes a new set of eyes on the case, but says finding new evidence 15 years later is unlikely.
Still, the sheriff’s office isn’t giving up – and Janet Cooke never will.
“Anyone that’s a parent that loves their children, knows you don’t give up,” said Cooke.
“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.
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.