Mother of missing girl asks public for help


by QUITA CULPEPPER / KVUE News and photojournalist DENNIS THOMAS

Posted on January 10, 2014 at 7:03 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 10 at 7:14 PM

GEORGETOWN, Texas -- It's an anniversary that would break any parents' heart.

Twelve years ago Friday, a Georgetown woman vanished and became the focus of one of the area’s most mysterious missing persons cases. Now, Rachel Cooke's mother and investigators are asking for the public's help to bring her home.

“Rachel was a ball of energy. There wasn't enough hours in the day,” said Rachel's mother, Janet Cooke. “She loved life, and she was a very compassionate individual.”

They're precious memories of a daughter she hasn't seen in 12 years.

She's begging anyone who knows what may have happened to the 19-year-old college student to end the mystery and tell her where to find her child.

“We've got to bring this to an end,” Janet said. “If not for my peace of mind, then for the perpetrator's peace of mind. Let's end it.”

Rachel Cooke was home for Christmas break when she decided to go for a run. A neighbor reported seeing her just 200 yards from her home. She was never seen again.

For weeks, Texas Equusearch and hundreds from the community looked for any sign of Rachel. They found nothing.

The weeks became months, then years.

Now, two new Williamson County detectives, James Knutson and Jason Waldon, are assigned to Rachel's case.

“We are taking the approach of starting at step one, as if we were on the ground the day that this occurred, and going from there,” said Knutson. “We've spent the past three months going through recordings [and] reading case files, witness statements, canvas reports and anything else.”

They said they're developing new leads everyday.

“Somebody out there somewhere knows exactly what happened, and we need that one phone call,” said Williamson County Sheriff's Department spokesman Fred Thomas.

In the meantime, Rachel's mother can only imagine the memories they would have shared.  Rachel would be 31 this year.

“She would probably be married, probably [have] children. There [could be] grandchildren. I don't know. It's tough,” Janet said.

There is still a $50,000 reward for reliable information leading to the return or location of Rachel Cooke or to the identity of any person involved in her disappearance.

If you have any information, please call Williamson County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-253-7867, or visit