A smiling picture of Rachel Cooke can be seen by drivers riding along I-35. The billboard is one of several put up by FBI San Antonio reading “Missing but not forgotten,” for Cooke’s 37th birthday.
Cooke’s mother Janet saw it as a gift for Mother’s Day as well.
"Anytime you can get her picture up there it might click something for somebody that is passing through," Cooke said.
Fishing rods leaned up against the wall by her front door she was thinking about going to the coast. Rachel loved the beach. She recalled a rambunctious toddler collecting seashells in the sand. Pleasant memories of her daughter linger and reminds her of her disappearance.
Rachel Cooke was last seen in January of 2002. She was visiting her parents and went out for a morning jog—she was never seen again. It’s been 17 years and her mother has never given up hope.
"It's not a pretty thing to be going through but I can't tell you how many times, I've just screamed and said let this be over but it isn't so we have to keep on keeping on,” Cooke said. "If it was their daughter or their son or their mother or their father, aunt, uncle they would want to keep on keeping on."
Immediately after Cooke went missing, the Williamson County Sheriff's Office and the Texas Rangers performed massive searches.
Over time, Cooke's case began to grow cold. Until September 2017, when the investigation began to gain momentum the FBI joined the sheriff's office and a cold case unit was formed. Waiting for new information has become the hardest part for Cooke.
"I just want somebody to come forward,” Cooke said." Perhaps the person that did it, it's got to be eating at them because it's eating at me let's be done with it, fess up."
In April of 2018, a potentially break in the case surfaced, a white Pontiac Trans Am was recovered from the Dallas area. The sheriff's office confiscated the car and is testing for DNA evidence. Cooke believes there may be more evidence out there and is asking for any information in her daughter’s case.
The reward for information leading to an arrest is $100,000 dollars, if you have any information you are asked to contact the FBI or the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office.