17-year anniversary of Rachel Cooke's disappearance
GEORGETOWN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - It's been 17 years since Rachel Cooke was last seen but her mother Janet Cooke has never given up hope she's confident the answers she has long waited for will come to light.
"It's hard because it's another year," Janet Cooke said. “I know the hell that I and the family have gone through for the past 17-years and the person that knows something that has got to be eating at them."
In January 2002, then 19-year-old Cooke was visiting her parents in Georgetown when she went for a run. A witness reported seeing her 200 yards from her parents’ home that morning but hasn't been seen since. The Williamson county sheriff's office and Texas Rangers performed massive searches throughout the city and state.
The case began to grow cold until 2017 when the FBI joined the sheriff's department in their efforts. The Cooke family finally began to see momentum in April when a white Pontiac Trans Am was recovered from the Dallas area. Sheriff Robert Chody reassured the Cooke family the cold case unit is working hard to solve Cooke’s case.
"Janet Cooke and the Cooke family I want to remind you when you get discouraged that nothing is being done in your mind that in 2018 we had human DNA that was identified in the Trans Am by the Quantico FBI lab we didn't have that three years ago," Chody said.
Members of the community and law enforcement joined the Cooke family outside the Williamson County courthouse Thursday praying Cooke will be found.
"Rachel was very well loved and she's still loved today, said Cooke. "If you have any information or anything you haven't turned in or maybe you have turned it in and it wasn't responded to call the Sheriff's department and if you are the individual please let it go let the family and you have some peace."