The key question in the Rachel Cooke disappearance: knew her attacker, or no? (Ex-boyfriend?)

This past January was the 12th anniversary of the disappearance of Rachel Cooke in Texas; as a result, it got some new investigators and a new focus, including James Knutson and Jason Waldon being assigned to the case full-time. If you’ve never heard of the Rachel Cooke case before, The Charley Project has a good summary: essentially, girl is home from college in Georgetown, TX. She goes out jogging and never is seen again. Michael Keith Moore, who had essentially been in and out of prisons most of his adult life, eventually confessed to her murder; that confession was later deemed false. Apparently he was “toying” with the police to get a better situation in prison.

There’s a lot involving cars to this story — different people in her parents’ subdivision (where she was jogging) have reported Camaros, Trans-Ams, and white pickup trucks, all of which have played into the investigation at various points.

The current investigation seems to be focused on starting from Day 1 and re-evaluating everything (seems a good plan), but one crucial question seems to have lingered for the entire duration of this case: was the attacker/abductor known to her? Police have stated publicly that they found no real clues near the last-seen area; while there’s been a lot of discussions of how fast you can drop a human being with a taser, there’s still an overall idea that if she was abducted by someone she didn’t know, there would probably have been a struggle, right? A struggle would presumably leave some kind of clue — it’s possible it did, and the police are playing that information close to the vest, but it’s also possible it didn’t.

If she got in a car voluntarily, one suspect that pops is her ex-boyfriend. If you watch the Disappeared episode on this show (it’s off YouTube now, but here’s the Investigation Discovery page), you’ll see references to her ex-boyfriend showing up at 3am and screaming around the family/house. I haven’t been able to locate his name online, but he seems like a legitimate suspect; you’d have to assume that in 12 years, he’s been interviewed a handful of times about this case and they have nothing that’s stuck yet, but he might be connected in some way.

At the 10-year mark of the case (about two years ago), her family sat for an interview with The Austin American Statesmen, and there’s this nugget in there:

In 2006, convicted murderer Michael Moore told authorities he killed Rachel Cooke, but he recanted and backed out of a plea agreement. The family now doesn’t think Moore killed her, Hettenhausen said. They think someone who knew her might have been the culprit.

Read that last sentence.

Then look at this — a journal kept by her father of the days after the disappearance. Note this part:

More people and law enforcement officers started showing up. The sheriff came and introduced himself. It turns out his wife teaches at the high school with Janet. We gave an investigator a list of Rachel’s friends and ex-boyfriends.

As such, the ex-boyfriend in question from Disappeared has to have been talked to about this — and nearing 13 years out and he’s still not in custody, there’s a chance he’s not involved. Unclear.

There’s a ton of astrology on the Internet as relates to this case — look at this, for example — and while you need to take all that with a grain of salt, a lot of the ideas relate back to possible rape and/or brothers being involved. Again, take it with a grain of salt, but those aspects could be involved.

Since it’s been 12.5 years without any peep from Rachel, the safe assumption is “presumed deceased;” in the 10-year anniversary article above, her parents even admit that (her dad has become a leading speaker at some Missing Persons events, FYI). There is always the possibility of an Ariel Castro or Jaycee Dugard situation, but that’s also somewhat of a longer shot at the same time.

They’re giving Texas inmates playing cards with missing persons on them — including Cooke — and that strategy has helped solve about 15 cold cases in South Carolina, so it could work here.

If you have information about this, contact the Georgetown (TX) police. I’ve tried to summarize a little above, but obviously I don’t know the area or the ex-boyfriend/friends as well as someone who might stumble across this post.




Ted Bauer


  1. God speed to her family, I hope they do not spend anymore time on Moore, he got some field trips out of prison and a camera on him that is it, I hope they are checking yards in the ex-boyfriends vicinity, focus needs all be on him, his fam and friend/friends need to talk. rip sweet girl

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