GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — Sixteen years ago Wednesday, Rachel Cooke went for her usual four-mile run while visiting her parents’ house in Georgetown. She was never seen again, and while there have been numerous tips over the years, none have helped the sheriff’s office or her family find her. That doesn’t mean they’ve stopped looking, or stopped remembering.
Cooke’s family and the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office held a ceremony at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the tree planted in her memory at Georgetown High School. Cooke was 19 years old when she disappeared in January 2002. She was back home from college in San Diego.
“Another year that Rachel is away from home and another year that her family has to endure the pain of not knowing what happened to Rachel,” Sheriff Robert Chody said in a release. “We are committed to utilizing all the resources available to bring Rachel home.”
Her mother, Janet, said, “I just don’t give up, I’m not giving up, never in my life have i gave up, I’m not gonna start now. Rachel is worth every minute of it.”
Most recently, agencies involved in the search have offered a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to Cooke, an announcement they made last September. Cooke’s family is also offering $50,000. Investigators say they have more than 100 persons of interest and several theories. The case was recently featured on the national show “Crime Watch,” where Sheriff Chody said his team is trying to re-interview everyone in the case file.
On the 15th anniversary of Cooke’s disappearance, her family and the community held a memorial run in hopes of getting more tips about where she might be. Money raised from the run went to the Central Texas Chapter for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Last June, authorities excavated an area in Liberty hill after they received a tip in the case. Ultimately, they did not find any evidence.