Sunday, January 11, 2009
The Search for Rachel
News 8 Austin article
Seven years ago yesterday, Rachel Cooke disappeared from her parents' quiet, semi-rural subdivision just west of Georgetown Texas. She had come to spend Christmas with them, and stayed for a family wedding. At the time, she was a student in college in California. Nineteen years old, tiny, and beautiful; she had been a runner in school, and had continued in the sport. She was out for her morning jog when she just vanished.
Of course, nobody realized she was gone until the next morning, as both her parents were at work, and she had gone back to her former job at a local restaurant while she extended her Christmas Break. Evening shift. Her parents were used to being in bed by the time she got home from work. It was a Thursday when we knew for sure she was gone, and it was Saturday before the local police could be convinced that foul play was involved. Some of them, I think, still believe she ran away with nothing but her jogging clothes and a walkman.
This is Williamson County. Kidnappings just don't happen here.
Some time later, there was a murder in Round Rock. A man named Michael Keith Moore entered a home and handcuffed Christina Moore in her closet and shot her. Her husband came home to find their child in his crib and his wife dead. Michael Moore had picked Christina because she shared his last name, and her credit cards and cheques would be easy for him to use. He was caught and convicted, and, while in jail, confessed to the abduction and murder of Rachel Cooke. His "jailhouse confession" was reported to authorities, and he was charged. The arraignment was considered to be a formality, and Rachel's parents were in court, expecting some sort of "closure," whatever that is.
Mr. Moore stood up and said, "Not guilty," in answer to the question, "How do you plead?" Lacking anything in the way of a case without his confession, the charges were withdrawn.
Michael Keith Moore is still in jail for the murder of Christina Moore.
Rob and Janet Cooke are still trying to find some answers.
And Rachel is still missing.
It's hard to believe it has been seven years. I was on a couple of those early searches, as were hundreds of other people. So was Tim Miller, of Texas EquuSearch, who searched long and hard for her.
I think Moore did exactly what he confessed to. I think he's a psychopath who enjoyed playing Rob and Janet and the Williamson County Law Enforcement and the court that day.
Here's the story at Scared Monkeys, a discussion forum.