Rachel Cooke - The Search For Rachel Phase III

Discussion in 'The Search for Rachel Cooke' started by JR, Apr 15, 2002.

  1. JR

    JR FFJ Senior Member

    A new phase will be starting in the search for Rachel Cooke on Sunday, 21 April. RC has now completed the task of marking all of the previous searches, along with the roads that still haven't been searched, on a master map of Williamson County.

    If your schedule permits, please join in the search at 1:30 PM at Faith Lutheran church in Georgetown. Faith Lutheran is on Williams Drive 2.4 miles west of I-35 (exit 261A).

    Roadside searches will be done at this time. A lot of walking will be required but searchers shouldn't have to go through too much brush. (Please no one under 15 years of age.)
  2. AK

    AK Member

    Too many threads, hope this one is OK!

    RC, Sandra Bullock's production company is called Fortis Films. Offices are in Austin and possibly in southern California too. Check your listings and if you fail, let me know. The person to pitch to is her younger sister, the company president, Gesine Bullock Prado, who is also a lawyer.
  3. RC

    RC FFJ Senior Member

    Sandra Bullock

    Thanks FedoraX,

    I have someone working on Sandra Bullock. I will
    pass this info on to them
  4. JR

    JR FFJ Senior Member


    Last Sunday, about a dozen folks showed up and we managed to cover some roadsides that had been missed and needed to be searched. Again, we discovered where Rachel isn't but that is a very important part of any search because those areas can be eliminated.

    Tomorrow is the Run/Walk for Rachel. For detailed information, go to the RachelCookesearch.org site:


    for course information and sponsors:


    While there, be sure you visit the Tributes to Rachel page:


    also, RC's diary appears to be complete back to day one on the Kvue site:


    (Drop down to the special section, Rachel Cooke: Father's Daily Journal.)
  5. RC

    RC FFJ Senior Member

    Daily Texas Article

    Rachel Cooke's parents cope with her absence
    Three months later, family still struggles with a lack of information
    By Esther Wang (Daily Texan Staff) April 29, 2002

    Rachel Cooke woke up on a Thursday morning in January, slipped on her running shorts and a yellow Walkman, laced up her Asics and left her home for a routine early morning jog.
    The junior college student was home on winter break from San Diego, staying with her family until she was to return to school in a few days.

    On that morning, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. However, less than 200 yards from her home in her quiet Georgetown neighborhood of Northlake, Cooke disappeared without a trace.

    More than three months later, her parents Robert and Janet Cooke are still struggling with the disappearance of their 19-year-old daughter.

    The Cookes moved to Georgetown 15 years ago to provide a safe place for their two young daughters to grow up - a home where they wouldn't have to deal with the problems of large, crowded cities.

    "We wanted some place where the kids could not worry about getting hit by a car," Janet said. "We wanted to allow the kids that exposure to nature, a more wholesome environment, a big enough yard where they could bring out a football."

    For 15 years, they thought they had found that security, living happily in their one-story blue-and-white home - a front porch, a large backyard for their two daughters, a couple of family pets.

    Now, their home is in disarray: It has become the command center for the search, littered with maps and supplies. And their lives are in disarray, forever changed on that Jan. 10 morning, they said.

    What was hope initially - hope that they would find Rachel alive and bring her back to them - has turned to helplessness, frustration and a desire to simply know what happened to their vivacious daughter.

    "I kept thinking that sooner or later it would get easier, but it's getting harder, because that feeling of helplessness is the worst emotion that you have," Robert said. "You have guilt and hopelessness and all those other things, but I think the helplessness, not knowing what to do, not being able to get Rachel back, is the worst emotion of all. And it's actually growing."

    In the first week Rachel was missing, Janet said, "There's no reason not to believe, no reason not to hope. We know that Rachel's out there, and she needs us."

    But three months into the investigation and still with no idea what happened to Rachel, that cautious optimism has become despair as the outcome looks grimmer and grimmer since the disappearance of their daughter.

    Both parents have coped with their feelings in different ways: Robert by throwing himself into search efforts, and Janet by retreating into her art and herself.

    They have both gone back to work part-time - Robert as a software engineer at IBM, and Janet as a drama teacher at Georgetown High School, but they said it's hard to focus on their jobs.

    Since the earliest days of the search, Robert has organized searches, put together events to keep Rachel's name fresh in people's minds and has basically devoted his life to finding his daughter. Anything he can do, he said, to feel like he's doing something, anything to get her back.

    The first few days were the darkest, he said, dealing with the uncertainty, trying to convince the Williamson County Sheriff's Department that Rachel hadn't just run away, all while beginning to grieve for his missing daughter.

    "Their idea was that she ran away, or left on her own or met somebody," Robert said. "But adults don't go anywhere without their credit cards, cell phone, two suitcases of clothes. We knew by Friday morning that she was missing."

    And that Saturday, he organized a search party to go over Rachel's jogging path. It was hard to do, but he had to do something to fight the feelings of helplessness that engulfed him, Robert said.

    "I guess it was kind of the engineer in me coming out, saying what good is it going to do to sit in the chair and cry?" he said. "We've got to do something, we don't have much time."

    But that first search, and dozens since, have led to no new clues that will bring Robert and Janet one step closer to their daughter.

    The uncertainty has taken a toll on the entire Cooke family. They describe their daughter as an outgoing, friendly girl - fashion-conscious and independent. She is strong?willed, "like her mother," said Janet with a smile. A girl on the verge of becoming a woman.

    They had just begun to see her blossom into an adult, an equal rather than a child. Not being able to see what she would have become is the hardest of all, the Cookes said. And they want to find the person who took that away from them.

    "As a male, I just want to catch that person and beat the hell out of him, but I don't know who it is," Robert said, frustrated. "But I can't threaten people because I don't know who did it."

    Janet has stayed away from the searches, preferring instead to channel her emotions through art and the theater in Georgetown she partly owns.

    A sketchbook has been the main outlet for her frustrations. She pours out her emotions into a sketch of Rachel as a young child on a family vacation, a pencil drawing of her daughter years later at the San Diego Zoo. Her typical day, Janet says, doesn't end until around 11 p.m., when she gets home from the theater. She keeps herself busy to keep her mind off of her daughter, but sometimes, she said, memories of Rachel and the reality of her life without her hits hard.

    "To a certain extent you become numb, but it still wells up and it's still there," Janet said. "It's just not quite as acute as it was the first couple of days, the desperation, but it's still there."

    They say it's hard to live a normal life. They try to go to restaurants, but feel like all eyes are on them, all conversations are about the their family and Rachel, they said.

    Robert said it's hard to go to the choir concerts of his daughter JoAnn. It's hard for him to go to his wife's plays, and it's hard to go to work and deal with some colleagues and friends who don't know how to approach him.

    The search for Rachel is now Robert's main purpose in life. Each time he has tried to take a break from the search, he's found he can't do it, he said. The specter of his missing daughter haunts him, the guilt of not doing all he can to find Rachel eats him up.

    And so he throws himself into the search, poring over the map of the area he has sprawled on his kitchen table and another tacked on the wall, searching for anything he hasn't done, any area he hasn't covered.

    "It is draining. But I can't get away from it," Robert said. "It's just impossible for me to do it."

    The past three months have taken a toll on Robert and Janet's marriage as well. Their relationship has been under a lot of pressure, and there have been cracks.

    "It's strained, but we're holding together. You can't go through something like this and not have some strain," Janet said.

    But despite some tension and struggles within the family, she said her husband and daughter JoAnn are now her top priorities in life.

    "A lot of times we get hung up in routines, in materialistic things, but that's not important," Janet said. "My priorities in life have changed. Robert and JoAnn are No. 1. I'm not going to put anything before them."

    Even with the overwhelming support they've received from the community and from relatives, Robert and Janet feel that they are, at the end of the day, alone. Alone in dealing with the pain of losing a daughter, alone at coping with the emotions that they can't escape.

    "She was just becoming an adult, just experiencing life as an adult, and somebody took that away from her, and it's hard to live with, for her sake and for ours," Robert said. "We've known Rachel 19 years, my wife gave birth to her, changed her diapers. We watched her first step, her first words, you can't get over that. The only thing you can do is learn to live with the pain. You can never forget it."
  6. JR

    JR FFJ Senior Member

    Daily Texan

    The article RC posted above is part of a 3-article series. The 3rd article in the series is now on-line. You can find the article here:


    Look under "News" for the current article and do a search on Rachel Cooke in the archives area to locate the rest of the series as well as other articles on Rachel.
  7. JR

    JR FFJ Senior Member

    May 3, 2002 Setting Up Command Central

    Texas Equusearch is back and helping with the search for Rachel. Once again Faith Luthern Church in Georgetown has opened up their doors and provided a large area with kitchen facilities for the search effort.

    Copyright ©2002 Jacqueline L. Riggs
  8. JR

    JR FFJ Senior Member

    Making signs

    Signs were made to lead volunteers to the new command center.

    Copyright ©2002 Jacqueline L. Riggs
  9. JR

    JR FFJ Senior Member

    Plans are discussed

    Copyright ©2002 Jacqueline L. Riggs
  10. JR

    JR FFJ Senior Member

    Janet gets a hug

    Copyright ©2002 Jacqueline L. Riggs
  11. JR

    JR FFJ Senior Member


    Rehydration is even more important now since we are experiencing record highs - temps have been in the mid 90's but dropped a bit today with the high being 86 degrees and occasional light sprinkles.

    Copyright ©2002 Jacqueline L. Riggs
  12. JR

    JR FFJ Senior Member

    Rachel Cooke Search - May 3, 2002

    Sorry, that's all of the pictures. Things started hopping quickly this morning and no one had much chance to slow down until almost 7:00 this evening. The troups were very tired when they left for the evening. Many more square miles got searched today and again, we know where Rachel isn't, which is important.

    While the teams were out searching, Janet, Grandma, Aunt Elaine and Aunt Diane made plans for the candle light prayer service to be held Friday May 10, the four month anniversary of Rachel's abduction and Rachel's 20th birthday.

    The search efforts will continue all weekend with teams both on foot and on horseback.
  13. JR

    JR FFJ Senior Member

    Search Continues 5/04/02

    These wonderful ladies made sure there was coffee for the command center volunteers and searchers.

    Copyright ©2002 Jacqueline L. Riggs
  14. JR

    JR FFJ Senior Member

    Sign In

    Everyone signs in and out each day.

    Copyright ©2002 Jacqueline L. Riggs
  15. JR

    JR FFJ Senior Member


    Run/Walk for Rachel and Texas Equusearch T-shirts are available for purchase.

    Copyright ©2002 Jacqueline L. Riggs
  16. JR

    JR FFJ Senior Member

    Horses arrive

    Horses start arriving.

    Copyright ©2002 Jacqueline L. Riggs
  17. JR

    JR FFJ Senior Member

    Special Horse

    Janet's mount.

    Copyright ©2002 Jacqueline L. Riggs
  18. JR

    JR FFJ Senior Member

    Map and Team Assignments

    RC and Robert S coordinate the maps with the type of searchers needed.

    Copyright ©2002 Jacqueline L. Riggs
  19. JR

    JR FFJ Senior Member

    Team Size

    Teams are anywhere from 6 searchers to groups of 20 or more as needed. These folks are waiting for a full team.

    Copyright ©2002 Jacqueline L. Riggs
  20. JR

    JR FFJ Senior Member

    Walking/Snake Sticks

    One volunteer made special walking sticks for the Cooke family. The sticks are designed to help deal with snakes as well.

    Copyright ©2002 Jacqueline L. Riggs
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