Tip in Rachel Cooke disappearance prompts search

FBI and Williamson County authorities began searching an area near Liberty Hill on Friday after receiving a tip into the January 2002 disappearance of 19-year-old Rachel Cooke.

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas – Authorities have developed a lead in the case of a teen who went missing while on a jog more than 15 years ago and are currently searching an area near Liberty Hill.

Sources tell KVUE and Austin American-Statesman reporter Tony Plohetski that law enforcement received a tip about Cooke’s remains possibly being buried in the Chaparral area of Liberty Hill.

Officials say the information is preliminary and that they are not yet able to confirm details. However, Cooke’s mother, Janet, said she received a phone call from Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody about the possible lead.

"I'm not at liberty to discuss it," Janet said. "I can't give out any information."

A release by the Williamson County Sheriff's Office stated nothing has been found as of 10:30 a.m. Friday, and that an update will be issued when the search is complete.

During a media briefing late Friday morning, Chody said they are searching an 18-by-20-foot area near the North Fork of the San Gabriel River, and that four cadaver dogs brought to the scene detected the scent of human remains. They have been at the site since 9 a.m. Thursday.

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Cooke was 19 when she disappeared Jan. 10, 2002 while on a jog in her parents’ Georgetown-area subdivision. KVUE reported in April that Chody was assembling a team of retired investigators to work on cold cases like Cooke’s.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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