Unsolved Mysteries Wiki

Rachael Runyan

Real Name: Rachael Marie Runyan
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: Sunset, Utah
Date: August 26, 1982


Details: On August 26, 1982, three-year-old Rachael Runyan and her two brothers went to play in the city park behind their home in Sunset, Utah. While their mother Elaine went inside to make lunch, an unidentified man arrived at the park and began talking to them. He offered to take them to get ice cream and they agreed to go with him. As they walked towards his car, he picked Rachael up and shoved her into it. He then drove off with her in the back seat.
Twenty-four days later, Rachael's naked body was found hog-tied in a creek off a dirt road in Morgan County, twenty miles from the park. Two-and-a-half years later, a disturbing message was found in a bathroom of a local laundromat. It read: Beware I'm Still At Large I Killed the Little Runyan Girl! Remember Beware!!!
The author claimed responsibility and suggested that Rachael's murder was part of a Satanic ritual or cult. An inverted cross with the numbers '666' were found below the message. Police believe that Rachael may have been videotaped in a "snuff film" and that she was molested, abused, tortured, and murdered in it. Her case remains unsolved.

A composite of Rachael's killer

Suspects: The police are searching for an African-American male, 5'8" to 6'0" tall, with a medium build, and a black mustache. He was between the ages of twenty-five and thirty-five in 1982. He would now be in his sixties. At the time, he was driving a four-door, blue midsize car with wood grain stripes on the side.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the November 8, 1989 episode.
Elaine also uploaded a video to the Unsolved Mysteries website on September 24, 2015.
Results: Unsolved. Investigators looked into the possibility that serial child killer Arthur Gary Bishop was responsible for Rachael's murder. However, he was later ruled out.
In 2007, Rachael's case was reopened. A former inmate living in New Mexico was identified as a person of interest; however, police do not have enough evidence to bring charges against him. He had lived in Utah around the time of her abduction and matched the description of her abductor. He had been considered a person of interest for several years. In 2011, he was arrested for assaulting his girlfriend and kidnapping their son. He has not been publicly identified.
In March 2020, Rachael's family announced that the previous description of the suspect may have been inaccurate. Investigators now believe that the suspect is "Non-Caucasian" and of a dark brown complexion. It is also believed that there was a gap in his mustache at the philtrum.
Soon after, a tipster came forward and told police about a deceased male relative who matched the new description. The tipster said that they had not come forward earlier because they believed that Rachael's killer was African-American. The man lived in the area in 1982 and drove a vehicle that matched the description of the killer's vehicle. He also had a history of sexually abusing children. Police are currently investigating this lead and comparing his DNA to evidence from the crime scene.
There is a $53,000 reward leading to the arrest and conviction of Rachael's killer.