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 went inside to make lunch, an African-American 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.
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 late fifties or early 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. There is a $53,000 reward leading to the arrest and conviction of Rachael's killer.
Rachael's mother also uploaded a video to the Unsolved Mysteries website on September 24, 2015.
Results: Unresolved. 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, this case was reopened. A former inmate living in New Mexico has since become the prime suspect in Rachael's murder, but 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. Officially, this case remains unsolved.
DNA evidence has been gathered in this case; however, no matches have been made so far.
- Rachael Runyan on Wikipedia
- Justice for Rachael Runyan Facebook Page
- Elaine Runyan-Simmons on the SPC website
- Rachael Runyan Poster
- Parents seek return of missing daughter, 3
- Parents identify Rachael Runyan's body
- Mourners bury slain child
- Police seek clues in Utah kidnapping
- Girl's body is found
- Runyan Family's Ordeal Spurs Nationwide Action
- Inmate may be a suspect in '82 slaying of Sunset girl
- Bishop's Unwitting (Article about Arthur Bishop)
- Unsolved slaying still affects town
- Girl's Abduction, Death Gets New Attention 25 Years Later
- Sunset police still trying to solve 1982 slaying of 3-year-old Rachael Runyan
- 34 years after Utahn Rachael Runyan's abduction, park named in her honor
- Murdered Sunset girl honored on Utah’s first Missing and Exploited Children Day
- Family and friends celebrate Rachael Runyan, the 3-year-old whose 1982 killing inspired Utah's Amber Alert system
- Rachael Runyan on Find a Grave