Utah family pleads for help in 40-year-old cold case

Aug 26, 2022, 6:42 PM | Updated: 8:44 pm

DAVIS COUNTY, UtahA Davis County family is pleading for help in a 40-year-old cold case.

It was today, back in 1982, when 3-year-old Rachael Runyan disappeared from a playground behind her family’s home.

The Runyan family

“It was only minutes as I prepared their lunch,” said Elaine Runyan.

For 40 years, Elaine Runyan has been re-sharing and re-telling her daughter’s story.

“It was at that time that a man lured her across the park with promises of bubblegum ice cream,” she said.

In some sense, re-living those horrendous moments.

“And Justin told me he had some real bad news,” Elaine said.

That while playing with her two brothers in the playground behind their house, 3-year-old Rachel Runyan disappeared.

Elaine Runyan speaks out in 1982 after her daughter disappears.

“The story unfolded that she was taken in a car, screaming, and couldn’t get away. The words were terrifying. I never expected anything like this,” Elaine said.

She’s told it so many times, keeping Rachel’s story alive through press conferences and numerous interviews.

“So people would keep talking about it, and perhaps, a killer would surface,” Elaine said.

Elaine Runyan speaks today, in 2022, about her daughter’s disappearance.

The kidnapper was described as around six feet tall, 25 to 35 years old.

“The subject has a medium-brown complexion and had a dark afro-style haircut,” said Brett Jamison, Sunset’s current police chief.

The suspect’s car looked similar to this blue Ford Pinto, with wood trim, brought by the family’s private investigator Friday.

Jamison said DNA testing has been tried on old evidence, but because of methods at the time, not much was preserved.

“Everything’s come back insufficient,” Jamison said. “Uh, inconclusive.”

Chief Brett Jamison of the Sunset Police Department.

Which brings us back to why, exhausting as it is, Elaine Runyan will keep telling her daughter’s story.

“Don’t be afraid to come forward. It’s time. We need closure.”

There’s still a $65,000 reward out for information leading to an arrest.

If you know anything, please call the Sunset Police Department, or if you want to remain anonymous, you can look up Jensen Private Investigations.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Presenters at the Health Relationship Youth Summit asking for final questions. (KSL-TV's Mark Less)...
Alex Cabrero

Utah teens learn more about healthy relationships at youth summit

Teenagers gathered at a Healthy Relationship Youth Summit to learn more about the signs of unhealthy relationships and be able to identify them.
18 hours ago
snow covered bowl in Utah mountains...
Michael Houck

Woman hit by snowmobile while tubing near Peter Sinks

First responders treated a woman hit by a snowmobile while tubing near the Peter Sinks area Saturday afternoon.
18 hours ago
For 29 years, Mike Skogerboe has been to nearly every girls and boys basketball game, and nearly ev...
Mike Anderson

Fremont High School helps support their superfan

Students and teachers at Fremont High School teamed up to help out their superfan who rarely misses a game.
18 hours ago
Charles Alires, 34, was stabbed to death Thursday afternoon on Main Street in Salt Lake City. (KSL...
Brooke Williams

One SLC stabbing suspect in custody, police searching for another

Police are asking the public for help in the search for a second suspect in a fatal stabbing.
18 hours ago
Man accused of exposing himself at Utah store...
Shara Park

Man accused of exposing himself to underage girls at Utah store

The owner of Rad Swim in Highland is warning Utah families after she says a man exposed himself to her associate and several young girls in her store Monday evening.
2 days ago
High school teammates play in Super Bowl...
Ayanna Likens

2 former Stansbury High School teammates to faceoff in the Super Bowl

Two former Stansbury High School football teammates will face each other as rivals in the Super Bowl.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Utah family pleads for help in 40-year-old cold case