SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – For nearly 40 years, the murder of Rachael Runyan remains unsolved.
In 1982, she was kidnapped from a playground in Sunset. Her body was later found in the mountains in Morgan county. Her killer has yet to be found.
But now, a woman is coming forward and claiming she knew who murdered the three-year-old.
“We went to that elementary school with Rachael’s brother,” said the woman who wants to remain anonymous. “My brother and he were about the same age. They were in the same class.”
The woman claimed her uncle kidnapped and killed the three-year-old. It’s all circumstantial but it does have the attention of Sunset police.
“We still want it solved and we still suffer,” said Runyan’s mother Elaine during a recent interview with ABC4. “It’s a horrible crime and I don’t want it to happen to anyone else.”
From the outset, police distributed a composite of the suspect. He was an African-American. But a second composite was also created but rarely seen in public.
That’s because police favored the description of the older boy who claimed it was an African-American.
The younger witness was Rachael’s brother. He offered police a description that was much different than the African-American composite.
“I wanted them to change some things but (they) wouldn’t,” said Justin Runyan in 2020. “It wasn’t until I was older and met with the FBI years later and they said it was because the other kid was ten and he knew better.”
Recently Runyan became much more certain that it was a Hispanic man but he also insisted the suspect had a gap in his moustache.
ABC4 recreated a composite that matched the one Runyan is now offering and broadcast the new image.
Jason Jensen, a private investigator for the Runyan’s has slowly gathered information that fits the description that Rachel’s brother is now offering. He came across a woman who insisted it was her uncle who killed Rachel.
“We were fully aware at the time,” said the woman. “Someone in my immediate family said that I wonder if they looked into (name)?'” The other family member pointed out that ‘well they’re looking for an African-American man and not a Spanish man.”
The woman reached out to Jensen after police never returned her calls.
“Here we are, had that been reported in 1982 when it occurred, there wouldn’t have been a 39-year-old cold case,” said Jensen. “It’s going to be 40 years in August.”
Wednesday, in part 2 of the story, the woman offers specific information linking her uncle to Rachael’s killer.,