The Justice Files: Police confirm possible suspect in 1982 cold case murder

Local News

SUNSET, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – It’s a lead that police and state investigators are pursuing.
And a very good one according to the chief of police in Sunset.

It if pans out, it could close the book on the 1982 kidnapping and murder of Rachael Runyon.

“It’s a good lead, absolutely,” said Chief Eborn.

Whoever kidnapped and murdered the 3-year old girl is still out there.

She was taken from a playground in Sunset just a few yards from their home.
Her two brothers were with her. The oldest was 5 years old the other was a toddler.
After an all-out search, Rachael’s body was found in nearby Morgan County.

It was the older brother’s description that led to a 1982 composite of an African-American. But in the past month, a private investigator for the Runyan family posted on his Facebook that the composite may be wrong.

“My son was 5 years old and he thought it was a black man but he always said the composite wasn’t right,” said Elaine Runyan on Monday. “So he never felt good about it and as he thinks deeply as he has over the years he says ‘I don’t know if it’s a black person mom.'”

From the beginning, Chief Eborn said his department was always open to any other nationality but had to rely on the brother’s description.

“We’ve always been open to the fact that this person may not have been a black male,” said Chief Eborn.

In the past month, a private investigator hired by Elaine Runyon posted on his Facebook that the composite could be wrong.

Chief Eborn said that lead to a tip from a person who said their own relative needs investigating.

“This person went so far as to say that other family members even talked about him in 1982 but may have been reluctant to come forward because in 1982 the composite that went out and the description that went out was of a black man,” said the police chief.

Even more encouraging to the police is that this possible suspect lived in the area in 1982. Chief Eborn also said he fits the profile of someone who would be interested in a child.

“The family member says he may have been convicted or accused of molesting young children at the time,” said Chief Eborn.

Jason Jensen, the private investigator said the suspect did serve time in prison for child sex abuse.

The chief said his name is not being released at this time but the only drawback is he’s dead.

“It is our understanding he died approximately a year ago,” said the police chief. “So we will do what we can by talking to other family members, acquaintances, that may have known him to help us build a timeline of his life.”

And police have DNA that is now being tested at the state’s crime lab.

“I wish we had caught it at a time when we had the ability to sit down with the person but in a case that is 38 years old, it’s going to happen, unfortunately,” said Chief Eborn.

Meanwhile, a new composite of the suspect is also under consideration according to police.

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