Who killed Rachel Runyon?

Update: Close to 40 years after the abduction of Rachel Runyan, a change to the case is made and a new possible person of interest is identified.

On August 26, 1982 three-year-old Rachel Runyan was abducted from a playground near her home in Sunset, Utah. 24 days later Rachels body was found partially submerged 20 miles from the playground.

The only witnesses to her kidnapping were her older and younger brother, ages 5 and 1, at the time. According to them, a man approached the group of children at the park, offering to buy them ice cream from a local establishment. Rachel began walking away with the man until her older brother called for her to come back. As Rachel turned to walk back, the stranger grabbed her and sprinted away.

Two and a half years after her abduction, police discovered a gruesome message scrawled across the bathroom wall of a local all-night laundry that read:

“Beware I’m still at large I killed the little Runyan girl. Remember beware!”

Update: At the time of the investigation into the abduction, police used Rachel’s 5-year-old brother’s witness account to draw up a sketch of the perpetrator. At the time, the child believed the perpetrator to have been an African American male in his 30’s. Now almost 40 years later, investigators have changed the description of the possible person of interest in the case. He is no longer described as an African American male, but is not Caucasian, and of dark brown complexion.

The update to the possible perpetrators profile has already pointed police in the direction of a local man who has a history of sexually abusing children.

 

 

6 Comments

  1. Shelly

    How can they say that he’s not African-American but he has dark brown complexion? I mean, what would he be…an Aborigine? Anyway, I think it would be obvious that whoever wrote that message on the bathroom wall might have been the killer trying to deflect blame onto someone else, especially since at that time the satanic panic had just started up, so he chose them. Nothing in Satanic scriptures says anything about ritual abuse of children or sacrificing people, as far as I’ve seen. The ones who have done that have been teens or very young adults strung out on drugs and on a power trip of some kind.

    Reply

  2. Annetha O'Bryant

    As I reside to flash backs and person of interest still fled my mind. I moved on long to not remember but, yet not to forget the scenes and the questions not to forget.The guy of the whole situation were white. As of today last request were made from John Madden say he were my grandfather don’t give her nothing. He say I know what she done! Yet I raised by the other side of the family. Remember yellow car the punching of him and anger in his face.I remember her saying to the lady whom raised me.She say I don;t want him to know that is not his child. It would mess up her marriage. Not knowing how old I were! Remember me saying,to lady my mind erased let her go then.I would be fine if she that angry with me then I don’t want to be with her. At time that were to strong. I could remember him sometimes with flash backs come beating cursing only words he saying I learned were my first words.I at newer home he come over.Not remembering him as dad.Not her husband Jeff.He is called Rick or Rick Breit. Visit hang out with my family and I gotten hurt he stubborn he left looked at me not to claim me.As today everywhere I go he come. Have them ruining my chances. She moved on with lies.The other guy one that beat me tell me to be okay. Then Rick and brothers came and made me lie down and say it happened.I one day cried my soul he and them before system were big came take me put me in machine.He say I were sick.I had albinoism that machine burning hot. It hurt so badly I just gotten up taken my bottle. Lady that raised me say I were too white she wasn’t going to see after me for him. Later meet him he say I had bills to pay. Working at Walbash National in Lafayette IN. I had still have no money.They were and are not right he and them as I working on my study right now cured cov19 as going to school had new birth certificate and name as child.African American.They are sneaking around me buying what I want and opening things.Baring me from living correct life. They are and have visited my children and harrassed the people that kin and next of kin of the people. I am away live Danville il and they are doing this where ever I lived.That man never claimed me yet want to play money role as dad with his self.I were entitled to support that wasn’t given yet. That lady is still posting having meetings with him about it given money at Sunset Utah with a grave. How horrible. Worst feeling in my life.I have not forgotten any moment.Annetha Demetria O’Bryant.They owe me big time.Living life 4 years younger.I have to face my real dad.Nothing he redure I want nothing to do with them.I am black girl with my own life and them had every one talk to leave including 2 of my 3 children. Had the dads acting act which were African American her sisters and family stayed close slept with them paid under table money to people.I don’t deserve that I have no clue.I am living best way I could.Now to where they want give me a job.They have invested these vendors.Used people to guard watch me.Keep calling a police they are coming to sleep around.He and them need to be in jail.That Runyans and Breit not human morality.They are living with good wealth and promotions.

    Reply

  3. Catsfor79

    Please don’t beat yourself up. Yes, the case is horrific and unimaginable. The only witness was 5 years old and it sounds like he was traumatized from witnessing his sister’s kidnapping. There was nothing you could have done to change his response or get an accurate description from the child.
    I could not do your job and think it’s one of the hardest jobs on the planet.
    Please know things happen that are out of our control no matter how hard we try to change.

    Reply

    • Annetha Demetria O'Bryant

      Thank you! I would be fine.Plotted way to deal with struggle. Maybe at times your right never know what and how people are that are what their past made them to become. Says that is common act over in Utah. I have long left that past. I just hope that they would have long ago. I can’t even see myself anymore as that little innocent child. May she rest in peace as Racheal Runyan. If were a casting I never know it happened for real. They tried to do it with me also guess it is what they do in life get away with it.Watching great-grandfather documentary it happened with his daughter. Robert Balden Stevenson Smyth 1st Baron. It is sad live in spiritual guidance demonic like that. Hope they changed! Not to ever speak with me of I am kin. Embarrassing!

      Reply

  4. Jay

    I was the first officer to arrive on scene. It was my call to handle. As soon as I arrived it just felt wrong terribly horribly wrong. My only witness a young boy I was trying to do his best but at that time didn’t understand what was happening. I pushed the help button and our then tiny Police Dept mobilized. Soon the whole nation was focused on Sunset. We know what happened we just don’t know the “who”

    Fast forward to July 2021 and I am now retired after 40 years as a police officer. This case has never left my head or my heart.

    They say that there are always a few cases that as a cop you never forget. This is one of those for me. I hope that they solve it and that there is some closure for the family after all these years. I have second-guessed myself multiple times over these many years wondering what could I have done differently that might’ve helped when the call first came out. The answer is always the same nothing, and that’s what haunts me…

    Reply

    • Kana

      As a regular citizen who has no connection to this town or this case, I just wanted to post and say thank you for all that you do and have done in service as a police officer. You probably won’t ever see this, but I was very touched by your message. As the poster above said, I could not do what you did. It must have been extremely heartbreaking and difficult to investigate this case. I am sure that you did all you could with the investigative knowledge and technology available at the time.

      What a terrible case. I would have been five years old when this happened, the same age as her older brother. I can’t imagine how terrifying this must have been for her two brothers and how awful they must feel, even though what happened was not their fault at all! Or anyone else’s, except for the perpetrator. I hope they can get answers someday soon. I wonder if the person who wrote the message was the actual murderer or if it was a hoax. Has the case advanced at all? Have they done any further investigation into the local man with the history of sexual abuse of children?

      Reply

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