Rachael Elizabeth Garden

1 AP
Left: Rachael, circa 1980;
Right: Age-progression at age 48 (circa 2012)

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: March 22, 1980 from Newton, New Hampshire
  • Classification: Non-Family Abduction
  • Date Of Birth: December 30, 1964
  • Age: 15 years old
  • Height and Weight: 5'1, 100 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Light brown hair, hazel eyes. Rachael's ears are pierced. She wore a dental retainer, but left it behind when she disappeared. Some agencies may spell her first name "Rachel."
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description: A two-tone blue ski parka, jeans, a plaid shirt with silver threads, blue jeans and brown lace-up shoes. Carrying a dark blue tote bag with the word "Things" imprinted on one side.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Rachael purchased a pack of cigarettes and chewing gum at Rowe's Corner Market on Route 108 in Newton, New Hampshire on March 22, 1980. She paid with a $5 bill, received her change and departed from the store between 9:00 and 9:30 p.m. and began walking to a friend's house in the 50 block of north Main Street where she planned to spend the night. Rachael never arrived as scheduled and has not been heard from again. Her parents reported her as a missing person at 10:00 a.m. the day after she was last seen.

    An extensive search of the area produced no clues as to Rachael's whereabouts. She left all of her belongings behind at her family's residence, including her dental retainer. Rachael owned a horse and her family members said it was uncharacteristic of her to leave the animal unattended.

    On the night of her disappearance, Rachael was seen talking to three male acquaintances in a dark-colored car near Rowe's Market. The men all had troubled reputations and were involved in criminal activity; one of them later served a prison term for assault and rape. After Rachael's disappearance, one of the men allegedly confessed to killing her. The reported confession caused police to dig up a site off Route 108 to look for Rachael's remains, but no evidence was located. It is unknown whether any of the men were actually involved in Rachael's case.

    Rachael is the oldest of four children. She was a freshman at Sanborn Regional High School in 1980. Her loved ones describe her as outspoken, fun-loving, friendly and occasionally rebellious. She had a good relationship with her siblings, but sometimes resented having to babysit them. She complained to friends about her parents' rules, and sometimes skipped school to smoke and drink alcohol with other teenagers in the woods near Maple Avenue. Because of her age at the time of her disappearance, Rachael was originally thought to be a runaway. Although a voluntary disappearance is still considered a possibility, investigators are now investigating other theories as well, including the possibility of foul play. Rachael's case is classified as a non-family abduction due to the lack of available evidence.

    While there is no evidence that the two cases are connected, it is worth noting that Laureen Rahn, another petite brunette about the same age as Rachael, disappeared from a nearby town just a month after Rachael did and was never found. Laureen's case remains unsolved as well and is also classified as a non-family abduction.

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Rockingham County Sheriff's Office
    603-679-2225

    OR
    Newton Police Department
    603-382-6774

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    Source Information
    The National Center For Missing and Exploited Children
    Nation's Missing Children Organization
    The Eagle-Tribune
    The Seacoast
    NamUs

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    Updated 4 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated September 13, 2013; age-progression updated.

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