Details of Disappearance
Rita was last seen in Kansas City, Missouri on April 18, 1980. She worked at the Folgers coffee plant downtown, but lived in Raymore, Missouri; she had moved there to get away from her abusive husband, David. She has never been heard from again.
At the time of her disappearance, she was driving a 1972 Chevrolet half-ton pickup truck, olive green in color with a yellow hood and a yellow right front fender. The truck's vehicle identification number (VIN) was CCE142J124632 and the Missouri license plate was numbered EX6-401.
David's brother found her truck at the 707 Truck Stop at Interstate 70 and Highway 7 in Blue Springs, Missouri on May 19, 1980, over a month after her disappearance. The truck had apparently been towed to that location and had been there since at least May 1. Its transmission line had been cut. A shovel, a serrated knife, a rope and a woman's purse were inside the vehicle. There was no sign of Rinehart at the scene.
Prior to Rita's disappearance, David had been charged with raping her eight-year-old daughter. Rita was supposed to testify against him, but disappeared before the trial. She had said she was afraid of him and claimed he once held a gun to her head.
David was ultimately convicted of the rape of Rita's daughter and served five years in prison, and Rita's daughters were raised by relatives.
Foul play is suspected in Rita's case due to the circumstances involved. Her case remains unsolved.