Gone In The Night: The Rachael Elizabeth Garden Story

Rachael Elizabeth Garden: As she was at the time of her disappearance on the left. Right: a mock photo by investigators of what she could possibly look like at present time. 

As you may have noticed (if you are one of my regular readers) that I have been including more missing persons cases on this blog and I do plan to do more. I think it's important to help raise awareness because you never know who is reading your posts and it's also important that these people are not forgotten about. I always sympathise with the families of missing loved ones and in the cases of unsolved murders. It must be hell having to go through years of never knowing what really happened to that person you care so much about.

I'm very lucky in that I have never lost a relative to murder or had someone in my family disappear without a trace but I can imagine it must be very very difficult. 

When I was younger, a 15 year old girl was murdered in my hometown back in Scotland and to this day the case remains unsolved. I had the opportunity years ago when I had just left school to work in a department store and I ended up working alongside this girl's mother. As I didn't watch the news at that time a colleague told me who the lady was and I was shocked. I was shocked and horrified about the murder of her daughter but I was also shocked because I never offered my condolences to this lady when I first met her because I didn't know who she was.

The young girl who was murdered was named Caroline Glachan and I wrote about the case previously. The reason why I am mentioning this here is because Margaret (Caroline's mother) has spent years of her life trying to find out who murdered her daughter. In trying to get some justice and some kind of closure, Margaret has suffered greatly with her health and her own life has been put on hold. The years just continue to go by and despite hopes of possible new leads and another thorough look into the case, there doesn't seem to be any hope so far for this case. Like Margaret herself believes, somebody in that small town knows something but is too scared to come forward. 

So much time has passed and I still check the local newspaper from my hometown online to see if there's been any new developments on the Caroline Glachan case but so far things are still quiet. 

From what I've read, Rachael and Caroline were very similar in a lot of ways. Both were 15, pretty and thought that they knew best. They would get up to mischief, nothing really serious but the usual smoking and having a drink of alcohol. Some parents would say that was too much but I think a lot of us as young teenagers would sneak behind the bike sheds at school with our friends and share a cigarette (ahhh, the days before Covid-19 & I no longer smoke). 

Rachael was funny, she liked a good laugh and loved to hang around with friends and have fun. She was the eldest of four children and with being the big sister, that brought a lot of responsibilities which she didn't care for. She loved her younger siblings but she just couldn't stand babysitting, she wanted to be out with her friends as most teenagers do. One of her biggest obsessions was horses and she even had one of her own which she worshipped and despite her rebellious attitude to school (she would often skip classes) and babysitting she wouldn't go a day without seeing to her horse. 

From what we know, nothing serious was going on at home, there was no terrible fall out with her family or anything that seemed to be bothering her like boy trouble or problems with friends. Everything seemed fine, just the same as it always was. 

On the evening of the 22nd of March 1980, Rachael planned to spend the overnight with a friend which was usual for her. On the way to the friend's house she stopped off at a shop in Newton, New Hampshire to buy some chewing gum and cigarettes. She was last seen around 9 or 9:30 pm that night as she made her way to her friends house. Somewhere along the way she was seen talking to three men who were in a dark coloured car. The three men were well known in the area for trouble. One of the men would later go on to be convicted for sexual assault and given a prison sentence. 

The next day her parents became very worried when there was no sign of her and contacted the police around 10 am to report her missing. The police at the time thought that Rachael had just had an argument with her parents or had boyfriend troubles so they assumed she'd just run away. 

We know now that any case with a missing child should be taken very seriously and not assumed to be a runaway case but back in those days in the 1980s and the 1970s, young people would often run away and then emerge days or weeks later having been with friends so the police were kind of sceptical at first at Rachael's case.

As time went on however and the realisation that Rachael had left all of her belongings, her treasured items, her brace which she needed for her teeth and not to mention the horse that she adored, all behind, this was looking more and more sinister. 

Various searches took place and they all came to nothing. Nobody knew where she was and what had happened to her. 

In a strange turn of events, one of the three men she was seen talking to on the night of her disappearance later confessed that he had murdered Rachael. The police then did another thorough search in a bid to find Rachael but no evidence was found. 

The three men have never been tried or convicted and nothing developed from one of the men's confession. One can only assume that the man confessed to someone other than the police and this is why it wasn't dealt with properly? It is unknown if the men had undergone Polygraph Tests. 

The police now believe that Rachael was murdered and that her death occurred not long after her disappearance. 

If Rachael was still alive today she would be in her 50s. The police put together a picture of what she could possibly look like at present day, I included the picture at the beginning of this post. Another sad aspect of this case is the lack of details and photographs, I could only find one picture of Rachael to go alongside the mock picture. 

On the night she went missing, Rachael was wearing a two-tone blue ski parker jacket, blue jeans and a plaid shirt with silver threads. She was also wearing brown lace-up boots and was carrying a dark blue tote bag with the word 'things' on it. She was reported to be 5'1 with pierced ears, light brown hair and hazel eyes. 

If anyone has any information no matter how small, even if you overheard someone mention something about what happened to Rachael in a bar or cafe or something, please get in touch with authorities. It's been a long time but this case is still very important and Rachael and her family deserve justice and to know what really happened.

Please contact Rockingham County Sheriff Office on 603 679 2225


Newton Police Department on 603 382 6774

Let's hope that something comes of this case and the people or person responsible is put behind bars if Rachael was indeed murdered. It is obvious that foul play has occurred and those three men need to be looked at closely in my opinion.

Further Reading & Sources:

Thank you for taking the time to read my latest case and I hope that you will join me next week for another case x


  1. I remembered the case about Caroline Glachan. That was such an heartbreaking case. I hope that one day Margaret will find some sort of closure.

    The disappearance of Rachel Elizabeth is another heartbreaking case. Every disappearance is. I don’t understand why the police didn’t investigate more on the three men, especially the one who did confessed.

    I completely agree with you about the three men, police should pay attention. I hope that they will be some development one day. People should be convicted.

    Thank you Jo, your work is so important.

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post and for commenting. I really appreciate it x

  2. Another heartbreaking missing person case. These cases solved or unsolved are every parents nightmare. As a parent I can only imagine what her parent's have gone through and I pray they someday get closure to this. Again with a missing person case the police bumbled the situation from the start and there are many questions regarding the handling of those three guys. Another truly brilliantly written true crime story, thoughtfully written and very informative. ❤

    1. Thank you so much. I hope too that one day this case is solved x