Winter Springs, Fla. - Rachel Yates is missing, and it has been over 16 years since she was last seen. She vanished without a trace.
On June 9, 2006, police say she went to a party in Deltona. The party went on into the next day. That morning, June 10, investigators say she took a co-worker’s car and drove off.
"The fact that we don’t know what happened, I don’t think that day will ever come where we’re going to feel like we’re going to feel healed," said Rick Wade, Yates’ older brother. " We hear that some things happened, where she took a car to go somewhere, to get cigarettes maybe, but we don’t know for sure, and that led to her being chased down by other people at the party because it wasn’t her car."
"They ended up getting the car back, drove the car back to the party, and left Rachel on the side of the road," explained Lt. Brad Heath with the Winter Springs Police Department, the agency investigating her case because that city was her last known address.
She was left on the side of the road on Elkcam Boulevard and Providence Boulevard. Police say she made calls from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Then the phone died. No one heard from her again. Detectives first tried talking to people at the party. Drugs and alcohol were involved and police believe that may be why party-goers may be hesitant to talk.
"I think it has a little bit to do with them being forthcoming, because of the stuff that was happening," said Lt. Heath.
Then police started tracing back who Rachel was connected to at the time. It only led to more questions. Police do not know who she was staying with during the month leading up to her disappearance.
"Law enforcement or her family never recovered her belongings," said Lt. Heath, "We would like to speak with those people that she was living with."
The questions keep her brother up at night, to this day.
"I still have dreams," he says, "Like I would wake up and think that okay she’s alive you know."
Then there’s the intersection where Rachel was left stranded. It’s much more developed now. Police say in all their interviews, they discovered there may have been a witness -- a driver who saw Rachel as she was left on the side of the road.
"There was a green minivan that pulled up behind them and there was an unknown lady that was driving," said Lt. Heath, "she yelled out to them to leave her alone."
That driver was never identified. That witness and others could help the police solve this mystery.
"My mother has missed an opportunity to help prepare a wedding for her father, has missed the opportunity to walk her down the aisle. You know, she's missed the opportunity of being able to bring life into this, you know, to this earth," said Wade.
If you have any information, you can call Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS (8477)