MISSING IN KANSAS: Rachel Pratt

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(KAKE) -

As Jan Rameriz flipped through her daughter’s old yearbooks, she can’t help but wonder what life would be like for her family.
 

Her daughter, Rachel Pratt, vanished on Jan. 15, 1995, in Garden City. Jan remembers the night vividly.

THE NIGHT RACHEL GOES MISSING

Rachel, 15, was smart and a good student. She was involved in sports, band and jazz band, which had a concert on the night she was last seen. Jan was there to watch her daughter perform.

“Before I went to work, she actually got back from the band concert,” Jan said. “So, I got to see her afterwards told her how good she did. She had, like, four solos in the jazz band. She did great.”

Jan went on to work late that night. The rest of the family watched a movie and went to bed.

Layne Salsbury is Rachel’s sister. She was three at the time, but is the last family member to see Rachel alive.

“It’s just little memories I have of her, “Layne said. “I remember because I woke up and then all the night or something, and I was thirsty. And I remember, she gave me a drink, and she walked me back to bed.”

Jan called home to check in, but the phone line was busy. Jan thought it was strange for someone to be on the phone a midnight. She went home early – around 2 a.m.

When she got back, she found Rachel had left behind clothes from the band concert and her letterman jacket.

Jan stayed up all night waiting for Rachel to come home.

At one point, around 5 a.m., Jan heard a car driving by her home – near B and Albert streets. She recognized the car as one driven by a high school boy Rachel had been seeing. The car didn’t stop. She always wondered if Rachel was inside it.

FRUSTRATIONS IN THE SEARCH

By the next day, Rachel’s family called police. It was unusual for their daughter to run off. She never had done anything like this before, Jan said. Police were not acting as fast as she’d like.

“They never came to my house,” she said. “They never went downstairs to where she kept her clothes.”

Once the family started making flyers about Rachel that the case was taken seriously, Jan said.

About every year, Garden City investigators check in with the family on the case. She had hoped the FBI would get involved in the case, but they never did, as there was no proof she was taken against her will. The visitations frustrate Layne, as it often is emotional for the family.

“That's part of it is, because, I see all these other kids that go missing that are 15, 16, 17, and everyone's up in arm,” Layne said. “…for whatever reason it's like they didn't care. No one cared that Rachel went missing.”

Rachel would abandon family, especially her younger brothers and sisters, Jan said. She thinks her daughter was taken to Denver, Wichita or Kansas City.

“My fear is that maybe she got took to some big city and she was only 15,” Jan said. “And it was a dead of winter. Yeah. And, you know, how do you survive like that,” she asked, holding back tears. “I'm sorry. But, you know, she's so young. She was so young, you know, it she’d been 18 or she’d been 20, but you're talking 15 years old. Then, just never know, you never know what happened to her.”

AN UNEXPECTED TWIST

Jan said her daughter was almost too good. She made good grades and always obeyed curfew.

Yet, the only glitch was in Walmart weeks before Rachel vanished. She got in trouble for stealing a home pregnancy test.

“I’m like, really? I can’t believe it,” Jan said.

She took Rachel to the health department and confirmed that she was pregnant.

Rachel told her mom a boy in high school, who was 18 at the time, was the father. Rachel made a statement to police, and they decided to press charges against him. Those charges were dropped after Rachel went missing.

Jan said she would be surprised if Rachel willingly ran away because she had doctors’ appointments scheduled.

SIGHTINGS OF RACHEL

Though it’s been years since Rachel has been reportedly sighted, immediately after, Jan would hear of possible leads. Friends saw Rachel at a payphone and gave her a ride to Dillon’s one day, Jan said. A friend of Jan’s said she spotted Rachel in an area near the boyfriend’s home.

There has been at least one time where Jan was asked to provide DNA to police, after a body was found in the area. The body was not identified as Rachel’s. She never surfaced.

If alive, Rachel would turn 40 years old in May 2019.

Jan said, with time, she’s losing hope that she’ll ever see her daughter again.

“For years, I wouldn't ever say that,” she said. “I really thought that someday I would hear from her. And now I don't know that I will. I will never say just totally give up. But I'll never forget her. You know. Realistically, I don't know, in my lifetime that I will hear from my daughter.”


PREVIOUS STORY

It's been 24 years since Rachel Pratt was last seen. She left personal belongings at her home in Garden City on Jan. 16, 1995. 

Around that time, family found out Rachel was pregnant. Yet, there is no record she has given birth. It’s believed that at one point, she may have stayed in the Kansas City-area, but there have not been any reported sightings of her for years.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children released an age-progressed photo of Rachel – close to how she may look today, at 39 years old.


RACHEL PRATT

Missing from: Garden City, Kan.

Missing since: Jan. 16, 1995

Age then: 15

Age now: 39

Height: 5’7’’

Hair: Brown

Eyes: Brown


If you have information that could help in the case, contact Garden City Police at (620) 276-1300.

KAKE News will feature the story of a missing person every weekday in our newscasts at 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. If you have a person you’d like for us to share a story about, please contact Anchor Annette Lawless at alawless@kake.com.