Family of Rachel Good still hoping for justice 20 years after her disappearance

Published: Oct. 18, 2023 at 7:01 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 18, 2023 at 7:22 PM EDT
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ELKTON, Va. (WHSV) - On October 18, 2003, Rachel Nicole Good was seen hanging out with friends around 6 p.m. in a parking lot behind the Elkton Volunteer Fire Company off of Spotswood Trail. It was the last time any of her loved ones ever saw her.

Rachel was 20 years old and a mother of three. She would’ve turned 40 on Oct. 6 of this year. The Elkton Police Department started an investigation shortly after her disappearance and after four days, Virginia State Police got involved. That’s when the investigation took an unexpected turn.

The lead investigator on her case, former Elkton Police Officer Adam Williams, was eventually placed on administrative leave. This came after Rachel’s family discovered letters between her and Williams that led them to believe the two were romantically involved. Months later, he became the prime suspect.

No charges were ever filed against Williams, and Rachel was declared legally dead in 2010. Her family is still searching for answers.

“I mean I’ve rode every road in this county just doing something, looking in the ditches, in the dumpsters, just hoping she was there. I mean at least you could know where she was at,” said Rachel’s father Cary Good.

Today Rachel’s loved ones are still holding out hope for some sort of closure. According to Virginia State Police and Rockingham County Commonwealth’s Attorney Marsha Garst, Rachel’s case is still an active criminal investigation. They’re still hopeful that justice will be served.

WHSV sat down with Rachel’s family who talked about her life and what they believe happened 20 years ago.

“Rachel was a social butterfly, she never met a stranger, she was very gullible, she thought everybody was her friend, she would literally cry if somebody didn’t like her,” said Rachel’s mother Brenda Brown. “She was full of life, she was bubbly, she laughed all the time. She would just come up to you and haul off and kiss you out of nowhere.”

20 years ago on Oct. 18, Rachel’s friends saw her for the last time in that Elkton parking lot. However, Virginia State Police confirmed later in the investigation, it was revealed she was seen with Williams at a bowling alley in Harrisonburg that night, the last official sighting of Rachel.

The next morning Rachel had plans with a friend and never showed up. The friend wanted to report her missing and informed Williams who told her only a family member could file a missing persons report, which is not true.

The friend then informed Rachel’s family that she was missing. Brenda Brown, her mother, and Rachel’s infant son went to the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office to file a missing persons report.

“The dispatcher said ‘This is odd. We just got a phone call from a police officer in Elkton saying if anybody comes up here to file a missing persons report to make sure they are sent back down there to him because that’s where Rachel came up missing, and he should be the one to do the missing persons report.’ In other words, he was jerking everybody around,” said Brown.

So, the family headed to Elkton where they met with then-Elkton Police Chief Richard Pullen.

“He takes and introduces me to Adam Williams and says this is the officer that will be filing the missing persons report. So, then we sit down, and the whole time we’re sitting there Adam Williams gets the paper out and he’s shaking, he’s shaking, I mean he is shaking all over,” said Brown.

Brown said that Williams seemed to ask very few questions during the filing of the report. Later that day, they went back to Rachel’s apartment and found Williams there sitting in his police car.

“He says ‘Can I come in?’ He said ‘I am the one that’s on the case that’s supposed to be head of the disappearance’. So, I said, ‘Yeah you can come on in’. So, he comes in, goes right straight to the kitchen, opens up one drawer, fumbles around in it and that’s it,” said Brown.

In the days that followed, everything turned on its head. Rachel’s family learned from some of her friends and through letters found in her apartment that Rachel had been having an affair with Williams.

“It was just more and more information that was coming out, and we were finding out that, you know, she was pregnant and he wanted to her to get an abortion and she didn’t,” said Brown.

Upon learning this, Brown decided to go around the police and told then-Elkton Mayor Wayne Printz about what had happened. Printz said he was very upset when he learned about the situation with Williams. He said he immediately confronted Chief Pullen saying that Williams needed to be taken off the case, and he began working to correct the mishandled investigation.

Pullen maintained that he did not know Williams had been involved with Rachel when he assigned him as lead investigator. Printz said he is unsure if that is true or not, but Rachel’s family believes Pullen was aware.

“The only person that wanted to do anything down there, that wanted to do anything, I feel, is Wayne Printz. Wayne Printz answered my questions, he called me back, and he stayed in touch,” said Cary Good.

Shortly after the discovery of the affair, Williams was placed on administrative leave and the case was turned over to Virginia State Police. Adam Williams went from lead investigator to the prime suspect.

“Everything had just kind of been jerked around, and then he got an attorney, he pleaded the fifth and refused to do a lie detector test. He was told not to move out of state which he did,” said Brown.

One thing that made the investigation difficult for the State Police was that people would call and give false tips and information.

“Danny Comer, the main investigator that was on the case at the very beginning, he told me that there were more lies told in this case than any other case he ever worked on in this area. So, they were having a hard time trying to separate the truth from the lies,” said Brown.

In the weeks and months that followed, police searched far and wide for Rachel but to no avail. Williams has remained the prime suspect over the years but to date, no charges have been filed.

“I’ll go somewhere, and I’ll sit and watch young women walk by and I reckon people think I’m crazy, but I think why can’t my daughter be out here, why can’t she be laughing and joking?” said Good.

Rachel’s father Cary has his own theory about what happened to his daughter, believing that Williams had help. In 2012, he filed a wrongful death suit against Williams, Richard Pullen, the Elkton Police Department, and the town.

The lawsuit alleged Williams murdered Rachel and that Pullen and the rest of the Elkton PD were negligent in assigning him to the case, allowing him to cover his tracks.

That lawsuit was later withdrawn, but Good filed a second wrongful death suit in 2016 against only Williams. That lawsuit remains open but has been stalled.

“I’m not seeking anything for myself. I’m seeking something for her children. Nothing for myself, I don’t need anything. God’s been good to me, so I’m doing well but I’m sure her children would like peace of mind,” said Good.

Despite everything, Good remains confident justice will be served in the long run.

“The Bible says all knees will bend and all mouths will confess. They’re going to get caught. It might take 30 years or 40 years or 25 years whatever, it will come to pass,” said Good.

Brenda Brown said that at this point, she doesn’t believe her daughter will ever be found because of how the investigation started.

“The Bible says leave them alone and vengeance is mine, once you have blood on your hands you can’t run from yourself,” said Brown.

WHSV did speak with Special Agent Chris Deploy of the Virginia State Police who is the lead investigator on the Rachel Good case.

While he couldn’t go into many details about the investigation, Deploy said he hopes that technologies that have developed or been improved upon over the last 20 years can help get a breakthrough in the case.

Adam Williams was last known to be living in Louisiana. WHSV reached out to his attorney for comment but did not hear back.

Anyone with information on the Rachel Good case is asked to call Agent Deploy at (540) 829-7400 or submit an online tip here.