Thirteen-year-old Rachel was last seen on January 31, 1996, taking a nap in her bedroom at her family's residence in Bolingbrook, Illinois sometime during the afternoon, wrapped in a blue blanket. She stayed home from school that day due to a sore throat.
According to Rachel's stepfather, Vincent Mellon, he and Rachel played video games together, then she fell asleep and he left the house to take the family's German Shepherd for a walk at 2:30 p.m. Vincent left the door unlocked while he was gone. He said that the dog slipped off its leash to chase a rabbit and as a a result, he was gone longer than he intended to be, and didn't return to the house until half an hour later.
Authorities maintain that Vincent never checked on Rachel when he returned home, but he stated that he did indeed notice his stepdaughter had disappeared after he finished the walk. Rachel was apparently reported missing to investigators at approximately 5:00 p.m. when her mother, Amy Mellon and some other family members arrived home. She has never been heard from again.
Two pillows and the blue blanket that Rachel was wrapped in are also missing. Her winter clothes, shoes, and coat were not taken, even though the windchill was 20 degrees below zero outside that day. Rachel's purse and Walkman were also left behind at her residence. There were no indications of forced entry and an extensive search of the surrounding area turned up no signs of Rachel. Authorities stated that Rachel could not have survived long if she was outside and exposed to the elements.
Initially it was thought that some of Rachel's relatives had taken her out of the state, but that theory has since been discarded. Her bank account has not been touched since her disappearance and there was no evidence that she'd purchased plane or bus tickets to go anywhere.
Vincent gave blood, semen, saliva and hair samples to authorities in 2000 when Rachel's case was reopened and a grand jury was convened to investigate; authorities obtained a warrant to get the samples. Amy stated that she believed her daughter was alive and other people knew where she was. The Mellon family's attorneys said that the case was being re-investigated due to interest from the television program "America's Most Wanted" which wanted to run a segment regarding Rachel's disappearance.
Authorities have stated that they believe foul play was involved in Rachel's disappearance and Vincent has been considered a possible suspect in her case for several years. He had scratches on his body after her disappearance; he said he was injured while repairing his car.
Vincent has a long record for domestic violence and he failed lie detector tests in connection with Rachel's disappearance. The grand jury investigation ended in 2000 without any indictments handed down. A year before her disappearance, Rachel ran away and stayed at a friend's home, but she voluntarily returned home shortly after her departure. Authorities do not believe that she ran away in 1996.
Rachel kept a diary which police read after her disappearance. In one entry, written months before she vanished, she wrote that Vincent had kissed her and touched her inappropriately. Her father, Jeff Skemp, was living in Dallas, Texas at the time of his daughter's disappearance. He had separated from Amy when Rachel was a toddler.
Jeff stated that the day Rachel vanished, she telephoned his mother; he said this was out of the ordinary for Rachel, as she was not allowed to talk to her grandmother. He keeps his phone number listed in case Rachel tries to contact him, but he believes that she met with foul play. Jeff held a memorial service for her in 2006.
Amy and Vincent moved away from the Bollingbrook, Illinois area sometime after 1996. As of 2020, Rachel's disappearance remains unsolved and no arrests have been made in connection with her case, but her disappearance is being investigated as a homicide.
Rachel was an honors student at the time of her disappearance and her favorite school subject was science. She was interested in recycling and nature. She was was a seventh-grader at Ward Middle School in 1996.
Rachel is described as an Asian female with black hair, hazel eyes, is 5'0 and weighs between 62- 80 pounds. She has a mole on the upper left side of her lip and her ears are pierced. Her hair was cut short at the time of her disappearance, but she often wore it shoulder-length.
She was last seen wearing a pink sweater or sweatshirt, yellow sweatpants and red house slippers.