15-year-old Rachael was last seen at a Rowes Corner Market on Route 108 in Newton, New Hampshire at approximately 21.00 on March 22, 1980. After she paid $5.00 for a pack of cigarettes she left the store heading north toward North Main Street. Garden was a regular customer at the store. She was planning to spend the night at a friend's house in the 50th block of north Main Street. She never made it to her friend's house.
Rachael was a ninth-grade student at Sanborn Regional High at the time of her disappearance and was the oldest of four children. In her free time, Rachael often walked the quarter-mile down to Rowe's Corner Market, looking for some excitement. Sometimes she went to the hill across from Maple Avenue, a place where local teens often congregated. Rachael's parents called the police station at about 10.00 the next morning to report their child missing. Rachael's mother said that she knew right away something was seriously wrong when Rachael did not return to the family's small cape on Main Street.
Rachael was considered a runaway by police in the first months after her disappearance. She was described as a headstrong and rebellious teenager, fun-seeking and outspoken. With a population barely over 3,000 people, Newton at the time, had only one full-time police officer. Over the years police investigators have checked numerous leads including possible sightings, talked with people who knew her, worked with psychics, used dogs and excavated sites looking for remains. Rachael left behind her horse, her dental retainer and other possessions. He parents have consulted psychics and hired private investigators to no avail. Years later at least two witnesses reported seeing Rachael talking to three young men in a dark car in the vicinity of Rowe's Market and Maple Avenue. Rachael was known to have associated with the young men before.
Rachael was last seen wearing jeans; a two-tone blue ski jacket; plaid shirt with silver threads; and brown lace-up shoes. She was carrying a tote bag with the word "Things" on its side. Rachael had orthodontic work: three fillings and her four "wisdom" teeth removed prior to the orthodontic work.