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6 months later: Where is Rebecca Modrall? A mother’s mission continues

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A mother's mission to find her daughter continues on the six month anniversary of Rebecca Modrall's disappearance.

August 5, 2019 marks six months since Rebecca Modrall was last seen.
The last time she spoke with her family, or interacted with her friends.

"We care more about finding her body than we do about someone being arrested for her murder.  That's how important it is to us," said Sarah Modrall, speaking to News Channel 3's Brooke Beare from Portland.  Modrall is imploring anyone with knowledge of what happened to her daughter Rebecca to come forward.

"The longer time goes on do you feel more or less encouraged that you're going to get answers?" asked Beare.
"I feel less encouraged actually," responded Modrall.

The Riverside County Sheriff's Department once again declined an interview to discuss where the homicide case stands now, stating although they appreciated the interest in the case, "the investigation is still ongoing... 
We are continuing to ask for the public's help in bringing a resolution to the case."

Modrall said she is not sure if investigators know who is responsible for her daughter's death.
"They don't give me any information, but I think they probably have some ideas of scenarios," said Modrall.

On the afternoon of Feb. 5, when she was last seen, Rebecca told her family she planned to meet her longtime boyfriend, Joe Coker III, at his home in the La Quinta Polo Estates.  After an interaction with her friend Will at a nearby Walgreens store, friends and family say they were not able to reach Rebecca again.

Investigators lowered the canals around Coker's home, and searched his property, but no body was found.

"We want to know where her body is because it's very difficult, and until someone goes through something like this they don't understand how difficult it is not to know," said Modrall.  "That's the hard part. The not knowing."

Weeks later, Coker was found dead by his son Joe Coker IV, at his home at Lake Arrowhead.
San Bernardino County Coroner's Office officials say it was an apparent suicide, although the death certificate still lists the cause of death as pending.
Police have not named any suspects.  Sarah Modrall also says they have not launched any large scale searches for Rebecca's body.

"The longer this goes, the less likely this is going to be solved," laments Modrall.
Rebecca's daughter is also feeling the loss.


"She starts school this next week and she was crying and saying this will be the first time my mother hasn't been with me the first day of school and that's really hard to see," shares Modrall.
Rebecca's family has now set up three memorials in front of the place she's believed to have last gone.
"The last time we put it up we actually used a chain and a lock and bolted it to the telephone pole and it was still taken," says Modrall, who is now losing faith.
"I would just hope that they would have a heart, and say, we know where her body is," she says, of anyone who would have information that could lead to answers for her family. "I know someone out there knows something, and I would just ask anyone who knows something to come forward."

A fourth memorial will be set up this week.

Any tips or information can be sent anonymously to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department at 760-393-3528, or the Justice for Rebecca Facebook page.

I-Team investigation: A Mother's Mission

Read Sarah Modrall's letter on the 6-month anniversary of her daughter's disappearance:

It’s hard to believe that it's been 6 months to the day since the disappearance and murder of my daughter Rebecca. When you have a child go missing you join a club that no one wants to be a member of. But when your child is murdered and missing you become a member of a club that is much smaller. It also comes with its own unique challenges.

The challenge I did not expect or could not have anticipated was the fight to find justice for my daughter. These past six months have been filled with sadness, grief, frustration, disbelief and anger. A roller coaster of emotion that is only made worse by the waiting and the waiting and then more waiting.

One of the most difficult aspects of this journey has been the lack of communication from the Palm Desert Sheriff department and those investigating Rebecca’s case. It is difficult to fathom that six months have gone by and we don’t know not much more about the case since the first day of her disappearance. I have asked for periodic updates on the case, but those requests have virtually been ignored. Periodic updates would be so helpful just to alleviate my fears that everything possible has been put in place to find Rebecca’s body and bring those responsible to justice. If I do finally get up the courage to ask about the case, I feel like I am being a bother. Yes… I understand that the investigation must be kept confidential; I’m not asking for all the details. Just a periodic call to say…” We want to assure you that we are using every means at our disposal to do everything possible to find Rebecca and bring to justice those who murdered her”. I have gone up to two months without hearing one single word about anything. In my opinion that is unacceptable. Until a person goes through something like this, with no resolution, how this 24/7 weighs on your mind and consumes your thoughts.

Another complication and frustrating aspect about this is that the family lives out-of-state. This makes it even more complicated to know what is going on. That’s why communication with the Sheriff’s Department is even more critical. We are blindly trusting that the detectives assigned to the case are doing their job. And we have no way of knowing if their efforts have been exhaustive.

Good communication is crucial in every part of life. It helps alleviate fears, misunderstandings and a wide range of other negative emotions. Especially in these situations, it is crucial.

My desire in speaking my thoughts about this is to help other families that are currently dealing with this or will be dealing with this in the future. Families should be treated in a way that those doing the investigation would want to be treated if it was their son or daughter. Not knowing and waiting for answers is very agonizing. Periodic updates and reassurances would go a long way in bringing a measure of peace and confidence that their child has not been forgotten.

On the bright side … so many people have reached out to our family with love, care and concern. It has been so heartwarming and wonderful. Thank you for all the kind words and help. You are all so amazing!! A special Thank you to Brooke Beare and the news team at Channel 3. What an amazing team you are!! Thank you for all the coverage you have given to Rebecca’s story. It has made a big difference and we as a family are so grateful. Also, a BIG thank you to a group of people that I have never even met but have been so helpful in giving us information and keeping our hopes up. You have been more help than you could ever imagine. You know who you are!!

We will not give up. As a family we are resolved to continue to use every means possible to find answers for Rebecca’s disappearance and murder. The task at hand seems overwhelming but we are just as determined as ever to find Rebecca’s body and those responsible. JUSTICE FOR REBECCA!!

I-Team / Special Reports

Brooke Beare

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