By Kerri Sandaine
CLARKSTON — On a rainy April afternoon, Rachael Anderson left her home in Clarkston and never returned.
The mother of four was last seen in Moscow two years ago today, and posters of the dark-haired woman with a big smile are still hanging in storefront windows and pinned to bulletin boards across the region.
At this point, police believe she was murdered, and detectives haven’t stopped searching for clues in their investigation of what happened to Anderson on April 16, 2010.
Asotin County Detective Jackie Nichols said police know there are people out there who could provide the answers, and they are making progress in piecing together evidence.
“We will leave no stone unturned,” Nichols said. “We are getting closer.”
Anderson’s family wants closure, but they also know it’s going to be difficult to hear the cold, hard facts of what transpired. They say Anderson, who was 40 at the time of her disappearance, wasn’t the type to run off and leave her kids, so something terrible must have happened.
“It is hard to believe it’s been two years,” said her oldest daughter, 26-year-old Amber Griswold of Lewiston. “I feel frozen in time. I want a resolution, but it’s frightening both ways — not to know and to know the truth.”
Griswold said the passage of time hasn’t made it any easier to accept that her mother is probably never coming back. The family can’t move on or grieve properly because Anderson is still missing.
“I think about my mom multiple times a day and she is in every single one of my dreams,” Griswold said. “I feel like we’re at a standstill. It’s discouraging because there’s nothing the family can do right now.”
Anderson’s younger sister, Kristina Bonefield, said it’s taken a toll on everyone in the family. The 33-year-old woman lives in Belle Fourche, S.D., where Anderson grew up.
“It’s just so hard to say goodbye to someone when you don’t know where they are,” Bonefield said in a phone interview with the Tribune. “How can you not think about a missing family member? She’s my sister, and I miss her. I feel so sorry for her kids.”
In the beginning, family members almost felt guilty if they even thought for a minute she wasn’t coming back, Bonefield said, breaking into tears.
“You felt like you were giving up hope. Now it’s been two years. She definitely didn’t run off and leave her children. She has a new grandbaby who was born in February, and she wasn’t there. She made a big deal out of birthdays and stuff. It’s like a huge part of our lives is gone.”
Capt. Dan Hally of the Asotin County Sheriff’s Office said one of the most frustrating parts of this case is not being able to provide answers that would give the family some closure.
There are persons of interest in the case, including Anderson’s estranged husband, Charles A. Capone, Hally said. He is in prison on a federal firearms charge and scheduled to be released in September.
“Even though the evidence has led us to focus somewhat on specific individuals, we still continue to investigate all possibilities, and we haven’t drawn any conclusions,” Hally said.
Nichols keeps a picture of Anderson on her office wall and continues to follow up on leads and search for her whereabouts at every opportunity.
“At a certain point, it is going to be very difficult for some people to explain away the mounting evidence we have compiled,” Nichols said. “This is by no means a cold case.”