Ohio unsolved homicides: Rachael Johnson

The single mother was sexually assaulted, stabbed and set on fire.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Feb 28, 2013

As part of his Ohio Unsolved Homicides Initiative, Attorney General Mike DeWine is asking for information on a brutal killing that happened nearly 23 years ago in Akron.

Rachael Johnson, 24, was last seen alive during the overnight  hours of March 30, 1991. Her body was discovered later that day in the 700 block of Weller Avenue. The single mother had been sexually assaulted, stabbed, and set on fire.

"It hasn't been easy, and no matter what you do there is always that emptiness," said Rachael's step-mother, June Johnson.  "We never thought that 23 years later we would still be wondering."

According to authorities with the Akron Police Department, Rachael had been in a friend's vehicle when they got a flat tire and pulled into the parking lot of a dairy mart on Dan Street and Glenwood Avenue. A small, faded gray vehicle pulled into the lot behind them and Rachael either got into the vehicle or was forced inside by its driver.

"We do have DNA evidence in this case and we have tested dozens of possible suspects, but we have not yet found a match," said Akron Police Detective James Pasheilich. "We believe the person who committed this horrific crime is still out there and may have talked with someone about the crime."

Johnson's daughter was only 3 years old when she was killed. June Johnson said the girl grew up with few memories of her mother.

"The person who killed Rachael robbed her daughter of her mother. We tried to fill in, but you can't fill that kind of void," she said.

"Too many crimes like these go unsolved each year, leaving too many children to grow up without a parent and without answers," DeWine said. "It is never too late to contact police with information, even if the crime happened two decades ago."

DeWine's Ohio Unsolved Homicides Initiative was developed in September 2012 in an effort to create a statewide database of the about 5,000 unsolved killings in the state. So far, law enforcement agencies have submitted 1,102 unsolved homicide cases to the database.

Those with information can submit a tip through the Attorney General's website or the Akron Police Department's website or by calling the Akron Police Department at 330-375-2552 or the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) at 855-BCI-OHIO.

Additional resources:
Ohio Unsolved Homicides Database
Rachael Johnson's Ohio Unsolved Homicides Entry