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Memories of unsolved murder called to mind in 6-year-old's death

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WEST JORDAN — At least one Utah family understands the pain that is felt among the family of a six-year-old girl who was found dead Tuesday morning in a canal near her home.

It was August 13th, 1995.

Something woke Lewine Tapia from her bed at 5 a.m. Startled, she went to look for her six-year-old daughter, Rosie. At that moment, she didn't realize she would never again see her daughter alive.

Two days after she went missing from her bedroom window, Rosie Tapia's body was found in a canal near her family's apartment, murdered.

Almost 17 years later, Rosie's mother still feels the pain of a daughter killed before she started the first grade.

"Over the years, you know, it still hurts me a lot," Lewine tapia said.

It didn't take long for family members and friends to draw conclusions Tuesday between the tragic deaths of Rosie Tapia and Sierra Newbold.

"It looks like a 6-year-old girl, they found her in the canal, she goes, just like Rosie," Tapia said.

Over the years, you know, it still hurts me a lot.

–Lewine Tapia

They were both six years old, they were both taken from or left their homes in the middle of the night and both their bodies were found in a canal nearby.

West Jordan Police have not determined if Newbold was killed; they only confirm this was an isolated incident and that neighbors should not worry.

"We don't know what's happened at this point," said West Jordan Police Chief Doug Diamond. "I don't want the whole community to be so alarmed that we go into panic mode. There's no reason to go into panic mode right now."

Tapia was reminded of her daughter's death this morning and reached out on the KSL TV Facebook page to offer condolences and prayers for the Newbold family.

"Because I'm still going through the same thing," Tapia said. "Every time a little kid is hurt sexually or something, it just brings back memories of my daughter."

Leads have gone cold in Rosie Tapia's case. Her mother champions reminders every August and January on the anniversary of Rosie's death and on what would have been her birthday. This August she would have turned 23.

Now, Tapia hopes to offer solace for a family whose wounds are more fresh than hers.

"I've been waiting for 17 years and still nothing," she said. "Hopefully, this time, they will find closure right away."

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Andrew Wittenberg


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