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SALT LAKE CITY — It was one of the state’s most infamous cold case murders. Twenty-three years later, no one knows who killed 6-year-old Rosie Tapia.
Rosie’s mother, Lewine Tapia, believes there was a good chance that her daughter’s killer can still be caught. On the anniversary of Rosie’s death, she has asked for help identifying a man who could hold important answers.
“I’m wondering what she would be like. Would she be married? Have kids?” said Lewine Tapia, as she sat by Rosie’s gravesite. “She had a real big smile. She was just outgoing. She was full of life.”
Tapia and her family reminisced about Rosie on Monday at the Mount Calvary Catholic Cemetery, 23 years to the day after Rosie was kidnapped and murdered.
“We come out here for anniversaries and birthdays,” said Tapia. “Just to let her know we’re still thinking of her and we miss her.”
Rosie was taken from her bedroom window during the early morning hours of August 13, 1995. Police said she was assaulted and her body was dumped in a nearby canal.
“The only thing that goes through my head is, ‘Why we haven’t been able to solve her case?’” said Tapia.
The family announced in 2017 that there were several persons of interest in the case. They said they turned over their suspicions to police, but there has never been an arrest or a suspect named.
The Tapia family and Jason Jensen, the private investigator they’ve hired, believed the man in a composite sketch may hold a clue.
“Somebody knows this guy and we just really want him to be identified,” said Jensen.
The family said he was a stranger who brought Rosie home from the playground after she got hurt, the night before she vanished.
“If this guy that brought Rosie home the night before and the guy that abducted her are one in the same, we know what he looks like,” said Jensen. “If he’s innocent we want him to step forward and clear his name.”
For the Tapia family, they hoped 2018 would be the last year they go without answers.
“I think there’s somebody out there that knows something but they’re just too scared to come forward,” said Tapia.
If anyone knows anything about this case, or recognizes the man in the sketch, there is a website and a confidential tipline (385) 258-3313 set up that has been monitored by Rosie’s family, or you can call the Salt Lake City Police Department.