Coalition releases new sketch of possible suspect in 1995 killing of 6-year-old girl in Utah


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SALT LAKE CITY — A new police artist sketch of a possible suspect in the 1995 killing of Rosie Tapia has been released.

On Tuesday, the Utah Cold Case Coalition released a drawing of a male who may be involved in the abduction and assault of Rosie on Aug. 13, 1995. She was taken early in the morning from her bedroom at the Hartland Apartments, 1616 W. Snow Queen Place (1675 South). Her body was found nearby in a canal near 1900 South and 1600 West.

According to the coalition, "the sketch is based on the recollections of a neighbor of the west-side apartments where the 6-year-old girl lived when she was abducted, raped and murdered."

The neighbor, who did not want to be identified, said he saw a male, possibly a teenager, "coming from the direction of the canal. The neighbor said he at first thought the male teen was wearing pants of two colors but then realized that his pants were wet," according to a prepared statement from the coalition.

In March, the Cold Case Coalition was contacted by a retired California police sergeant, a certified forensic sketch artist, who offered his services for free. The coalition put the witness in contact with the retired sergeant via video, and the new sketch was made.

The witness believed the teen was 16 or 17 years old, "and described him as Hispanic, a slight build and a narrow face with high cheekbones. He was wearing denim jeans and a white shirt and a medium length gold chain," according to the coalition.

Anyone with information on the unidentified person in the sketch can call the coalition at 801-759-2248, or contact Salt Lake City police at 801-799-3000.

In 2010, Salt Lake police released a sketch of a man wearing a hat and sunglasses who brought Rosie to her apartment just hours before she was abducted. That man had still not been identified.

The nonprofit Utah Cold Case Coalition, headed by Salt Lake attorney Karra Porter, has been dedicated to finding answers in the case of Rosie Tapia since its formation in 2017. In November of 2017, it made a plea with anyone who lived at the Hartland Apartments at the time of the abduction or who was in that area and may have seen something, to contact them.

No one has ever been arrested or charged in connection with the girl's death.

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Pat Reavy is a longtime police and courts reporter. He joined the KSL.com team in 2021, after many years of reporting at the Deseret News and KSL NewsRadio before that.

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