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PROVO — Five years after Elizabeth Salgado was last seen alive, the last of her forensic results have come back, shattering the Salgado family’s hopes for answers as to her time and cause of death.
The Salgados have turned to the community for help in finding the killer, and a new lead places her in Hobble Creek Canyon before she died.
Elizabeth's mother, Libertad Salgado Figueroa, told KSL that life hasn’t been the same since her daughter vanished after her English class in downtown Provo on April 16, 2015.
The family said they still feel an emptiness nearly two years after Elizabeth’s remains were found in nearby Hobble Creek Canyon.
Carlos Trujillo, the Salgado family’s attorney, said Thursday they received the last of Elizabeth’s autopsy results.
“There was no evidence as to a cause of death or a time of death or anything like that, so we are very saddened today with (that) news,” Trujillo said.
Sgt. Spencer Cannon from the Utah County Sheriff’s Office said the arduous process of forensic testing requires time.
“It’s frustrating that it moves so slowly,” he said. “The evidence that we are getting back has not given us the kind of information that we need to specifically identify a suspect.”
According to Cannon, detectives have considered several avenues and followed up on numerous leads, with few results and many dead ends.
Cannon said the investigation may be slow-moving due to a lack of leads, but is still considered an active case.
There was hope in a new lead, according to private investigator Jason Jensen, who has been working on the case. Jensen said a source has been identified that claimed Elizabeth visited Hobble Creek Canyon the weekend before her disappearance.
“There was a church activity at the mouth of Hobble Creek Canyon, at what was identified as the Kelly’s Grove Pavilion,” said Jensen.
Elizabeth’s father, Julio Cesar Laguna, said they were unaware Elizabeth had visited the canyon and felt it was not a coincidence her remains were located nearby.
Jensen said he’s turned the lead over to Trujillo and authorities. He was actively working to find more witness accounts that may corroborate the lead and provide further information.
“It’s only a single source,” Jensen said. “It may not have been that location, but that is what we are trying to find out.”
Sgt. Cannon said he can’t provide specifics on the lead, but did say it could provide major insight.
“That’s something that would open up a whole new possibility of people that were involved,” he said.
Elizabeth’s family said they pray justice will be served.
The 26-year-old was only in the United States for 18 days before her disappearance.
Trujillo said he was working with detectives to create a website with a detailed timeline of what happened during between then and when she went missing.
He hoped community members will submit tips and fill in the gaps of time unaccounted for. Details on the website will be forthcoming in the next few weeks.
“We need to understand the background of Elizabeth, being an international student, and she was here for 18 days. We know that a person in those circumstances did not have contact with a lot of people,” Trujillo explained. “Eighteen days is something that we should be able to get a very specific timeline of the people she came in contact with, that gave her a ride, that might have been in class with her or at church with her.”
Anyone with information about the case has been asked to contact the Utah County Sheriff’s Office or attorney Carlos Trujillo at 801-590-9139.