Jill Atwood Reporting A nine-year old murder case continues to haunt the family of a little girl, and tonight the way the investigation of her death was handled is haunting the Salt Lake City Police Department.
The family of Rosie Tapia still awaits justice. There are questions whether Salt Lake police detectives focused enough attention on a man with a history of child sexual abuse. And interestingly, those questions are coming from the family of the man who may be a suspect -- and they are putting heat on investigators who called this a "cold case."
35-year old Troy Cahoon lived right around the corner from Rosie Tapia. To some he was an obvious suspect all along, but why not to police?
Troy Gary Cahoon has a history of pedophilia.In 1992 he was convicted of two counts of attempted sexual abuse of a child. He was placed on probation. Eleven years later, in 2003, he was convicted for having sex with a minor and sentenced to prison. The family wants to know what he did in between.
Lewine Tapia, Rosie's Mom: "We thought that it had to be someone that lived in the complex or someone that lived nearby."
In August 1995 Cahoon lived in the same complex as the Tapia family. Police claim they questioned him at the time.
Det. Kevin Joiner, Salt Lake City Police Department: "We were told an alibi at the time. We talked to him at the time and the alibi seemed to be legitimate at the time."
But Cahoon's family tells Eyewitness News they think police spent very little time looking into his possible involvement, and they believe the investigation wasn't thorough enough.
Other sources tell us Cahoon's family actually pleaded with investigators to take a closer look as recently as just last year, but it wasn't until Midvale police received a tip, and Eyewitness News reported the new break in the case, that the family says Salt Lake detectives finally took it seriously.
After our story aired detectives confirmed they went to interview the Cahoon family. Now, it's important to remember that Cahoon has not been charged, and while the family says they think the police should have focused on him harder years ago, detectives say they are confident they followed the trail of evidence that lead nowhere.
Det. Joiner: "Sometimes it takes us in a direction that maybe the general public not having the intimate details of the case or maybe the media that doesn't have the intimate details from our end the intimate details of the case, they might be thinking we are going the wrong way. We will go where the evidence takes us."
This new tip will obviously has them taking another look at that evidence and that alibi. The next step is comparing DNA samples. Unfortunately we will most likely have to wait several more weeks for those results.