Rosie Tapia’s family marks her 35th birthday with a plea for answers

Jan 17, 2024, 10:07 PM | Updated: Jan 18, 2024, 6:44 am

SALT LAKE CITY — The family of a young murder victim is asking for the community’s help in solving the case.

On Thursday, Rosie Tapia would be turning 35 years old. But her memory is frozen with her picture at 6 years old.

Salt Lake City police suspect Rosie was kidnapped from her family’s apartment located at the old Hartland Apartments, 1616 W. Snow Queen Place, through a bedroom window on the ground floor. The child vanished in the early morning hours of Aug. 13, 1995, sometime after 2:30 a.m. Her mother, Lewine Tapia, checked on her at 5 a.m.

Hours later, Rosie’s body was spotted floating in a surplus canal of the Jordan River near 1900 W. 1200 South by Gustavo Ibarra, who was out for a Sunday morning walk with his dog.

Ibarra said he was near the Auto Zone, on 1230 S. Redwood Road, when he spotted something unusual in the water.

“I saw something floating on the other side of the river. A little body. I thought it was a doll because of the hair, looked like a doll’s, it was a little bit under the water,” Ibarra said.

A closer look sent Ibarra rushing for help.

“All of a sudden, I realized, it was a human body. I ran through to wherever I could run to a home on California Street,” Ibarra said. “But I knew she was dead.”

Ibarra said a neighbor let him borrow his phone to call police who arrived within minutes. Ibarra assumed they were in the area searching for Rosie.

“They were right there in five minutes, they already knew about it,” Ibarra said. “The officer asked me to walk with him … the body was a little bit ahead because the current was taking it.”

According to a Salt Lake City police webpage for Rosie’s case, Rosie’s body was recovered from the canal near 1900 South and 1600 West.

“I struggled with that idea for a few years, asking, ‘Why?’ Ibarra said.

“It still hurts that she’s gone and I still don’t have no answers,” Rosie’s mother said.

Like Gustavo, Rosie’s family, has lost sleep over the case.

Reward raised to $100,00 for information in 1995 murder of Rosie Tapia

“I still don’t have no answers of who took her and it just makes it harder every year that she’s gone. My health [isn’t] as good as it was and I don’t want to leave this world until I find out who took her, and why,” Lewine said.

But leads have always been rare, and Lewine says there are few updates from Salt Lake City police.

“I haven’t heard… from the detectives,” Tapia said. “It’s almost going to be four years in February that I have spoken with anyone from the (Salt Lake City Police Department)… or even if my daughter’s case is still open.”

In an email to KSL TV, a police spokesperson said detectives continue to investigate the case. However, there were no updates as of Wednesday.

One of the known leads Salt Lake City police investigated involved a November 2002 incident. According to detectives, an “unknown person left a rock on Rosa Tapia’s grave with a note written on it.” Police asked for the community’s help in identifying the person.

In August 2022, Rosie’s family announced the reward for information that solved the case would increase from $35,000 to $100,000.

Rosie’s family believes the suspect lived at the same apartment building and likely knew the family.

“That’s all we need, is one phone call,” Lewine said. “All we want is closure for Rosie and for myself and why they did it.”

Salt Lake City police can be reached at 801-799-3000 with tips on the case.

The Tapia family in conjunction with their private investigator, Jason Jensen — also a founder of the Utah Cold Case Coalition — have also established a website with information on the case.

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

A photo of a tree blown over in a park in a Nephi from high winds on March 2, 2024, (Craig Oswald)...

Brianna Chavez

Strong winds leave behind damage across Utah

From uprooted trees to flying trampolines, most of the state experienced strong wind gusts that left behind damage for many.

6 hours ago

yellow tape crossing blue and red lights...

Mark Jones

18-year-old arrested for alleged involvement in a shooting death of another person

A 18-year-old man has been taken into custody by police in connection to a shooting late Friday night in South Salt Lake that left one person dead.

9 hours ago

Some residents in Salt Lake County woke up   and in one case, a vehicle.(Mark Less, KSL TV)...

Alex Cabrero

South Jordan residents react to waking up and seeing thousands of tumbleweeds in front of their homes

Homeowners in Daybreak react to waking up Saturday morning and seeing tumbleweeds surrounding their homes.

10 hours ago

Salt Lake City International Airport is also being impacted by the winterstorm moving through Utah....

Mark Jones

Delays, cancelations reported at Salt Lake City International Airport

Salt Lake City International Airport is also being impacted by the winterstorm moving through Utah.

11 hours ago

power outage map...

Cary Schwanitz

Rocky Mountain Power scrambles to repair outages affecting thousands

Rocky Mountain Power crews planned to work around the clock this weekend repairing power lines as winds up to 65 mph pummeled Utah.

12 hours ago

Several people in Salt Lake County woke up to tumbleweeds outside their homes, and not just a dozen...

Alex Cabrero

Tumbleweeds pile up in front of homes in Daybreak

Many people in Salt Lake County woke up to tumbleweeds outside their homes, and not just a dozen or so.

13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Rosie Tapia’s family marks her 35th birthday with a plea for answers