When a young girl is abducted from her Salt Lake City home in the dead of night and found in a nearby canal the next day, a decades-long search for the worst kind of predator begins. The hunt for a killer spans more than two decades and into the present-day in this episode of Last Seen Alive.
Rosie Tapia was 6-years-old when she was abducted from her bedroom in Salt Lake City and murdered in 1995. She is badly missed by her loving family, and investigators are still working to determine the identity of her killer. Image source: family photo.
In 2019, the pictured doll (manufactured in 1994) was left at Rosie’s gravesite by an unknown person. Some believe that the person who left the doll may have some connection to the crime. Privately-funded DNA extraction and analysis have been performed on the doll, but the results have not been made public. Image source: ABC4 News.
Rosie was a sweet and fun-loving child known for her adorable smile. She enjoyed riding her bike, playing Nintendo and playing with other neighborhood children at her apartment complex’s playground. Her life was cut short by a child predator who has yet to be identified. Image source: family photo.
This sketch depicts a man known as the “Good Samaritan”. On the evening before Rosie’s death in 1995, he picked her up from where she was playing at her apartment complex’s playground and carried her home to her apartment. He fabricated a story about Rosie being injured on the playground as an explanation for his behavior. It’s possible that he created a ruse in order to learn which unit Rosie lived in so he could return later that night. Investigators have yet to identify the “Good Samaritan”. Do you recognize him?
This sketch depicts a man seen by a witness early in the morning shortly after Rosie was killed. in 1995. He was walking away from a nearby canal, and his pants were visibly soaked. Rosie’s body was found in the canal hours later. Investigators have yet to identify this man. Do you recognize him?
Sources used to research this episode:
Group Says it Has New ‘Solid’ Info on ’95 Murder of 6-Year-Old-Girl (Pat Reavy / Deseret News)
The Justice Files: $100,000 Reward Offered in Rosie Tapia Cold Case (Marcos Ortiz / ABC4 Utah)
25 Years After Rosie Tapia’s Death, Family is Still Searching for Killer (Paighten Harkens / Salt Lake Tribune) Neighbor Arrested in Murder of 6-Year-Old Sierra Newbold (Pat Reavy / KSL News)
Remembering Rosie: A Utah Family Searches for Hope and Justice in the 23-Year-Old Unsolved Murder of Rosie Tapia (McKayla Robinson / Deseret News)
New Cold Case Database Launching in Utah Hopes to Bring Closure to Victims’ Families (FOX13 News / Salt Lake City)
Will a Barbie Doll Help Catch Rosie Tapia’s Murderer? (Rosie Nguyen / ABC4 Utah)
Utah Cold Case Coalition
Rosa Maria “Rosie” Tapia (findagrave.com)
Barbie Doll Left on Grave of Six-Year-Old Rape, Murder Victim Could Shed New Light on Cold Case (Oklahoma’s News 4)
More than 22 Years After Murder of 6-Year-Old Rosie Tapia, Family Asks Public for Help (Christopher Smart / Salt Lake Tribune)
Women Describe Confrontations with Black Days After Sierra Newbold’s Murder (Pat Reavy / KSL News)
Neighbor Arrested in Murder of 6-Year-Old Sierra Newbold (Pat Reavy / KSL News)
The Justice Files: A Break? Or Just a Coincidence in Rosie Tapia Cold Case? (Marcos Ortiz / ABC4 Utah)
If you have any information regarding the abduction and murder of Rosie Tapia, please call the Salt Lake City Police at (801) 799-3000. OR, if you prefer to give a tip anonymously, you can text keyword TIPSLCPD to 274637 OR submit your tip anonymously online by visiting tipsubmit.com.
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2 thoughts on “UNSOLVED HOMICIDE: ROSIE TAPIA”
When I was researching the unsolved murder of 15yo Debbie Grabher, I met with SLCPD and one of their retired detectives told me that Rosie’s case is the one that haunts him the most.
I can certainly see why.