SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) – It was a stranger who carried Rosie Tapia to her apartment 23 years ago.
For the past eight years, police and family members still want to know who that person was.
In the early hours of the following morning, the 6-year-old girl disappeared. Salt Lake City police said she was kidnapped. Her body was found in a surplus canal that borders the apartments where Rosie’s parents lived.
Emilia Elizondo was among family members who paid tribute to Rosie on her birthday. They gathered at the Mt. Olive cemetery where she was buried. Elizondo was 18 years old when that stranger brought Rosie to their door.
“I seen a guy walking and he had Rosie, holding Rosie in his arms,” said Elizondo.
“I opened the door and he said Rosie had, she was on the slide and had injured her back.”
But Elizondo recalled Rosie claimed she was never injured and that she never told the stranger her name.
That man was interviewed by police at the time of the abduction but the family’s private investigator said they considered him Good Samaritan.
But in 2010 police wanted to interview him again. They couldn’t find him and released a composite of him.
“As we dig deeper into the issue, that (Good Samaritan) has never been verified,” said Jason Jenson, a private investigator. “That was never the situation. That was all based on an officer’s speculation.”
Eight years later, that person has never been found and police are still seeking information about his identity.
“Any little piece of information could break this case but we haven’t elevated anyone to a person of interest at this time,” said Sgt. Brandon Shearer with Salt Lake City police.
Rosie’s mother was also at Rosie’s grave Monday. She said time doesn’t heal the wound but she’s comforted in knowing Rosie is at peace.
“I know she’s okay where she’s at,” said Lewine Tapia. “She’s around family. But she has a family here and we miss her.”
Salt Lake City police can be reached at 801-799-3000. Jensen is part of a private cold case unit that specializes in unsolved murders or disappearances. They can be found on Facebook or at UtahColdCaseCoalition