The Justice Files: 1969 Cold case murder solved

Justice Files

OGDEN Utah (ABC4 Utah) – It took more than five decades but authorities have solved a 1969 cold case murder.

In March, 1969 Leroy Ortiz left his Ogden home and was never seen again.  His mother watched her son leave with two unidentified “young” adults.

His body was found about three weeks later in a diversion dam near Slaterville.

“Leroy Ortiz was not only a fine boxer but a scrappy street fighter as well,” said Weber County Attorney Chris Allred.

Allred signed off on closing Ortiz’ murder.

But has family said Leroy was known as a championship boxer, not a street fighter.  

“He was a boxer and never was looking for any fights outside the ring,” said his brother Arnold Ortiz. 

Back then the legend of Leroy Ortiz was starting to grow.  He was an outstanding boxer and a regional Golden Gloves boxing champion.

He was preparing for the national championships when he disappeared.

In 2019 his sister spoke with ABC4 they couldn’t understand his sudden disappearance.

“Leroy was very, he was the type of person that went home every night,” said Sandra Ortiz.

According to police reports, his mother claimed Ortiz left their home on 32nd street with two unidentified youths.

“There was no calls (from him),” said the sister.  There was no contact with him.  We didn’t know where he was at.  None of his friends knew where he was at.”

The missing persons case turned into a murder investigation after his body was found.  They suspected “foul play.” according to news accounts in 1969.

A private investigator of the Utah Cold Case Coalition met with authorities and witnesses.

“He was shot in the back with a single round and he died instantly,” said Jason Jensen in 2019.    “He was shot as he was trying to escape because he was bound to a chair.”

At the time, police had possible suspects but there was never anyone arrested and the case was scaled back, upsetting the Ortiz family.

“What upset me was back in ’69’ minorities and stuff they not too concerned about us,” said Arnold Ortiz.  “That really upset me that you know, not knowing who to turn to.  (You) just kind of had to learned to live with it.”

For 52-years, the family of Leroy Ortiz lived with the thought that his killer was still out there and they couldn’t get justice.

But now authorities are convinced they now know who murdered Ortiz.

“We don’t have any other evidence to suggest anyone else involved other than Richard Rios,” said Allred.

According to the Weber County attorney, it was a man by the name of Raymond Norman who was jailed in Louisiana awaiting extradition  for a Utah crime.  Allred said Norman was an acquaintance of Rios in 1969.   He said Norman  told deputies that Rios confessed to him about murdering Ortiz.

“So we’re fairly confident that Richard Rios was the one that in fact murdered Ortiz,” Allred said.

Rios full name was Amador Richard Rios Jr.  But Allred said they can’t bring any charges against him because he died in 1995. 

But why is this just coming out now and not in 1969?  And what was the motive for murdering the Ogden boxer?  The story behind the cold case murder will continue Wednesday on the Justice Files.

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