The Justice Files: A message to Elizabeth Salgado’s killer

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – It’s a message to the killer of Elizabeth Salgado. It comes from her family and it’s an effort to end five years of an unsolved murder in Utah County.

Salgado disappeared in 2015. She had just arrived in Provo from Mexico and was attending a language school. Eighteen days, two weekends was all the time she spent in Provo before vanishing.

It wasn’t until 2018 when the remains of her body were found in a remote area in Hobble Creek Canyon in Utah County.

“We want the person who killed or the persons who killed my niece Elizabeth to know that we are very active,” said her uncle Rosenberg Salgado.

They’ve released a letter through social media to the killer. In the letter written by the family’s private investigator, they are urging the person responsible for her murder to end this mystery.

“If you have any remorse for Elizabeth’s death come forward now,” wrote Jason Jensen, the family’s private investigator. “Turn yourself in.”

Jensen wrote there may be mitigating circumstances that caused the murder and those should be brought forward by the person involved.

“It could mean a difference of a 1-to-15 year sentence or a 25-to-life sentence,” Jensen wrote in the letter.

He wrote that it is a one time offer because once an arrest is made lesser charges will be difficult to achieve.

“We just want to make sure that we send a message to whoever is responsible for my niece Elizabeth Elena Laguna Salgado to come forward,” said Rosenberg Salgado.

The family’s private investigator has been reviewing a 2017 episode produced by Investigation Discovery. At the time it focused on her disappearance because her body had not been found.

In the episode, there’s mention of young men showing romantic interest in her.

“There were definitely a few guys that tried to talk to her as much as they could,” said friend Mackey Smith in the episode. “She’s a very humble individual. She just felt flattered that these quote, unquote American boys were wanting to talk to her.”

Her mother said Elizabeth told her about these young men and their advances but would not date anyone. Her mother said she wanted to concentrate on her studies and work.

“That means they wanted to date her,” said Jensen. “They wanted to socialize with her and who knows maybe somebody didn’t take her rejection very well.”

Jensen learned students and instructors at the language school she attends were cleared by police but was unsure if church friends were.

“Eighteen days is not very much time to know anyone outside her church, school and the place she lived,” said Jensen.

She disappeared in broad daylight. Provo police didn’t find anyone who saw anything unusual on the busy street where she’s known to walk home.

Jensen believes Salgado knew her abductor. That’s why church members need to be questioned.

“They may be completely innocent of any wrongdoing but until they’re actually interviewed and offer up their alibis for the time she went missing, we don’t know,” he said.

He’s asking the public if anyone noticed anything unusual from Elizabeth’s church friends.
“Did they have any injuries like scratches,” he said. “Did they suddenly leave the area.”

He also obtained information about how Elizabeth’s body was placed in the shallow grave.

“When he left her in Hobble Creek Canyon he laid her out in a sleep-like position,” Jensen said.

He said it is similar to the Sleeping Beauty fairytale. Often times Jensen said a killer will just dispose of a body on the side of the road or hide it. But he said that doesn’t appear to what happened with Salgado.

“If they had feelings for the deceased or can’t have their last impression of that person in a state of disarray, they will lay them out and treat them with either respect or show compassion.”

Jensen also said he found a penny at Salgado’s burial site. It was in the shallow grave. He said the Utah Cold Case Coalition plans to test it for DNA once their lab is opened in May.

In addition, authorities also found forensic evidence and are awaiting DNA results.

And the letter is a one time offer because, for the family, it’s only a matter of time.

“Basically the letter is to let them know, whoever did this that we are getting very close and just give up and just come forward,” said Salgado, Elizabeth’s uncle.

A spokesman for the Utah County Sheriff’s Office said they could not comment about who has and hasn’t been interviewed, but Sgt. Spencer Cannon offered this insight in a text to ABC4:

“Dozens and dozens of people have been interviewed and some of them knew Elizabeth through her involvement with the LDS church. Most of those interviewed were done by Provo PD Detectives. But many of them have also been re-interviewed after Elizabeth’s body was found. But many were also interviewed multiple times by Provo PD prior to the discovery of Elizabeth’s body. And still, some more have been interviewed who were not interviewed by Provo PD but by our Detectives. Names that came up in one way or another after Elizabeth’s body was discovered.

As for this Mackey Smith staying (sic) that many young males wanting to ask her out, that would not be earth-shattering news. Elizabeth was a beautiful young woman. In the LDS community, and attending an LDS Ward, I would be more shocked if many young men DIDN’T want to go out with her. A man wanting to go out with a woman is not terribly unusual. Of course, we look for those who might have wanted to go out with her and who might have something unusual about them to cause a stronger focus on them. But nothing like that, as you know, has led us to ID a solid suspect.”

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