SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – Lewine Tapia was horrified to learn new details about Rosie’s murder.
In 1995, Rosie Tapia was kidnapped, sexually assaulted and her body was found floating in a canal next to where the family lived. Her killer has never been found.
The new details were released by Salt Lake City police in a March 3 episode done by Investigation Discovery Network. Paul Zahn hosts the true crime show called “On The Case.” The 1995 Tapia murder was titled “She’s Gone.”
It’s the first time Rosie’s case has gone national.
Rosie’s mother, Lewine Tapia, was also featured in the episode. She was grateful to have Rosie’s story go beyond Utah’s borders.
“I wanted people to know what happened to my daughter,” Tapia said.
She also said it’s important for the rest of the country to know about the case because people who lived in the neighborhood in 1995 could have moved away.
“They might have information to help solve this case,” she said.
The 42-minute episode shown on the Investigation Discovery offered new information that Tapia had never known about.
Before being dumped in the canal, Rosie was sexually assaulted and beaten. But her mother learned for the first time Rosie’s killer held her under the water causing her to drown.
“How can any child endure something like that with nobody there to help her,” Tapia said holding back tears.
She paid close attention to what Salt Lake City police detectives said about the investigation.
“I didn’t know that they had DNA from her fingernails,” she said. “I asked them a long time ago if they had DNA from her fingernails and they told me they didn’t have any.”
The episode also revealed police submitted the DNA to a laboratory specializing in genetic testing.
Salt Lake police have more than 60 samples from people of interest according to their statements in the Paula Zahn episode.
The family’s private investigator said that’s a promising development.
“If they can solve the golden state killer murders, clearly we can solve Rosie’s murder and I feel pretty confident about that,” said Jason Jensen of Jensen Investigations. “We felt real relieved that there is a lot more that has been happening behind the scenes than what they’ve alluded to.”
Rosie’s mom is also hopeful but she wondered why she had to learn about new details in a news story and not from the police.
“I would like to know what’s going on in Rosie’s case,” she said. “All through the years, all I’ve wanted was to know what was going on in my daughter’s case.”
A spokesman for the police department said he can’t say why Tapia was never provided details about the investigation that were revealed in the Investigation Discovery Network. The spokesman said the homicide unit which is in charge of the investigation, was not available Friday for comment.