The Justice Files: Red car may be key in solving cold case murders

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OGDEN, Utah (ABC4 News) – Gabrielle Di Stefano left to visit her friend back in 1982.

But her friend wasn’t there and returned home. It may have been the last day of her life.

Di Stefano disappeared after family members claimed her mother saw her get into a red Chevy Impala later that night.  

Four days earlier, Joyce Tina Gallegos was reported missing too.  Their bodies were later discovered after being shot and dumped.

“She was always excited,” said Robert Dripps, Di Stefano’s uncle.  “She was always happy.  I can’t imagine anything like this happening to her.  I just wish we could get it done and taken care of.”

But after 37-years, the murders of Gabrielle “Gabby” Di Stefano and Joyce Tina Gallegos remain unsolved and has turned into a cold case.

It was August 22nd, 1982 when Gallegos’s body was found in the Ogden River.  She had been missing for 11 days.

Di Stefano went missing after leaving her home in Ogden.

“They lived here near 24th and Jefferson Avenue,” said Jason Jensen with the Utah Cold Case Coalition.  “She was last seen going down to her friend’s house.”

Back then, Gabby and Kristina True were best friends who went everywhere together.

“Gabby probably told her mother that’s where she was going,” said True.  “But I was not at my house.”

Jensen is also a private investigator hired by the Di Stefano’s family.  He also learned Di Stefano’s mother saw her return.

“She saw her outside the home, about to enter into the house and she saw her turn around and get into a candy apple red Chevy Impala,” said Jensen.

Several weeks later, Di Stefano’s body was found in a vacant field in Harrisville.

Her family claimed “Gabby” was seen around 11 p.m. at a business near the bowling alley in Ogden.  At around midnight, “Gabby” was seen by her mother.

Who Di Stefano went with, if her mother’s recollection is true, still remains a mystery.   Her childhood friend claimed Di Stefano didn’t cater to strangers.

“She knew whoever that was if her mom seen a red car,” said True. “I believe Gabrielle knew that person.”

A spokesman for the Weber County Sheriff”s Office said the same gun was used to shoot them.  Both were shot in the head and both bodies were dumped in remote areas of Weber County.

“The manner of death seems to be consistent that the shooter was one and the same,” said Jensen.

Di Stefano’s mother died in 1994. Her family said she suffered not knowing who killed her daughter. Di Stefano’s uncle is also facing reality.

“She died not knowing,” said Robert Dripps.  “Her mother and father died not knowing and I’m probably going to die before I get it you know.”

The spokesman for the Weber County Sheriff’s Office said they’ve run out of leads and welcome any new tips. Contact their office at 801-778-6700.

The Utah Cold Case Coalition is offering a $3,000 reward for any information leading to a conviction.

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