Utah (ABC4 News) — Aug. 13 marks 25 years since the unsolved murder of 6-year-old Rosie Tapia. Thursday, co-founders of the Utah Cold Case Coalition announced the groundbreaking new project named for Rosie that works to identify unidentified bodies in the intermountain area.
In 1995, the 6-year-old was kidnapped from her home at an apartment complex in Salt Lake City. The next day, her body was found in a canal that borders the apartment complex.
Twenty-five years later and Rosie’s parents haven’t given up on their search for answers. On the 25th anniversary of Rosie’s death, the Cold Case Coalition announced the launch of the Rosie Tapia Identification Project (RTIP) in Rosie’s honor.
The Coalition’s forensic DNA laboratory, Intermountain Forensics, will offer no-cost DNA testing and genetic genealogy to put names to unidentified bodies in the intermountain region: Utah, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.
According to the coalition, Utah has 29 unidentified bodies listed on the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, with hundreds more in surrounding states. “Every unidentified body is someone’s sister, or son, or father,” said Coalition co-founder Karra Porter. “Can you imagine going through life not knowing what happened to a loved one?”
Intermountain Forensics is a state of the art laboratory. “It has equipment that many crime labs don’t even have. We now have the most advanced testing available for bone, teeth, clothing, and hair, and one of the top DNA extraction experts in the country.” Porter said.
The lab is offering this service throughout the United States, but resources are limited by the donations and grants it is funded by as a nonprofit, Porter added.
The Coalition asks anyone with information about any cold case to call the group’s Tip Line at 385-CLUE-313 (385-258-3313).