The Justice Files: A break? Or just a coincidence in Rosie Tapia cold case

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Danny Woodland was prepared to be interviewed by police after Rosie Tapia was found murdered.

Twenty-four years later, he is still waiting.

Back in 1995, he admitted to sneaking into the same bedroom where Rosie slept. But Woodland’s purpose was to meet her older sister.

“That was (older sister’s) bedroom,” Woodland said.

But then she moved out of the house and Rosie and her twin siblings took over the room.

Tapia was kidnapped from her bedroom. The intruder used the window to get in. Her killer has never been arrested.

From the outset, police targeted family members but it turned into a dead end.

It now appears the police didn’t either ask or knew of these acquaintances of Rosie’s older sister.

“I was waiting because of the situation with me going in that window,” Woodland said. “I was just shocked that the cops never come and called me or anything.”

He watched the news of Rosie’s tragic death and has watched for developments. Woodland said the Tapia family needs closure.

“It’s been long enough, cops should have solved this from day one,” he said. “The family needs closure and it happened 24 years ago.”

But last spring, Woodland said he got a phone call from a friend that he used to hang with during that time period.

The call came after the creation of the latest composite was reported exclusively on ABC4 in March. At the time, only partial images of the composite were released until the police had a chance to investigate it first.

“He made the comment that ‘it would be funny if it looked like one of us,'” Woodland said. “(Referring to) the friends that hung out around there, especially me because of me sneaking in the window.”

Back in 1995, Woodland used the same bedroom window where Rosie was abducted to have late-night rendezvous with her older sister.

He said his friend and others would drop him off. Woodland said his friend knew of the window.

“Yeah, yeah, he saw me climb in it,” Woodland said.

But Woodland said he never saw the friend climb through the window. But he did come inside through the main doors when the parents were gone.

“Yeah he went with me,” he said.

This latest revelation took Rosie’s mother by surprise.

“I guess they sat around the table and had a few beers and I found out my mother was there too when they came,” said Lewine Tapia. “I never knew anything about this.”

When the composite was officially released in May, Woodland text his friend.

“I text him and said ‘that looks like you dude,'” Woodland recalled saying. “He called me back ‘no that ain’t me. It looks like you, it looks more like you than it did me.’”

A witness who was also never interviewed by police helped create the composite in March.

Last week, in a photo lineup conducted by the Tapia’s private investigator, the same witness picked his friend out.

“The guy that done it, he’s got 24 free years,” Woodland said. “I mean he ought to at least be a decent human being about it, (have) some dignity. Give the family some closure.”

Woodland said his friend denied having anything to do with Rosie’s murder.

He said Salt Lake City police paid his friend a visit Tuesday. Woodland told him he shouldn’t worry if he’s innocent. He told his friend DNA will give police their answer.

Woodland also said if the police want his DNA as well, he’s ready to offer it.

A spokesman for Salt Lake City police said they will investigate any new leads that come to their office, but the spokesman said they had no comment about this latest information.

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