SALT LAKE CITY – Each year the family of Rosie Tapia, who was kidnapped, sexually assaulted and murdered 18 years ago, holds a vigil at her grave, and the case remains one of Utah’s most nagging unsolved murder mysteries.
Rosie was 6 years old when she was kidnapped from her Salt Lake City Apartment on August 13, 1995.
Rosie’s mother, Lewine, said this time of year continues to be tough for her.
"Yesterday and this morning I woke up thinking about her and crying,” she said. "And I even had a dream of her in the same little outfit that she was wearing when she was abducted."
Police discovered Rosie’s body in the nearby Jordan River Canal, but her killer has never been identified and the case went cold years ago. But some family members still think answers may be out there.
"Hopefully, one day that lead will come in and we'll find the person who took her because I'm not giving up yet,” Tapia said.
Tapia said she’s learned to keep her hopes in check over the years, but she said she is constantly exposed to reminders of her daughter.
"Every time I see my grandkids, my daughters growing up...I just wonder what she would look like all grown up,” she said.
The vigil has become a family tradition. Rosie’s nephew, Javier Alizondo, attended, and he said they hope justice will be served.
“I just wish that guy would turn himself in or something because he's making us pay for it basically, we all want justice here,” he said.
Tapia said she knows an arrest won’t bring Rosie back, but she said she would still like to see the responsible person brought to justice.
"It would mean a lot to me because I could put my daughter to rest, and I could rest and have that person pay for what they did,” she said.
Anyone with information about the case can call Salt Lake City police at 801-799-3000 or visit their website. Salt Lake City police officials said that, while this is technically a cold case, they continue to follow every credible tip and lead they receive. There is a cash reward for the right tip.