Rosa Tapia Murdered in 1995; Case Remains Unsolved

Published: Updated: 1 comment

SALT LAKE CITY — On Aug. 13, 1995, Lewine Tapia and her husband arrived at their apartment around 2:30 a.m. after a night out dancing.

Lewine headed to her daughters’ bedroom to check on them before going to bed. Sleeping in their beds were 6-year-old Rosa Tapia and her 4-year-old sister. Lewine saw them sleeping soundly, then went to the window and shut it. She did not lock it. Lewine left the door open behind her as she walked out of the bedroom.

Lewine woke up at 5:30 a.m. and felt like something wasn’t right. She got up out of bed, and the first thing she noticed was the closed door to her daughters’ room. When she went in, the blinds were down, the window was wide open, and the screen was missing. Rosa’s sister was there, but Rosa was gone.

Lewine immediately called the police, and a search began.

Around 10:00 a.m., a man walking his dog found little Rosa’s body in the Jordan River canal several blocks from her home at 1900 West and 1200 South.

An autopsy later revealed Rosa was sexually assaulted and had drowned.

A witness told police she had seen a man carrying Rosa from a playground to her apartment the night before. The witness described the man as white with a dark complexion, 5’9″, approximately 30 years old, with a thin build and medium-length dark brown hair. He wore a white T-shirt, a red-brimmed baseball cap, and sunglasses with dark brown lenses.

In 2010, the police reorganized their cold case department. They brought in the witness to have her meet with the sketch artist.


Rosie’s fingernail clippings, preserved since her death, were sent to a laboratory for possible DNA evidence. However, I have not found anything regarding the outcome.

Anyone who recognizes the man may call the police at (801) 277-3000. Callers may remain anonymous and should reference case number 95-119190.

1 comment

who dat say who dat July 18, 2020 - 3:21 PM

Let’s hope that the finger nail clippings can get some DNA of the killer and get justice for Rosa who should have been safe in her own room asleep next to her sister and family!


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