Innocent: Who Killed Rosie Tapia?

Her Family Continues to Search for Answers

A. Grace
4 min readDec 15, 2021


A rose in the foreground and brown eyes in the background. Rosie Tapia was just a little girl with her life cut short by a man who has yet to be brought to justice.
Image Credit: The Author

What Happened to Rosie?

Rosie Tapia was a 6-year-old girl with dark brown eyes and a bright smile. She was deeply loved by her family, who says she had the “cutest laugh.” Twenty-six years ago, she was cruelly taken from them by a man who is still at large.

On August 13, 1995, an unknown man removed the screen from Rosie’s window and took her from her home, at the Hartland Apartments in Salt Lake City, Utah. The police were called immediately when Lewine, Rosie’s mother, saw that she was not in her bed at 5:45 AM. A search was undertaken, and her body was found by a man walking his dog around 10:00 AM in a nearby canal.

At first, the police believed she had wandered off and that her death was accidental. However, an autopsy later showed that Rosie had been raped before drowning. “Why anyone would want to hurt a little girl like that; I just don’t understand that,” Lewine Tapia told journalists from BYU’s School of Communications.

On the day of her murder, a man carried Rosie home and told her sister, Emilia Elizondo, that the child had been hurt while playing on the slide. The man knew Rosie’s name, but the girl later told her sister that she did not know the man or how he knew her name and hadn’t been hurt on the slide.

Her younger brother, Robert, also saw a man that night, with a beard, in the room he was sharing with Rosie. The boy informed police the man told him to go back to sleep. Elizondo helped the police create a sketch of the man she saw in 2010, a full 15 years after Rosie had been murdered.

Seeking Justice: An Ongoing Investigation

The family is working with Jensen Investigations to gather more information that will hopefully lead to a break in the case. Also as the Salt Lake Tribune reported, Karra Porter, an attorney for the family announced that “a new volunteer coalition of investigators and other experts have gained ground in the August 1995 abduction and murder case without the help of the Salt Lake City Police Department,” as of 2017.

The Tapia family hired Porter to act as a go-between for the family and retrieve case information…



A. Grace

Grace writes fiction & articles on various topics in the western U.S. She is also a photographer, dog mom, and nature lover! Buy her a coffee: