Crime, such as disappearances and homicides, is not unknown in Salt Lake City, Utah. Many homicide and disappearance cases have been examined by the Salt Lake City Police Department. Nonetheless, many of these instances are still unsolved.
The Utah Department of Criminal Identification reports that there were 643 cases of missing persons in Salt Lake City between 1980 and 2020. A total of 483 persons were located, while 160 investigations were still ongoing. Over this same time period, 182 homicides were reported in Salt Lake City. As of the year 2020, 123 of these cases had been resolved, while 59 were still active.
Remember that these data represent cases over a period of 40 years, which may make them look lower. The Salt Lake City Police Department has made great strides over the years in their investigation of these types of crimes. Many cases that were previously considered cold have been solved thanks to technological and methodological advancements in the field of criminology.
The 2002 disappearance of Elizabeth Smart in Salt Lake City was one of the city's most publicized cases. Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee kidnapped 14-year-old Elizabeth from her bedroom at knifepoint. Elizabeth's captivity lasted for nine months, but she was eventually rescued and reunited with her loved ones. The two suspects, Mitchell and Barzee, were apprehended and found guilty.
Rosie Tapia's murder in 1995 is another high-profile example. Rosie, a young girl of six, was abducted in the wee hours of the night from her bedroom. The following morning, her body was discovered in a nearby canal. Despite many suggestions and leads over the years, the case has not been solved.
Cold Case Unit investigators work exclusively on cold cases for the Salt Lake City Police Department. The unit is manned by seasoned detectives who dedicate themselves fully to bringing closure to victims' loved ones. Cases involving murder, disappearance, or identification of remains that have not been resolved after at least a year are prioritized by this team.
DNA analysis, fingerprint and ballistics testing, and re-interviews with witnesses are only some of the methods used by the Cold Case Unit to uncover the truth in these situations. The detectives in the team are frequently tasked with reopening cases in order to reexamine evidence and re-examine witness testimony that were initially disregarded. They also employ public outreach strategies like social media to find new leads and tips from the general public.