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Attorneys push for “Rosie’s Bill” to help solve old murder cases

SALT LAKE CITY – Attorneys and family members of cold case murder victims say the state is not doing enough to solve old crimes.  They’re pushing for a new cold case database that investigators would have to participate in.

Luwine Tapia remembers the pain she felt from hearing her daughter, Rosie, was killed as if it happened yesterday.  She says, “It hurts.  You think it would get easier after 22 years.”

What’s more frustrating is that she feels she’s still kept in the dark about the latest in the case.  She claims she’s received more clues about her daughter’s death from tipsters, recently, than she has from investigators.  “We were at the cemetery yesterday, celebrating her 29th birthday.  I wondered what she would just look like.  Would she be married and have kids?  I don’t get that answer,” Tapia says.

Currently, there is a statewide cold case database, but, attorney Karra Porter says it’s outdated and too few law enforcement agencies take part.  She looked up one cold case from Salt Lake City, and, “It was telling people that they should call any tips in to Chief Chris Burbank,” Porter says.  Burbank resigned as Chief of Police in 2015.

The new database, if created, would make it easier for people to connect possible details between one case and another.  Investigator Jason Jenson uses the example of Nikole Bakoles, whose unidentified remains led to investigators calling her “Saltair Sally.“  Jenson says, “There was no connection made to the remains found in 2000 and the missing person’s report from 1999.  Had that been done on a timely basis, the case wouldn’t get as cold as it ultimately has become.”

Senator Todd Weiler tells KSL he’s opened a bill file to create the database in this legislative session.  Supporters are calling it “Rosie’s Bill” in honor of Rosie Tapia.