SB160: Bill would create database to solve unsolved crimes

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SALT LAKE CITY — SB160 would require Utah to create a database for all cold murder cases in memory of Rosie Tapia, a 6-year-old who has abducted 22 years ago and whose case is still open.

Rick Bowmer
In this Jan. 25, 2018, photo, Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, looks on during a news conference at the Utah State Capitol. Weiler is sponsoring a bill to create a database to solve “cold cases.”

A cold case is an unsolved criminal investigation which remains open pending the discovery of new evidence. Many families like Rosie’s are still waiting for answers and this bill would ensure these cases are not lost or forgotten.

Rep. Todd Weiler R-Woods Cross, the sponsor of the bill said “It’s a fairly simple bill … it would create a database, it would provide some funding to get it going.

Weiler mentioned the fiscal note would provide $100,000 to get the database up and running.

According to Weiler, Karra Porter, an attorney with Christensen and Jensen and a member of the Cold Case Coalition of Utah, approached him with the idea for the bill.

Porter told Weiler she recently received tips concerning Rosie Tapia’s murder that were not entered into the current database.

“We first assumed there would be some sort of state database that we could look to,” Tapia said. “We had found that well over half of the cases that we were able to find were not on the database.”

Porter spoke of a case where it took 11 years for a set of bones known as “Saltair Sally” to be identified as Nikole Bakoles because of the lack of a compiled database.

“We need this extra information to try to bring closure to these families,” Porter said.

Brian Redd from the Department of Public Safety spoke in favor of the bill and recommended that Utah’s intended database model the legislation passed in Colorado that mandated their own statewide database. According to Redd, the best place for the database to be implemented is the State Bureau of Investigation, within the Department of Public Safety.

The bill was recommended favorably by the committee and is currently on waiting for a second reading in the Senate.

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