A Utah law that created a statewide database of killings and disappearances that have gone unsolved for at least three years has been bolstered by an offer of a $3,000 cash reward for information that solves or leads to convictions in any of the 200 such cases in Utah, reports the Associated Press.
The Utah Cold Case Coalition announced the reward Tuesday while gathered with family members of victims.
Karra Porter, a Salt Lake City attorney and one of the group’s founders, told the Salt Lake Tribune that “the majority of cold cases have never had a reward,” and that families of victims—many of whom were in attendance at Tuesday’s press conference– were often unable to generate any interest in their cases.
The volunteer coalition, which consists of lawyers, investigators and businesses, operates a 24-hour tip line and maintains comprehensive records on each cold case, according to its website.
The group first formed when the family of a six-year-old girl named Rosie Tapia, who was kidnapped and murdered in 22 years ago, approached Porter, frustrated at the lack of movement in her case.
Resources for the coalition have been coming from private, anonymous donors and from the founders themselves, Porter told The Crime Report. In March, the group succeeded in passing “Rosie’s law,” creating the first statewide cold case database.
“It’s a good thing, because it helps my daughter’s case, but it helps everyone else, too, who has a cold case,” Lewine Tapia told the Deseret News, referring to the state database.
Ogden (Utah) Police Capt. Danielle Croyle welcomed the additional help. “We need resources. We need information from the community,” Croyle said.
“We need to have support networks so we can make sure families continue to get closure.”