Detectives Tuesday marked the 20th anniversary of an 18-year-old Anaheim woman’s disappearance by reopening their investigation into her death.
Mariana Tapia disappeared on July 2, 1999, after last being seen dancing with some unknown men while attending a friend’s birthday party at the El Rodeo nightclub in Pico Rivera, according to a statement from the Anaheim Police Department.
Tapia’s decomposed body was found August 22, 1999, buried in a shallow grave with one foot sticking out in a brushy area near Gypsum Canyon and Santa Ana Canyon roads in Anaheim by an Irvine Company employee inspecting a fence on the company’s property, the statement said.
Tapia had died as a result of at least one gunshot wound, police said.
Detectives have reexamined ballistic and DNA evidence and were hopeful witnesses who were previously reluctant to come forward are now willing to tell their stories.
“Early in the year 2000, a woman called detectives and provided specific information about Mariana’s murder,” said Anaheim police Homicide Detail Sgt. Jeff Mundy. “We are asking this woman to have the courage to call us again so we can bring justice to Mariana and closure to her family.”
Tapia had a 4-year-old daughter at the time of her death, police said.
Anyone with information about Tapia’s death was asked to call Anaheim police homicide detectives at 714-321-3669.
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