Anaheim detectives searching for clues on 20-year anniversary of cold case homicide


Editor’s note: The Anaheim PD issued the following news release Tuesday, July 2, 2019.

Anaheim Police detectives have reopened the investigation of a young woman’s murder on the 20- year anniversary of her disappearance.

On July 2, 1999, Mariana Tapia, 18, of Anaheim, went missing after attending a friend’s birthday party at the El Rodeo nightclub in Pico Rivera. Tapia was last seen dancing with some unknown men inside the club.

Tapia’s decomposed body was found on Aug. 22, 1999, buried in a brushy area near Gypsum Canyon Road and Santa Ana Canyon Road in Anaheim.

An Irvine Company employee inspecting a fence on the company’s property found Tapia’s body in a shallow grave with one foot protruding. Tapia, who had a 4-year-old daughter at the time of her death, died as a result of at least one gunshot wound.

Cold case homicide detectives have been reexamining ballistic and DNA evidence in this case in an effort to generate new leads. In addition to leveraging new forensic techniques in the case, detectives hope that witnesses who may have been reluctant to cooperate in the past are ready to tell their stories.

“Early in the year 2000, a woman called detectives and provided specific information about Mariana’s murder,” said 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.”

Homicide detectives are asking anyone with information to call them at 714-321-3669.