Thriller Tuesday: Rosa Sandoval

A young girl of twelve years old vanishes without a trace. She vanished in 2004 without a trace. Totally disappeared off the face of the world. At first, authorities and the public alike speculated that Rosa Sandoval had been kidnapped while on her way to class. The tragic conclusion to her absence would come seven months later when her body was discovered. It’s been hard to wrap my head around why there’s been no response after all this time. Rosa, her parents, and her three older siblings all shared a house in the city’s southwestern neighborhood, about two blocks from Sky Harbor Elementary School. After relocating to San Antonio from Mexico in the spring of 2004, the family had already lived there for a number of years, and the children’s schooling was drawing to a close. Actually, it was on the last day of school when everything would shift for the household permanently. Rosa walked to school on May 28; however, her relatives stated she departed early and didn’t tell anybody why. Her backpack and a three-liter bottle of Pepsi disappeared, but nobody questioned it because it was her last day of school and everyone assumed she was just happy. It was an item she was instructed to bring with her to class. Later, the school contacted the Sandovals, but Rosa never showed up for kindergarten at Sky Harbor. A missing person report was filed when the family called the police in a panic. We started looking for Rosa right away, but we couldn’t find her. The news of the missing 12-year-old girl went viral, and the FBI was brought in to aid with the investigation. Around sixty persons were questioned as the search progressed; these included members of the family, acquaintances, teachers, guidance counselors, and neighbors. The media quickly learned that as the inquiry progressed, authorities were beginning to scrutinize Rosa’s relatives, wondering if they could have more information than they were putting on.
There were rumors for months after Rosa went missing that her 17-year-old sister Gabby, with whom she shared a room, informed authorities that the two had gotten into an altercation the night before February 28 and that Rosa left afterward. That was the last time Gabby saw her, she said, and the next morning she wasn’t in her bed. The family gave police permission to search their home and car, which they did. Blood smears and bloody handprints were reportedly discovered by evidence specialists by police in her chamber, according to a case at twelve report from July 2004. At the time, San Antonio police sergeant Gabe Trevino stated luminol was utilized in a specific room. Rosa’s brother’s room, which was next door, also reportedly contained traces. No one ever saw the Luminol test findings. In reality, concerns were raised concerning the administration of the chemical test, although SAPD insisted all appropriate protocols were followed. When a human skull was discovered on Kierney Road in December 2004, seven months after Rosa vanished, the investigation took a dramatic turn for the better. Even more bones could be found in the vicinity, in a more bushy part of the area. After a thorough investigation, Rosa’s remains were positively identified, and clothes found at the scene matched what she was wearing the night she disappeared on May 27 — the night her sister said she left after an argument. In 2005, an episode of America’s Most Wanted covered Rosa’s disappearance and eventual death. There was a picture of Rosa found inside a blue Oldsmobile, at least according to that episode. Apparently, that car was discovered at a scrapyard, but its owner has yet to be identified. Since her body was discovered outside of the city borders, the SAPD transferred the investigation to the Bear County Sheriff’s Office. No official cause of death was ever given for Rosa, and it is unknown if there was ever a suspect. That mystery has yet to be answered.

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