The cold case murder of Elizabeth Salgado - Provo, Utah - April 16, 2015

Elizabeth Salgado, a 26-year-old ambitious girl from Chiapas, Mexico, had moved to Provo, Utah, in March 2015 to study English after completing an LDS mission. Her dream was to build a beautiful life in the religious Mormon city, which was known for brotherhood and peaceful living conditions.She lived with roommates in the Branburty Apartments, located at 449 W. 1720 North. Elizabeth was known for always showing up on time for her classes and work at a restaurant. She was a young woman who had a lot of social contact with her family in Mexico, as well as with her roommates.

On April 16, she texted her sister and uncle on her way home from school. Although her relatives both texted back, they never got a reply. In fact, no one ever heard or saw the student again. When her mother could not get in touch either, the police were alerted.

Missing person case
During the walk to her apartment, things must have gone completely wrong. Police soon launched an investigation, working with Elizabeth's family, as well as Provo's tight-knit community. There was an intensive search for the Mexican woman. Detectives were investigating not only within the borders of Utah, but also in her hometown in Mexico. Three weeks after the disappearance, human remains were found, and the fear was that it might be Elizabeth's. To everyone's relief, that was not the case. Dental records showed that the skeletal remains were not hers. The police have publicly called for attention to the missing persons case several times. In hopes of persuading witnesses to come forward with crucial information, a reward was also offered for any tip that would lead to the solution. However, the effort was all in vain. The disappearance remained one big mystery.

Remains found
Years passed without news. Until May 2018, a man pulled over on the road of Hobble Creek Canyon to walk into the bushes for a sanitary stop. There he came across the human remains, which upon examination belonged to Elizabeth Salgado. The search for the Mexican student ended with a horrible result. Her body turned out to be 15 miles from where she was last seen in april 2015. According to the police, there was never a search in this area because there were no indications in this direction. Because the remains had been lying in the wilderness for three years, it was impossible to determine a cause of death. In any case, the police assumed that the woman had been killed by violence. 

In the investigation following Elizabeth's discovery, police said they suspected she didn't get to the Canyon on her own because she didn't have a car. Someone had taken her there. The authority also said it had several people of interest, but did not want to name names. In a public statement, the police promised together with the FBI to find the perpetrator and bring him to justice. They again asked people to come forward if they knew anything about the case. 

DNA of a found coin
In July 2019, researchers using metal detectors found a coin in the exact spot where Elizabeth's remains had been found. Because the location was not usual for hikers, the coin was immediately considered suspicious. Forensic investigators were able to find a full DNA profile on the coin. It was that of an unknown man. An attempt was made to find a match via Ged-Match technology. (the same method that was used to find the Golden State Killer). However, no breakthrough has been achieved so far.

Aunt goes missing and is found dead
In August of 2021, Elizabeth's aunt, Miriam Salgado, disappeared. Her car was found abandoned a day after her family reported her missing. A year and a half later, in March 2023, her remains were found half a mile from where her vehicle had previously been found, in an unincorporated area of Washington County near Zion National Park. According to the police, nothing pointed to a crime, but nothing has been ruled out. The family said that Miriam had psychological problems.

2023 Update
Private investigator Jason Jensen, hired by the Salgado family to investigate the case, made headlines in 2023 with an appeal to students who had attended a church event in Kelly's Grove Park, at the foot of Hobble Canyon, a few days before the disappearance. The reason was that Elizabeth was most likely present at this event, where she was rumored to be hanging out with someone she had arranged to have a picnic with after a school day the following week. The trip would have been planned on the day she went missing. Hopes are now pinned on young people who presumably have photos of the event. Were you there and do you remember anything about that day? Or do you have pictures? Please contact or send them to us at

Tips and Information
Elizabeth's murder is still unsolved. The police, but especially her family, hope that there is someone who knows more about the case, and who now finally dares to come forward with his or her information. Is that you? Do you know more about the murder of the Mexican student, who hoped for a better life in Utah, but was murdered instead? Please let us know now. Even if you think it will be of no use to the police. Any bit of information can help. Don't hesitate and get in touch now (anonymously) using the form below. 

This goes without the interference of the police, and entirely through our editors. If you would like to remain anonymous, do not enter your name and e-mail address. We ensure that your information ends up in the right place with the appropriate cold case team.

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