Cold Case Victim Identified As Southern California Mother 27 Years After Her Murder

A female body was found near a highway in the Moreno Valley area of California in 1996. After 27 years, she has been identified as 41-year-old Juana Rosas-Zagal.

Juana Rosas-Zagal, pictured here, was a 41-year-old mother when she was murdered in 1996.

A female body was found near a highway in the Moreno Valley area of California in 1996. After 27 years, she has been identified as 41-year-old Juana Rosas-Zagal.

Photo by: Riverside County Cold Case Homicide Team

Riverside County Cold Case Homicide Team

On Jan. 27, 1996, the body of a woman was discovered near trash piled along Highway 90 in the Moreno Valley area of Southern California. She had suffered significant trauma but could not be identified.

Detectives sought to figure out who the woman was and what happened to her. A sketch was even commissioned and distributed to try to drum up information, but the case went cold because of a lack of investigative leads at the time.

Now, after 27 years, she was finally identified by the Riverside County Regional Cold Case Homicide Team (RCCHT) as Juana Rosas-Zagal. She was a 41-year-old mother who lived in Los Angeles at the time of her death, and she was identified using genetic genealogy, according to the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.

The RCCHT was also able to identify four of her daughters who they say had nearly lost hope of finding out what happened to their mother. DNA technologies, including Forensic Investigative Genetic Genealogy, and public databases like the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System helped them locate Juana's daughters. The Missing and Unidentified Persons System of the California Department of Justice – Riverside Crime Lab was then able to positively identify Juana Rosas-Zagal.

Now Juana’s daughters are hoping for justice for their mother.

“He destroyed my family. He didn’t kill only one person. He killed all of us. I really really wish, if somebody knows something, they can let us know. Because for me, all of this is so difficult, but at the same time, I really want to know who killed my mother. I really, really wish he can be in prison for killing my mother,” one of Rosas-Zagal’s daughters said in an audio recording shared by the Riverside County DA’s office.

No further information has been given about how Rosas-Zagal died, and the case is still unsolved, reported KTLA.

Detectives are still working hard to solve Rosas-Zagal’s murder and achieve justice for her family. The DA’s office said they are on a constant lookout for more information about her. They are hoping to talk to friends, neighbors, and co-workers who might be able to share insights about her life and disappearance. If you have any information, please contact detectives at (951) 955-0740 or (951) 955-2777.

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