Family of murdered Utah couple turning to billboards
The murders of Ralph Salazar and Alice Griego are still unsolved, and now Salazar's family is turning to the public for help.
The family has bought digital billboard space on Interstate 15 near 1500 South to remind drivers of the couple's deaths. Police say the Salt Lake County couple were shot inside Salazar's house at 2811 Ksel Drive (9457 South) before it was set on fire Dec. 14.
There's no clear motive, no suspect, and the fire made it difficult to find clues. Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal said the leads have gone cold.
"We're worried that it'll slip through the cracks," said Lisa DeHerrera, Salazar's niece. "We don't want to see that happen."
Frustrated, DeHerrera and her family raised $7,000 for the billboard and reserved it for two months. DeHerrera wants to keep the case fresh in public memory, hoping that if someone overhears a rumor or anything suspicious, they'll go to law enforcement with what they know.
She's also turning to outside experts, concerned about the state crime lab's backlog and uncertain how many resources local law enforcement can devote to the case. Her family is weighing whether to hire a private investigator, although their rates are a bit steep. She's also called the FBI, since she said the murders remind her of Mexican mafia.
"[My uncle] was never involved in any funny business," DeHerrera said. He wasn't one to make enemies either, which adds to her bafflement about the murders.
Firefighters were called to Salazar's house the morning of Dec. 14 to extinguish a fire in the master bedroom. When they arrived, they discovered the couple's bodies inside.
Investigators don't believe the killings were random, Hoyal said. If anyone saw something out of the ordinary that day but didn't think much of it, that small detail might still help investigators a great deal, Hoyal said.
He encouraged anyone with information on the case to call the UPD detectives bureau at 801-743-5915.
Salazar's family isn't the only one to stage to a public campaign in recent months to try and solve a murder case.
Friends of Uta von Schwedler, who believed she was murdered in her Sugar House home in 2011, created a website and paid for billboards asking for tips last fall. Last week, police arrested her ex-husband under suspicion of murdering her.
Last November, the family of Sherry Black canvassed neighborhoods around the South Salt Lake woman's bookstore, where she was beaten and stabbed to death in 2010. They also temporarily doubled the reward for information leading to a suspect to $100,000. But so far, those efforts have not produced any suspects.