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Two years and no closure in murdered Utah teen’s case

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Anne Kasprzak. Courtesy Draper Police Department

By Michael McFall

The Salt Lake Tribune

First published Mar 11 2014 10:58AM
Updated Mar 11, 2014 10:01PM

Two years later and still no answers.

The last time Anne Kasprzak’s family saw her was 7:30 p.m. on the night of March 10, 2012, when she went to her bedroom to listen to music.

Her parents went to check on her about 45 minutes later, but the 15-year-old was gone, apparently having secretly slipped out of their Riverton home. Her parents immediately reported her disappearance to police.

The next day, her body was found in the Jordan River near the parkway bridge at 12600 South, beaten beyond recognition.

Not a day goes by that Anne does not cross her parents minds. After all this time, the Kasprzaks have not stopped looking for answers.

"She had no junior prom this year and her driver’s license will never be issued," her parents said in a statement, released Monday. "We still believe that someone in her group of peers in high school has answers. We believe that two years of maturity will allow this individual and/or individuals to realize the gravity of the event that occurred, and the pain this leaves for all affected by her death, including the one responsible."

Anne’s murder continues to be the highest priority of the Draper Police Department. But in its own statement, also released Monday, the department said it is staying mum on where the case stands, citing the active investigation.

"We recognize this has been a lengthy investigation and appreciate the patience and cooperation we share with Anne’s family," according to the police statement. "Investigators are diligently working all aspects of the case and when it is appropriate, plan to present a strong case to the Salt Lake District Attorney’s Office."

The case seemed to have neared a close early in the investigation, but it wasn’t to be. Within three weeks of the murder, Draper police arrested two men in Anne’s death — Daniel Ferry, 32, and Veanuia Vehekite, 31. It initially appeared to be an air-tight case: an eyewitness was prepared to testify against them, claiming she saw them knock the girl unconscious, drive off with her body and return hours later covered in blood and bragging about killing her.

But last year, after an extensive yearlong investigation, Draper police announced that both Ferry and Vehekite were cleared of the murder. Ferry alleged the witness was a drug addict who was angry with him at the time and made up the story.

Veronica Kasprzak, Anne’s mother, said last year that she is convinced that Ferry and Vehekite are not the killers. The evidence "didn’t match, didn’t make sense," she said.

On the first anniversary of Anne’s death, more than 40 family members and friends gathered along the banks of the Jordan River for a candlelight vigil to honor her memory.

Flanked by folded paper cranes fluttering from a bush near where Anne’s body was found, her family remembered the vivacious girl who always looked out for her siblings.

"She really was their leader and always had their best interest at heart," Dennis Kasprzak said about his daughter, the oldest of two brothers and three step-siblings. "She was always their protector."

In their statement this year, Anne’s family said she deserves to be remembered for "all of the wonderful things she accomplished and not just the way she was taken from us."

There is still a standing $5,000 reward for someone to come forward with information leading to the arrest and conviction of her killer. Anyone with information is asked to call Draper police at 801-840-4000.

Time is running out for whomever killed Anne, her family said.

"Secrets have a tendency of being discovered. We will never stop looking."

mmcfall@sltrib.com

Twitter: @mikeypanda

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