Mom of Murdered Riverton Teen Speaks Out on 2-year Anniversary
(KUTV) The mother of a 15-year-old girl beaten to death and left in the Jordan River in Draper pleaded for information about the unsolved murder on the two-year anniversary of her death.
Anne Kasprzak's body was found close to a bridge near the Jordan River Parkway Trail on March 11, 2012. She had left home the night before, her parents believe, to meet someone.
"We strongly believe Anne left to meet somebody she knew, somebody she trusted. We don't believe at this point that it was a stranger or some random person," said Anne's mother, Veronica. "There are a lot of teenagers involved, which is one of the things that makes the case really complicated, because you've got a lot of minors who have whole different sets of rights and who have parents who knowingly want to protect them. Kids that are influenced easily. Maybe influenced by their peers."
Within weeks of Anne's murder, Draper police arrested two known felons for the murder based on a false lead, but investigators later cleared them.
"We're not looking for the person necessarily that looks like the bad guy. We are looking for one of the teenagers in your neighborhood. One of the friends your kids hang out with," Veronica said. "Based on the injuries she sustained, it appears to me they didn't want her to walk away."
Anne's family is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction.
"As a mom, I can't sit back and hold my breath that this is going to be resolved, because every time I do and every day that passes is devastating, to just constantly wait and hope that this is going to be resolved," Veronica said. "Do I think that it will eventually be resolved? Yes. Will it ever be resolved to my satisfaction? I don't know."
If someone were to come forward, Veronica said, the break in the case would help her family as well as the killer.
"We live with this every day and I would anticipate so does the person who did this," Veronica said. "Although we have complete faith in the police, we are never going to stop looking. We are never going to stop asking questions. The people or the person who believes that this will just go away with time, it's not going to."
Veronica remembered her daughter on Monday as a typical teenager who loved her friends.
"Anne was kind of larger than life. She was pretty compassionate. She'd been through some hard times before we adopted her. So she had a way of connecting with people, especially other kids who may be struggling," Veronica said. "We're not giving up. Anne deserved far more than what she got. And we are committed to making sure we get as many answers as we can."
Veronica said she is confident in Draper police, who are working with the FBI and other local agencies on the case.
"The Draper Police Department's investigation into Anne Kasprzak's murder is ongoing. This investigation continues to be the highest priority of this Department," Draper police said in a statement on Monday. "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."
Police encouraged anyone with information about Anne's murder to call the police department at 801-840-4000.
A Record Year for People Riding Public Transportation
(KUTV) According to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) 10.7 billion trips where made on public transportation in 2013 and one of the cities topping the list is Salt Lake.
In fact commuter rail or Frontrunner ridership was up 103 percent in 2013. The next closest city is Austin, Texas with an increase of 37.3 percent.
There are some reasons as to why commuter rail is up so high and that's because of the new Frontrunner Provo line that became operational in December of 2013.
"Really a great response to people wanting to commute on Frontrunner. We've had a great response from Ogden to Salt Lake City and even a better response from people coming from Provo," said Remi Barron, the Utah Transit Authority spokesman. "It shows people around the country what we have been doing here."
As for TRAX ridership it's up 6.8 percent in 2013. That also has to do with some of the new lines that have gone in which include the airport, Draper, and the new street car in Sugar House.
Officials expect a better year for 2014, because all the lines will be up and running for a full year. "We are also planning on trying to increase some of the frequency of the trains and increase the connections with bus service," said Barron.
For Lori Land and her young family, public transportation is a way of life. 2News caught up with Land and her two young kids on TRAX while traveling to the Salt Lake City Library. "Six to seven days a week," said Land when asked how often she uses TRAX. "I like TRAX because it pretty much gets you anywhere you want to go."
Utah weather for the evening of Monday, March 10, 2014: Breezy south winds will continue through this evening, with mild temperatures. A cold front will settle south through the Wasatch Front after sunset, with rain showers eventually changing over to snow showers around midnight or after. Temperatures will drop into the 40s behind the cold front.
Forecast for the Wasatch Front: Tonight: Rain and snow developing. Lows in the low to mid 30s. Tomorrow: Snow showers lingering through the morning. Possible lake effect snow showers on the west side of the Salt Lake Valley and Tooele Valley. Highs in the mid to upper 40s.
(KUTV) It's the final week of Utah's legislature, and winners and losers are appearing. Monday a budget deal began coming together that follows the governor's plans. The governor wins on the budget and House Speaker Becky Lockhart may lose on school funding.
House and Senate republicans have agreed to a basic budget deal and Governor Gary Herbert appears to be a winner. He gets even more than he asked for in catch-up funding for Utah Valley University. He will also get a 2.5 percent increase for teachers, and full funding for Utah's educational growth.
A budget loser so far is House Speaker Becky Lockhart. She will not get the 150 million or so she wanted for computers for kids, though she continues to fight on behind the scenes.
However it is looking like Lockhart may have struck a win on the Medicaid issue, the Senate will support Herbert's plan, but not the House. This basically means nothing will get done concerning Medicaid during this session.
(KUTV) As the Utah State Legislature heads to its final week, around a dozen of bills to help clean up Utah's air are still up for debate.
One bill that is still going through the process would give a $2,500 tax credit to those who buy an electric car and would allow anyone to sell electricity for cars only, without it becoming a regulated utility.
Another bill that is picking up steam is one that would offer subsidies to replace wood-burning stoves, which are a big polluter during the winter months.
One other bill that might pass is the $40 million program to replace old school buses with newer cleaner ones.
None of the bills that deal with the clean air have passed so far during this year's legislative session, but none have died either.
Police Looking to Solve String of Bank Robberies in Salt Lake County
(KUTV) A flurry of weekend robberies have police on the hunt for suspects in a couple of cases in Salt Lake County.
Police have a break in one of the robberies as Unified Police arrested Randy Platt, 23, who police say went into the Fort Union Wells Fargo bank on Friday, demanded cash, and took off.
Now police are looking for two other suspects in two different robberies that happened over the weekend.
In Taylorsville, police are looking for a man that walked into the Mountain America Credit Union on Friday night and demanded cash from the teller. Police say he was a white man, about 5'10" in height, and 160 pounds. He was wearing a blue windbreaker, blue jeans, a blue baseball cap with orange writing, and a surgical mask to hide his face.
In Salt Lake City, police are looking for a man that they say robbed the Zions Bank on 2100 South. This man also walked into the bank, demanded cash, and took off.
Police do not believe the robberies are connected, but they do say there are common threads in most of the cases as Salt Lake County has seen a rash of robberies over the past couple of weeks.
The recent trend even has the attention of the FBI.
The FBI is working closely with police to try and solve these cases as well as working with banks on prevention efforts.
Police say if the same pace of robberies continues in Salt Lake County, there will be more than 120 bank robberies by the end of the year which is compared to around 70 last year.
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