Who murdered 12-year-old Rosa Sandoval?

South Texas Crime Stories: Rosa Sandoval

SAN ANTONIO – Next week is the 15th anniversary of the disappearance of 12-year-old Rosa Sandoval. 

Sandoval's story came to a tragic end when her remains were found seven months after her disappearance on the side of a road in southwest Bexar County.

When did Rosa Sandoval disappear?

Sandoval was one of four siblings who lived with their parents two blocks away from Sky Harbour Elementary School.

It was the end of the school year and it was first thought that Sandoval was last seen on May 28.

She apparently left early for school that day and didn't tell anybody, which was unusual according to family.

Sandoval's backpack full of books was missing, as well as a soda bottle she was supposed to take for a last day of school party.

On May 28, her family reported her missing after the school called to say she wasn't there.

The search quickly began for her, but she could not be found and soon the FBI was called in to assist in the investigation.

Reports say police interviewed around 60 people about the disappearance and soon they also started looking closely at the family.

Months after her disappearance, it was reported that Gabby, Sandoval's 17-year-old sister whom she shared a room with, had later told police that her and Rosa Sandoval had an argument the night before the 28th and that Rosa Sandoval had walked out that night.

Gabby Sandoval went on to say she never saw her again after that and wasn't in her bed the next morning.

With the family's permission, police searched the family home and vehicle.

In a KSAT 12 report in July 2004, police said evidence technicians found what appears to be blood stains and bloodied handprints on the walls of her room.

"We used a chemical called luminol, which will react not just on blood, but other body fluids in a particular place," said former Sgt. Gabe Trevino of the San Antonio Police Department.

Traces were also found in an adjacent bedroom belonging to her brother. 

Questions were raised about how the chemical test was administered, but the San Antonio Police Department said proper procedures were followed.

The results of those luminol tests were never released. 

Dec. 10, 2004

It had been seven months and still no sight of Sandoval.

That would all change on Dec. 10, 2004, when a human skull was found off the side of the road in the 11700 block of Kearney Road.

A further search would find other bones nearby.

The human skeleton was positively identified months later as Sandoval.

Her cause of death was never released and police never said if there was a suspect in the case. 

According to an "America's Most Wanted" episode that aired in 2005, a picture of Sandoval was discovered inside a 1983 blue Oldsmobile. 

The vehicle was apparently found in a junkyard. There was no word on who owned that vehicle.

15 years later

According to the Crime Stoppers website, the Bexar County's Sheriff's Office now has jurisdiction in the case and is currently focusing on a few individuals that may have additional information in the case.

No specific person has ever been identified and the case remains open and active. 

If any one has information about this case, you are asked to call Crime Stoppers or the BCSO. 


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