Woman whose body was found 27 years ago along Highway 60 has now been identified
June 26, 2023
RIVERSIDE – The body of a homicide victim found 27 years ago along Highway 60 has now been identified by the Riverside County Regional Cold Case Homicide Team (RCCHT).
The victim has been identified as Juana Rosas-Zagal of the Los Angeles area. She was 41 years old at the time of her death. Her body was found on Jan. 27, 1996, along Highway 60, east of Gilman Springs Road in the Moreno Valley area.
Because of a lack of investigative leads, the case and the victim’s identity remained unresolved for decades. Recently, in December of 2022, The RCCHT were finally able to identify not only the victim but also four of her daughters who had nearly lost hope of knowing the whereabouts of their mother.
Using current DNA technologies, such as Forensic Investigative Genetic Genealogy, the team was able to locate a close ancestral link. That technology uses direct-to-consumer databases to explore the ancestral ties of unidentified homicide victims.
Using that and other public databases such as the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, the team located Juana's daughters. The California Department of Justice – Riverside Crime Lab, through its Missing and Unidentified Persons System, was then able to positively identify the victim as Juana Rosas-Zagal.
Detectives believe there are still friends, neighbors, or colleagues of Juana who may be able to provide more information to help clarify Juana's disappearance. Anyone who knew Juana or has any further information is asked to contact detectives at (951) 955-0740 or (951) 955-2777.
In April 2020, the Riverside County District Attorney's Office formed the Riverside County Regional Cold Case Homicide Team to address unsolved cold case homicides. The team is comprised of District Attorney Investigators, Riverside County Sheriff’s Detectives, City of Riverside Police Detectives, and members of the Riverside County Coroner's Office.
A video regarding this information can be found here: https://youtu.be/ECCspGzjnjA