Family seeks closure; police seek killer

2 men cleared in teen's death after 'difficult' year

Published: Wednesday, March 6 2013 7:30 p.m. MST

Dennis Kasprzak and his wife, Jennifer, stand at the location where his daughter Anne Grace Kasprzak was found dead one year ago on the Jordan River Parkway in Salt Lake County Wednesday, March 6, 2013.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

DRAPER — Anne Kasprzak would have turned 16 on Jan. 10.

She would have taken her test by now to receive her driver's license, something she had been practicing for nearly a full year before her birthday.

"Those are the things we should be experiencing this year, and we can't. And that's been difficult," her father, Dennis Kasprzak, told the Deseret News.

This Sunday marks one year since 15-year-old Anne Kasprzak disappeared from her Riverton home. Her badly beaten body was found the next day in the Jordan River. One of Anne's sneakers, which had blood on it, was found on the bridge spanning the river near 12600 South.

But after a year, no charges have been filed and no explanations offered for her death.

'We're stuck'

Dennis Kasprzak said the past year has been "very difficult." Her mother, Veronica Kasprzak, described it as "pretty intense to say the least."

The hardest part after losing her daughter, she said, has been the family's inability to move forward because of the ongoing investigation and the outstanding questions still hovering over the case.

"You never get to move forward. You never get to close this part and just remember Anne and remember the good part," she said. "Instead of having Anne in our life, we have the Draper Police Department."

It's not that the Kasprzaks don't support Draper police or appreciate their efforts, they would just like closure.

"I would rather we didn't have to work with them. I would rather we didn't have a police investigation going on. ... I'd rather have this closed," Veronica Kasprzak said. "I'd like to get to a point where we don't have to worry about that anymore. I'd like to get to a point where we just say, 'OK, this is what happened. This is where it goes from here,' and focus on that.

"Instead, we're stuck. We just get to relive that moment and those months over and over and over again."

Original suspects

Just one week after the killing, Draper police arrested Daniel Robert Lehi Ferry, now 32, for investigation of murder. A week after that, Veanuia Vehekite, 31, was also arrested for investigation of the same charge.

But no official charges were filed in connection with Anne's death.

Ferry was adamant from the start that he did not kill the girl. Earlier this week, the Deseret News talked to Ferry in the Utah State Prison where he again denied having any involvement in the case.

"I'm a lot of things. I'm a gang member, I'm a drug addict, I'm a drug dealer, but one thing I am not is a child killer," he said.

Although he was never charged, he was not officially cleared until Wednesday — something he said was "real important" to him.

In separate interviews this week, both Dennis and Veronica Kasprzak said they no longer believed Ferry is responsible for their daughter's death.

"I think everybody thought it was kind of an open and shut case (when Ferry was arrested). Nearly a year later and no charges have been made. As a family, we do not believe Daniel Ferry had anything to do with Anne's murder," Dennis Kasprzak said.

"From the evidence that police have, it just doesn't match. It doesn't connect. We do not feel that's the answer at this point," Veronica Kasprzak added.

Draper police issued a statement Wednesday confirming for the first time that they no longer consider Ferry or Vehekite suspects in the case.

The case

Family members say Anne would not leave the house without a reason. They believe on the night of March 10 she likely left because of a friend.

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