SALT LAKE CITY — Investigators are hoping enough time has passed that people with information into a trio of 1994 cold case homicides in Salt Lake City might come forward.
Jose Dimas Lopez, 32, Jose Gomez Mendez, 34, and 17-year-old Thomas Palma were killed in 1994. The body of Lopez, who was shot to death, was found Apr. 22, 1994, on the side of the road near 300 South and 1900 West.
On May 27, 1994, the bodies of Mendez and Palma were found in an apartment near 650 South and 1650 West. Both were shot to death.
The only known person of interest in all three homicides is Juan C. Felix, also known as Emilio "Juan" Beltran Felix. Felix was sentenced to the Utah State Prison in 1995 on multiple charges that carried sentences of 10-years to life and 15-years to life. A judge ordered many of his sentences to run consecutively as well as concurrently.
Felix was convicted of committing a million-dollar robbery at a South Ogden jewelry store, tying up store employees in the process and raping one of them.
But according to search warrants filed at the time of the murders, police say Felix likes to brag.
According to a search warrant filed in 3rd District Court in 1994, Felix bragged to friends that on May 27 he went to an apartment to collect on a debt. He got into a verbal argument with the men at the apartment and chased them when they ran off.
Felix followed one man into the bathroom and shot him in the chest, according to the warrant. He also bragged to a friend that he found another man in the apartment trying to hide under a bed and shot and killed him, too, the warrant stated.
The warrant states that Felix has bragged about killing four or five people.
But police in 1994 said they needed more evidence to tie him to the crimes. All of the bragging information was given to the police department third hand, and would not be admissible in court because it would be considered "hearsay."
This week, Salt Lake City police put out a renewed call for people who have information in the case to step forward, hoping that, "allegiances may have changed over the last 18 years and that parties involved may feel differently about coming forward with information today."
A witness statement combined with "new leads" and advances in forensic technology may be all that's needed to bring the cases to a close, according to police.
Anyone with information can call police at 801-799-3000. Or send a text message to CRIMES (274637), using the keyword TIPSLCPD. All callers and texters can remain anonymous.