CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Police name six people believed to be connected to a 2019 murder in Salt Lake City

Feb 15, 2022, 5:15 PM
salt lake city murder victim blaire leavitt...
A framed photo of Blaire Leavitt shown during a press conference updating the details of her case. (Paul Nelson)
(Paul Nelson)

SALT LAKE CITY – Police identified six people who they call suspects in the murder of a woman at a Salt Lake City apartment complex in 2019.  However, they’re not ready to make arrests or recommend charges, yet. 

2019 murder suspects identified by Salt Lake City police

Investigators say they were called to a burglary in progress in July of 2019 at an apartment near Redwood Road and 1200 North in Salt Lake City.  On the way, police learned about reports of shots fired. As they arrived, they found Blaire Leavitt with gunshot wounds and tried to save her; she died from her injuries.

Since then, police watched several people with possible ties to the case. Blaire’s mother, Marie Leavitt, says she has been waiting a long time for justice.

“I’m not going to give up until all the suspects, all those cowards out there have been brought to justice,” she said.

A plea to the Pacific Islander community

Leavitt spoke directly to the state’s Pacific Islander community during a press conference on Tuesday.  She believes the people behind her daughter’s murder have spilled some of the details of the crime to their friends, and she wants people to tell officers what they’ve heard.

“I know that the Polynesian community here in Salt Lake is huge, I know that there are people out there who know things about this case,” Leavitt says.  “I’m going to plead with you and ask you to put yourselves in my shoes and my family’s shoes.”

(Pictures of the suspects that Salt Lake investigators believe are connected to the death of Blaire Leavitt. The pictures were shown on the department’s media wall during a press conference Tuesday.)

Salt Lake City police believe Katoa Pahulu, Lachelle Fiefia, Mapilivai Laulea, Sunia Cavazos, Tevita Kofutua, and Timote Fonua all played a role in Leavitt’s murder. They also believe one of those six people is the shooter.  All of them have been questioned by officers since the shooting. However, Captain Victor Siebeneck says police still need more information to make their case complete.

“We hope that someone will come forward with one critical piece of information, one crucial item of evidence, that will help us march towards our goal of bringing justice for Blaire and answers and closure to her family,” Siebeneck said. 

No arrests have been made in the case; Siebeneck called on the suspects to tell police what they know.

“It’s time you come forward.  You’ve been running from this for far too long,” he said.

Investigators say this is still an active investigation, so they’re not at liberty to talk about a possible motive.

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Police name six people believed to be connected to a 2019 murder in Salt Lake City