Rosa Marie Camacho

1 AP
Left: Rosa, circa 1997;
Right: Age-progression to age 20 (circa 2012)

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: October 24, 1997 from Hartford, Connecticut
  • Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Date Of Birth: June 7, 1993
  • Age: 4 years old
  • Height and Weight: 3'0, 38 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Hispanic female. Brown hair, brown eyes. Rosa's nickname is Rosita. She spoke Spanish at the time of her 1997 disappearance and may speak English.
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description: A black jacket and blue pants.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Rosa and her mother, Rosa Delgado, left their Hartford, Connecticut residence at approximately 5:00 p.m. to walk to a local store together and buy groceries, including milk and diapers. The store was in the 60 block of Madison Avenue; it has since been replaced by another establishment. Delgado left her five-month-old daughter at her home in the care of a sister when she left with Rosa. She had only about $10. A witness saw Rosa's father and Delgado's former boyfriend, Julio J. Camacho, speaking to them on a street corner in their Parkville area neighborhood prior to the females' disappearances. Rosa has never been seen again. Photos of both Julio and Delgado are posted below this case summary.

    A woman's body was discovered floating in three feet of water in Columbia Lake in western New Jersey in November 1997, one month after Rosa and Delgado vanished. Her head and hands were missing. Authorities were initially unable to identify the homicide victim and named her "The Lady Of The Lake." The woman's identity remained a mystery until DNA tests were conducted in 1999, nearly two years later. The tests proved that the remains were Delgado's.

    There have been no arrests in either Rosa's disappearance or Delgado's homicide, but Julio has been named as the prime suspect. By 1997, he had been an officer with the Hartford Police Department for several years. He was still married when he began seeing Delgado in 1992; she was sixteen years old at the time. Rosa was born in 1993 and Delgado applied for state benefits. As a result, the state of Connecticut sought child support from Camacho. He was ordered to pay nearly $200 a week to help support Delgado's daughter. He was already paying child support for three children by other relationships while raising his second wife's children.

    In November 1997, Julio asked the court to cancel his child support order for Rosa until DNA testing established paternity. He didn't mention that Rosa and her mother were missing. Delgado and Rosa lived with relatives, who stated Julio visited them at their apartment and also called them regularly prior to their disappearances, but the visits stopped as soon as the pair vanished and he never contacted her family to see if they'd heard from them.

    The police didn't publicize the disappearances until nearly a month had passed. Delgado's family accused the Hartford Police Department of mishandling the investigation and trying to cover up Julio's misconduct while he was with the department. He was charged with third-degree assault of his ex-wife in 1989 and terminated, but reinstated after the charge was dismissed. He had seen two women, including Delgado, regularly while he was on duty and fathered children with both of them. Two women claimed Camacho had handcuffed, abducted and raped them while on duty and in uniform; one of the incidents occurred in 1995 and the other in 1997. Five others came forward with similar allegations. Julio was one of seven Hartford police officers accused of committing sex crimes while on duty during this period.

    In 1998, Julio resigned from the Hartford Police Department, citing family issues as the reason. His wife, also a police officer, had been on extended medical leave. In 2001, Julio admitted to the 1995 and 1997 rapes and pleaded guilty, and the prosecution agreed to not seek charges in the other cases. He has been released from prison and now lives in Virginia.

    Julio reportedly asked his brother to submit a false alibi for him after Rosa and Delgado disappeared. When authorities checked his car, they discovered the trunk liner was missing and the trunk bottom had been sanded down. They discovered a handmade hatchet, a wire garrote, two sawed-off shotguns inside Julio's residence during a search. There was no evidence of blood; the items were all very clean.

    Rosa's disappearance and her mother's murder remain unsolved.

    Delgado Camacho
    Left: Rosa Delgado, circa 1997;
    Right: Julio Camacho, circa 2010

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Hartford Police Department
    860-527-6300

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    Source Information
    The National Center For Missing and Exploited Children
    Child Protection Education Of America
    America's Most Wanted
    The Hartford Courant
    The Boston Globe
    The Daily Record
    Operation Lookout
    True Crime Zine

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    Updated 6 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated January 20, 2014; age-progression updated.

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