UnResolved Docuseries Episode 6: New leads and dead ends

Investigators follow a new lead to a jail in southern Arizona.
Published: Jul. 23, 2022 at 7:00 PM MST|Updated: Jul. 25, 2022 at 11:36 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - In the early summer of 2012, Adrienne Salinas and two of her friends announced they were going to move out of their parent’s homes and rent their own apartment.

“If we were going to make the jump, we wanted it to be somewhere fun and well-suited for us,” said Shainey Duggan, one of Adrienne’s roommates. “The process wasn’t too hard because we were limited by the amount of income, the amount of money we were starting with. So that narrowed it down.” They settled on a townhouse in Tempe.

“Yeah, I remember the day she told me, and said, ‘Daddy, I’m going to get an apartment.’ She was 19 years old. And she had shown me on her computer that they had already seen the apartment they were going to get. And I was like, ‘Oh no. I really didn’t want her to.’ But she was 19 years old,” said Rick Salinas, Adrienne’s father.

“It was really cool for us, especially for our first apartment. And the first time leaving our parent’s homes to have a two bedroom, two bath townhouse with a patio connected to our bedroom,” said Rebecca Flores, another roommate. “I felt safe. I think the rest of overall felt safe.”

Just under one year later, that sense of safety would be gone. In the early morning of June 15, 2013, Adrienne vanished while walking from her apartment to a nearby gas station, where she was set to meet a taxi cab. In August of that year, her remains were discovered in a wash in Apache Junction.

Nine years later, the identity of Salinas’s killer remains a mystery. Tempe police have interviewed dozens of people in their efforts to crack the case. But today, they are left with the hard reality that they have very little physical evidence and no actual suspects. Detective Greg Duarte is assigned to the Salinas case. He says he’s hoping someone with information comes forward.

“Hopefully some tips come in. Recently, I’ve been working a tip that came in. I went down to the Cochise county jail and interviewed a guy,” said Duarte.

We followed Duarte when he made the trip to Bisbee to chase the lead.

“The information that I received was that he may have information on Adrienne’s death. So that’s why I’m here today to interview him. He doesn’t know that we’re coming. I don’t know how he is with law enforcement, that he’s law enforcement friendly and will talk to me. But we’ll see what happens,” said Duarte, standing in front of the Cochise County Detention Center.

After spending an hour inside, he reappeared at the entrance.

“Well, I interviewed him and he was willing to talk. And we talked about a lot of stuff. Just, the information I was hoping to get from him, I didn’t,” said Duarte. “I still think the information we received recently is worth following up on.”

It’s just one example of the leads detectives follow while trying to solve so-called “Cold Cases.” Duarte says he doesn’t mind the work.

“We owe it to Adrienne. Ultimately, that’s who we owe this to. Nobody else matters. Her family – yes. For closure. But we owe it to Adrienne to give her some peace,” Duarte said.

Part of Duarte’s work involves following new leads. Part of it involves looking over the work his predecessors did in order to see if they missed something or if he sees something that seems different all of these years later. Lt. Alan Akey was the original case detective. One of the steps he took was to gather cell phone data from the area where Salinas vanished and the area where her remains were found to see if one number popped up in both spots.

“Most of the ones we were able to talk to, we were more or less able to move past a lot of those people. Versus, ‘Oh, this one looks really good,’ or, ‘They may be capable of something like this,’” said Akey.

“Now, there is a challenge to that. And I’m going to say it. T-Mobile never responded to our legal request. So that’s whole cell phone provider that we don’t have the information for,” said Akey.

According to the police report, detectives repeatedly requested the records from T-Mobile.

“Maybe me asking to see one supervisor after the next maybe offended somebody. I don’t have the answer because it’s the only time in my career as a detective that I’ve had any company not give us something based on a warrant,” said Akey.

T-Mobile did not respond to our multiple requests for comment or explanation. Akey and Duarte say they have not ruled anyone out at this point. They say they have no official suspects but have identified several persons of interest. They include Thomas Simon, Jr, who drove the cab Salinas was supposed to meet the night she disappeared; Francisco Arteaga, who was Salinas’s boyfriend; and Bryan Patrick Miller, who is waiting to stand trial for a pair of murders that occurred in the early 1990s. Detectives have tracked Miller to Tempe the morning Salinas disappeared. But they say there are some factors that make it appear less likely that Miller is the killer.

“There’s evidence and information in this case that just don’t go along with his M-O, the way he did things. The evidence they found in some of those other cases, the physical evidence they found in those other cases, it just isn’t there,” said Duarte.

In Miller’s other cases, the killer or attacker used a knife. There is no physical evidence that a knife was used on Salinas. Miller’s cell signal indicates he was in Tempe late in the morning of June 15, 2013, but not earlier in the morning when Salinas vanished. And his cell signal did not appear in Apache Junction, where Salinas’s remains were found, later that day or in the following days.

“And those are the kind of things I’m talking about. He had his way of doing things. Those kinds of things are probably evidence in his other cases, because of just the way he operated. But none of those come into play at pointing the finger at him in this particular case,” said Duarte.

Adrienne Salinas’s father, Rick, says he remains hopeful that someone will come forward with information and help solve the case.

“I know it’s been a long time, but anything’s possible. Possibly somebody’s covering up for somebody, doesn’t want to say something. It’s got to end. It’s got to be stopped,” said Salinas.

“I’m going to solve the case. I hope I can do it soon. But it’s going to get solved. So whoever did this, their time is limited,” said Duarte.