What happened to WVC homicide victim?


WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Police are still trying to piece together the details over the death of 21 year-old Hope Gabaldon.  As police continue the search for her missing vehicle, friends and family remember a loving and caring young woman as they prepare to hold a candlelight vigil on Sunday.

“She was a loving person.  She would do anything for anybody, absolutely anything for anybody,” said Whitney Bodell.

The death of Gabaldon has shaken the lives of  her loved ones and those who knew her.  Friends and family are remembering a sweet, kind, and generous young woman who was always there for everyone.

“She’s always kept me motivated and just said, you know ‘you’re not gonna give up, you’ve got this and you’re gonna be as good as you were years ago,” said Corrina Midkiff.

Gabaldon’s severely injured body was found alongside the road near 3100 S, 4000 W in West Valley City Thursday night.  Police received a call from someone driving by around 10:30 p.m. who saw her body.  West Valley Police wont go into the details of how her body was discovered or whether the crime took place there or whether her body was dumped there after the fact.

When police arrived she was clinging to life but died from her injuries later that night at the hospital.  As police investigated her death as a homicide they still had one big question.  Who is she?

Friday, West Valley Police released pictures of Gabaldon’s tattoos which were circulated throughout social media and TV news outlets.  Her friends recognized the tattoos and contacted police.

“I was talking to her [Corrina] like, ‘dude, I haven’t heard from Hope, you know, is she OK?’ and she said, ‘Does Hope have neck tattoos?’ and I called her and right then I knew I was like, ‘Yes, what’s wrong? What happened?’ and she goes, ‘oh, no, no!’ and I just lost it I was like, ‘Corrina what happened, what happened?” said Bodell.

Her friends say they don’t know why she was in West Valley City when she lived in Herriman.  Bodell who said she was in a serious relationship with Gabaldon said the night of her murder Gabaldon was suppose to meet at her home right after Bodell got off work.

“Her last message to me was, ‘I love you baby girl, I promise I will see you tonight after work,’ and she never did,” Bodell said.

Her death is now raising many questions for police, her friends and family.  The main question at the moment is where is her vehicle?  A 2007 silver Jeep Grand Cherokee with Utah license plate W66-3BR.

“We know that this vehicle is missing and that’s a problem, it shouldn’t be missing.  So, that leads us to believe that there’s clues there.  Sometimes the smallest clues can break open the biggest case, so, we want to get our hands on this vehicle and see what’s inside of there and start to piece this together,” says Roxeanne Vainuku with West Valley City Police.

Police stress that if someone stumbles upon the Cherokee that they immediately contact police.  They ask that they don’t approach the vehicle or rummage through as they say that could disrupt evidence that would be vital to catching Gabaldon’s killer.


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