Sylvia Salinas

Can a VHS tape help solve cold case? Nearly 30 years later, police re-evaluate preserved video of Halloween murder

On Halloween day in 1989, 30-year-old Sylvia Salinas, of Galveston, Texas, was stabbed to death through the heart behind a register at the grocery store she owned.

Nearly 30 years later, the cold case is coming to light again after the murder victim’s great niece, Christine Taylor, contacted a local news station after seeing a segment on an unsolved murder. Though Taylor never met her great aunt, the station reports she feels “a deep connection to her.”

“To be honest, I figured it was a sign from my aunt Sylvia,” Taylor said of the segment to ABC 13. “We got the help we needed.”

Authorities are now looking over the evidence again: a preserved videotape investigators recorded at the crime scene.

“This video is the only evidence we have left in the case,” Galveston County Sheriff’s Detective Michelle Sollenberger told the media outlet.

While 2008’s Hurricane Ike destroyed evidence in several cold cases, including some in Salinas’, fingerprints at the scene were also able to be preserved, and the detective will resubmit them to a crime lab in hopes of getting answers.

After stabbing the woman to death, the killer used a knife to pry open and take cash out of the register, which triggered a silent alarm. Soon after, police arrived at the scene but the murderer was gone. Bloody footprints can be seen on the store’s floor, while the murder weapon, a knife, is also present on the video footage. According to The Galveston Daily News, police found the knife, measuring “9-10 inches in length,” near Salinas’ body.

Authorities believe the victim may have been friends with her killer, as the machete and gun she kept behind the register went untouched.

“There’s no indication she tried to protect herself,” Sollenberger told ABC 13. “Everything kind of points back to somebody that she knew. Either a regular customer or personal acquaintance.”

Anyone with information connected to the case is asked to call Galveston Crime Stoppers at 409-763-8477. Callers may remain anonymous.

[Feature Photo: Sylvia Salinas/ABC 13 Video Screenshot]