It was almost a month before police began searching for Rosa Marie Camacho and her mother Rosa Delgado after they went missing on October 24, 1997, following a visit to a Madison Avenue grocer.
Why so long, you ask?
Maybe it was because the mother/daughter disappearance would serve as a huge embarrassment to the Hartford Police Department, considering one of their own was the last person to see the pair alive.
Rosa Marie, nicknamed Rosita, was the daughter of veteran Hartford Police Officer Julio J. Camacho. Camacho was married to his second wife when he began “courting” Rosa Delgado during his midnight shift patrols through the Park Street neighborhood where the 16 year old was residing with her sister in 1992. In June 1993, Rosa Marie Camacho was born.
When Rosa Delgado applied for benefits, the state of Connecticut sought child support from Camacho. Failing to respond to the petition, the officer was ordered in April 1994 to pay $188 per week as support and maintenance for his daughter.
This wasn’t Camacho’s first tangle with child support enforcement officials. A year earlier, DNA testing had proved Camacho to be the father of another Park Street neighborhood resident’s child and he had been ordered to pay $600 per month as child support in that case.
Camacho was also paying support for children from his first marriage as well as raising his wife’s, a fellow police officer, children from her previous marriage. The three child support orders were undoubtedly a hefty burden on the civil servants’ household finances.
In November 1997, following the mother and daughter disappearance in October, Camacho filed a petition with the Court to stop his child support payments for Rosita, claiming he had never been properly notified of the hearing in 1994 and asking for DNA testing to confirm paternity. However, his petition neglected to mention the child was missing.
The family of the missing pair was outraged at Camacho’s “reaction” to his daughter’s disappearance and his lack of cooperation in the search for her and her mother and only strengthened their belief he was involved. Not to mention that, on a daily basis just prior to their going missing, Camacho had taken to visiting or calling the Park Street home to talk with the elder Rosa – despite his wife’s numerous calls to the residence wherein she claimed, “Julio don’t want the daughter. He don’t want nothing to do with her,” according to Rosa Delgado‘s sister.
After the duo disappeared, the calls and visits stopped. Camacho, according to the sister, never called or visited to inquire about what may have possibly happened to them.
One month after the mother and daughter disappeared, Hartford Police finally turned to the public for help. Many say the delay botched the investigation into the disappearances and valuable time was lost. No doubt Camacho’s adulterous activities while on the clock and the embarrassment it eventually caused the department played a role in the delay but it’s just as likely department heads knew it would publicize allegations made against Camacho, ones the department had managed to sweep under the rug.
For example, in 1989 Camacho had been charged with third-degree assault following a domestic dispute with his ex-wife. Camacho had been terminated after his arrested but a month later had been reinstated by the Chief of Police and the termination had been reclassified as a suspension.
HPD fears weren’t unfounded, when the vanishings were made public, it unleashed a torrid of public criticism and initiated a a probe into activities of on-duty police officers.
Two allegations against Camacho which resulted in charges came from two prostitutes who claimed the officer, while on duty and in uniform, had raped them. One complainant said Camacho handcuffed her, drove her to a desolate construction site, and raped her over the trunk of his car in 1997. The other rape occurred in 1995 in a similar manner.
As the investigation was in full swing, the headless and handless body of a woman was found by two duck hunters in New Jersey Lake on November 26, 1997. Before DNA testing could confirm the body belonged to Rosa Delgado, Camacho suddenly resigned after ten years as a police officer; claiming he was doing so because his wife was sick and he needed to care for her.
His resignation, however, did not keep detectives from pursuing him as a suspect in the murder of his ex-girlfriend. Police later executed a search warrant that uncovered two sawed-off shotguns and numerous books on serial killers and committing the perfect murder, one of which had passages on decapitation and amputation as ways of concealing the identity of a corpse.
However, although Camacho is the best suspect, police do not believe they have enough evidence to charge him with the murder of Rosa Delgado. In regards to the rape allegations, Camacho confessed to the two allegations and pleaded guilty in exchange for an agreement for prosecutors to pursue charges on allegations from at least five other women. In May 2001, Camacho was sentenced to ten years in prison. Although released after serving only a portion of his sentence, Camacho is required to register as a sex offender and his last update states he is currently residing in Norfolk, Virginia.
There is still hope Rosa Marie Camacho is alive and out there somewhere. She would be 19 years old at the time of this writing. If you have any information concerning this case, please contact the Hartford Police Department at 860.527.6300. Please reference NCIC Number M-069806878.