■ By Kyle Selby / Reporter
23-year-old Manuel Olaez and 20-year-old Moses Olaez were arrested and charged with the murder of 25-year-old Daniel Ramirez, who was shot and killed in Hemet on Nov. 4, 2016 in the 200 block of South Palm Avenue, and the attempted murder of a 17-year-old unidentified juvenile who suffered a gunshot wound to the head. The Olaez brothers were arrested on Thursday April 6, by Hemet Police Investigations Bureau, and were scheduled for an afternoon arraignment on Tuesday, April 11 in Superior Court of Riverside County in Banning. However, the arraignment was continued to April 25 at 8:30 a.m., Dept. B101 in the Banning Justice Center.
Coincidentally, the arrests were made just one day before Hemet Police Chief David Brown and Mayor Linda Krupa announced their “War on Crime” campaign Friday morning in Weston Park [see related story this issue]. However, the official Hemet Police Department press release was not distributed until Monday, April 10 so investigators could break the good news to the Ramirez family before the general public was informed.
Had it not been for Daniel’s mother, Corinna Moreno-Ramirez, these arrests (along with the “War on Crime” campaign) may have never come to light. In November, the Ramirez family didn’t receive notification of Daniel’s death until Nov. 9, five days after he was killed, despite the fact that the ID he was carrying that night listed Moreno-Ramirez’ correct and current address. Since then, she has been relentless in her pursuit to both challenge the city for what she perceives as their lack of effort and lack of resources, and also to achieve justice for her son.
Hemet Police Lt. Eddie Pust called Moreno-Ramirez’ sister, Eileen Saucedo, on Monday asking for Corinna, who was on her way to Rialto. That’s when Pust told Saucedo that Daniel’s alleged assailants were in custody – Saucedo immediately called her sister with the news and Moreno-Ramirez immediately turned around and made her way back to Hemet. By 2:15 p.m., she was at the Hemet Police Department getting briefed on the arrests. Reportedly, the Olaez’ arrests were based on claims made by a witness present the night Daniel was killed. Hemet Police investigators are still following up on leads and witness accounts, and have not yet released any further information.
“Everybody was crying,” said Moreno-Ramirez. As soon as she and her family left the police station, her first stop was The Valley Chronicle office, with tears in her eyes. The Valley Chronicle has been following the Daniel Ramirez story closely since November, and it was a day of victory for everyone.
“I just – I feel like I have peace now,” said Moreno-Ramirez.
Since the news of the arrests went public, Moreno-Ramirez says that her inbox has been flooded with questions from members of the community, asking her “What now? Are you going to keep fighting?” She says that in order for her to do that, it has to be a group effort.
“We’ve been saying to people since day one, ‘Come on! Jump on board. I’m going to keep putting it out there, but if nobody starts coming forward, then what can I do if nobody wants to help?” she explained. Moreno-Ramirez created ‘Homicide Families seeking Justice,’ a social media support group on Facebook, urging others who have lost loved ones to tell their stories.
“If nobody comes forward, then [their cases] are just going to get thrown out the window,” she said.
Since her crusade, Moreno-Ramirez and family have encouraged two families in particular to come forward to join her cause. Joe Males and Aby Davila started speaking at City Council meetings in November after witnessing the reach Moreno-Ramirez’ story had on the community.
Males’ son, Nicholas “Nick” Males, was stabbed to death last Father’s Day 2016, and Davila’s boyfriend of six years, Raul “Ruly” Garcia was shot and killed walking home one night two years ago in 2015; both cases remain unsolved and are considered cold. In the months following, Males and Davila have frequented City Council meetings alongside Moreno-Ramirez and her family, demanding that justice be served.
Two weeks ago, the three families joined on the corner of State Street and Florida Avenue with picket signs and posters honoring their loved ones, rallying for all victims lost to homicide in this city of 80,000 people. Hours later, the City Council approved $10,000 to be rewarded to anybody with “crime tips in ‘certain’ criminal case investigations” leading to conviction – those “certain” cases referring to Ramirez, Males and Garcia. Fast forward another week, and the city declares “War” on crime and all unlawful activity, backed by Riverside County Supervisor Chuck Washington and District Attorney Mike Hestrin.
Moreno-Ramirez’ bravery has made huge strides in the city of Hemet, and has inspired many like her to stand together, but her fight is not yet over. While there is plenty of work to be done and justice to be served, Moreno-Ramirez and the rest of the community can momentarily rest easy, knowing Hemet just got a little safer.