Daniel Ramirez’ family members ask the City Council to make headway in the case, keep family informed, increase training for detectives
■ By Kyle Selby / Reporter
One by one they approached the podium. Some cried; some spoke softly or with cracked voices, but their mission was clear: to stop the spate of unsolved homicides in Hemet.
Corinna Moreno-Ramirez, mother of murdered Hemet resident Daniel Ramirez, Eileen Valle, Daniel’s aunt, and four other family members made a surprising appearance at last week’s Hemet City Council Meeting. The expressions on Councilwoman Bonnie Wright and Police Chief David Brown’s faces were uncomfortable, and as she walked in, they looked as if they had seen a ghost. Albeit, a very persistent one.
“My son, Daniel Ramirez, was murdered on Nov. 4. My complaint is that law enforcement never gave us proper death notification in his case. We called [the police department], we came in personally, and we were repeatedly told that Daniel wasn’t in their database and they didn’t know anything about him,” said Corinna. “A mother knows in her gut…he died the 4th and I found out the 9th. I didn’t know where my son’s body was; I had to look for the trail of blood for closure, which ain’t even closure.”
25-year-old Daniel Ramirez’s body was found on Nov. 4 by police, dead in an aqueduct with a gunshot wound to his back, near the railroad tracks on Palm and Acacia avenues. Five days later, his family’s worst nightmares came true, when they received phone calls and social media notifications regarding Daniel’s death, seemingly by everybody but the police department. That day, they made their way to Hemet Police Station where then-Detective Cpl. Gabe Gomez confirmed the grave news. Corinna and other family members attest that Daniel had proper identification on his person, yet it took five days to get notification, even though the family had contacted the police department several times via phone and in person.
Weeks turned into months, as Corinna waited for answers. She had lost all faith in HPD, and started looking elsewhere for help. It was only after she involved the news media, she said, that she received a phone call from then-Mayor Bonnie Wright, who wanted to meet with her, the investigators and Chief Brown.
“After Channel 4 aired my story, I received a call from the Mayor [Bonnie Wright], who wanted to meet me with Chief Dave Brown the following day,” she explained. “Everyone said ‘sorry ma’am, we dropped the ball, we messed up.’ They agreed to meet me halfway with a reward, and I’ve been putting money aside. I’m not going to stop; I won’t be put on the back burner.”
The Ramirez family feels that Measure U money should be used to better train homicide investigators. Gabe Gomez, the lead detective investigator of Daniel’s case, was recently promoted to Police Sergeant for the Special Operations Bureau. The promotion has relieved Gomez of Daniel’s, as well as many other unsolved homicide cases, which will be passed down to his successor.
“Thank you so much Gomez for that letter I received in the mail,” Corinna retorted, recalling her last interaction with Gomez, “Thank you for letting me and all of the other homicide people know that you are no longer a detective.”
She believes that Gomez was ill-equipped from the start, and didn’t make any progress in her son’s case due to the lack of proper training in gang-related crimes.
“The community is talking about the drought and grass and plants. Let’s talk about the kids on Elk and Devonshire who can’t play outside because there are so many bullets flying out there,” said Corinna.
In the days following the Ramirez’s heartfelt City Council appearance, newly elected Councilwoman Karlee Meyer has since stepped in, in an effort to restore Corinna’s faith in the city. According to Corinna, Councilwoman Meyer has reached out to her, and they have spoken several times since.
“I feel for you; you touched a lot of people,” Meyer told Corinna. “I can’t understand your pain, reading about Daniel. There’s no excuse for this.”
The two have been exchanging ideas about what’s to be done moving forward. According to Corinna, Meyer proposed a potential after-school program possibly in Daniel’s name; a place for families of other homicide victims, where counselors could provide volunteered hours devoted to the cause. Another proposition was to get a banner hung across Florida Avenue with the faces of the murder victims. She and Meyer have since visited the police station together.
Corinna assures that she will be attending the next City Council meeting, and that she will not stop fighting until justice for her son is served.