Orange police search for missing Cal-State Fullerton student and Iraq war veteran

Matthew Gush

36-year-old Maribel Ramos served two tours in Iraq as an Army Sergeant and is a frequent advocate for veterans.

Orange police are asking for the public’s help to find a Cal State Fullerton student and Iraq war veteran who’s been missing since last week.
Maribel Ramos, 36, was due to graduate this month with a degree in Criminal Justice.
She served two tours in Iraq as an Army Sergeant and was a frequent advocate for veterans.
The day before she was last seen, Ramos spoke at a conference in Chicago about transitioning from the military to higher education.
“At the actual conference itself, she said she was in a very good place and very happy to be where she was, and happy she was graduating," said Brenda Estrada, who works with veterans at Cal State Fullerton and accompanied Ramos to Chicago.

According to an e-mail Ramos sent to KPCC’s Public Insight Network in March, she had struggled after leaving Iraq.
She said she was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and her university classes seemed almost impossible to pass at first.
Ramos RSVP’d to attend a lunch at KPCC this week to discuss student-veterans issues.
Ramos was also due to give a speech at Cal State Fullerton’s Veterans Appreciation Night on Saturday, where she was to be honored.
“Maribel is very responsible," Estrada said. "It was out of character for her not to be at Veteran’s Appreciation Night. So I’m worried.”

The Orange Police Department has six detectives working the case, but Sergeant Fred Lopez says they’ve found no evidence of foul play.
“Right now we don’t have indication that she’s a victim of a crime, so absent that she’s a missing person,” Lopez said.

Ramos was last seen outside her apartment Thursday night, on surveillance video.

Her sister, Lucy Gonzalez, reported her missing Friday. She has spent every day since crying.

"This doesn't make any sense whatsoever," said Gonzalez. "There's no trace of her. There's nothing. And it's just so frustrating. There's no pieces to the puzzle."

Gonzalez and the rest of the Ramos' family have been putting up fliers in Orange. They’ve also set up a Facebook page to track news about her disappearance. Anyone with more information can call the Orange Police Department.

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