Crime & Justice

Police ID body of missing Orange County woman Maribel Ramos; roommate arrested

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

Update 10:00 a.m.: Cal State Fullerton president issues statement

Cal State Fullerton President Mildred García released the following statement Friday night -- via the university's media relations office -- in regards to authorities indentifying a body found on Thursday as that of 36-year-old Maribel Ramos:

"The Titan family is profoundly sad upon hearing confirmation by the Orange Police Department that a body found Thursday has been identified as our student Maribel Ramos.

"Since Maribel went missing earlier this month, our community has come together to spread the word about her disappearance and keep her foremost in our hearts and prayers.

"Maribel was a beloved student and military veteran, who was actively engaged here on our campus and in the community. She was a wonderful role model for our students, faculty and staff. And we honor her for her past service to our country as an airborne paratrooper in the Army and her commitment to her education.

"We continue to offer our support to her family and friends during this exceedingly difficult time."

CSUF President Mildred García

Update 5:04 p.m.: Body ID'd as Maribel Ramos

At a press conference Friday afternoon, Orange County officials said they had identified the body discovered a day earlier as that of 36-year-old Maribel Ramos. 

Ramos' roommate, K.C. Joy, has been arrested, Orange Police Lieutenant David Hill said. The inquiry into her disappearance has switched from a missing persons to a homicide investigation, Hill said.

"Joy was contacted by Orange investigators and voluntarily accompanied them to the station," Hill said.

Joy, 54, had been Ramos' roommate for a year and a half. He spoke with the media immediately after she went missing in early May and was questioned throughout the case leading up to Friday.  

He described Ramos as his best friend and the only family that he had. 

Ramos, 36, was due to graduate this month from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Criminal Justice. She served two tours in Iraq as an Army Sergeant and was a frequent advocate for veterans.

She was slated to attend a lunch at KPCC to discuss student-veterans issues the week she went missing.

This story will be updated

Update 8:04 a.m.: A body was discovered Thursday afternoon in unincorporated Orange County. Orange police responded to the scene as part of the investigation into Maribel Ramos, 36, missing since May 2, according to an Orange Police Department statement.

Police say no connection has been made between the body and Ramos's disappearance, but the investigation is continuing.

The body was found in brush near Santiago Canyon Road and Jackson Ranch Road, near Modjeska Canyon.

Ramos was last seen at her Orange apartment complex on May 2. She is a student at California State University, Fullerton and served two tours in Iraq as an Army sergeant.

Ramos was set to graduate this month with a degree in criminal justice.

Correction: An earlier version of this story had the wrong spelling of K.C. Joy's first name