Category: Serial Killing
Location: California, U.S.
Date: June 1984 - August 1985
Crime: Known as 'The Night Stalker', Ramirez was born February 29, 1960 in El Paso, Texas. He is credited with the vicious murders of 14 people, mostly targeting couples where he killed the men, then raped and sodomized the women before killing them.
Biography: As a child in El Paso, Ramirez was the youngest of five children born to working class Mexican immigrants. He was described as being quiet and a loner. When he was two years old, he suffered a serious head injury and by the time he was six, he was suffering from grand mal seizures. At the age of ten, Ramirez was known to camp out overnight in local cemeteries. It is reported that his future was irreversibly impacted by a cousin who as a Special Forces Veteran from the Vietnam War, regaled him with pictures and stories about all of the Vietnamese women he had killed and tortured. His cousin is said to have taught him how to shoot, as well as how to torture a victim with a knife. He was soon doing drugs and dropped out of high school, incurring a few arrests along the way for illegal possession. The killings started in June 1984, when Ramirez broke into the home of a 79 year-old widow where he brutally assaulted her and cut her throat to the point of near decapitation. His next attempt at murder wasn't until March 1985, where he assaulted a woman in her garage as she got out of her car. She survived the attack and was able to give the police a description of a long-haired Hispanic man. Over the next several months, he began escalating the frequency of the attacks. Many of the survivors all gave the same description to authorities. Finally, fingerprints at the scene of one of the attacks, identified the Night Stalker as Ricardo Ramirez. His picture was placed on the front page of newspapers and was posted on the news. The very next day, he was identified at a local Greyhound Bus station, he escaped and ran off, but was ultimately pursued by citizens who beat him to the ground and held him until police arrived.