What Happened To KC Joy's Victim Maribel Ramos?

In May 2013, army veteran Maribel Ramos disappeared without warning (via The Cinemaholic). The 36 year old was a student at California State University, Fullerton and was living in an apartment in Orange, California. In fact, Radio Times writes that it was her roommate, KC Joy that called her family to let them know that Ramos had not made it home the night before. Her family subsequently reported her missing. According to Newsweek, Ramos had been in the army for eight years before being honorably discharged in 2008. She then focused on studying criminal justice. Ramos had met Joy through Craigslist when she put an ad out looking for a new roommate.

Joy replied to the post stating, "I am easy-going and get along with most people" (per Oxygen). Distractify writes that Joy moved in and he quickly became good friends with Ramos. Authorities later searched their residence and found nothing amiss. Video footage showed that she was last seen dropping off her rent check at her apartment's front office. Shortly before, Ramos had made a phone call to her boyfriend, Paul Lopez. She had told Lopez that she had an argument with Joy. He had not paid his rent and Ramos wanted him out of her home.

Disturbing web searches led to Maribel Ramos body

Newsweek writes that as her boyfriend was the last person who had spoken to Ramos, authorities zeroed in on him. However, they quickly changed their tune when they found out that Ramos and Joy had been in a dispute shortly before she was last seen. They also discovered that late rent wasn't the only reason Ramos wanted Joy to leave. Per Distractify, Ramos had called 911 to say that she felt unsafe with Joy living under the same roof only a week before she went missing.

Police brought in Joy for questioning and he admitted that they had indeed argued (per Radio Times ). Nonetheless, he maintained his innocence. When police noticed scratch marks on his arms, Joy chalked them up to thorn bushes (via The Cinemaholic). Although they had nothing to prove his guilt, police took his phone and his laptop as part of the investigation. 

Joy had no choice but to go to his local library to use the internet. Oxygen reports that on one of his visits, police monitored his web activity and found that he had searched for the amount of time it takes for a body to decay and maps of Modjeska Canyon, California. Police quickly searched the area and found Maribel Ramos' remains.

KC Joy wanted to be more than friends with Maribel Ramos

The Cinemaholic reports that Joy went to trial for Ramos' murder in July 2014. The prosecution stated that he killed Ramos due to the argument regarding his failure to pay rent and because he was in love with her. According to Distractify, Joy considered Ramos his best friend and quickly fell for her. Knowing that he had no friends of his own, Ramos invited him out. It's believed that Joy eventually made a move on Ramos but she rejected him (via Oxygen). However, this didn't stop him from getting plastic surgery to look more attractive for Ramos.

It's also believed he paid for Ramos to go on a cruise and got a tattoo that she said would look good on him. Ramos asking him to move threw him over the edge. As the Orange County Deputy District Attorney put it, "Maribel was his life, and the opportunity for him to be with the love of his life was coming to an end"(per NBC Los Angeles). ABC7 writes that KC Joy sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for Ramos' murder.

KC Joy before the murder

According to Newsweek, Joy was a disturbed individual before he had even met Ramos. He was living in Tennessee and decided to move to California after a series of unfortunate life events. Joy's parents died and he lost his job. In addition, his relationship with his sister became fraught over a disagreement regarding their inheritance money. Ultimately, this led her to get a restraining order against Joy due to his aggressive behavior. She has gone on to say that she was deeply afraid of her brother.

Screen Rant writes that once he moved to California, Joy had no one. Oxygen reports that when he responded to Ramos' Craigslist ad for a roommate, he stated that he was single, professional, and clean. As they got along, Ramos continued to befriend him out of kindness. This perhaps led to an obsession with Ramos that later turned deadly. Not much else is known about Joy. It's believed he immigrated to the U.S. with his family as a boy and previously lived in Missouri and Mississippi.

Maribel Ramos' cause of death is undetermined

Per The Cinemaholic, Ramos' remains were badly decomposed when they were discovered. Ultimately, they had to be identified using her dental records. Radio Times reported that this hindered the investigation as they were too decayed to do an autopsy to determine a cause of death. Distractify writes that it's believed that Joy smothered Ramos while she slept before dumping her body in a shallow grave in Modjeska Canyon. Screen Rant explains that this theory is plausible as there were no signs of a struggle except for the scratches on Joy's arms that he later said were from thorny bushes.

During his trial, Joy's defense presented other theories on what could have happened to Ramos. According to Newsweek, they stated that she could have died from an unspecified illness or by suicide. The defense went as far as to say that Ramos was paranoid (per NBC Los Angeles) and that she had drug and alcohol problems. They contended that yes, Joy had disposed of the body but that didn't mean that had killed Ramos. Of course, prosecutors believed otherwise and he was later found guilty in 2014 (via ABC7).

Where is KC Joy now

Before he was sentenced for Ramos' murder, Joy addressed the court and refused to atone for his crime (via Radio Times). He said, "Family wants me to apologize, which I cannot apologize for something I haven't done. Maybe someday (the) truth will come out, maybe I'll just die inside prison." Screen Rant explains that he has maintained his innocence and is writing a book titled "Suspect, Guilty Until Proven Innocent." Per ABC7, he has written various letters to the judge that presided over his case insisting on his innocence. As of March 2022, his book has yet to be released.

Oxygen reports that Joy is currently 63-years-old and is serving his sentence in Soledad, California at the Correctional Training Facility. Newsweek writes that he is eligible for parole in April 2022, less than 10 years after Ramos' murder. Of Ramos, Joy has said that she was his only friend and family. He has expressed that he misses her dearly and said, "I think about her almost every day."