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Left without progress in the mysterious disappearance and death of Julio Ramirez, the Hell’s Kitchen community is coming together to demand answers at a candlelight vigil and rally.
The gathering will take place this Wednesday June 8 at 7:30pm, in front of the Ritz Bar and Lounge (369 W46th St between 8th and 9th Ave) where Julio was last seen alive. Organizers will provide candles for attendees.
As knowledge of the case has spread across the city, prominent LGBTQIA+ activists as well as members of various other community organizations are expected to attend. After the vigil, community members will march to Times Square in a rally to demand answers in the as yet unsolved case and to go over safety precautions as Pride month parties pack Hell’s Kitchen bars.
“As we welcome visitors from all over the world to Hell’s Kitchen for Pride month, it’s important that Julio’s story be told as a reminder to stay vigilant and be aware of your surroundings. Unfortunately, there are people out there who chose to prey upon individuals in the LGBTQIA+ community and that is not ok,” said organizer Catie Savage.
Brooklyn-based Ramirez, 25, disappeared after leaving the Ritz with three unidentified men on April 21 at 3:17am. The mental health counselor’s friends became concerned after he stopped responding to texts and his phone stopped sharing his location at 3:46am. At 4:10am Ramirez, now alone, was found unresponsive by his taxi driver and taken to Mount Sinai Beth Israel, where he was declared dead. In the days after his death, friends and family became increasingly suspicious after it was found that as much as $20,000 had been transferred out of his bank accounts.
The case, currently under investigation, remains unsolved — though Ramirez’s loved ones believe that Julio was drugged and robbed. Said brother Carlos Ramirez to CBS News: “Somebody drugged him to take his phone, to rob him. I mean, that is what happened. There is not a doubt in mind that’s what happened,” Ramirez said. “Literally my brother was killed over greed.”
The Ramirez family wants to know who exactly he left with on the evening of April 21, as no footage of the three men seen with Julio has been released to the public. Speaking to PIX11 News, Ramirez’s parents said that they wanted answers on his exact cause of death, who the taxi driver was, and whether there were cameras inside the vehicle.
Said Ramirez’s family: “He was very sweet, and very smart —we are heartbroken.”
W42ST reached out to council member Erik Bottcher for an update on his collaboration with investigators who gave the following statement: “My office is in frequent communication with the Police Department who are actively investigating this case. We are all anxiously awaiting more information and must find out exactly what happened to Julio. Justice must be done.”
We requested a statement from the Mayor’s office, but have not received a reply. NYPD told us they have no updates in the case.
Now, Hell’s Kitchen activists and New Yorkers at large will gather to demand that Ramirez’s fate does not befall others. Said Savage: “I have organized this vigil with other community leaders to make sure what happened to Julio does not happen to anyone else.”
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit tips on the CrimeStoppers website at https://crimestoppers.nypdonline.org/ or on Twitter @NYPDTips. All calls are confidential. The 7th Precinct Detective Squad can also be contacted.
W42ST worked with Montez-Terrazas to create a “JUSTICE FOR JULIO” flyer that can be posted around the neighborhood to encourage the community to reach out with information. Tips can also be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org