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Friends, family, investigators and the LGBTQ+ community are seeking answers in the disappearance and mysterious death of 25-year-old Julio Ramirez, last seen leaving the Ritz Bar and Lounge in Hell’s Kitchen.
Julio Ramirez was a masters graduate of the University of Buffalo working as a mental health counselor and living in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Ramirez was a regular visitor to Hell’s Kitchen, frequently meeting up with friends in the neighborhood to go dancing, where he was last seen early the morning of April 21 at The Ritz on Restaurant Row on W46th Street near 9th Avenue.
According to Ramirez’s friend Karinina Quimpo, “The last text Julio sent was at 3:29am to his friend Carlos C. saying ‘did you go home.’ At 3:45am Carlos C. responded, ‘I’m home.’ Julio did not respond after that. Julio was supposed to meet Carlos at his apartment and never made it there,” said Quimpo. “We are unsure if Julio truly messaged Carlos C. or if someone had his phone at this point. Multiple friends have confirmed that at 3:46am on Thursday April 21, his location stopped being shared,” she added.
Worried friends and family who were unable to contact Ramirez the next morning began reaching out to his workplace as well as area hospitals. The staff at Mount Sinai Beth Israel got in touch with Ramirez’s family, where they confirmed that the hospital’s medical examiners had identified his body.
According to a police statement, “On Thursday April 21, 2022, at approximately 03:48 hours, police responded to a 911 call of an unconscious male in the vicinity of Ludlow Street and Stanton Street, within the confines of the 7th Precinct. Upon arrival, responding officers encountered an unidentified adult male, unconscious and unresponsive, with no obvious signs of trauma observed. EMS also responded to the scene and pronounced the adult male deceased at the scene. The Medical Examiner will determine the cause of death and the investigation remains ongoing.”
According to Quimpo, detectives shared the following information with Julio’s brother Carlos: “They are in the process of collecting more surveillance footage from the area to help piece together the timeline of his whereabouts at 3am. From what we understand, Julio got into a cab and 3 other men entered the cab with him. They were dropped off at some location in the Lower East Side and used Julio’s phone to pay the cab driver. They told the driver to take Julio to a random address in Brooklyn. As the drive continued, Julio became unresponsive. The cab driver flagged down an officer, and Julio was dead at the scene.”
Ramirez’s family also discovered unusual activity around his bank accounts, with Quimpo noting that “Julio’s brother logged into Julio’s laptop and saw that thousands of dollars were being Zelle’d out of Julio’s bank account after his death.” Now, Ramirez’s family and investigators are seeking answers about what happened to Julio and why. Said Quimpo, “So far, no arrests have been made. If anyone has any information about Julio’s whereabouts or death, please reach out to us. Any information will give the detectives more material to figure out exactly what happened to Julio.”
“As crime continues to increase in this city and as attacks against Latinos in the LGBTQ+ community remain ignored by the media, we refuse to be unheard,” Quimpo posted on Instagram. “Julio was a social worker, a friend, a brother, and a son. He never hurt anyone. He was 25 years old.”
Said City Council Member Erik Bottcher of Ramirez’s untimely death: “The LGBTQ+ community lost one of its own with Julio Ramirez’s death and we must have answers. His family, friends, and loved ones deserve to know what happened. We have reached out to the NYPD and advocacy groups to ensure that a full and swift investigation takes place.”
We asked for comment from the owners of Ritz Bar and Lounge about the death of Julio Ramirez. We will update this story with any response.
If you have information related to the disappearance of Julio Ramirez, NYPD Crime Stoppers Please call NYPD Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.
While they used to be the only safe space, gay bars are no longer safe spaces for gay men, In order to stay solvent owners and mangers have let drugs in. They have been taken over by drug dealers and the drug crowds. Most of us have recognized this and moved beyond them. Younger gay men need to be aware of how dangerous the gay bars are. Predatory drugging happens all the time in the bars. Clearly they decided to take advantage of Julio for his money, most of the time they want sex with the younger men. When they find the guys invariably they will claim Julio took the drugs himself.
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