First-degree murder warrants have been issued in the investigation of Julio Ramirez and John Umberger’s deaths, W42ST has learned.
According to reporting from the New York Post, six suspects were indicted on Friday with grand larceny and first-degree robbery in connection with a conspiracy to drug and rob as many as a dozen victims, while three suspects have been additionally charged with first-degree murder. W42ST reached out for further details on the indictments from the Manhattan District Attorney’s office who said: “We cannot comment or confirm. Indictments are under seal until arraignment in court. “
The break is a critical push forward in the case to find justice for Ramirez, 25, and Umberger 33, who both disappeared and were found dead within weeks of each other — each after having spent a night out in Hell’s Kitchen. The Medical Examiner’s office recently classified both deaths as homicides, adding that the two men were killed by a lethal dose of fentanyl, p-fluoro fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, lidocaine and ethanol.
MORE COVERAGE ON THE JULIO RAMIREZ AND JOHN UMBERGER MURDERS
Ramirez, a mental health counselor living in Brooklyn, went missing early the morning of April 21 after leaving the Ritz Bar on Restaurant Row in Hell’s Kitchen with three unidentified men. He was later discovered dead in the back of a taxi on the Lower East Side, his bank accounts drained of at least $20,000. Five weeks later, DC-based political consultant Umberger was discovered dead after last being seen at The Q nightclub on 8th Avenue. Umberger was also robbed of $25,000. Despite initial reports of the deaths as accidental drug overdoses, both Ramirez’s family as well as Umberger’s mother Linda Clary pushed officials to consider the deaths homicides as a result of robbery. As the investigation progressed, dozens of other surviving victims came forward, suspecting they were also targets of a crime ring. The Manhattan DA’s office made arrests in the murders of two Lower East Side clubgoers late last year, though the suspects were not believed to be connected to the Ramirez and Umberger cases.
Umberger’s mother credits NYPD Detective Randy Rose as making the connection between the cases and with pushing the investigation forward. “Without the hard work and dedication of NYPD Detective Randy Rose and countless others we would be nowhere,” Clary told the Post. “Detective Rose has been the greatest blessing in this tragedy. He is professional, committed and excellent at his job. I wish there were more of him.”
Last night, the New York Times reported that celebrity fashion designer Kathryn Marie Gallagher, 35, whose body was found in her apartment in July, was murdered. Police launched a homicide investigation after the medical examiner concluded she died of acute intoxication caused by a mixture of fentanyl, p-pluorofentanyl and ethanol.
This is a developing story and we will update it as more details become available.