See Update No. 4 at the bottom of page 2 about K.C. Joy answering “hell no” when asked if he murdered his “dream,” Maribel Ramos. Update No. 3 on page 2 is about unrequited love being a possible motive in the case. Update No. 2 at the bottom of the next page is about the charges against Joy. Update No. 1 on the next page concerns allegations of past violence by Joy in Tennessee.
ORIGINAL POST, MAY 20, NOON: Kwang “K.C.” Joy, who is currently being held in lieu of $1 million bail, is due to be arraigned Tuesday for the murder of the 54-year-old's roommate of one and a half years, Maribel Manriquez Ramos.
Questioned by police and the media in the days after the 36-year-old U.S. Army veteran and Cal State Fullerton criminology student went missing, Joy had described Ramos as his best friend and the only family he had.
Joy had said he last saw Ramos outside their Orange apartment on May 2. Her family reported her missing the following day. The woman's body was found May 16 near Santiago Canyon and Jackson Ranch roads in Modjeska Canyon.
After the county coroner confirmed the identification of the body, Joy was taken to the Orange Police Department, questioned and arrested.
Cal State Fullerton President Mildred García, who in February released a statement about murder victim and Titans assistant women's basketball coach Monica Quan, on Friday shared about Ramos (via the university's media-relations office):
The Titan family is profoundly sad upon hearing confirmation by the Orange Police Department that a body found Thursday has been identified as our student Maribel Ramos.
Since Maribel went missing earlier this month, our community has come together to spread the word about her disappearance and keep her foremost in our hearts and prayers.
Maribel was a beloved student and military veteran, who was actively engaged here on our campus and in the community. She was a wonderful role model for our students, faculty and staff. And we honor her for her past service to our country as an airborne paratrooper in the Army and her commitment to her education.
We continue to offer our support to her family and friends during this exceedingly difficult time.
UPDATE NO. 1, MAY 20, 8:16 P.M.: Before moving to Orange County, Kwang Joy lived in Knoxville, Tennessee, in January, he threatened to kill his sister, who still lives there, according to that city's Local 8 television station.
A reader in our comments section to this post points to a bail-bond company's Most Wanted In Tennessee Facebook page, which shows a Kwang Choi Joy being wanted and last seen in California.
But a check of the link there for more information on the crime goes to a page that no longer exists. Which brings up more confusion, such as that of the suspect's name. That last Orange police report identified the man arrested for Ramos' murder as Kwang Cho “K.C.” Joy. Other sources give his name as Kwang Choi Joy, and still others as Kwang Choi (without the Joy).
UPDATE NO. 2, MAY 21, 8:51 A.M.: Maribel Manriquez Ramos and Kwang Choi “K.C.” Joy argued on May 2 about the man's unpaid rent, which included her demanding he move out, according to the Orange County district attorney's office (OCDA).
Either that day or the next, Joy murdered Ramos, then dumped her body in Modjeska Canyon, reads an OCDA statement on this morning's scheduled arraignment hearing for Joy.
He is charged with felony murder and faces up to 25 years to life in state prison if convicted.
Surveillance video of Ramos dropping off a rent check at a property-management office is the last known footage of her alive, the OCDA discloses.
UPDATE NO. 3, MAY 21, 4:58 P.M.: Did K.C. Joy kill Maribel Ramos because he loved her and she didn't love him back? Deputy District Attorney Scott Simmons offered that theory at the Santa Ana courthouse today.
Joy was in court to have his arraignment date set for June 7. His bail remains at $1 million in the meantime.
"Witnesses we talked to, in their opinion, said he was infatuated with her, but it wasn't a two-way street,'' said Simmons (via City News Service).
Ramos' sister, Lucy Gonzalez, has said the deceased had a boyfriend she had been dating for a couple of months. There have also been reports Ramos told Joy to move out of the apartment they shared in Orange.
Joy, who called police to report Ramos missing and appeared on newscasts talking about her disappearance, had scratches on his arm when he was arrested, according to Simmons, who added, "We don't know where the scratches came from, but we do think it is relevant to the case.”
UPDATE NO. 4, MAY 22, 2:47 P.M.: Going against the advice of his defense attorney, K.C. Joy gave a jailhouse interview Tuesday to CBS2′s Stacey Butler, who was not allowed to bring in a camera so had to rely on an audio recording.
Asked if he killed Maribel Ramos, Joy answered "hell, no.” He later added, "I'm innocent. I don't want them to wait until this trial is to go, wondering year later and find out he was guilty, he's not guilty. I don't want them to wait for that. So I want the family to hear it from me.”
When he spoke, he'd just been released from suicide watch, although he claims he is not suicidal, saying, "If I commit suicide it means I'm admitting I'm guilty.”
He repeated the kind of statements he made when Ramos was still missing, calling his former roommate his "best friend,” his "family” and his "dream.”
Asked if he was worried that his DNA may have been found under Maribel's fingernails, Joy answered, "I have no idea. … "I don't know what they did, how they found. I have no idea.”
The interview ended when Butler asked about a heated conversation he and Ramos reportedly had the night she disappeared.