Hawaii man arrested in 1982 rape and stabbing of 59-year-old girl

Hawaii man arrested in 1982 rape and stabbing of 59-year-old girl

After authorities matched his DNA to blood discovered on the victim’s leather jacket, a 75-year-old man was arrested in connection with the 40-year-old cold-case murder of a 15-year-old girl who was raped and stabbed 59 times in Palo Alto, California.

Gary Gene Ramirez was detained in Hawaii on Tuesday in connection with the heinous murder of Karen Stitt, the adolescent who was raped and stabbed at a Northern California bus stop, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.

Ramirez was detained on August 2 at his residence in Makawao, Maui, and will be charged on murder, abduction, and rape charges once he is transferred to Santa Clara County.

His next extradition hearing is scheduled next Wednesday; if convicted, he risks life in jail without the chance of release.

Stitt was killed outside a bus stop in Sunnyvale on the night of September 2, 1982. Her teenage boyfriend last saw her at the stop after they went on a stroll together. Stitt had taken the bus from her residence in Palo Alto to Sunnyvale to see her 17-year-old lover. Before parting ways, the two took a walk across his neighborhood.

Stitt’s boyfriend claimed he was anxious about getting grounded for missing his midnight curfew, so he followed her to the bus stop.

Her nude corpse was discovered the following morning by truck driver Steven Bound behind a blood-stained cinderblock wall; Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety was ultimately summoned.

Officers arrived on the scene and discovered Stitt nude, with her hands bound behind her back and her shirt and jacket knotted around her ankle.

Dr. Angelo Ozoa, the medical examiner, found she had been stabbed 59 times over her neck, chest, belly, and back.

Stitt was stabbed 18 times in the heart, had ten stab wounds in her lungs, and wounds to her neck pierced her larynx, trachea, and esophagus.

Stitt was still alive when her corpse was dumped at the location, as shown by kicked leaves and disturbances in the earth. Despite the fact that the perpetrator’s blood and bodily fluid were discovered on Stitt’s corpse, authorities had no leads on who the culprit was for decades – until they received a tip on the killer’s identity in 2021.

The information led Detective Matt Hutchison to Karen’s murderer, one of four brothers from Fresno, approximately a three-hour drive from Sunnyvale.

‘In 2021, the genealogist identified the offender as one of four brothers but was unable to identify which one. ‘At that point, the investigator started standard investigative work to determine which of the four brothers was the source of the crime scene evidence,’ said Deputy District Attorney Robert Baker.

Hutchison’s typical investigative work led in the discovery of Ramirez’s family members through obituaries, social media postings, and databases. He ultimately found the granddaughter of one of the brothers via Facebook, and on April 8 of this year, Hutchison was able to collect a sample of that grandchild’s DNA.

Ramirez was recognized as the murderer when the DNA sample matched the blood and body fluid found at the crime site in 1982.

Hutchison said that when he apprehended Ramirez, the guy was so astonished that he could only utter, ‘Oh my god.’

Ramirez grew raised in Fresno and traveled or resided all across the west coast, including the Bay Area, San Diego, Colorado, and Hawaii.

According to investigators, Ramirez, a former insect exterminator, had no prior criminal record. Rudy Ramirez, his brother, told PaloAltoOnline that he was astonished by his brother’s detention, saying, ‘I can’t believe he would do that.’ It’s astonishing how this has all happened.’

‘I’ve never seen him become upset or aggressive,’ Ramirez’s brother added. ‘He’d never harm a fly.’Stitt was stabbed 18 times in the heart, had 10 stab wounds on her lungs and the wounds to her neck had punctured her larynx, trachea and esophagusGary Gene Ramirez, pictured above approximately 40 years ago, has been arrested in connection with the killing and charged with murder, kidnapping, and rapeA current view of the corner in Sunnyvale, Calif., where Karen Stitt was murdered in 1982Gary Gene Ramirez, pictured above, approximately 40 years ago, has been arrested in connection with the killing and charged with murder, kidnapping, and rape

‘There is a person, heartache, and a mystery behind every old murder case in every major police department,’ District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a statement.

‘Thanks to breakthroughs in forensic science and a detective who would never, ever give up,’ he concluded.

Hutchison claimed he wanted to scream when he got the email revealing the DNA match to the murderer, but couldn’t because he didn’t want to wake up the hotel.

According to the investigator, he then opened a photo of Stitt and informed her, “We did it.”

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