It was the morning of May 3, 2013. Kwang “K.C.” Joy called the Orange County Police Department to tell them his roommate, Cal State Fullerton student Maribel Ramos, never came home the night before. K.C. informed officers that while it was normal for her to go out at night, she always returned home the next day.
When Maribel didn’t show up to her softball game later that evening, several of her teammates began to worry and decided to stop by her apartment to check on her. Maribel’s car was in the parking lot, but when her teammates knocked on her apartment door, no one answered. Like K.C., her concerned friends called the police.
Officers of Orange County PD arrived on the scene and made multiple attempts to reach Maribel, to no avail. Police began to suspect possible foul play after neither roommate returned home for nearly three hours. But when they busted down the door, they found no clear signs of struggle in the apartment.
As hours turned into days, Maribel’s family and friends went into a state of panic. Maribel’s sister, Lucy Gonzalez, and her roommate, K.C. Joy, made pleas through local media, begging for anyone with information to come forward. Days passed, and despite the best efforts Maribel’s family and hundreds of volunteers, there was no sign of the missing Cal State Fullerton student.
Orange County PD detective Joey Ramirez was assigned to the case within a day of Maribel’s disappearance. When he interviewed friends and family, Maribel’s friend at Cal State Fullerton revealed that there was a man on campus who creeped Maribel out. Maribel had once described the man as a stalker. Other leads came in describing Maribel meeting men on the dating website Plenty of Fish, and Ramirez discovered that Maribel was talking casually with at least two men.
Throughout Maribel’s disappearance, K.C. Joy continued to give interviews to local networks describing Maribel as his best friend, determined to get help from the public. But Detective Ramirez believed that K.C. Joy knew much more about Maribel’s disappearance than he let on. The more Ramirez found out about K.C. and Maribel, the more he began to suspect that K.C. may have developed romantic feelings for Maribel that were not reciprocated. The Orange homicide detective put K.C. under surveillance, but without any evidence linking K.C. to the crime, or even evidence of Maribel’s death, Ramirez couldn’t go to the DA