Mutilated Body Identified as Santa Ana Girl’s

Times Staff Writer

Santa Ana police investigators have identified a 14-old-girl whose mutiliated body was found on a bike trail along the Santa Ana River bed earlier this week, but a detective said Friday there were no suspects in the case.

Capt. James Dittman said Norma Isela Ramirez was struck several times with a “sharp, heavy instrument,” although he declined to say what kind of weapon it was. But an uncle of the dead girl said investigators had told him both a machete and an ax were used.

Norma, an eighth-grader at Willard Junior High in Santa Ana, was last seen at about 9:30 p.m. Sunday. Her body was discovered at about 3 a.m. Monday by a man walking along the bike trail on the western fringe of Alona Park near 19th Street, investigators said.

Dittman, during a news conference, said the several blows she received “were so severe that any of them could have killed her.” He said, however, that the girl was not robbed or sexually assaulted before she was murdered.


Santa Ana investigators were unable to identify the girl until a Santa Ana Spanish-language newspaper, El Sol Latino, published a photograph this week of the Ramirez girl as a missing person. The newspaper is edited by the dead girl’s uncle, Javier de la Fuente.

Ironically, the photograph that De la Fuente ran in his newspaper was one the girl had given him two days before her disappearance. “She’d never given me a picture of her before,” he said.

De la Fuente said his niece left her house at 1015 West 2nd Street without permission at about 10 p.m. Sunday. He said that the girl had run away from home once before.

“About four months ago she ran away from home and stayed for a week at the home of the grandmother of her boyfriend,” De la Fuente said.


The uncle said the girl’s parents, Ruben F. Ramirez and Adela L. Ramirez, were divorced two years ago and the breakup had been tough on Norma Isela.

Besides her parents, the girl is survived by an older brother and a younger brother and sister, De la Fuente said.