Roommate charged in death of Army vet Maribel Ramos

Maribel Ramos was last seen May 2 on surveillance footage dropping off a rent check at her apartment manager's office in Orange.
(Family photo)

The roommate of Maribel Ramos, who was missing for weeks before she was found in the brush of an Orange County canyon area, was charged Tuesday in the Army veteran’s death, prosecutors said.

Kwang Choi Joy, 54, has been charged with one felony count of murder, according to a statement from the Orange County district attorney’s office. He faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in state prison if convicted.

Joy, who was arrested Friday after being questioned by investigators, is being held on $1 million bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday.

Joy lived in an Orange apartment with Ramos, a 36-year-old about to graduate from Cal State Fullerton with a criminal justice degree.


Ramos, who was last seen May 2 on surveillance footage dropping off a rent check at her apartment manager’s office, was reported missing the next day, a Friday, after she failed to show up to commitments, including a veterans event where she was set to speak and at a long-standing softball game she played in with her cousin.

A body was found Thursday in an unincorporated area of the county near Modjeska Canyon, off Santiago Canyon road, during a search. The body was identified as Ramos’ the following day.

Prosecutors said that Joy is accused of killing Ramos after getting into an argument with her when she told him to move out because he was not paying his rent.

In the days after her disappearance, Joy spoke to several television stations, saying that his property had been searched and that he had even volunteered his DNA. He said he missed his roommate.


“She’s my only family I have,” Joy told KNBC-TV. “I want her to come back, that’s all.”


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Twitter: @rar