By Ryan Gierach, West Hollywood, California
Acknowledging that more time than they would like has passed since Ramon Estrada’s brutal murder, LAPD is now asking for people to reach into their memories for anything that might help detectives find the killers.
Oh, and the City of Los Angeles has added an incentive, offering $50,000 for leads that lead to conviction.
Murder investigations make best progress if focused on within the first few days, say law enforcement experts, with the odds of apprehending the culprit going down every day that passes.
Found north of the intersection of Mansfield and Santa Monica Boulevard, just outside WeHo in Hollywood, Mr. Estrada was discovered without a cell phone, wallet or ID on July 7.
Along with theft, his murder has been labeled a hate crime by law enforcement.
Because he had no ID and his hands were too swollen to identify him through fingerprints, he remained in a coma listed as a “John Doe” for a week until his partner and friend finally stumbled upon word of him while they showed police officers pictures of Ramon.
The officer remembered Mr. Estrada and directed them to Cedars-Sinai Hospital, where they found him still in a coma with a broken shoulder, head trauma, pneumonia and heart issues.
He did not survive the extensive damage done by his attackers, succumbing after four weeks in the coma, three weeks after being found by loved ones.
LAPD apparently has persons of interest, which include a group of four men seen either running or driving away from the scene on that July 7 night.
According to the LAPD, they seek three black men, ages 18 to 25, seen running from the area.
They would also like to talk to the driver of a Tan, Beige, Sand or Silver small-sized SUV such as a Lexus RX350 or similar model seen driving nearby.
Anyone with information about the attack can call (213) 382-9470. Information can be given anonymously.
A similar street murder took place seven years ago, and despite an overwhelming outreach effort, Sheriff’s Homicide Detectives have not yet located the killer of popular West Hollywood nightclub employee, Orlando Ortega.
Orlando Ortega, age 31, was shot and killed in West Hollywood late at night on May 29, 2007.
Progress in the case has stalled with what the Detective said at the time was evidence consisting only of, “a fingerprint and an identifier on a suspect.”
Another case gone cold is that of Fergey Marchuk, 46, who was found in his bathroom having bled to death on Nov. 26, 2005.
Mr. Marchuk was found in his apartment on the 1000 block of Sweetzer Ave. by his roommate, who said he came home to discover the body/
Sheriff’s detectives said at the time that signs of blunt force trauma existed on the body, indicating homicide.