Local News

Police: Man wanted in wife's shooting; Amber Alert canceled for 2 children

Posted November 10, 2007
Updated October 17, 2008

— Police are searching for a man whose wife was shot outside a Dunn hospital Saturday night. An Amber Alert issued for two of their children was canceled Sunday morning.

Azucena D. Diaz, 28, of Autryville, was shot in the head and chest in the employee parking lot of Betsy Johnson Regional Hospital at about 8 p.m., according to Dunn police.

Diaz is an employee at the 800 Tilghman Dr. hospital. She was treated in the emergency room and later airlifted to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill where she was listed in critical condition.

Diaz’s estranged husband, Joaquin Rangel Ramirez, 31, is wanted in connection with the shooting, police said. Ramirez is described as a Hispanic man, 5 feet 6 inches tall, 150 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.

At the time of the shooting, he was wearing a blue and yellow jacket, police said. Ramirez left the scene in a vehicle believed to be a white pearl 2002 Cadillac Escalade with white rims, tinted windows and North Carolina license tag number VZT9795.

He is considered to be armed and dangerous. An Amber Alert was issued for two of the couple’s children, Maren Rangel and Briana Ramirez.

The children were unaccounted for and thought to be with Ramirez. He had made threats to harm himself and the children, police said.

The children were found unharmed at an undisclosed location at about 8:30 a.m. Sunday.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Ramirez is urged to call the Dunn Police Department at 910-892-2399 or 910-892-2345.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • Phlootang Nov 11, 2007

    It is no wonder why the troll didn’t mention any of the facts in his ‘argument’ that there was absolutely no indication of abduction. The facts presented in the article provide enough information for the reasonable prudent person to make a judgment call issuing an AMBER Alert. The contrarian likely believes that a full investigation taking perhaps weeks or months should precede an Alert.

    To prevent jeopardizing an ongoing investigation (see N&O report), the police are not revealing all its information. There is at least one person who believes that if the police failed to personally tell him all the evidence, such evidence does not exist. Such delusional grandiose!

  • taylorlovespooh Nov 11, 2007

    Praying for her family to have strength.
    We would want all means possible of alerting the community if anyone, especially children, were unaccounted for. It has to be a community effort in my opinion. That is where the Amber Alert came in at. It is never too soon to issue an alert if missing persons are possibly in danger.
    Also, The hospital staff had to "work on one of their own". We have the utmost praise, admiration & respect to anyone who has to deal with this possible scenario daily. I could not do what Betsy Johnson Memorial and all other hospitals along with all police depts. have to do daily. Prayers for safety, strength & justice for every tragedy like this one.

  • beachgirl2876 Nov 11, 2007

    This is a sad thing that happen in Dunn... I hope they find the man who did this too this young lady... I did not know her even thought i use to work at bj... But my prayer go out to the family and children of this woman... And i hope she will make it... and i hope too god they do find the man soon... People in Dunn and everywhere are getting bad... What is this world coming too...

  • mg Nov 11, 2007

    ...And if the children were actually abducted before the police had solid "proof" and nothing was done to warn the public, the police would look like they were incompetent. Hindsight might be 20/20 on this one, but I'd rather err on the side of caution than regret a horrible (and possibly preventable) situation later.

    By the way, you bet my heartstrings are tugged. Children this age are DEFENSELESS against a crazed adult. So be it if I want to worry about their safety. That doesn't make me less aware of facts. If people are emotionally void about every little injustice, nothing will get done either.

  • Steve Crisp Nov 11, 2007

    As to references, try:


    In that study, there were some 58,000 children reported missing in the study year, of which about 3,600 can be classified as truly missing having been abducted by strangers with only 115 fitting the classical definition of kidnapping.

    That's about one kid per county per year in the US. That's pretty rare.

    But that doesn't make for headlines which does not increase readership or viewership for news organizations so you won't hear the true facts.

  • Steve Crisp Nov 11, 2007

    "it was speculated" - 1momsview

    "Anytime a child is involved in a dangerous situation" - patti3

    "If for even a second law enforcement thought those kids were missing and in danger that prompts an alert." - newborn may

    And ploontang has it right: "The AMBER Alert Program is a voluntary partnership between law-enforcement agencies, broadcasters, transportation agencies, and the wireless industry, to activate an urgent bulletin in the most serious children-abduction cases."

    There is absolutely no indication that the kids were abducted. None. And with an Amber Alert, mere speculation does not cut it, Nor does the "thought" that a child may be in harm's way. It is designed to alert the public en masse in the event of a child abduction where the life of the child is in danger. No other reason.

    You want to lessen those standards, fine. Call it a Porcelain Alert.

  • Steve Crisp Nov 11, 2007

    Yes...I'm just a callous troller for even thinking about the public policy issues surrounding the events of two kids I don't know and who are found safe and sound, probably exactly where they should have been.

    Why is it that whenever kids or minorities or mentally challenged individuals are involved, all ancillary issues become off limits at the risk of offending someone? Those two kids are no more real to me than silt at the bottom of an ocean; they are a concept. And as such, their plight raises some serious policy issues. If you want to call that callous, then fine. But if you live your life with your heartstrings being tugged at every instance of injustice, evil, or malfeasence, nothing wil ever get accomplished in solving problems. At some point, you need to be objective, step back, and look at the ramificaitions of governmental decisions apart from the "children".

  • lions 6 Nov 11, 2007

    Steve, you need to get your facts straight before you make comments to lead people to believe that law enforcement didn't do what was right. This is unfair to those guys that put their lives on the line for us. The amber alert was issued because it was believed that the father had the children and he had make threats to the children. In fact he did have the children and law enforcement was doing everything they could to find them. The system was not abused and law enforcment did not make a goof. I get tired of people saying things they absolutely don't know what they're talking about making the police look like the bad guys. So. before you start something please make sure you're facts are straight. These guys worked nonstop to find those children before something terrible happened and they did. Give them a break.

  • mayor Nov 11, 2007

    Steve - glad you know how to spell callous!!!! Nothing that is done to save a child from abuse IS abuse. Every day we hear of a child/children missing, pictures on milk cartons, trucks, buses etc., posters in retail stores (Have you seen this child?) I too would like to know where you gathered your stats.

  • newborn _may18 Nov 11, 2007

    Generally, Steve, I agree with you. However, if we are reading the same story as posted on WRAL, there is no reason NOT to issue an Amber Alert. The father had made threats about harming himself and the children, and only 2 of her 4 kids were unaccounted for. Also, the Amber Alert was cancelled when the children were found at an undisclosed location, that is not to say that he hadn't abducted them and taken them somewhere. If they were just at daycare or something, you would think that would have been mentioned. And possibly that is exactly what happened, but until more details are posted I would not jump to the conclusion that this is an abuse of the system. If for even a second law enforcement thought those kids were missing and in danger that prompts an alert. Waiting for confirmaion could cost the life of a child. Just because they are rare (where are you getting your stats?)doesn't meant it doesn't happen. Once is too often.