Local News

Sanford Police Look For Connection Between Robbery Suspects, Woman's Murder

Posted December 3, 2003 10:41 a.m. EST

— Police working a Sanford murder case may have gotten the break they have been waiting for.

Investigators want to know if there is any connection between three robbery suspects and the unsolved murder of a woman outside her own store.

Wednesday, the woman's husband was back at police headquarters looking for answers.

Maria Ramirez was shot two weeks ago as she and her husband, Byron, left their Sanford store with bank deposits. Byron was not hurt.

Police recently arrested three Hispanic men, accusing them of planning to rob the Ramirez's store. Investigators will not say if the men are connected to Maria's murder, or if the planned robbery took place.

Byron Ramirez, meanwhile, met with investigators for two hours Wednesday to discuss the case. He has been coming to the Sanford Police Department just about every day since his wife was murdered two weeks ago.

There still appear to be more questions than answers surrounding Maria's murder.

"There is not much that I know," Byron said Wednesday.

Byron said he and his wife were leaving the store when a man told them to stop in Spanish. The suspect demanded the bank deposits in Maria's hand and then shot her once in the head.

Sanford police Sgt. David Smith said Wednesday that everyone is a suspect.

"We cannot rule out anything," Smith said. "Everything is open at this point.

"At this time, I cannot tell you for sure if that robbery ever took place, or if they (the men) had anything to do with the murder."

Said Ramirez of the men's plan to rob the store: "We don't know if this had anything to do with it. They are still investigating."

To help the investigation, Maria Ramirez's family is offering a $50,000 reward for the capture and conviction of her murderer.

"I have very little to do with that reward," Byron said. "But it is real. Her family in Mexico has a lot of money."