Metro Weekly

Gay Bar Patron Found Dead in Back of New York City Taxi

25-year-old Julio Ramirez was found unresponsive, with no personal belongings or ID, an hour after leaving a bar with three men.

Julio Ramirez – Photo: Instagram

A 25-year-old social worker and mental health counselor was found unresponsive in the backseat of a New York City taxi following a night out in the city’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood.

The victim was later identified as 25-year-old Julio Ramirez, a resident of Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood, who had recently moved to the city a year ago after graduating with a double masters from the University of Buffalo. His friends described him as “sweet” and a “smart young man,” and his brother, Carlos, said Julio “believed in serving underprivileged communities.”

On April 20, Ramirez, who was an out gay man, went out with friends in Hell’s Kitchen and made several stops before ending the night at the Ritz Bar and Lounge, a popular gay bar. Surveillance footage from outside the bar shows Ramirez leaving the bar with three other men at 3:17 a.m. The four men then get in the back of a taxi.

A little less than an hour later, around 4:10 a.m., the taxi driver flagged down police in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. In the back of the taxi, officers found Ramirez, unresponsive and lacking identification, reports NBC News.

EMTs responding to the scene attempted to administer care to Ramirez, but were unsuccessful. Ramirez was pronounced dead at 4:49 a.m. at Mount Sinai Beth Israel hospital.

In a statement released on April 21, police said that the initial cause of death was a “possible drug overdose.” But the medical examiner told the outlet that Ramirez’s official “cause and manner of death are pending further study,” which could take a few weeks.

The three men who got into the taxi with Ramirez were not named or identified by police.

In the days following his death, Ramirez’s money started moving around. Ramirez’s family claims that $20,000 was removed from various financial accounts through purchases on Apps like Apple Pay and Zelle – though police have not verified that. 

Carlos Ramirez said he logged into his brother’s laptop three days after his death and noticed that the Apple iCloud password had been changed, and his log in information had been changed for various online accounts. When he was able to access his brother’s emails, he noticed a string of weird money transfers. In addition, the accounts appeared to be active.

“They had literally taken every dollar that he had, all his savings and all of his money,” Carlos Ramirez said, according to CBS News.

Although Julio was found without his phone, glasses, watch or wallet, messages sent to his iPhone were marked “read” nearly 12 hours after he had been pronounced dead.

Carlos Ramirez has a theory about why his brother was killed.

“Someone drugged him to take his phone, to rob him,” he told CBS. “I mean, that is what happened. There is not a doubt in [my] mind that’s what happened. Literally my brother was killed over greed.”

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