22-Year-Old Illinois College Student Found Strangled After Separating From Her Mom and Friend While on a Walk

Vanessa Ceja-Ramirez, 22, of Hardy
Midlothian Police Department

Who killed Vanessa Ceja-Ramirez? The 22-year-old teacher's aide and college student from Illinois was found strangled to death in the Midlothian Meadows Forest Preserve and police are looking for a suspect or suspects.

Autopsy results released Thursday revealed Ceja-Ramirez died of asphyxiation due to ligature strangulation, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. Her death has been ruled a homicide, Matt Walberg, deputy press secretary Cook County Sheriff’s Deputy, told Inside Edition Digital.

He said the investigation is ongoing but so far there have been no new developments on the case at this time. No suspects or persons of interest have been identified in connection with her death.

On Nov. 2, Ramirez had been on a walk with her mother and her friend at the Midlothian Meadows Forest Preserve, located in a suburb south of Chicago, when she decided she wanted to turn back and return to the car. She had been alone when she suddenly vanished, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. 

The Forest Preserves, according to its website, has nearly 70,000 acres and more than 350 miles of trails.

Ramirez was reported missing on Monday afternoon, according to a release from the Cook County’s Sheriff’s Office. 

Search crews led by Cook County Forest Preserve District Police and with assistance from the Sheriff’s Office and other local law enforcement agencies, searched during the evening. And, a Sheriff’s police K9 unit was able to detect a scent trail, but the trail dissipated and the search was unsuccessful, the sheriff’s office statement revealed.

Almost 48 hours after Ramirez had been reported missing, her body was discovered in a wooded area at the Midlothian Meadows Forest Preserve, according to the police report.

The Cook County Sheriff’s office is asking anyone with information on Ramirez’s death or disappearance to contact 708-865-4896 or email at detective.division@cookcountyil.gov.

A $2,000 reward is being offered to lead to an arrest, shared by community activist Andrew Holmes.


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