MODJESKA CANYON (CBSLA.com) — A body found in an unincorporated area of the Santa Ana Mountains has been positively identified as missing Cal State Fullerton student Maribel Ramos.
"After an autopsy earlier today, the body that was found yesterday was identified as that of Maribel Ramos," Lt. Dave Hill of the Orange Police Department said. "Her case has therefore been reclassified from a missing person's case to a homicide investigation."
Hill said that Ramos' former roommate, 54-year-old KC Joy, has been arrested on suspicion of her murder and booked into Orange County jail.
Ramos' was found in brush off Santiago Canyon Road on the hillside of Modjeska Canyon. The remains were so badly deteriorated, law enforcement officials were unable to determine whether it was a man or woman.
Ramos, who has served two tours of duty in Iraq, was last seen in her apartment on May 2. She was scheduled to graduate at the end of May with a criminal justice degree from Cal State Fullerton. Her family and friends, including Joy, said that her disappearance was very out of character for the former Army veteran.
In a previous interview, Joy said he last saw Ramos at their apartment in Orange. He admitted they "had words," but nothing out of the ordinary. He said he grew concerned when he didn't see her Friday morning.
"Oh, she left voluntarily, nobody is gonna drag her out. She's a very stubborn woman, she has a very strong head on her shoulders. Nobody someone can...she had to, someone had to come pick her up," Joy said.
When police searched the apartment, Joy said officers took his cell phone and her laptop. He also said he consented to a full body search and voluntarily gave his DNA as part of the investigation.
KCAL9's Stacey Butler spoke to neighbors Friday evening who describe Joy now as "a loner" and "a man in crisis."
Joy had recently lost his job and totaled his car. Ramos reportedly told him he was also going to have to leave the apartment.
A neighbor told Butler that the day Ramos went missing, Joy began exhibiting bizarre behavior. He said, "[Joy] wanted to make a missing persons report 10:30 the morning she went missing. I thought if she was on a date, why would you want to file a missing persons report, at 10:30 in the morning."
The neighbor added, for the four hours police were at the apartment investigating Joy was nowhere to be found. "Tried to call him, he wasn't answering. He just popped back up out of nowhere. He said he was in a car in front of the apartment the whole time.
The neighbor added that he noticed deep scratches on both of Joy's arms three days after she went missing. "He claimed he was walking the dog and fell over into some bushes."
Several days ago, at a vigil for Ramos, Joy told Butler "I'm the roommate that everybody thinks that had something to do with this. So it makes me a uncomfortable."
Joy is being held on $1 million bail.
for more features.