For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
MAN CONVICTED OF MURDERING ARMY VETERAN ROOMMATE AND DISPOSING HER BODY IN CANYON
SANTA ANA – A man was convicted today of murdering his roommate and disposing of her body in a canyon. Kwang Chol Joy, 55, Orange, was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of second degree murder. He faces a maximum sentence of 15 years to life in state prison at his sentencing Sept. 12, 2014, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-40, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
At the time of the crime, Joy lived at a home in Orange with 36-year-old roommate Maribel Ramos. The victim was an Army veteran who had served two combat tours in Iraq and was also a student at California State University, Fullerton.
On May 2, 2013, the defendant got into an argument with Ramos after she told him to move out of the home because he was not paying his rent. That night, Ramos was seen on video surveillance dropping off a rent check at the property manager’s office. It was the last time she was seen alive.
Sometime between May 2, 2013, and May 3, 2013, Joy murdered Ramos and disposed of her body in Santiago Canyon.
On the night of May 3, 2013, the victim’s friends reported her missing after becoming concerned when she did not show up for scheduled events. The Orange Police Department (OPD) began investigating this case.
On May 16, 2013, Joy went to the Orange Public Library & History Center and logged on to a computer to use the Internet. He conducted web searches about the human body decay process, logged on to Facebook where he saw a post about an awareness walk for Ramos, and used a satellite map website to zoom in on a location near Santiago Canyon Road and Jackson Ranch Road.
Later that day, OPD searched the area of Santiago Canyon that the defendant had researched and found the victim’s body within 45 minutes in a shallow grave. The cause of death was never determined because of the state of decomposition.
On May 17, 2013, Joy was arrested by OPD at the police station.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Scott Simmons of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.