SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – Twenty-two years and counting.
That’s how long the children of Miroslaba Ramirez have been waiting for justice.
In September 1998, their mother disappeared. She was last seen with their father, Jose Ramirez who is a suspect in her kidnapping but also a person of interest for her death. He too suddenly vanished after reporting her disappearance.
“It was hard not knowing what happened and we were left without two parents,” said Jessica Ramirez. “We lost two parents in one day. So that was really hard.”
According to friends and family Jose invited Mirosleba to go see an attorney in Elko Nevada. But he claimed they got into an argument and she jumped out of the car near the Ibapah Indian Reservation. The two were going through turbulent times.
About nine years earlier, the couple moved to Wendover. She was working at a casino in West Wendover Nevada. He also obtained employment at the casinos.
But allegations of infidelity and domestic violence surfaced after the children were born.
Jose Ramirez allegedly pistol-whipped another man whom he suspected of being too close to his wife. He was charged with assault.
After Miroslaba disappeared, Ramirez returned to Wendover to notify family members that he couldn’t find his wife.
But he left town before the police were able to talk to him. Ramirez did leave a letter for Miroslaba’s parents before he disappeared.
ABC4 received a copy of the letter from the Tooele County Sheriff’s department. It was written by someone on behalf of Ramirez. He allegedly wrote: “I’ve heard rumors that I killed her, that I put her in the water, held captive. But you guys shouldn’t believe any of that. I, just like you am suffering. I ask my God for a miracle, that she be alive.”
Through the help of a translator, her parents talked to ABC4 in 1998.
“We think something bad has happened,” said Esperanza Vasques.
Miroslaba’s father was blunt in his assessment with the situation.
“We think she may be dead,” said Jesus Vasques. “We’re in a bad situation. We really want to know what’s happened to her to take away this worry.”
Throughout the fall, several searches were conducted in the west desert but they didn’t have much luck. The only trace of Miroslaba was a pair of earrings that were found near the reservation.
In 2010, a potash employee found human remains near the mine south of Wendover.
A year later, DNA matched it to Miroslaba.
Her daughters who were young when their mother disappeared were adults when they spoke to ABC4 in 2011.
“I want to know what happened to her, did he do this or did she really take off running and couldn’t go anymore,” said Jessica Ramirez.
Her sister said it was a relief to finally have answers about their mother.
“We have her now,” said Laura Ramirez. “We can go visit her and we have a place for her to be at and she’s not missing anymore.”
Miroslaba Ramirez was buried in Goshen and a large cross was placed where her remains were found.
But after nearly 23 years, Jose Ramirez can’t be found. He already faces charges for kidnapping and there’s a warrant for his arrest.
Thursday, Miroslaba Ramirez’ disappearance continues as her daughters reflect on life without their parents.