Convicted child rapist cuts off GPS ankle monitor, flees to Texas

[anvplayer video=”5151358″ station=”998122″]

BERNALILLO COUNTY, N.M. – Bernalillo County prosecutors worked toward a guilty verdict for Fernando Ramirez, accused of raping a 9-year-old family member in 2018, for about four years.

Last month, senior trial Attorney Rebekah Reyes got it. 

“It’s pretty unusual to convict someone like this given how many sex offenders there are out there,” said Reyes. “But when we do catch them and are able to convict them obviously that’s a good thing because then we can keep other kids safe.”

Reyes says typically, those types of offenders are taken into custody to await sentencing. But this time, that didn’t happen.

District Court Judge Jennifer Wernersbach kept Ramirez on a GPS ankle monitor until sentencing, scheduled for Dec. 15. 

“After the verdict, conditions of release were addressed. The court found that the defendant ‘had been on GPS without any violations’ for approximately four years. Court records show the defendant had no prior notices of non-compliance since placed on conditions of release. Conditions of release were unchanged pending sentencing,” said a district court representative. 

The code of Judicial Conduct prohibits judges from commenting on pending cases. 

“I’ve never had a judge not remand someone facing any mandatory time, let alone a first degree felony,” said Reyes. “The first thing that went through my mind is he’s going to flee.”

She was right. Investigators say Ramirez cut off his monitor Monday morning. They tracked him out of state, crossing into Texas.

“The person who hurt you, the person who raped you, is on the loose and we don’t know where they are– that’s a very difficult call to have to make, and it’s extremely hard for a victim, especially a child to hear that,” said Reyes. 

KOB 4 reached out to the attorney within the Law Office of the Public Defender representing Ramirez. 

“It would be inappropriate for me to comment on the new allegation. But the issue at some point will be dealt with at court, and there will be a public hearing,” said Doug Wilber, an attorney. 

Ramirez was scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 15. He faces up to 33 years in prison for the rape charges.