When Julio Ramirez went to New York City hotspot The Ritz Bar & Lounge with a friend on April 20th, he was blithely unaware that it would be his final evening of celebration in Hell’s Kitchen, a neighborhood located in close proximity to Times Square with a well-known and bustling LGBTQ nightlife scene. His young life was cut short that night between the time he left Hell’s Kitchen haunt, entered a cab, and was discovered unresponsive by the cab driver a little more than forty-five minutes later. Now, the details arising from the evening are providing more questions than answers to this tragic incident.
NBC News broke down the timeline of Ramirez’s final evening in New York City, which has surveillance footage from a security camera in the vicinity showing Ramirez leaving The Ritz with three other men at approximately 3:17 a.m. All four men then got into a taxi cab (according to police), but at 4:10 a.m., Ramirez was alone and unresponsiveness. At this point, the cab drive approached a police officer (now in the Lower East Side area of Manhattan) to indicate that his passenger was not responding. Ramirez was pronounced dead at 4:49 a.m. after numerous attempts at reviving him were not successful, by both the police officer and the EMS team. While the initial cause of death was indicated to be a “possible drug overdose”, the official cause is listed as “cause and manner of death are pending further study”.
While Julio Ramirez’s family and friends continue to put the pieces together of Julio’s final evening (while continuing to grieve their son, brother, and dear friend), details that are emerging that make the events surrounding Julio’s death look that much more ominous. The Advocate reported that (via NBC News) according to Julio’s brother Carlos, Julio’s bank accounts were completely drained (to the tune of close to $20,000) via Apple Pay & Zelle in the days following his death. Ramirez’s brother also stands by his assertion that his brother was drugged with GHB (otherwise known as the “date rate drug”). The Instagram page @theapothekari is appealing to the public to draw attention to the case with an extensive post, stating at the end that “We urge you to raise awareness on the death of Julio Cesar Ramirez to give a voice to gay Latino men who are victims of the crime in this city and to see justice for the loved ones he left behind. Julio’s story needs to be heard”.