When Maribel Ramos posted an ad for a roommate to share her Orange County home, she could have no idea that the man who responded, KC Joy, would eventually be convicted of killing her.
Maribel Ramos, a 36-year-old US Army veteran and student at Cal State Fullerton disappeared in 2013. Authorities suspected her roommate of 18 months, Kwang Chol “KC” Joy, was involved. They tracked his movements, leading them to the discovery of a shallow grave in Silverado Canyon, according to ABC 7. There, they found Ramos’s body, but a cause of death could not be determined due to decomposition.
Reports surfaced that the pair argued bitterly over Joy not paying rent at their Fullerton residence.
Ramos’s disappearance and murder became the subject of a three-part Dateline special “Dateline: Unforgettable” last year on Archiweekend. Now, the case is revisited as part of the new Netflix series, “Worst Roommate Ever.”
“I am a Korean, single, professional male,” he wrote in response to Ramos’ Craigslist ad in search of a roommate. “I am looking for a small apartment or private room with kitchen use, and your place sounds perfect. I have a 10 lb dog Yorky [sic]. I am a social drinker, non-smoker, straight, and I like to keep things clean. I am easygoing and get along with most people.”
Joy claimed he was from Knoxville, Tennessee, and that he was looking for work in California.
Ramos was last seen on surveillance camera dropping off a rent check to her property manager in May 2013. Prosecutors claim Ramos tried to kick Joy out for not paying rent earlier in the day.
“She is my best friend,” said Joy in an exclusive interview with ABC 7. “In fact, she is my only friend, my only family member I have.”
Investigators believe Joy was infatuated with Ramos, who’d rejected his advances, according to NBC Los Angeles. Joy went as far as to get cosmetic surgery to make himself more appealing to his roommate and paid to take Maribel on a cruise.
“Maribel was his life,” Orange County Deputy District Attorney Scott Simmons said in his closing arguments during Joy’s murder trial. “And the opportunity for him to be with the love of his life was coming to an end.”
Authorities tracked Joy’s internet browsing history at the Orange County Public Library, according to ABC 7. Searches included information about the decomposition of a human body. On May 16, 2013, Joy visited a Facebook post about an awareness walk created by Ramos’s family. Joy used a satellite map to narrow in on a location near Santiago Canyon and Jackson Ranch roads, where the walk was to take place.
That was where Orange Police officers found Ramos’s body later in the day.
Although KC Joy was found guilty and sentenced to 15 years to life in state prison, he maintains his innocence.
“I miss Maribel more than anyone,” he said at his sentencing. “I think about it. I’ve been here about 440 days in the jail. I think about her almost every day.”
Joy sent dozens of letters to the judge and local media outlets declaring his innocence, and announcing his plans to write a book titled “Suspect, Guilty Until Proven Innocent,” according to ABC 7.
“Family wants me to apologize, which I cannot apologize for something I haven’t done,” Joy said. “Maybe someday [the] truth will come out, maybe I’ll just die inside prison.”
Kwang Chol Joy is now 63 years old and remains behind bars at the Correctional Training Facility in Soledad, California, according to jail records. He is eligible for parole this spring.
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