My un­cle the se­rial Killer

Shelly Ramirez grew up in the shadow of her un­cle’s crimes…

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Shelly Ramirez will never for­get the day her un­cle, Richard Ramirez, was ar­rested.

Her dad Robert – Richard’s brother – was watch­ing TV when the news flashed up on the screen that the no­to­ri­ous ‘Night Stalker’ had been caught.

‘It just in­ter­rupted all the TV chan­nels that they’d caught Richard Ramirez, the Night Stalker,’ says Shelly, who tells her story in this week’s The Killer in My Fam­ily. ‘My dad was watch­ing it as though he’d seen a ghost. Tears were com­ing down his cheeks.’

Shock­ing truth

For five months dur­ing the Spring and Sum­mer of 1985, the res­i­dents of Los An­ge­les lived in fear of a se­rial killer on the loose. By the time Ramirez was caught on 31 Au­gust, he’d mur­dered 13 peo­ple and sex­u­ally as­saulted

11, claim­ing that he was a dis­ci­ple of Satan.

But the news of his ar­rest left his fam­ily in dis­be­lief and shock. They de­cided to stand by him, even en­cour­ag­ing Shelly, who was just a child at the time, to write to him.

‘I knew that he’d done some­thing bad, but my mum and dad never spoke about what he did,’ says Shelly. ‘It hurt my grandpa a lot. He couldn’t be­lieve what his son had done.’

Af­ter Ramirez’s trial in 1989, Shelly even vis­ited her un­cle at Cal­i­for­nia’s San Quentin State Prison, where he made lewd com­ments about her. It was the last time she had con­tact with him.

In 2013, Ramirez died of liver fail­ure af­ter be­ing on death row for 24 years. But, of course, his crimes have had a last­ing ef­fect on his vic­tims’ fam­i­lies, as well as his own.

‘My dad used to tell me not to tell peo­ple I was re­lated to him,’ says Shelly. ‘But Richard doesn’t de­fine who I am.’

Shock­ing… Shelly (inset) was a child when Richard com­mit­ted his crimes

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