Van asked what was wrong, and she said she just wanted him to be there and comfort her. That night, they both later told the police, Esparza finally told Van she’d been raped, and when he pressed her, she told him Ramirez’s first name.On May 24, the day after seeing Ramirez’s phone bill with “Paty” scrawled on the back, investigator Ben Meza asked Ramirez’s roommate, Eloe Silva, if he knew who Paty was, the record shows.One of the men got out and started to punch Ramirez.Reyes rushed to help his friend, but the second man got out of the van and came toward him.On the morning of April 16, 1995, a passerby reported a body, wrapped in strips of blue towel and lying by the side of the road, to the police in Irvine, Calif. Bloody gashes covered his head, shoulders, back, and arms.His skull was cracked and two of his fingers hung from one hand, nearly severed.
The phone numbers Ramirez had written on his bill traced to Esparza’s Pomona College dorm room, and to her family’s house in Santa Ana.Reyes told the police that he had no idea why the men in the van wanted to hurt Ramirez.He’d never seen them before, and he and Ramirez hadn’t had any trouble at El Cortez.“I kind of just blanked out.” Afterward, Esparza cried into her pillow. She told the nurse she’d been “date raped,” but the nurse, according to what Esparza told investigators, didn’t suggest making a police report.Neither did a professor Esparza said she talked to about the rape, when she burst into tears as she tried to explain why she’d missed a deadline for class.Ramirez lay down on her bed and asked her to have sex. Instead, he started pulling off her clothes and she wound up on the floor.“We were struggling and I seriously don’t know how I ended up there,” she said.The police spoke to Ramirez’s brothers, who told them he had three girlfriends, as well as a wife and two daughters in Mexico.But when the police interviewed the women, they turned up nothing suspicious.Then in the third week of May they got Ramirez’s phone bill and noticed another woman’s name written on the back: “Paty,” with two phone numbers, one marked “school” and the other marked “home.” Norma Patricia Esparza, a 20-year-old sophomore at Pomona College, was home in Santa Ana for the weekend when she met Ramirez.It was March 25, a Saturday night, three weeks before he was killed.