Annika Darling CTLatinoNews.com
Brenda Perez was only 10-years-old when the police officer knocked on her door, when he entered with an ominous presence, and when he bent down to show her a picture of her mother’s body, face down, beaten and bruised, with strangle marks about her neck. She sat on the floor in her living room, learning that her mother would not be coming home…that her mother was dead. She remembers her family was torn apart, they stopped celebrating holidays together, someone had taken from her more than just her mother.
Brenda Perez was only 10-years-old when her fight for justice began.
Today, Brenda is 39 and she still fights for justice every single day.
Perez’s mother, Raquel Ramirez, was murdered on June 30, 1985; her frail 98 pound body was found under the I-91 overpass near the Connecticut River in Hartford. The brutal discovery of the 29-year-old’s body was made 12 hours after her time of death by a fishing group the next day. The case has been marked a cold case for many years; detectives say they have no leads, little evidence, and no one has ever come forward with any information.
Perez says the tragic incident devastated her family, and that family holidays became so difficult to bare that, in fact, she can not recall celebrating one holiday with her mother’s family since Ramirez was killed. That was nearly 30 years ago.
“After they took her the family was torn,” says Perez. “Instead of the family being brought together from a tragedy like this it broke the family. We stopped celebrating birthdays, we stopped celebrating Christmas, we stopped celebrating Thanksgiving.”
Perez continues, “My kids know I don’t spend holidays the way I should, and they know it’s the reason for it. But when I have my kids I try to introduce [the holidays] to my kids’ life because I don’t want to deprive them of that, but it gets real hard.”
Perez is one of three children that Ramirez left behind; there is also Benjamin (12 at the time of her death), and Hector (who had been 6). For many years the fight for justice for Ramirez was waged by other family members, but as the years have gone by they eventually gave up. Brenda is the only one who still fights.
“They want me to stop fighting,” says Perez. “But I don’t understand why. She is my mother. She is the reason that I am here, why my children are here.There was a reason for me coming into this world, and if it has to be to fight for justice for my mother then I guess that’s what I’ll keep doing until it’s my time to go. I just can’t let it go, because I miss her dearly and I love her, and she was my mother.”
When asked what Perez would say to those responsible for her mother’s death, she replied:
“I would just stand there and say, ‘You cannot imagine what you have taken from us and the pain you have endured on this whole family. It’s not just me, it’s the whole family: cousins, nieces; it’s impacted the whole family. You have taken something valuable from us. And the memories we could have had of her, the memories my kids could have had. I was deprived of a lot with my mother.’”
Perez says she knows there are many other people out there that have similar stories.
Hopefully, one day, Perez will be able to give thanks to the fact that whomever is responsible for her mother’s death is paying the price for the life in which they took and for all the lives in which they forever altered.
“This whole entire family was robbed of those memories that were rightfully ours to have until God said it was time to go,” says Perez. “They had no right to take her life, but we all know life is not always as it should be. Believe me, I learned that when I was only 10-years-old.”
This poem is from a post on Perez’s Facebook page dedicated to her mother: Justice For My Mother, Raquel Ramirez. Author: Kirsten Preus
If Roses grow in Heaven
Lord, please pick a bunch for me.
Place them in my Mother’s arms
and tell her they’re from me.
Tell her that I love her and miss her,
and when she turns to smile,
place a kiss upon her cheek
and hold her for awhile.
Because remembering her is easy,
I do it every day,
but there’s an ache within my heart
that will never go away.
If you or anyone you know has information regarding Raquel’s death, please call Detective Andrew Jacobson of the Hartford Police Department’s Major Crime Division at 860-757-4203. Detective Jacobson’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and fax number is 860-527-0022.
The State of Connecticut is offering a $20,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the homicide or Raquel Ramirez. Please contact the Hartford Police Department if you have any information at 860-757-4000. You can remain anonymous.