Friends of a Cal State Fullerton student and U.S. Army veteran who has been missing since last week say her disappearance without a word is highly out of character.
They fear for what has happened to Maribel Manriquez Ramos, 36, who was reported missing by her immediate family Friday. She was last seen Thursday evening at her apartment in the city of Orange.
Ramos' roommate, who shares that apartment on Rose Avenue, spoke to news media on Wednesday, calling Maribel his "best friend."
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K.C. Joy noted he and Ramos gave each other space. Still, when she failed to return home Friday morning and had missed several appointments, he became worried.
"She's my only family I have," Joy said. "I want her to come back, that's all."
Investigators were in the house for hours, he said, and they took a computer and her bedsheets.
Ramos served eight years in the Army in South Korea and Iraq, according to the university’s student newspaper, the Daily Titan.
Ramos was described by police as 5 feet 2 inches tall, weighing approximately 130 pounds, with brown medium-length hair. Police said Ramos has a star tattoo on her left shoulder, and an Aztec or tribal symbol tattooed on her lower back.
Cousins were in Orange on Wednesday distributing fliers asking for help finding Ramos.
She was scheduled to deliver the keynote address at veterans appreciation dinner at California State University, Fullerton.
Coworkers at the veterans outreach center where Ramos worked say nothing would have kept her from that event.
"She was one of the most responsible, dependable young women that you're ever going to encounter," said Dawn Valencia, the center's director.
Friends say Ramos' also would never have abandoned her small dog, Maya.
"The only thing in my heart, my gut, is that this isn't by Maribel's wishes," coworker Delia Tijerina said.
Ramos is scheduled to graduate from Cal State Fullerton on May 26 with a degree in criminal justice.