Family members of Maribel Ramos, whose life was cut short three weeks before graduation, celebrated her life on Sunday as she was honored with a posthumous degree from Cal State Fullerton.
Ramos’ name was read among the “Class of 2013” who received their bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice at a commencement ceremony on campus.
“We’re so proud of you, Maribel,” said her cousin, Andrea Leonardo. “We love you. We’re going to miss you. You’ll always be in our hearts.”
Local news from across Southern California
Investigators found Ramos’ body in Modjeska Canyon, an unincorporated area of Orange County in the Santa Ana Mountains, on May 16 after friends reported her missing 13 days earlier, prosecutors said.
Her former roommate, Kwang Chol Joy, 54, of Orange, was charged in connection with Ramos’ death.
Joy is accused of getting into an argument with Ramos on May 2 after she told him to move out of the home because he was not paying his rent, prosecutors said.
That night, Ramos was seen on video surveillance dropping off a rent check at the property manager’s office. It was the last time she was seen alive, officials said.
Officials found Ramos' body off Santiago Canyon Road during a search. The body was identified the next day, but the cause of death remains under investigation.
Joy was arrested May 17.
While Ramos’ family struggles to find answers, they took a moment on Sunday to reflect on her posthumous achievement.
“We’re very proud of her,” said another cousin, Susana Molina. “She was waiting for this day.”