New facts on child's death found

Date: 2007-09-10

New facts on child's death found

By RANDY REESE

In what could be considered verification of rumors, the Gonzales Sheriff's Department has released more details surrounding the death of Chrystal Ramirez Aug. 23.

According to the new evidence found during a search of the home owned by Rubin Stephen Ramirez and Bettie Ramirez, who were charged in the death, and from interviews with Chrystal's 10-year-old sister, both girls were at times tied down to their beds and starved at other times.

The information gathered by investigators, including Texas Ranger Dwayne Goll, also indicates that both girls were frequently locked in their rooms to keep them from getting up in the middle of the night to get water or food.

The 10-year-old also told a special forensic interviewer that the two girls would also have their mouths taped shut by duct tape to keep them from calling out to the adoptive parents during the night.

Both Ramirez' are still being held in county jail on two counts of injury to a child.

In a related matter, Texas teachers are required by law to report any case of child neglect, sexual misconduct or physical harm.

If they fail to do so, they can lose their teaching certificate and/or be prosecuted.

Despite some contrary rumors, it has been found that teachers in the Nixon-Smiley Consolidated Independent School District did just that in the case of Chrystal Ramirez and her older sister while the two were attending classes there over a year ago.

Of course, Ramirez died earlier this month when she was allegedly mistreated by her adoptive parents who are currently being held in Gonzales County jail on high bonds.

N-SCISD superintendent Cathy Booth said all of her teachers know the rules and know what to do when they suspect any of this kind of abuse.

"As educators," she said, "we are all legally bound to report this. I am confident that my teachers do just that, because they care for all of our children."

In the case of Chrystal Ramirez and her sister, both had numerous reports made to Child Protective Services during their short stay in the district.

However, both students were pulled out of school over a year ago to begin home schooling.

"Once they begin home schooling," Booth said, "we lose all contact with them and the state has no way of tracking them after that.

"These kids are out of sight and too often not heard from like Chrystal."

Ramirez died on Aug. 23 after being brought to a local volunteer fire station near her home in Belmont with injuries reported to have occurred in a household mishap weeks earlier.

The girl was rushed to Memorial Hospital in Gonzales and pronounced dead when no vital signs were found.

Later that day, her adoptive parents were charged with the first set of injuries to a child.

Since the death, both the 10-year-old girl and a 6-year-old brother have been in the custody of Child Protective Services.

Chrystal's birth mother, Teresa Camarillo, lost custody of the children when just after the 6-year-old was born.

Now, she says she has kicked the drug habit that caused her problems and is working fulltime and will soon begin a quest to get her two remaining children back from CPS.

Sheriff Glen Sachtleben has said from the beginning of the investigation that further charges could be brought against the two adoptive parents and also possibly against others who might have known about the case but remained silent.

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