Friday, September 30, 2005

 

Downward Spiral - Identify Mug Shots From New York

This image came to me by email more than a year ago and was personally moved by these images. Who is this woman? What happened to her? How does such a beautiful young girl end up looking like a hardened old lady in just 15 years? I would like to tell her life story - if she and/or her family would grant me an interview.

But first I need to find out who she is. I do not know her name or if she is still alive. I feel her story should be told deter young people from trying drugs in the first place. My reason for wanting to interview this woman is because I am a journalist writing an article on how crystal meth and other hard drugs ravage the body.

I have spent endless hours doing research - from contacting the communications people within the New York City Police Department to faxing over a request to help identify her to every drug treatment centre I could find in New York City. No luck.
If you know anything, or if you can help me to identify this woman, please don't hesitate to email me at jamiesaari@yahoo.com

Thanks


********************************************************************************

UPDATE - March 19, 2017

Over the past 12 years I have continued to be haunted by and wondered about her. I spoke with her for the first time on the phone today - March 19, 2017. She is alive, well and a very nice person with a heart-wrenching and powerful story to tell. (I am going to allow her to make all decisions about how she will tell her story with dignity.)

She is a little perplexed about why anyone would care about her story and I explained that there are hundreds of people around the world who have reached out to me for updates over the years. She sees a lot of pain in these photographs. 

She has an incredible story to tell and I plan to travel to her in the near future to meet, learn more about her story and hopefully create something in writing or on video that changes the way people look at people suffering from addiction. She has so much wisdom to share with the world.

Speaking to her today felt like I was speaking to a long, lost friend. I look forward to announcing when and how she would like her story told. Everything is going to be done with dignity and respect for her and her family.

It's been 12 long years!

I CANNOT BELIEVE I HAVE FOUND HER!

Even more exciting and heartwarming is the journey she is about to undertake!!! I have offered to walk through this journey with her and we are going to make something incredible happen.


Comments:
The first picture shows both the police department (Manhattan) and the date the photo was taken.

Can't someone just look up the records for who was "booked" on that date and trace her from there?
 
I have tried the NYPD communications/public relations department five times. Nobody ever responds back to my emails or faxes.

I tried phoning every single Manhattan precinct and was told police are not allowed to give out personal information due to privacy laws.

I joined a number of police forums and learned her name "might" be Maria Ramos. The images were on an A & E documentary on hard drugs and have put in a request to A & E. I haven't received a response yet.

This is much more difficult than I thought it would be. I have tried every idea I could possibly think of with no luck. Any other ideas or suggestions would be appreciated.
 
With the Police Dept. and the booking date you should be able to go look at the newspaper archives for the police beat etc. Arrests ARE a matter of public record and ar usually published weekly in the paper.
 
Walky Broadway: Thanks for the information. Since I'm writing from Canada - I have a few questions. Is there a special department in American newspapers that lists all arrests? We don't have this type of newspaper section as far as I know in Canada. Is it done in a similar manner as obituaries? I apologize for my ignorance, but I didn't know that newspapers list arrests.
 
Hey, Jamie -

Have you tried the Police Blotter sections in the NY Post and/or the NY Daily News?
 
Jamie, Send me an email with a contact telephone number for you and I will help you find out who she is. I will need some other information from the photos, if you have the complete photos and not just the cut off ones that were posted.

Joe, Retired NYPD Detective- Private Investigator JFodera@worldwideprotective.com
 
did you ever find out? i'm dying to know.
 
Mystery solved... One sole reporter from overseas published the details of her story. Maria Ramos is 22 in the first picture and dies shortly after the last at the age of 36, succumbing to the effects of heroine. Sad story of a life cut short... Just like you, I was moved by her photos and wanted to learn of her story... Hearing it now makes it more heartbreaking...Good luck telling her story... I think more should be told:

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney, Australia)
March 12, 2000, Sunday
Descent into hell of a girl on heroin
BYLINE: SARAH CHALMERS
SECTION: FEATURES; Pg. 52
LENGTH: 484 words


AT 22, Maria Ramos should have had her whole life to look forward to.

Slim, with a mane of lustrous dark hair, a perfect complexion, bright eyes and sweet smile, she could have been a model.

Instead she chose heroin -- and as this startling sequence of pictures shows, the drug robbed her of her looks and her self-respect. Finally, it took her life.

In the 14 years after the first photograph was taken Maria stopped smiling.

She became sullen and withdrawn, losing all interest in her appearance, with little energy or desire to fight the devastating effects heroin wrought on her body.

First to go was her flawless complexion, then her sparkling gaze, her healthy hair and her slim figure.

By the time the last photograph was taken, when she was 36, she looked more like a bloated hag than a woman in her prime.

Weeks later she was dead.

Now the New York Police Department has compiled the 12 mugshots of Maria into a horrifying montage which starkly illustrates the effects of heroin abuse.

On a visit to the department, Judith Gillespie, head of the Royal Ulster Constabulary drugs squad, was so struck by the montage that she took a copy back to Northern Ireland to use in a hard-hitting anti drugs campaign.

"I brought it home just to remind myself and show others what effect drugs can have," Detective Superintendent Gillespie said. "From a smiling bright-eyed beautiful girl right through the 12 stages to her death, it is a grim reminder of just what can happen if you take drugs."

Maria Ramos came to police attention in April 1983 when she was arrested for soliciting in a notorious drug area of Manhattan. It is not known if she was already a drug user.

NYPD spokesman Walter Burns said: "She may have got involved in prostitution to fund her way through college."

Two years later, in 1985, as the deterioration in her physical appearance shows, she was abusing drugs.

Over the next 12 years her appearance was further ravaged as she was arrested again and again -- almost always for prostitution, occasionally for drugs possession -- and even served a short prison sentence.

Maria fell into a deadly cycle of prostitution to feed her drug habit.

Detective Burns said: "She was heavily into narcotics."

Prolonged hard drug abuse diminishes appetite and encourages apathy which in turn leads victims to neglect personal hygiene and appearance.

Paula Woodward, of the Institute for Studies of Drug Dependency, said: "With chronic frequent use, euphoria is replaced by restlessness, hyper-excitability, nausea, vomiting and weight loss. With continued use this may develop into a state of mind similar to paranoid psychosis."

A clampdown on drug crime has been a major feature of Rudolph Giuliani's time as New York mayor.

Two years ago police identified 7000 drug dealing points on the city's streets. Now they say there are virtually none.
 
I responded to "Joe" - a retired NYPD Detective" and have not yet received a response.

With the lead from the Australian newspaper, I have emailed the news department of the Sunday Telegraph in Sydney, Australia to confirm that the story and photograph do match. I'll let you know when I hear back from them.

-Jamie
 
Hi Jamie, I found your site looking for the identity of the woman in these photos. I did a google searching using the words "Maria Ramos" and "homeless" and came across this article:

http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19920924&slug=1514699

Having lived in NYC at the time, I remember this story well. I do not know if the Maria Ramos in the story is the same as that in the photo but the age quoted is the same.
 
She's alive and well! Her name isn't Maria. It's Joan. She met a man who got her off drugs, married her, and got her out of the city. Sadly, he passed away a few years ago. Joan has had a hard life, but she has stayed off drugs, has a job, and is doing fine. It's quite a story, but I don't think she wants any publicity. She just wants to put her past behind her. I just had to post this because so many of the comments I've read are so far off from the truth!
 
She's alive and well! Her name isn't Maria. It's Joan. She met a man who got her off drugs, married her, and got her out of the city. Sadly, he passed away a few years ago. Joan has had a hard life, but she has stayed off drugs, has a job, and is doing fine. It's quite a story, but I don't think she wants any publicity. She just wants to put her past behind her. I just had to post this because so many of the comments I've read are so far off from the truth!
 
Scottie, thank you for the update. Could you please tell Joan I would l love the opportunity to tell her story if she is eventually open one day. These photographs are so powerful and I strongly feel that telling her story may make a difference in the lives of others. I am not looking to create publicity or do anything to draw negative attention to her. Her life is an important one and I would be honored to tell her story in a respectful way that she approves of. These photographs have haunted me for 9 long years and I hope her story doesn't remain untold.
 
Not sure how old the previous comments are. Any update on Joan/Maria?
 
she died.. maria ramos its in file through mugshots, finger prints and dates.. she died two weeks after her last mug shot of aids .. i know cause i have access to police records through others .. sorry to tell you shes not alive ..
 
Jamie, your sense of compassion and humanity is refreshing. I first seen these photos on the Internet in 2005 myself. Such a pretty girl can be seen to waste away through the raking hardships that life offers us should we choose that path. She was so pretty, then...you can see her change, as she quickly begins to mirror her loss of inner beauty and vitality. So heartbreaking and sad. We all know someone with similar circumstances. To see this, and know what the future holds for another is, well, just overwhelming.
 
This link may help you...

http://www.plainsite.org/dockets/4l1cy59e/new-york-southern-district-court/usa-v-ramos/
 
This is interesting

http://m.metrowestdailynews.com/article/20150729/NEWS/307309997
 
Can someone 100 percent prove what is the real story. There's a lot of different answers. W E WANT THE TRUTH ONLY.

Respectfully,

Frank D'
 
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
Has anyone ever cracked this case?
 
The case is solved. She died a few weeks after the pic was taken. Her abrupt lack of arrests suggests she died. I know it could also suggest she got off the streets and recovered but her level of addiction coupled with her arrests and her obvious health decline suggests she died.
 
This is Jamie - the original poster - and I have found her and spoke with her on March 19, 2017. Thank you to the amazing gentleman who helped me find her.

Please see update above in the main post.

I will announce here where people can learn about her story when it has been told (on her terms).

She has an amazing story to tell and an amazing journey ahead of her!
 
Jamie, thanks you for your dedication to finding the outcome. I've never forgotton this girl. She looks so much like a cousin of mine. I'm so happy she is a surviver. My heart has always held her there inside along with my own lost youth.
 
Here's an idea. Why doesn't this Joan lady become a motivational speaker? Might as well because a. She is alive and b. Her pictures are plastered on the internet. C. She got out of the life and has stayed out. I think she could use her story as message of hope in someone's life. That's my opinion.
 
Just out of curiosity, how do you know her? I came across this story one time while watching a YouTube video about the effects of drugs. As I watched the video I had read in the comments section that her name was presumably "Maria Ramos". I got bored one day and decided to google "Maria Ramos" and stumbled on this article. Now before I had found this particular article, I was wondering if she was dead or alive. As I was reading this article, I had found a story of hope. Hope in that you can get out of a dark place with a little help. I myself was once homeless myself but had got off and kept myself off the streets as well. I find her story very intriguing and have a few questions myself. If you don't care to answer that's fine.
 
Just out of curiosity, how do you know her? I came across this story one time while watching a YouTube video about the effects of drugs. As I watched the video I had read in the comments section that her name was presumably "Maria Ramos". I got bored one day and decided to google "Maria Ramos" and stumbled on this article. Now before I had found this particular article, I was wondering if she was dead or alive. As I was reading this article, I had found a story of hope. Hope in that you can get out of a dark place with a little help. I myself was once homeless myself but had got off and kept myself off the streets as well. I find her story very intriguing and have a few questions myself. If you don't care to answer that's fine.
 
This comment has been removed by the author.
 
We just found one of her 2 daughters that were given up for adoption. We are still searching for her other daughter.
 
If anyone who is following this post is an experienced private investigator or has knowledge of how to locate children who were adopted in the 70s, please reach out to me. We were able to find one daughter through Ancestry/23andMe. Finding the her other daughter is instrumental in completing the documentary about her life. Please email me at jamiesaari@yahoo.com if you are willing to volunteer your time and knowledge to help us find her second daughter.
 
Does anyone have any information on this woman?
 
Yes, I am filming a documentary about her amazing life. Please stay tuned.
 
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