Gary Ramirez

Gary Ramirez, 75, was arrested on August 2, 2022, for the September 3, 1982 murder of 15-year-old Karen Stitt in Sunnyvale, California.

Stitt was with her 17-year-old boyfriend, David Woods, that evening. He left her at about midnight near the bus stop where she was killed, as he was afraid of being home late.

Her body was found by a truck driver the following morning behind a cinderblock retaining wall near the bus stop. She was naked and had been stabbed 59 times. She had been sexually assaulted, and her hands were bound behind her back with her own shirt. Disturbed leaves and soil at her feet show that she lay moving on the ground where her killer left her for some time before she died.

A DNA profile of the suspect was developed in 2000 from semen taken from Stitt’s body, blood found on her jacket, and a drop of blood on a cinderblock at the crime scene.

The FIGG investigation was conducted by Barbara Rae-Venter of Firebird Forensics. The suspect list was narrowed down to four brothers, of which Ramirez was one. Investigators identified him as the leading suspect when his DNA was matched to that voluntarily provided by his grandchild.

Ramirez was born in Fresno and lived in the San Francisco Bay Area at the time of the murder. Ramirez has waived extradition and will be transported from Maui to face charges of kidnapping, rape, and first-degree murder in Santa Clara County Superior Court. He has no prior criminal record.

Stitt’s boyfriend was long a suspect in her murder. He was only cleared after a DNA profile of the suspect was obtained.


Associated Press. “Blood Left on Victim’s Jacket Leads to Arrest in 1982 Murder of Teen.” Forensic Magazine, August 10, 2022. Accessed August 12, 2022.

Dremann, Sue. “Man Charged in 1982 Cold-Case Murder of Palo Alto Teen.” Palo Alto Online, August 9, 2022. Last Modified August 10, 2022. Accessed August 12, 2022.

Kalmbacher, Colin. “Hawaii Man Charged in 1982 Cold Case Kidnapping, Rape and Murder of 15-Year-Old California Girl Found Stabbed 59 Times.” Law & Crime, August 10, 2022. Accessed August 12, 2022.

Prodis Sulek, Julia. “She Was Stabbed 59 Times 40 Years Ago. Now, a DNA Match Has Led Sunnyvale Police to Maui to Bring Back Her Suspected Killer.” Mercury News, August 9, 2022. Accessed August 12, 2022.

Rae-Venter, Barbara. Personal Communication. January 3, 2024.


First Name Gary
Last Name Ramirez
Other Names
Victims 1 (Details)
IGG Started nd
Case Cleared 2022-08-02
IGG Org Barbara Rae-Venter; Firebird


Case ID Name Age Case Opened Location Investigating Org Most Serious Charge Disposition Court
1736 Karen Stitt 15 1982-09-03 Sunnyvale, CA Sunnyvale DPS Second degree murder Case is currently pending before the court Santa Clara CO SUP CT

Last updated: February 13, 2024

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Case data and narrative licensed under CC BY 4.0: Dowdeswell, Tracey (2023), “Forensic Genetic Genealogy Project v. 2022”, Mendeley Data, V1, doi: 10.17632/jcycgvhm96.1. All other content, including photos, have been added.