ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A man accused of raping a child has disappeared, and police are seeking information to help find him.
Although Joaquin Ramirez Jr., 41, was charged with two counts of criminal sexual penetration of a minor earlier this year, a family friend believes he’s innocent and is concerned he’s been harmed.
According to a Rio Rancho Police news release, Ramirez was last seen about 6:25 p.m. April 18. He told his family he was going for a walk in the Gral Trevino Drive area but never returned.
Ramirez was known to walk to the Barnes and Noble Booksellers store on Ellison Road in Albuquerque, according to the release. He was last seen wearing blue jeans, a gray shirt and black leather shoes, and is 5 feet, 8 inches tall and about 200 pounds.
Anyone with information on the well-being or whereabouts of Ramirez is asked to contact Detective Steve Gill at 891-5952.
In January, a woman called police, saying her 12-year-old daughter had disclosed Ramirez had raped her four years before. The girl later told investigators he had raped her twice, and beat and threatened her when she said she would tell someone.
Ramirez family friend DeeDee Blase said Ramirez told her he’s innocent, and she believes him.
Blase said the child was living out of state at the time she said Ramirez raped her, although her family knew him. Blase also provided a request for a restraining order in which Ramirez says the girl made the accusations to get attention and may not have known the repercussions on the family.
The girl’s mother, whose name is being withheld to protect the identity of the child, confirmed the family was living in a separate state during the alleged assault, but she still believed her daughter’s allegations.
Blase said she was on her way to Albuquerque to participate in a volunteer search effort, check area hotels and distribute 300 fliers along the route Ramirez often walked.
“We’re putting on an all-out manhunt,” she said.
The girl’s mother thought Ramirez had fled.
She said he gained access to $2,000 the day he disappeared, and her friends who live nearby saw furniture being loaded into a truck from his house at 1 a.m. in the days before.
The mother also said Ramirez had told her he would flee to Mexico if he was in trouble.
Blase said it was possible Ramirez had fled prosecution, but she didn’t think it was likely.
“He told me he’s waiting for his day in court,” Blase said.
Blase said two of the child’s relatives had made threats against Ramirez, and she was concerned they’d killed him. She provided screen shots of Facebook messages that said, “…you better hope and prey (sic) I never see your ugly (expletive) face,” and “You will go to jail, and I hope they kill you.”
The mother said her family wouldn’t have hurt Ramirez, and his sons would have told her immediately if something happened to him.
Blase said Ramirez might also have checked into a hotel for a week to think things through.