Ramona Duran

My sister, Ramona Duran, 30, died on December 13th, 1998, in Albuquerque. APD closed the case as death by an accidental drug overdose. Our family believes Ramona was murdered because she knew too much about the Albuquerque drug scene, and that her information involved members of APD, city officials, and one particular New Mexico state official.

Ramona was found dead in the apartment of Thomas Green at 324 Texas SE. Another resident of that apartment was Ricky Pike. According to the police report, Pike and Green told police that they were drinking beer when Ramona came by and wanted to party with them and the three drank beer and smoked crack all night and into the next day. Yet the autopsy report says there was no alcohol in Ramona's blood. It also says the cause of death was "Injected/Ingested Illicit Drugs, Morphine and Cocaine" and that there were fresh hypodermic needle punctures in Ramonaís arms. You donít get needle punctures from smoking crack. And morphine is definitely not a street drug. I've talked to people on the street about this and asked them how you'd go about getting your hands on morphine. They've told me you can't. It's a medical drug. The only way you can get it is from someone with medical connections.

Officer Killinger, the first police officer at the scene, reported a strong odor of gas, and two officers reported bruises on both Ramona's arms above the elbows. That's in their reports. The reports say that Officer Killinger advised his sergeant that it was a suspicious death, but APD won't allow us to talk to the officers that reported the bruising. Also her nose appeared not right and she had a lump on her forehead near her hairline. Our mom asked the coroner about it and he said that it had to have happened before her death as once she is dead a knot cannot form.

Our family believes Ramona was sedated with gas and then held down by the arms and injected with a lethal combination of drugs. In his handwritten report, Officer Gibson states that a couple of tenants described to him how they heard a female's voice screaming in the apartment. In the official typed version for the case file, that statement has been changed to say that the tenants "heard the party during the night. They also heard a female laughing and screaming early in the morning," making it sound like Ramona was having a drunken good time at a party. There's nothing about a party and laughter in Officer Gibson's report. That was added later. One of those tenants also said she saw an unidentified black male going in and out of that apartment.

I asked for copies of the interviews that APD had with Ricky Pike and Thomas Green, but they refused to give me information on how to obtain them. I tried to talk to the men on my own, but they refused to talk to me, and the police have told me they have a perfect right not to. Police reports state that the scene was photographed and videotaped, but the police wonít allow our family to view the tape and photographs. Homicide Detective Rick Foley said that the only way we can see those pictures is to have a request submitted by a private investigator. He knows our family canít afford a private investigator.

Ramona did not have an easy life. In early 1997 she was abducted, held captive in a motel, and repeatedly raped. She finally got away from the man who had abducted her and got a police officer who was close by and notified him of the happenings. They found the man hiding behind a bed in an adjoining room. The police took this man by force. After the rape my sister fell apart. She turned to drugs and got arrested. That's when she turned state's evidence and gave the police more information than she should have about people in high positions.

Ramona got counseling, got off drugs and turned her life around. At the time of her death she was on supervised probation and enrolled in an out patient substance abuse program. Her probation officer did regular testing and has stated that Ramona remained clean. She had a full time job where they just loved her, was raising her young son, and was doing great. There is no way in the world that she would have gone over to the apartment of people like that and done drugs for twenty-four hours.

The cops apparently leaked information that Ramona had fingered certain people, because she began to get threats. She told family members she feared for her life. She was then raped again one month after she was released from jail. Ramona told Liz, a friend of hers, that a nurse from UNM Hospital invited Ramona to a party where the high-ups would be. We suspect that nurse may be the person who supplied the morphine she was killed with.

There are so many unanswered questions about my sister's death and the police

don't care. Just because she was Hispanic she was nothing to them. I don't know where to turn anymore for help. Itís an awful feeling to know that my sister was killed but the APD writes it off. I know she did not inject herself with drugs. Life was going so good for her and was getting better. I vow I will not give up until we find out the truth. I just have to.

 Valerie Duran

Update, July 2004: 

Ramona Duran's family has long believed that Ramona was murdered by hired killers because she "knew too much" about drug activities involving people in influential positions.

It now appears their suspicions might be justified.In May 2004, Chief Judge John Brennan of Albuquerque was arrested on narcotics charges.That opened a can of worms that may affect a number of cases on this web site.

In June 2004, KRQE TV aired information from a confidential narcotics report about drug activities involving, not only Judge Brennan, but numerous other prominent NM judges, attorneys and members of the state legislature dating back many years."It draws on a variety of sources and reads like a Who's Who of the New Mexico drug underworld," the reporter said."Judges, lawyers, politicians, sports celebrities and prominent businessmen appear in the report right along side the State's narcotics kingpins."David Iglesias, US Attorney for New Mexico, called the detailed document about drug smuggling and money laundering in New Mexico "a page-turner I couldn't put down."

The Durans and other NM families who believe their loved ones were killed because they "knew too much," (Kaitlyn Arquette, Stephen Haar, Peter Klunck, etc.), are eager to learn the identities of the VIP drug traders whose names are contained in that report.But they have been told that those names cannot be released, because the VIPs have not been arrested.