Teacher’s aide was ‘raped, beaten and strangled, and had her body burned’

Teacher’s aide was ‘raped, beaten and strangled, and had her body burned’ after vanishing on forest walk with her mum

Vanessa Ceja-Ramirez, 22, a teacher’s aide in Harvey, Illinois vanished while walking with her mum and a friend in the Midlothian Meadows Forest Preserve on Wednesday afternoon, November 11. Two days later, police found her remains, which had been burned after a vicious beating.

Ceja-Ramirez’s cause of death was found to be ligature strangulation according to the medical examiner’s office, who ruled her death a homicide Thursday. The Cook County sheriff’s office is conducting an investigation into her death.

“To the individual, we ain’t gonna stop,” said community activist Andrew Holmes. “She was beaten, partially burned and someone intercepted her, and possibly pulled her into a wooded area and basically tortured her.”

“We are going to keep looking until we find out who you are, until we identify you, until you are brought to justice,” he said.

Paying tribute to the college student and teacher’s aide at a vigil, her uncle Alejandro Villegas said. “She was a sweet child that was humble, smiled, shy. She was a good person. And she just didn’t deserve anything of this.”


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Written by

Sarah Keane

Former teacher and health services manager with a Degree in English, Sarah moved to Spain from Southern Ireland with her husband, who runs his own car rental business, in 2019. She is now enjoying a completely different pace and quality of life on the Costa Blanca South, with wonderful Spanish and expat friends in Cabo Roig. Sarah began working with Euro Weekly News in 2020 and loves nothing more than bringing all the latest national and international news to her local community.


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