Memorial service planned at racetrack for victim

March 10, 2005|by CANDICE BOSELY

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - Henry Ramirez's life ended violently, but his family members have organized a memorial service that they believe he would appreciate.

The former jockey who was killed two months ago in Louisiana will be remembered Sunday during a service at Charles Town Races & Slots.

Ramirez's grandson, Don D. Ramirez, of Shenandoah Junction, W.Va., said a moment of silence will precede the day's races and he's hoping the entire slate of races can be dedicated in Henry Ramirez's memory.


"He would love it. We really did try to do something that would be in his spirit, and we really tried to do something that would be a tribute to him," Ramirez said of his grandfather. "Given that he had spent his entire life, we're talking from 12-year-old on, with thoroughbred racing, I think he would be pleased with this."

The memorial service will begin at 1 p.m.

Ramirez, 80, was killed in Louisiana on Jan. 6, according to court records. His body was then placed in the back of a rental truck and driven to Berkeley County, where Ramirez was buried in a shallow grave outside of Gerrardstown, W.Va.

His body was found on Jan. 11.

Don Ramirez's sister - Henry Ramirez's granddaughter - Mary Amor Crawford, 34, and her boyfriend, Shawn Jason Cole, 29, were charged with murder in connection with the death.

Police have said that Ramirez was killed after he refused to give Crawford and Cole money. Both were being held without bail in Eastern Regional Jail, awaiting transfer to Louisiana.

A spokesperson in the county prosecutor's office said that Cole and Crawford have refused to return to Louisiana willingly, but Ramirez said he spoke to his sister and she said she wants to go back.

Henry Ramirez raced occasionally at Charles Town, Don Ramirez said. One of the family's mementos is a program from the track's opening day of races in 1939, in which Ramirez participated, he said.

He continued to race there sporadically in the 1940s and 1950s. In 1999 Ramirez returned and played the slot machines, his grandson recalled.

Don Ramirez said he and his family were grateful for the community support they've received during a stressful time.

"It seems a lot longer than just two months," he said.

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