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Prime suspect in 1997 New York cold case murder arrested 26 years later

A former New York corrections officer, who was considered a suspect in his estranged wife's murder in 1997, was arrested this week after more than two decades.

A former New York corrections officer was arrested this week in the March 1997 killing of his ex-wife. 

Rafael Ramos, 54, was a prime suspect in his ex-wife Nusinaida Ramos' death since the early 2000s, just a few years after police found her bloodied body in the living room of her Yonkers, New York, home, which is just few miles north of the Bronx.

He allegedly strangled Ramos with T-shirt and beat her, Westchester County District Attorney Miriam Rocah said during a press conference Thursday. 

The former Sing Sing corrections officer was arrested and indicted Wednesday. He pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder during his arraignment and is being held in Westchester County jail. 

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Rocah didn't give a motive for the alleged murder, but Nusinaida's sister-in-law, Eva Beauchamps, told The Journal News that Rafael was "extremely angry" at the time because Nusinaida wanted to increase child support and considered moving to Florida. 

"I thought I was going to the grave with nothing ever happening in this case," Beauchamps told the local newspaper after Wednesday's arraignment. "It's been a long time coming ... She was so vibrant, so beautiful. You could be having the worst day ever, and she made you laugh 'til your cheeks hurt."

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Rocah announced the indictment, along with the sentencing of the man who killed Pamela Graddick in 2012, on Thursday and said she hopes these actions bring "some measure of closure to the families who have lived with these unsolved cases for a combined 36 years."

Yonkers Police Commissioner Christopher Sapienza applauded the efforts of the Yonkers Police Cold Case detectives, who worked both cases. 

"Words cannot assuage the grief of losing a loved one to violence, so we hope these efforts bring some degree of closure to those who knew Pamela and Nusinaida," Sapienza said in a statement.

There are still 135 unsolved homicide cold cases in Westchester County, which borders New York City, said Rocah, who established the Cold Case Bureau when she took office in 2021. 

Bolstering the efforts of the Bureau’s work, the office was selected for the Department of Justice’s 2022 Bureau of Justice Assistance Grant for Prosecuting Cold Cases Using DNA. 

The $500,000 award, funded over the course of three years, supports an additional full-time ADA to prosecute cases where a suspect's DNA has been identified. 

Anyone with information pertaining to an open homicide case in Westchester County is encouraged to call the DA’s Office 24-hour tips line at (914)995-TIPS. Language assistance is available.

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