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Charges could come Monday against suspect who allegedly killed mother, removed baby

Charges could come Monday against suspect who allegedly killed mother, removed baby

By Melissa McCrady. CREATED Oct 9, 2011 - UPDATED: Oct 10, 2011

MILWAUKEE - The family of Maritza Ramirez-Cruz is in shock. Reality hasn’t set in that the 23-year-old mother and her unborn son were murdered in a heinous way.

Christian Mercado is Ramirez-Cruz’s husband. He had his stepmother, Darla Guiterrez, speak on his behalf because he does not speak English. “He wants everybody to remember that she was a good person. She never did anything bad to anybody and she would help anybody out if they needed help,” Guiterrez said.

“We still can't believe it. We know it's true but we can't believe it and the whole family is taking it real hard,” Guiterrez explained.

Police say a 33-year-old woman murdered Ramirez-Cruz and forcibly removed her baby, then tried to pass it off as her own.

"She's pregnant.  There was proof she was pregnant.  There was baby stuff in their house," said Keila Perez, who said she was a neighbor and friend of the suspect.

That suspect could be charged Monday, and the Milwaukee Police Department tells TODAY'S TMJ4's Melissa McCrady that they were preparing their case to give to the Milwaukee County District Attorney's office today.

Ramirez-Cruz’s body was discovered late Friday inside the basement of the suspect’s home on the city’s south side. That woman is now in custody, but hasn’t been criminally charged.

“I would like to see her put away for the rest of her life for what she did to her and the baby,” Guiterrez said.

Guiterrez says Ramirez-Cruz was scheduled to give birth on October 16th to a baby boy they named Omar. It would have been her fourth child. They had a baby shower last month and the nursery already set up.

Mercado says his wife had mild contractions Thursday morning. She left the house around 9:15 a.m. to run a quick errand then return home. Mercado went to work, but asked her to call him if she wanted to go to the hospital. He says around 11 a.m. he called Ramirez-Cruz, but she didn’t answer.

Thursday night the family started an all out search.

“We went out to all the hospitals (and) showed the picture of her and nothing,” Guiterrez said.

Mercado then filed a police report. He says more than 24 hours later he got a phone call from police saying a body they found matched her description.

Mercado and Ramirez-Cruz have three kids ages 6 and younger.

“Right now he's holding it together for the kids,” Guiterrez said.

The family says police showed them a picture of the suspect when they went to positively identify Ramirez-Cruz’s body.

“No, we don't know her. We don't know anything about her,” Guiterrez insisted.

Now they’re left with many unanswered questions and Ramirez-Cruz’s three kids are left without their mother and little brother, forever.

Mercado is seeking help. As a hard working single father, he doesn’t know how he’s going to survive alone.

The family says they plan to set up a "Maritza Ramirez" fund to help take care of funeral costs and other expenses.