When Ramon Estrada was taken to Cedars Sinai as a John Doe and victim of a possible assault, he had already been missing for almost a week.
Unknown Victim of Assault
After being discovered between two parked cars and with two black eyes, a bruised face and a cut on his nose, police tried to identify Estrada – but his hands were two swollen. Unable to identify him, he laid in a hospital bed in a medically induced coma.
But friends had been looking for Estrada since he had disappeared around 1:45 a.m. on July 7, just after calling his boyfriend of nearly 14 years, Michael Shutt, to tell him he was on his way home from his job as a hotel banquet server. He had never showed up.
After having spent the better part of a week with friends scanning the streets and passing out fliers, friend, Wendy Mairena headed to LAPD’s Hollywood Community Police Station with a flier featuring Estrada’s photo. “We didn’t know if he was dead, alive, if somebody kidnapped him,” Mairena said.
Recognized by Flier
But at the police station, the officer working the front desk recognized the face on the flier – Estrada. Once at Cedars Sinai, a hospital worker warned Mairena and friends: Estrada’s condition was dire. Family and friends hoped Estrada would eventually come out of the medically induced coma and recuperate back to full health.
A little over a month after first disappearing – on August 4 – Estrada passed away.
Piecing the Assault Case Together
Officers and those close to Estrada are still working to piece together the time between Estrada’s call to Shutt and the 911 call at 2:06 a.m directly officers to the beaten victim – found just a block from his home. It was only 21 minutes. Surveillance video has provided the only clue – three men running from the scene to a small SUV. Officers believe it might be a Lexus 300 series. But according to LAPD Det. Scott Masterson, there is no way to determine if the men were involved in the assault or just witnesses running for safety.
“We really don’t know why exactly they picked this victim,” Masterson said. “Was it a robbery? Was it a hate crime? Was it somebody out for thrills of beating somebody up?”
Estrada was never able to shed light on the case – he never woke up after the assault.
“I want answers,” said Estrada’s mother, Blanca Ornelas. “They didn’t just destroy my son, they’re destroying me.”
Source: LA Times, Answers sought in beating death of Hollywood man, October, 31, 2014
The Law Office of Peter Berlin – Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney
16130 Ventura Boulevard, Suite 570, Los Angeles, CA 91436