SAN SABA, Texas (KXAN) — San Saba Police Chief Dwayne Shaw says they have issued a murder warrant for Bernardo Ramirez, 27, in connection to an 18-year-old woman’s death overnight, and an all-out manhunt is underway in Lampasas and San Saba counties — involving the Texas Rangers, deputies with Lampasas and San Saba counties, state game wardens and Texas Department of Public Safety troopers. The multiple agencies are also getting help from search dogs from prison units in Gatesville, scouring parts of Lampasas County Thursday morning for the man authorities believe was involved in a woman’s death Wednesday night. More troopers are also being called for reinforcement.
Shaw says Ramirez, who has lived in the area for several years, is from Austin. Authorities are looking for him after San Saba officers found Maria Ramirez’s body lying on South Water Street. Police didn’t offer any other details about her death. However, they say a San Saba officer tried to stop Ramirez — driving the SUV described as the suspect car in the death — near the county line between San Saba and Lampasas counties around 9:40 p.m. Wednesday. Ramirez allegedly pulled over but took off running as police approached the SUV. Police say they couldn’t keep up with him during the chase and lost him.
Sometime later, police say Ramirez found a White Ford Expedition to drive and crossed into Lampasas County, and that’s where other agencies got involved. Authorities have since found that Expedition, without the suspect inside. The discovery happened around 6:40 a.m. Thursday, and authorities now believe the suspect is getting around on foot.
“We don’t know (if he’s armed), so until proven otherwise we feel it’s better to go ahead and assume he’s armed and treat it as that,” said Shaw. “Better to be safe than sorry.”
Ismael Ramirez was on his way home from work when he received a phone call about his younger sister.
“By the time I arrived I just saw my sister laying down right there with a lot of blood and I couldn’t believe it was her,” he said. “It was just hurting me.”
Police believe Maria and the suspect have two children together.
DPS Trooper Harpin Meyers says the search area is along the Colorado River, including about 5 square miles in the area where U.S. 190 crosses the county line. Authorities are searching barns, sheds, secluded areas, brushy areas. There are also troopers and game wardens searching different county and farm roads in the area.
“It’s scary to know he’s out there and they haven’t been able to catch him,” one neighbor said.
“My mind is just going crazy,” said Ismael Ramirez. “Just like, my little sister is gone. He took another half of my heart.”
Investigators say even though the relationship between Bernardo and Maria had ended, a motive in the murder is still unclear.
Authorities are asking neighbors to be vigilant and report anything suspicious to 911. Meyers is asking neighbors to keep their homes and properties well-lit through the night.