Los Angeles: The Los Angeles Police Department’s Robbery-Homicide detectives arrested suspects in a 1993 apartment fire which killed twelve people.
On May 3, 1993, around 4:40 p.m, a fire broke out in an apartment complex located in the 300 block of S. Burlington Avenue in the Rampart Area of Los Angeles
The fast moving fire was extinguished by the Los Angeles Fire Department. Rescue efforts by the LAFD personnel evacuated several residents to safety, unfortunately despite their valiant efforts, 12 people perished in the fire. The victims, seven children, three adults, and two unborn children died as a result of the intense heat and smoke from the fire.
Initial investigative efforts by LAFD arson investigators and LAPD detectives determined the fire was intentionally set and that the deaths were a result of arson related fire.
Over the next 20 years, the investigation continued into this heinous crime. Several leads were developed over the years, unfortunately the information was not sufficient to obtain a prosecution of the potential suspects.
In early 2013, Robbery-Homicide Division assumed investigative responsibility and was asked to take a new look at the crime. As a result of the fresh examination of this crime, investigative strategies were developed that led to the identity of the primary suspects involved and sufficient evidence was obtained to secure a filing of twelve counts each for four individuals for murder with special circumstances with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
On Friday, February 3, 2017, Ramiro Valerio, 43, of Palmdale, and Joseph Monge, 41, of Montebello, were arrested for murder with special circumstances. On Tuesday, February 7, 2017, Johanna Lopez, 51, who is currently in custody on charges related to this crime, will be arrested for murder with special circumstances.
A forth individual is currently being sought in connection with this case. Because he has fled the Country and the release of his identity would impact our ability to apprehend him, we are unable to provide his identity at this time.
Ramiro Valerio is being held on $25,000,000 bail and Joseph Monge is being held on a $2,000,000 bail.
During the course of the investigation, it was learned that the fire was set as a warning to individuals who resided in the apartment complex and were attempting to stop the illegal sales of narcotics that were occurring at the apartment complex. Johanna Lopez, Ramiro Valerio, and Joseph Monge were involved in the sales of the narcotics in and around the complex and were responsible for starting the fire that caused the death of 12 innocent people.