Suspect in 1982 rape and murder of teen to face charges

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Hawaiian resident Gary Ramirez, 75, is to face charges connected to the raping and killing of a 15-year-old Palo Alto girl in 1982. He was flown to California on Saturday. 

In September 1982, Palo Alto High School student Karen Stitt was dropped off at a bus stop between El Camino Real and Wolfe Road after going out with her boyfriend in Sunnyvale. 

The following morning, her body was found around 100 yards from the bus stop. 

According to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, she had been sexually assaulted and had multiple stab wounds. 

For decades, there were no potential leads. 

But in 2019, a Sunnyvale detective received a tip that helped identify the main suspect. Gary Ramirez was a former Fresno resident whose DNA matched the blood and bodily fluid samples found on Stitt’s body.

The Santa Clara County, Maui, and federal law enforcement collaborated and arrested Ramirez at his home on August 2. 

If found guilty, Ramirez faces life in prison without parole. 

Anyone with more information on Ramirez is urged to contact the county district attorney’s cold case prosecutor Rob Baker at rbaker@dao.sccgov.org.