Headstone mystery for Orosi family finally solved ten years later

Ramirez family now at peace

An Orosi family is overjoyed and at peace now that a headstone recently found in a Dinuba canal has been returned to them.

The headstone belongs to Gonzalo Ramirez.

Ten years ago, the grave marker disappeared from the intersection near Orange Cove where Ramirez was killed in a crash. Then last Thursday, the headstone was spotted in a dry canal in Dinuba.

Monday, Sheriff Margaret Mims invited the Ramirez family to come see the headstone for the first time in ten years.

Reina is Gonzalo's widow and Ricardo is his oldest son.

"It's kind of hard to say much about this because it's kind of unexpected and it was always in the back of our minds. You know it had been over ten years but the thing is well we got it back."

Deputy Jose Lomeli responded to the call last Thursday about the gravestone in the canal.

"I saw how big it was. Thank God I had a couple of partners enroute to go help me. It was just quite a task to get it out of that canal," said Deputy Lomeli.

Deputy Lomeli was determined to find the Ramirez family. He made lots of calls to local cemeteries and the company that made the headstone, but social media made the difference.

"It's just incredible to know that by the end of the following day the family had already reached out to us. I was surprised," said Deputy Lomeli.

Ricardo Ramirez met him for the first time Monday.

"Thank you for everything. I really appreciate it. You have no idea what this means to us. Thank you," said Ramirez.

Ramirez says he was only four when his Dad died. Gonzalo is buried in Mexico but the headstone means so much to his Mother Reina.

"It brings peace of mind to my Mom and to me it's more important to see her happy. Yeah it's good to see it back," said Ramirez.

Sheriff Mims is pleased the mystery has been solved.

"This didn't happen by accident. The family was supposed to have this stone returned to them," said Sheriff Mims.

Sheriff Mims has arranged for a local monument restorer to make the headstone look like new again. He's doing it at no charge.

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