Parolee Murdered U.S. Flight Attendant Nick Aaronson After Meeting Him at Mexico City Gay Bar


Yesterday I reported on the tragic murder of US Airways flight attendant Nick Aaronson, who was found bound and strangled in his hotel room in Mexico City. At the time it was reported that a man had been arrested.

That man is Jose Luis Ramirez, a convicted criminal out of prison on parole, also known by another alias, José Luis Cuellar, and a nickname (The Shadow), according to Mexican paper Excelsior.

Surveillance still images show the two men entering the hotel at the front desk and at the elevator bank.


The Examiner adds:

"Excelsior further reports that the footage shows the two men were stopped by hotel security upon entering the hotel, being assured by the victim that the man was a friend.  Hotel personnel then requested the additional guest be registered.  Ramirez was later apprehended by local authorities near the Cinema Club, a nearby gay bar where the suspect first met the victim, although he had shaved his head to change his appearance. Handwriting analysis later confirmed the identity of Ramirez as being the man who appears in the footage."

Reuters adds: Aaronson

Ramirez, who has been in jail before, admitted to entering Aaronson's room and beating him. He shaved his head to avoid detection but authorities found him around the same bar in Mexico City's historical center where he and Aaronson first met.

Anita Aaronson, Nick's mother, poured out her emotion on her Facebook page, posting videos of the young redhead singing karaoke. She said on Sunday the Federal Bureau of Investigation called her to say her son's killer was in custody. "I can't stop thinking about my boy, he died in such an awful way, I keep thinking of his pain and fear," she wrote.

The motive for the murder was robbery, according to Mexico City prosecutor Miguel Angel Mancera, for which Ramirez had a previous criminal record. Ramirez was apprehended because he stole Aaronson's iPhone and authorites were able to track the suspect down using the GPS on the phone.

The Guardian adds:

"When officers paraded Ramirez before journalists Monday, he told reporters that he had turned himself at the bar where authorities said he and Aaronson met. Ramirez said with profane language that he only punched Aaronson twice but insisted he did not kill the victim. He claimed a 15-year-old friend was responsible for the slaying of Aaronson, who was based in Phoenix, Arizona. Mancera said Ramirez will remain in custody of prosecutors before seeing a judge."

Our deepest condolences to Nick Aaronson's family, friends, and fellow employees.


  1. jason says

    This is such a horrible event. My heart goes out to Nick Aaronson’s family. It also illustrates the dangers of taking complete strangers back home. It is potentially extremely dangerous. It’s always best to make an appointment for the next day or, alternatively, to use your sixth sense. Easier said than done.

    As the alleged killer, I hope that, following a trial and conviction, he goes to jail for a very, very long time.

  2. TampaZeke says

    Such a senseless waste of life.

    Rest in Peace Nick.

    And Mr. Ramirez will probably be featured on the next episode of Mexico’s Stupidest Criminals. He had to know that he was on surveillance cameras in the hotel; he then SIGNED IN at the desk and then took the victims IPhone which is fully equipped with GPS traceability and traced him back to the very bar where the crime initiated.

    Thank god(dess) so many criminals are dumb as bricks.

  3. Johnny says

    So tragic. A horrid reminder of how dangerous it is to take a stranger home with you.

    I met Nick once and what a great man he was. The world lost somebody beautiful for no reason whatsoever.

  4. Nick says

    Nick Aaronson’s death is tragic. It makes me wince, and my heart goes out to his family and friends.

    However, I think that this article’s headline went too far and could rightly be called irresponsible. Sure, Mr. Ramierez was the person last seen with Mr. Aaronson, but it cannot be said with reasonable certainty — yet — that he is the true perpetrator. An investigation is ongoing, a case against the defendant is being made. Currently, Mr. Ramierez is the “suspect” in Mr. Aaronson’s death.

  5. Francis says

    Very sad. If this is the perpetrator than hopefully he’s locked up for a long time so he can’t cause any more crimes. My best wishes go out to Nick’s family and friends who must be unbelievably devastated.

    Also, I agree. Sadly, this is yet another cautionary tale that highlights how careful everybody, but especially LGBTQ people, have to be when it comes to bringing a stranger home to your house and anyone you get involved with.

  6. Mark says

    I’ve been through Brazil so many times in the past 20 years and hotels are so harsh with allowing non-registered guests, with good reason. Bet robbery is common with “guests” be they male or female. Much different from NYC where you could bring 10 people to your room. Good for the Hilton, which made the police’s job that much easier – the guest doesn’t have to just sign, they have to leave some form of ID which is copied. No ID, no hotel room visit.

    Looking for a hookup – use a “reliable” escort agency online if you must. At least the guys are screened and traceable. Brazil and Spain have well known gay escort agencies. Better a little poorer than ending up Nick.

  7. says

    I don’t think people can be expected to truly know whether the sexy person they’re taking to their hotel—who has signed in willingly and knows he’s on surveillance video and has spoken with the concierge—is so batshit crazy he’d then commit murder, knowing almost certainly that he’ll be caught. I hate when people seize on stories like this to cluck their tongues and say we should be more careful. I would suggest that his being in a hotel with witnesses and surveillance, etc., was pretty careful. I don’t judge him at all. It could have happened to anyone in the world who’s ever had a one-night or one-hour stand.

  8. Mark says

    I’m not judging him, just relaying my experiences. Mexico City has more of a crime reputation than Rio and I’d expect at least this hotel to follow the rules of the premiere hotels in Rio and Sao Paulo from now on: if the additional person isn’t registered on day one, you can’t add them later. No exceptions.

  9. JWL says

    He is obviously the murderer, so Im fine with the headline. He should go to prison forever. He is trying to find a fifteen year old to place the blame on because nothing would happen to him, but he is obviously guilty. He was there, he admits to beating him, he stole his property. People need to be very careful bringing home tricks from bars, especially in dumps like Mexico. Mexico has ruined its tourism in the past five years with their horrible drug war.

  10. JWL says

    and WHY are they parading him in from of a Step and Repeat wall like hes going to a boxing match? Tacky.

  11. Gregoire says

    Um, what flight attendent could afford to use an ‘escort’ agency or would even know which one to use? He did what many of us would do. I’m sure he exhibited caution, I’m sure he was not naive. Unfortunately, he happened to meet the wrong guy on the wrong night. This is a tragedy. This is not an object lesson.

  12. ohplease says

    “It could have happened to anyone in the world who’s ever had a one-night or one-hour stand.”

    “Unfortunately, he happened to meet the wrong guy on the wrong night. This is a tragedy. This is not an object lesson.”

    And these are the arguments for why there’s nothing to learn from this? This is why there’s nothing the victim could have done differently? The mind boggles at the rationalization for having sex with anyone, anywhere regardless of any reason not to.

    Yes, it could happen to anyone. Therefore don’t pick up strangers in bars in foreign countries and take them back to your hotel room. Anita Aaronson will spend the rest of her life wishing that her son had not done just that.

    And do you honestly, really, actually think that if Nick Aaronson could send one message back to you from his grave today that he would not tell you exactly that?

  13. rayy says

    It’s terrible that someone would do this. And yes, it’s very risky hooking up with someone you just met. Is it really that urgent? I’ve taken risks before, but I am honest with myself that it was a risk.

  14. Sean says

    Regardless of country or city, there is always a risk of falling upon a murderous trick; it may be one chance in a hundred but unless you want to play Russian Roulette for a sexual adventure, just don’t unless you have safeguards – like copy of I’D, a nearby friend etc. This has happened in Paris, New York, London, Miami, Athens etc and is not more likely to happen in Mexico than the town nearest you.

    If you must trick with a stranger, do it in a neutral place like a gay sauna or, in a Latin country, a “love motel” that rents by the hour; that what locals do.

  15. jakeinlove says

    How sad. I’ve been watching this on the news since he’s from Phoenix. I just don’t understand.

  16. zeddy says

    This is such a sad story. But wow, that could happen to so many people including myself. I have been to Mexico City several times and love it but stick to nice places in Roma or Zona Rosa like Lipstick. Never downtown. Still, that temptation after several drinks and the people are so friendly…going to the after hour clubs and meet the wrong guy and it’s over.

  17. Hollywood, CA says

    My condolences to the family.

    I seriously can’t believe that more gay guys don’t end up this way. You meet someone you’re sexually attracted to, and you either take them home(alone), or go to their place. If gay men were woman, some people would say that it’s their own fault. But, because it’s two guys, is it just an occupational hazard?

    And size certainly doesn’t matter. They can drug you, tazer gun you, hit you with a blunt object, stab you, and on and on. So, since we’re not going to stop having risky sex, at least we can do something to even up the odds. Tell someone what’s going on, so they can at least check on you later.


  18. Kerry says

    I agree with Sean’s comments. Sad to say but the flight attendant was ultimately responsible for his own death.

  19. dancobbb says

    If a fifteen year old kid supposedly did the murder, let’s see the video of him entering and exiting the hotel!

  20. Derrick from Philly says

    “Sad to say but the flight attendant was ultimately responsible for his own death.”

    No, Kerry, and I’m going to believe you didn’t mean it as you wrote it.

  21. Julian says

    Please stop bashing Mexico, and Mexico City in particular. It is much, much safer than Detroit or New Orleans any night of the week. I live here, and feel toally safe.

  22. says

    This doesn’t just happen abroad.
    Luckily, I spent my younger years in SF and NY, and hooked up occassionally.
    Years latter in Seattle, I’ve twice run across obvious bashers in the bars, trying to get me to take them home. And luckily, I was old enough to see who they were. Had I been younger, with hormones popping, I might not have.
    It’s what happened to this lovely man.
    Bottom line: younger people especially need to be careful with hookups. You don’t have the experience to read someone’s character. And your hormones may cloud your judgement.
    It’s not moralizing to say it. Just good advice.

  23. Ninong says

    @DANCOBB: The reason there is no video of the 15-year-old friend entering or exiting the hotel is because he’s an imaginary friend.

  24. Mark says

    Julian, the State Department doesn’t issue travel warnings to American businesspeople visiting Detroit or New Orleans. You might have acclimated but Mexico City is a notorious crime zone from the moment you land at the airport and possibly get into a bad cab.

  25. Shannon says


  26. catman2011 says

    His murder is eerily similar to the murder of a college friend 25 years ago in Florida. In fact, when the story first appeared online, I read it several times and was going to leave an anonymous tip with the Phoenix police (something I’ve never done) to describe the similarities and where I thought they’d find the killer. Because of hotel surveillance, they already had a suspect in mind, from just where I thought they’d find the culprit. My friend wasn’t so fortunate. He was stabbed to death, not strangled, and without video from the crime scene, it took decades to find the killer, who by then was already dead. Before I knew Nick was gay, I suspected somebody that young and so strikingly handsome, with a beautiful smile and being that rarity a redhead in Mexico, in addition to working in an occupation known to be populated my numerous gay men, that my suspicions were probably right. Just like my friend, he just picked up the wrong person (an excon in both cases) and actually (unknowingly) invited his own murderer inside to kill him.

  27. Edd says

    I think the message Nick would send back from the grave is, “If you’re going to cheat on your boyfriend, don’t do it at a hotel with surveilence cameras.”

  28. Jon says

    I knew Nick and I just found out this past weekend. He was a good friend and a total sweetheart. I had known him for several years and we always had a great time dancing on the dancefloor at Charlies (a local gay bar here in Phoenix). When my friend flew out from California to go to gay pride with me Nick let him crash at his place while we went out. Not even knowing my friend and letting basically a stranger chill at his place till we were done partying and celebrating. That is the kind of person Nick was and that is what I want to remember him as. My heart goes out to his mother and the rest of his family. I will miss you and you crazy antics Nick

  29. Eve says

    To Nick’s family:

    I was devistated to hear about the loss of your son and a fellow FA who like the rest of Us joined the aviation ranks to serve and protect those in our charge.

    I look back to times when travelling abroad both overseas and of course, the US when I certainly could have been more self aware of the company I kept.

    Being in the air, always on the go, always a gate to make ect. ect. can and oft times is a lonely road. FA’s are a friendly group always there to lend a hand…an ear…

    I hope that something..anything good can come from such a tragedy. FA’s keep your gaurd up, be friendly, be kind but let us all remember that evil lurks around every corner and that our safety should not only focus on board but on the ground as well. Be careful out there fellow sky angels. So so sorry to hear of this news from My AFA news letter.

    Eve. Retired US Airways FA

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  31. Khan says

    Trust your gut instinct. Unless you live under a rock and never leave your home, we all meet strangers at different places. And it’s not always about sex. You can help someone out of the kindness of your heart by offering someone a ride and ended up getting killed. I have been in the same situation as this fly attendant many times before and came close to some very dangerous situation, but good thing I listened to my gut feelings. It’s the little voice in your head that keep telling you something is not right, eventhough, the other person presented themselves well. Unfortunately some mistakes cannot be undone.