Crime | Mexico | Mexico City | News

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.

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  1. "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.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Nov 1, 2011 4:37:11 PM

  2. 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.

    Posted by: Julian | Nov 1, 2011 5:28:09 PM

  3. 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.

    Posted by: Wilberforce | Nov 1, 2011 5:34:05 PM

  4. @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.

    Posted by: Ninong | Nov 1, 2011 6:49:43 PM

  5. 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.

    Posted by: Mark | Nov 1, 2011 6:52:58 PM


    Posted by: Shannon | Nov 2, 2011 12:23:31 AM

  7. 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.

    Posted by: catman2011 | Nov 2, 2011 10:19:13 AM

  8. 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."

    Posted by: Edd | Nov 2, 2011 12:26:40 PM

  9. 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

    Posted by: Jon | Nov 7, 2011 6:34:19 PM

  10. 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 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

    Posted by: Eve | Nov 16, 2011 8:44:27 AM

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  13. 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.

    Posted by: Khan | Jan 3, 2014 4:59:25 AM

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