Three Arrested in Murder-for-Hire Investigation
2013-11-19 · By Editor
Monday, November 18, 2013, Long Beach Police announced the arrest of three suspects in a pre-meditated murder plot, which left the victim near death, and detectives are asking for anyone who saw the suspects in the area to come forward.
On October 11, 2013, at approximately 9:20 p.m., Long Beach Police responded to a report of a person screaming in the area of 69th place and Ocean Boulevard. When officers arrived, they found a 62-year-old woman in her home that had been severely beaten. She was transported to a local hospital in critical condition, and the initial prognosis was that she may not survive.
Homicide detectives responded to the scene due to the severity of the victim’s injuries and her condition, and began working the investigation. Initially, it appeared the incident may have been a home invasion robbery, therefore robbery detectives were called in to continue the investigation. Robbery detectives took the lead in the case, while continuing to work closely with homicide detectives. Together, they discovered disturbing evidence that this was not a home invasion robbery as originally suspected, but a murder for hire plot, with the victim specifically targeted. Equally disturbing was the fact that the suspects who planned the murder were family members.
Through the course of the investigation, detectives learned that the victim’s daughter, identified as 40-year-old Holly Ramos, had been arrested in Monterey County, California on child endangerment and narcotics related charges. As a result, Holly’s two children, ages 2 and 4, were taken from her and her husband, 40-year-old Frank Haverly, also from Monterey County, and placed into foster care. At that time, the victim began the process with the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to become a foster parent to her grandchildren.
It is believed that both Holly and Frank planned out the crime, and enlisted the services of 50-year-old Keith Phillips, also from Monterey County, to travel to Long Beach to carry out the plot of killing the victim. Suspect Phillips drove to Long Beach on October 11, 2013, and contacted the victim at her home while impersonating a DCFS employee from Monterey County. The victim, believing him to be a legitimate DCFS employee, allowed him access into her home and spent a considerable amount of time with him discussing the foster care placement process. While in the home, the suspect violently and viciously attacked the victim with a blunt metal object shaped like a bat, and also attempted to suffocate her, causing her life-threatening injuries. The suspect made it clear to the victim that he was there to kill her and she would not live through the attack. What the suspect did not anticipate was the victim’s will to survive. Eventually, the suspect gave up his attack, left the home, and ultimately returned to the Monterey County area.
The victim immediately suspected her family as being involved in the attack and provided detectives with information that was crucial to the investigation. To ensure the individuals suspected of being involved did not learn they were under investigation, no information regarding the incident was released to the public.
Detectives submitted material that was collected for DNA analysis, which resulted in the identification of Keith Philips. Detectives used a variety of investigative resources and techniques to obtain the necessary evidence in this case. Over the last few weeks, detectives took several trips to Northern California and worked closely with the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department and the Veteran’s Administration Police in Menlo Park, where surveillance was conducted and additional evidence was gathered. As the investigation progressed, detectives obtained corroborating evidence that Holly and Frank were associates of Phillips, had been in contact with him prior to the crime, and together mapped out the plan.
Part of the very comprehensive investigation detectives put together included writing 18 search warrants, and working with other government agencies to obtain current information on the suspects. Because the suspects were living in an RV park in Northern California, detectives rented a motor home and conducted surveillance on the suspects in order to affect the arrest.
On Thursday, November 14th, all three suspects were taken into custody without incident and booked for the attempted murder of our victim. Holly and Frank were arrested at an RV park in Monterey County. Frank was also on probation for a narcotics related charge. Keith Phillips was arrested at a VA hospital in Menlo Park. The suspects were held at the Long Beach City Jail on 25 million dollars bail each pending their arraignment.
This morning, detectives presented the case to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, along with evidence illustrating how all three suspects conspired to commit this horrific crime. Their arraignment was scheduled for this afternoon at 1:30 p.m., at Long Beach Superior Court. They were then transferred to the custody of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. For further information on charges filed against the defendants, please contact the LA County DA’s office. A possible motive for the attack is that it may have occurred to prevent the victim from seeking custody of the children, but it remains under investigation”
The victim’s resilience clearly enabled her to fight back and survive this brutal attack. She remained hospitalized for several weeks recovering from extensive injuries. Although she has been discharged from the hospital, she has undergone two surgeries, has additional surgeries scheduled, and is still in a facility receiving full-time care due to her injuries. This has been a tragic ordeal for the victim, and she does not wish to speak to the media at this time. The children remain in foster care at an undisclosed location.
Detectives are seeking the public’s help and asking anyone who may have seen Holly Ramos and/or Frank Haverly with Keith Phillips, in or around the Long Beach or Monterey County area, on October 11th or 12th to please contact Long Beach Police Robbery Detectives Fermin Gonzalez and Donald Collier at (562) 570-7464. Anonymous tips may be submitted by calling 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), texting TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or visiting www.lacrimestoppers.org.
This has been an extensive and exhaustive investigation requiring a significant amount of resources, which could not have accomplished without the assistance of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department, the Monterey County Department of Children and Family Services, the Monterey County Probation Department, and the United States Department of Veteran Affairs Police.
Lastly, we would like to extend our gratitude to the community members who initially alerted police to this crime, and to those who located suspicious items in their neighborhood that would later be connected to this case. Those items ultimately turned out to be evidence determined crucial to this investigation. Long Beach Police continues to encourage the community to be aware of what is taking place in your neighborhoods and to report suspicious activity immediately by calling 9-1-1 – “see something … say something!”