Richard Ramirez’s Teeth – What’s the Buzz?

By: MRT Desk

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Richard Ramirez’s Teeth

Many of you have watched the current true crime docuseries Night Stalker: The Hunt for A Serial Killer on Netflix. The series revolves around the tales of serial killer Richard Ramirez, who terrorized Los Angeles and San Francisco from 1984 to 1986. His murdering spree became the talk of the town. His story was also presented fictionally in 2019’s American Horror Story: 1984. 

As per the records, the Night Stalker killed around 13 people around California and attacked more. There is one thing common among all his survivors – they have a vivid memory of how his ‘rotten teeth’ looked. 

Yes, you heard it right. 

Read this article till the end to find out the notorious tales of the Night Stalker. 

Richard Ramirez – The Night Stalker Who Went on a Murder Spree 

Between June 1984 and August 1985, Ramirez terrorized communities all over northern and southern California. He would abduct and abuse children, break into the homes of people, kill them, rape them, and even torture the victims. Unlike other criminals who usually target a specific person or area of crime, Ramirez was obnoxiously indiscriminate. Gender or age didn’t have any role in his killing. He would attack all sorts of people – men and women, the young and the old, singles and couples, young families, and more. 

To escape from being caught, Ramirez would often change his pattern of killing people. He would use different weapons like guns and knives, and even go weapon-free and use his hands and feet in some instances. A notorious killer as he was, he would threaten the victims to cut their eyes and demand them to swear to Satan. Following his intents and actions, his victim would call him the Night Stalker. 

In the course of his criminal activities, he never settled in one place and kept changing locations before he was finally caught. 

The Victims Remembered The Night Stalker’s Teeth 

Ramirez didn’t have a pleasing personality, yet people remembered him for the longest time – thanks to his teeth. 

When he was a child, he would begin his days with sugar cereal and Coca-Cola, and after turning into an adult, he would consume cocaine. As a result, his teeth bore the burden of these habits and began to rot and fall out. Owing to his rotten teeth, his victims couldn’t forget him. Several of his victims defined him in several ways – his rotten teeth being the common point of description. 

  • Somkid Khovananth, a survivor, described him as brown-skinned, bad tooth, 30-35, 150 pounds, six foot one or so. 
  • Sakina Abowath, another survivor who lost her husband due to Night Stalker’s assault described him as having stained and crooked teeth. 
  • Survivors Sophie Dickman and Lillian Doi mentioned about his bad teeth to the police. 

As per Frank Salerno, the lead detective with the LA Country Sheriff’s Department, “Our biggest clues were his teeth and feet. That’s where we focused our energy.” 

Apparently, his teeth helped detectives identify Ramirez and create an action plan to arrest him further. 

How was Night Stalker Caught by the Police? 

After his failed attempt to abduct a victim in northeast Los Angeles, Ramirez fled in a stolen Toyota. Reportedly, he was pulled over for a violation of traffic and abandoned the car. Once the police got their hands on it, they found a crucial clue – an appointment card for Dr. Peter Leung, a dentist in Chinatown. 

He had made his appointment under the name of Richard Mena and told the dentist that he had several dental problems, especially painful abscesses in his mouth, and would need to return to Leung’s office. Though a stakeout to catch him at Leung’s office failed, the testimony of his dentist proved vital following his arrest. 

Ramirez was arrested on the 31st of August, 1985. His fingerprints had identified him as the Night Stalker. His teeth kept him behind the bars. 

How Rotten were Ramirez’s Teeth? 

To talk about the Night Stalker’s teeth in detail, nine of his teeth were decayed. He was also missing teeth from his upper as well as lower gums. Many witnesses have described his teeth in detail. According to one of them, he had hardly any teeth, and his smile was that of a killer clown. 

In the end, his teeth did him in. At the time of his trial, Ramirez’s father, Julian, attempted to establish an alibi for his son and claimed that he had been with his family in El Paso between May 20 and 30, 1985. At that time, Ramirez had raped and killed 81-year-old Florance Lang and raped 83-year-old Mabel Bell and 42-year-old Carol Kyle. 

However, the testimony of his dentist proved otherwise. Consequently, Ramirez was convicted of 13 murders, 5 attempted murders, 11 sexual assaults, and 14 burglaries. He was given 19 death penalties by the court. 

Ramirez Got His Teeth Fixed During Trial 

The prosecutors paid much attention to Ramirez’s teeth throughout his trial. Thus, it would not come as a surprise if we tell you that the Night Stalker decided to fix his teeth while he was behind bars. Reportedly, he enlisted the help of a prison dentist, Dr. Alfred Otero, who performed multiple dental treatments on him, such as root canal, dental fillings, and the treatment of his nine rotten teeth. 

Where is Ramirez At Present? 

Considering the numbers and the gravity of crimes committed by him, the court sentenced Ramirez to execution. However, he died before that in June 2013. Reportedly, he had a few complications related to B-cell lymphoma. 

Ramirez was 53 when he took his last breath, and his teeth have a legacy of their own. After all, it was because of his teeth the police could catch the Night Stalker! 

Some Lesser-Known Things About Richard Ramirez 

Ramirez had a Disturbed Childhood 

As per a few studies, many criminals do not become criminals overnight but experience a disturbed childhood. This theory fits well in Ramirez’s case. He spent his childhood in various disturbing environments. Ramirez was the youngest of the five siblings. He would sleep in a cemetery every night to get away from the violence that his father would inflict upon him. 

When he was 10, Ramirez bonded with his older cousin, who served in the Vietnam War. He showed a young Ramirez various polaroids of women he had raped and him holding a severed head. 

When Ramirez Threatened to Shoot His Prosecutor 

Richard Ramirez has been one of the most notorious criminals in the history of America. He once planned to bring a gun into the courtroom and shoot his prosecutor. However, some jail employees overheard his evil plan. As a result, the courthouse installed metal detectors all over the premises and conducted intensive searches on all the people entering at the time of proceedings. 

Ramirez was into Satanism 

According to a former childhood of Ramirez, he was obsessed with satanic themes in AC/DC’s 1979 album Highway to Hell. The police also found pentagrams scrawled at the home of one of his murder victims. Ramirez even inked a pentagram on his hand and held this up to the spectators in the courtroom gallery to see while shouting, “Hail Satan!”

Ramirez Got Married Behind the Bars 

Not many people know this, but the Night Stalker got married when he was behind bars. He had many female admirers who would send him letters when he was behind bars. One of the journalists, Doreen Lioy, caught his attention, after which she began to make regular visits to Death Row. Reportedly, he had fallen for Ramirez when she watched a newsfeed of his arrest and saw a certain vulnerability in the killer. According to her, he was innocent. 

As a result, they got married on the 3rd of October, 1996, at San Quentin State Prison and the wedding was witnessed by sixty inmates and the criminal’s siblings. When they asked Lioy how it feels marrying a man who was known as ‘The Face of Evil’, she replied, “I cannot help the way the world looks at him. They don’t know him the way I do.” 

Ramirez Planned to Escape the Prison Twice 

While he was in prison, Ramirez tried to escape it twice. In 1993, a correction officer used a wand to scan his body, and the metal detector went off near his buttocks. An X-ray report revealed that he had stuffed a handcuff key inside his rectum along with other materials like a syringe, a ballpoint pen, and a sticker that read, ‘I luv chocolate’. 

Five years later, he received a bizarre letter from his lovesick groupie that alluded to helping him bust out of the prison. However, both attempts were in vain. 

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