Missing Persons

Death of Missing Harvey Woman Found in Suburban Nature Preserve Ruled a Homicide

Her mother said she was not waiting for her at her car after a walk on the trail

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The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office ruled the death of missing 22-year-old Harvey woman, Vanessa Ceja-Ramirez, a homicide Thursday.

Ceja-Ramirez, whose body was found in the Midlothian Meadows nature preserve Wednesday afternoon, was killed by ligature strangulation, according to the MEO.

Ealier this week, police reported to be searching for a woman from Harvey who had been reported missing by her mother on Monday.

"Forest Preserves of Cook County police, in conjunction with officers from the Cook County Sheriff’s Office and Midlothian Police Department, searched in the evening of Nov. 2 at Midlothian Meadows forest preserve for Vanessa Ceja, a 22-year-old female from Harvey, Illinois, after her mother told law enforcement that her daughter was not waiting for her at her car after a walk on the trail in the preserve," police said.

According to officials, the officers searched the preserve, local stores and other locations on foot and Razor, while using a helicopter along with search and rescue dogs. Authorities said the search was unsuccessful.

"Cook County Forest Preserve District Police, with assistance from the Sheriff’s Office and other local law enforcement agencies, searched the forest preserve on Monday evening" the Cook County Sheriff's Department said in a statement. "A Sheriff’s Police K9 unit was able to detect a scent trail, but the trail dissipated and the search was unsuccessful."

Police were able to track Ceja-Ramirez's cell phone to an apartment complex in Oak Forest, but were unable to determine if she was at the site, officials said.

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