Innocent victims: Julio Ramirez and John Umberger fall prey to poisoning scheme in Manhattan bars

Discover the shocking truth behind the homicides of Julio Ramirez & John Umberger in Manhattan bars. Learn how they were poisoned and robbed in a deadly pattern. Help bring justice to their families and protect others.
  1. The New York Medical Examiner has concluded that Julio Ramirez and John Umberger were victims of a pattern of poisoning and robbery in Manhattan bars.
  2. Both men died of “acute intoxication” from a mixture of drugs, including fentanyl, cocaine, and ethanol, and their deaths have been classified as homicides caused by “drug-facilitated robberies.”
  3. The pattern has been repeated in other parts of the city, and no arrests have been made. The authorities are calling for anyone with information to come forward.

After several months of investigation, the New York Medical Examiner concluded that Julio Ramirez (25) and John Umberger (33) were homicide victims during an apparent pattern of poisoning drinks in Manhattan bars and then robbing patrons.

The coroner announced yesterday that Ramirez and Umberger died of “acute intoxication” from consuming a mixture of fentanyl, cocaine, ethanol and other drugs at two Midtown West bars in April and May 2022, respectively. Ramirez, of Salvadoran origin, lived in New York and Umberger was visiting.

A spokesman for the Medical Examiner’s Office said they were victims of homicides caused by “drug-facilitated robberies.” They died shortly after they overdosed in bars they visited, and unidentified robbers withdrew money from both victims’ accounts, the Daily News recalled.

Ramirez, a Brooklyn resident employed as a social worker, was found unconscious in the back seat of a cab on Manhattan’s Lower East Side in the early morning hours of April 21 after visiting several venues in Hell’s Kitchen, the last one being “Ritz Bar and Lounge” on West 46th St., where he was found dead.

Umberger, a Washington DC resident and political consultant, was found dead on June 1 in an Upper East Side apartment where he was staying, after visiting the night before “Q,” a nightclub located at 795 8th Ave, also in Hell’s Kitchen.

Authorities initially considered Umberger’s death a mere drug overdose but changed their minds later, compelled in part by the discovery that money had been subtracted from his accounts.

“We are relieved by the coroner’s findings and his final determination,” his mother Linda Clary said in a statement. “When I consider what people tried to tell me on June 1, 2022 … this final determination is a great reminder of the power of perseverance in the search for the truth.” He also praised NYPD Detective Randy Rose: “He made a difference,” he added.

“Security is very tight here,” a “Ritz Bar” employee said last night. “That’s why we have all the signs out front warning people about pickpockets and thieves. We’re taking every precaution. It’s all about keeping each other safe.”

The same pattern has been repeated in other areas of the city. In November, NYPD was investigating at least seven recent deaths in Lower Manhattan that apparently had as a common denominator that robbers in the vicinity of bars drugged the victims.

“If this is a pattern, if this is a public safety issue, it’s very important that we keep talking about this story,” nurse Karinina Quimpo, a friend and former college roommate of Ramirez, told Pix11 last summer.

According to Quimpo, after Ramirez’s story began gaining attention in the press in late May, she received messages on Instagram from several people recounting cases of other victims, both gay and straight.

Surveillance videos from the early morning of April 21 captured Ramirez talking to three men outside the “Ritz Bar,” where he had taken a selfie at 2:26 a.m. in apparent good health. He was then seen walking freely to a cab with them.

Allegedly the other men who got into the car with him were dropped off at different locations. Ramirez was alone in the back seat at 4:10 a.m. when the cab driver approached a police officer to tell him that his passenger was unresponsive in Manhattan’s Lower East Side neighborhood near Ludlow and Stanton streets, 3 miles away from the bar. Despite the efforts of the NYPD officer and paramedics to save his life, Ramirez was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital at 4:49 a.m.

Thousands of dollars were taken from his bank account in the hours and days that followed. He had saved $17,000, but they left only $6. “They were transfers from Zelle and Apple Cash,” said Carlos Ramirez, his older brother. “A thousand dollars, two thousand dollars, and they did it constantly until they emptied his account.” The young man earned a dual master’s in Public Health and Social Work in 2021.

No arrests have been made, and no suspects have been identified. Anyone with information should call 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) and in Spanish 1-888-57-PISTA (74782), also via or by text message to 274637 (CRIMES), followed by TIP577. All communications are strictly confidential.