Final suspect arrested in deaths of 2 men drugged, beaten after nights out in Hell's Kitchen

At least 43 druggings, with 7 fatal overdoses, have been linked to 2 separate patterns of robberies dating back to September 2021

Josh Einiger Image
Monday, April 17, 2023
Final suspect arrested in deaths of 2 men drugged after nights out
Jayqwan Hamilton is the final suspect to be arrested in the two 2022 homicides. Josh Einiger has the details.

HELL'S KITCHEN, Manhattan (WABC) -- The last of three suspects wanted in the drugging deaths of John Umberger and Julio Ramirez was arrested Monday.

The charges against 35-year-old Jayqwan Hamilton will be announced on Tuesday.

At the end of March, police linked 43 druggings, including the seven fatal overdoses, to two separate robbery patterns in and around Manhattan clubs.

The deaths of two of the men drugged, John Umberger and Julio Ramirez, were ruled homicides earlier in March.

The two men were drugged and beaten following nights out at gay bars in Hell's Kitchen. They had been given drugs tainted with fentanyl.

The persistence of Umberger's mother, Linda Cleary, helped to drive attention to the plight of her son. He was a 34-year-old political consultant who vanished over Memorial Day Weekend in 2022. He turned up, overdosed, in an unfamiliar apartment building.

His life force and his bank accounts had been drained.

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Julio Ramirez, 25, died in a similar manner, he was found dead in the back of a taxi. His bank accounts had been drained after a night out at a different gay bar.

For months after, members of the gay community rallied for justice.

But investigators soon learned this was a much larger pattern of crime that targeted all kinds of bars across the city,

"They target their victims leaving bars, offering drugs in some cases, then either through force or when the victim passes out, they remove jewelry money watches and phones from their victims," said NYPD Chief James Essig.

Police believe that Ramirez and Umberger were just two of 17 people victimized by a gang of four accomplices. The other three suspects, Robert Demaio, Jacob Barroso and Andre Butts were arraigned earlier this month.


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