Konopaski murder suspect still on the run

Laranda Konopaski

Chris Cook - Forks Forum photo

Laranda Konopaski’s receives her diploma at Clallam Bay High School’s June 2011 graduation exercise. 

CBay memorial for Laranda

Tonia Signor contributed photo

The Clallam Bay varsity girls basketball team played against the Port Angeles Rough Rider girls on Monday night.  Each Bruin player sported Laranda Konopaski’s initials on their arms to show respect and remembrance of her one day after her death.  

The gruesome knifing murder of 18-year-old recent Clallam Bay High School graduate Laranda Konopaski has heightened crime fighting efforts in Forks.

Konopaski was killed Sunday morning just before dawn at the Rain Forest Mobile Home Park on South Forks Ave. Seattle television news stations are reporting that her four-year-old daughter called in her murder to a 911 dispatcher.

Murder suspect Moises Ramirez-Matias, 25 and reportedly a resident of Forks who migrated to Forks from Guatemala, is still on the run as of press time on Tuesday. 

Reports received earlier this week had a search on south of Forks. Tuesday morning a Facebook page that focuses on fighting and detecting crime in Forks had law officers searching in the Bogachiel Way area. 

Outside law enforcement agencies including a K-9 search dog from the Port Angeles Police Department have aided in the search.

Mayor Bryon Monohon, speaking at the Forks City Council meeting held Monday evening, Jan. 9 said of the murder: “It was a day of great sadness.” He said Konopaski was a “a girl who had faced many challenges in life…a mother at 14.” He called her death, “a sad and tragic loss of life,” and said the Forks Police Department, the Clallam County Sheriff’s Department and other law enforcement agencies immediately mounted a “unified and immediate response.”

“We will do everything possible to see this perpetrator brought to justice,” Monohon said.

According to Clallam County Superior Court records, Ramirez-Matias, who is five-feet tall, weighs 110 lbs., has black hair and brown eyes, was arrested in April 2003 for trespassing on the property of Alder Grove Mobile Home Park after being told to stay off or face arrest. When arrested he provided a Washington State identification card with a false date of birth. He was charged with forgery and criminal trespass, was held in jail until Immigration and Naturalization Services agents were scheduled to pick him up on June 19, 2003.

Konopaski was named as respondent in two Clallam County District Court #2 (Forks) anti-harassment cases in 2010, according to court records, which are sealed in those cases.

Konopaski reportedly worked at Forks Community Hospital as a cleaner, in environmental services, and was well known in the Forks community. She was seen last week in her scrub top in a local store buying birthday balloons speaking lovingly to her daughter. Her daughter is now in the custody of Child Protective Services.

In May 2009 a Guatemalan man, Marcelino Perez, was arrested for murdering Victor Gozinez at the Rain Forest Mobile Home Park during a fight outside one of the trailers parked there. The second-degree murder charges against Perez were dismissed in July 2009 due to investigators not finding the murder weapon, language translation problems, no witnesses coming forward to the murder and other reasons. He was later deported by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

Ramirez-Matias is commonly known on the street in Forks as “Dario,” and he also uses the alias Jose Luis Ramirez Pablo, according to the Clallam County Sheriff’s Department.

A warrant has been issued for Ramierez-Matias both statewide and across the nation. The public is asked to call in a sighting or information about his whereabouts to 9-1-1 or to the Forks Police Department at 374-2223.

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