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Six Months Later, Still No Suspects in Fort Meade Soldier's Death

Karlyn Ramirez (Source: Facebook)
Karlyn Ramirez (Source: Facebook)

Karlyn Ramirez was fearless, her mother said.

She grew up hunting and riding horses in Texas. She also played volleyball, basketball and ran cross country at a small private school near Del Rio, Susan Ramirez said.

"She wasn't the best athlete, but she never stopped trying," she said.

As Karlyn got older, she became interested in riding dirt bikes and motorcycles and even competing in mixed martial arts tournaments.

"She was a risk-taker," Susan said. "She really didn't have any fear."

Six months ago, 24-year-old Karlyn was found dead from multiple gunshots inside her Severn town home. Police said Tuesday they have yet to develop a definitive suspect in her death.

Anne Arundel police and the Army's Criminal Investigation Command are offering a $20,000 reward for information that will lead to her killer. At a press conference Tuesday at the police's Millersville headquarters, police Chief Timothy Altomare made an unusual plea to anyone who might have information.

"Twenty-thousand dollars is enough to help with a new start," Altomare said. "It's enough to move you away from whatever you might be scared of ... to a new beginning."

Reached by phone Tuesday afternoon, Susan still couldn't fathom why someone would want to harm her daughter.

"I can't even imagine," she said. "There's nothing she could have done to deserve this."

Karlyn was a private first class stationed at Fort George G. Meade at the time of her death.

Her body was found on the morning of Aug. 25 in her home in the 8000 block of Millstone Court, located in the Lake Village Townhomes rental complex. Maintenance workers alerted police after finding a glass door was left open at the residence, Sgt. John Poole said.

Also inside the town home was Karlyn's 5-month-old daughter, Katteleya Vale Kearney. The child was unharmed.

Susan and her husband, Karlyn's stepfather who adopted her as a child, are raising Katteleya in Texas.

Katteleya's father, Maliek Kearney, a sergeant in the Army, has relocated from South Carolina to Texas to spend more time with the child, Susan said.

The couple was married only about five weeks at the time of Karlyn's death and never lived together, her mother said.

Police said Tuesday that Kearney was working at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, when Karlyn was killed. However, as of Tuesday, no one had been ruled out as a possible suspect, Poole said.

Another young woman in the Army, also with a small child, had been living at the home with Karlyn, but was out of state at the time of her death, said Lt. Ryan Frashure, a county police spokesman.

Susan said the roommate had only planned on staying with Karlyn for "a little while."

Police said there was no indication of forced entry or that a robbery had taken place, Poole said.

Karlyn was Susan's only biological child. Susan married Karlyn's stepfather when her daughter was still a child. He had a son and daughter of his own.

The couple adopted another son, Susan said.

"It was kind of a 'Brady Bunch' situation," she said.

Karlyn's parents were fairly strict growing up, Susan said. Instead of going to public schools in Del Rio, they sent Karlyn to a small private school about 30 minutes away, Susan said.

She graduated high school in 2009 in a class of only about a dozen students, her mother said.

She was three years into completing a bachelor's degree in criminal justice at the University of Houston in Victoria, Texas, when she informed her mother she planned on joining the Army.

"I begged and pleaded (for her to finish college)," her mother said. "But she said, 'No, this is what I'm going to do.'"

She joined the Army in 2013 at age 21, Susan said.

Karlyn served at Camp Humphreys in South Korea as well as Fort Sill, Oklahoma; Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas; and Fort Gordon, Georgia. She came to Fort Meade last year, an installation spokesman had said shortly after her death.

Despite initially struggling with being away from her family for the first time in her life, Karlyn grew to love her job and wanted to make a career in the military, her mother said.

Prior to her death, Karlyn and her mother would talk on the phone three or four times a day. Susan said she knew something was wrong when she hadn't heard from her daughter on the day her body was found.

Later that evening, Susan got a knock on the door from the Army, informing her that Karlyn had been killed, she said.

The news came as a shock. Susan visited her daughter just a few weeks earlier and everything had appeared to be fine, she said.

"There is a hole in our lives that's never going to be filled," Susan said. "Her baby, we all deserve to know what happened."

Police are asking anyone with information to contact its homicide unit at 410-222-4756 or 410-222-4700. Callers may remain anonymous.

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