Greeley family hopeful for prosecution after loved one dies of fentanyl poisoning

Weld County family hopeful for prosecution after loved one dies from fentanyl poisoning
Posted at 5:24 PM, Apr 11, 2022

GREELEY, Colo. — A Greeley family says they can't move forward because they're still replaying the past. Last August, their loved one died of a fentanyl poisoning, and the family says accountability has yet to come.

In their first interview with the press, family members of Igancio "Nacho" Ramirez gathered to share their agony over the investigation into his death.

On Aug. 17, 2021, Nacho died of a fetanyl poisoning. Days prior, the 30-year-old had taken what he thought was a pain pill.

Nacho Ramirez
Nacho Ramirez, pictured here with his wife and children, died less than a month after his thirtieth birthday.

His wife, Chelsea Ramirez, is now raising their four children with the help of extended family.

"He lit up a room when he walked in," the widow said. "He was incredibly loud, but he loved to joke around with his family. He was very, very family oriented, super close knit with his siblings. He was a wonderful father."

Ramirez also recalled her husband's love of the San Francisco 49ers, and his pet turtles.

Chelsea Ramirez speaks about husband's death

Nacho had been having severe back pain, according to his wife. On Aug. 11 after the pair went out for a date, Nacho returned home with aches.

"His doctor had finally got him a referral to a pain specialist, but he was not going to be able to see that pain specialist for almost seven or eight weeks... I think they were pretty far out," Ramirez said. "Next thing I know, this girl shows up at my door."

Ramirez says the young woman was someone her husband knew from high school. The woman handed Nacho a blue pill, which looked like Oxycodone, according to Ramirez.

"He came back in and showed it to me — the little blue pill that looks exactly identical to an Oxy," Ramirez said. "You couldn't even tell a difference at all. I was like, 'Are you sure that you trust her?" [Nacho] said, 'Yeah, I'm not worried about it.'"

Nacho took the pill while sitting on their living room couch. The pair's oldest son was sitting next to him.

Nacho Ramirez's children during funeral services
Two of Nacho Ramirez's four children during funeral services.

Ramirez recalled her husband's last conscious moments.

"He just put his head back and he said, 'Damn, that was stronger than I thought.' He closed his eyes, and those were the last words that he had said," the widow said through tears.

Ramirez performed CPR and called 911, but nearly a week later, her husband was declared brain dead. According to the medical examiner, his cause of death was acute fentanyl toxicity.

"I, for a very long time, blamed myself," Ramirez said. "Why didn't I do more? If I did more, would my husband still be here?"

Now, she's channeling the weight of her pain into seeking accountability. Ramirez says she gave surveillance video and her husband's phone to the Greeley Police Department immediately after Nacho's death.

"Our neighbor's [camera] had a direct view and saw everything," she said. "We have given video footage, we have given messages... [The police] have taken copies of my husband's phone. We have given them everything, and we've done everything but walk this person into the police station."

Nacho's sister, Ana Maria Villa, chimed in.

Nacho Ramirez with sister
Nacho Ramirez pictured here with his sister, Ana Maria Villa, on her wedding day.

"If we don’t reach out to [the police] once a month, then we don’t hear anything at all," Villa said. "I'm furious. I just want justice. I don’t really know what else to say besides that — I want justice and for her to be held accountable for what she did."

Ana Maria Villa on loss of Nacho Ramirez

Ramirez says in March, she was told by the investigator that the case was being handed over to the Weld County District Attorney's Office. The district attorney's office told Denver7 the case has not been given to them for review.

Responding to a Denver7 inquiry, the Greeley Police Department said the investigation is active, therefore they couldn't comment.

Ramirez says she and her family intend to keep Nacho's case in the public eye, in hopes it will lead to an arrest.

Nacho Ramirez's daughter
Nacho Ramirez's daughter holds a photo with her late father.

"We’re just stuck right here waiting and hoping that this is going to be important enough for someone to not sit on this case," Ramirez said. "Every day, it's a constant battle, an uphill battle, and I'm doing everything I can — I'm doing everything to hold myself together so that I can bring these kids up the way that [Nacho] would have wanted to do with me."

A GoFundMe fundraiser has been set up to help the family. To donate, click here.