HELL’S KITCHEN, Manhattan (PIX11) — Police confirmed Wednesday the deaths of two men who died after leaving gay clubs were under investigation.
The mother of one victim went public this week in a political ad for Republican gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin.
“On May 28th, my son was killed while visiting New York for work,” Linda Clary said of her oldest child, 33-year-old political consultant, John Umberger. “The same group of criminals have drugged, robbed and murdered countless young gay men in New York.”
So far, the NYPD has only confirmed the deaths of two men are under investigation. A department spokesman told us Wednesday “The Medical Examiner will determine the cause of death.”
But friends of the first man we reported on, 25-year-old Julio Ramirez, told PIX11 News they received outreach from numerous people who said they had survived possible druggings and subsequent robberies that cleaned out their bank accounts.
Ramirez, a social worker from Brooklyn, was last seen alive when he left the Ritz Bar on West 46th Street in the early hours of April 21. He was seen getting into a cab with three men. Ninety minutes later, the taxi driver discovered Ramirez was unresponsive — and alone — in the back seat, when he stopped the vehicle on the Lower East Side. The social worker’s bank accounts were later drained of about $17,000—with only six dollars left behind.
John Umberger reportedly went to The Q NYC on May 28 during a work trip from Washington, D.C. He later was seen on surveillance with three men in a car outside a townhouse on East 61st Street. He was found dead in a fifth floor apartment four days later.
The father of a college student who met three men at The Q NYC in early April said his son invited the guys for drinks to his East Side apartment, where a roommate was staying. The father said his son and the roommate were drugged, with their computers and wallets stolen.
The crew took an Uber to Brooklyn and then to SoHo, where some suspects went on a shopping spree with the student’s credit cards. The father, who didn’t want to be identified, said it was disturbing to hear about Umberger’s case, after Umberger went to the same club as his son on May 28.
“It’s certainly a criminal conspiracy,” the father said. “There’s got to be a group of people who need to be tracked down and arrested. It’s a coordinated operation targeting young people at bars.”