Slain woman, a mother at 14, hoped to be a nurse; alleged killer still at large

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

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Murder charges filed against man still at large

First-degree murder charges were filed Tuesday against Moises Ramirez Matias in the killing of an 18-year-old Forks woman as police continue to look for him.

Bail was set at $2 million in Clallam County Superior Court.

Meanwhile, police are warning Forks residents to keep the doors to their homes and cars securely locked and to keep their eye out for Ramirez Matias.

Ramirez Matias, 25, who is wanted in connection with Sunday’s stabbing death of Laranda Konopaski, 18, may be attempting to find a way to flee the area, as police pursue leads that he is still in the Forks area, said Forks Police Sgt. Ed Klahn on Tuesday.

“Forks-area residents are encouraged to harden your homes by ensuring that all doors and windows are secured and locked and that all vehicles are locked and keys are in a safe and secure location,” Klahn said.

Ramirez Matias is described as being 5 feet tall and weighing 110 pounds, with very short black hair.

When last seen, he was wearing a black hoodie sweatshirt and blue or black jeans, police said.

“If you witness any unusual activity or have a possible sighting of the suspect, do not attempt to make contact. Call 9-1-1,” Klahn said.

Ramirez Matias, known as Dario Ramirez Moises in the Forks area, has also used the alias Jose Luis Ramirez Pablo, said ­Clallam County Sheriff’s Sgt. Brian King on Monday.

Konopaski died of multiple stab wounds at Forks Community Hospital just before 6 a.m. Sunday after police were called to the couple’s home.

There was no history of police calls to the home for domestic violence, Klahn said.

However, investigators have uncovered indications that there was a pattern of violence in the home, Klahn said.

Konopaski and Ramirez Matias have a 4-year-old daughter who is in the custody of state Child Protective Services, police said.

“Joint law enforcement agencies are working as one for a safe resolution to this situation as soon as possible,” Klahn said.

The State Patrol and the Border Patrol also have been working closely with the Forks police in an attempt to locate Ramirez Matias, Klahn said.

Anyone who has seen Ramirez Matias is urged to phone 9-1-1 immediately or the Forks Police Department at 360-374-2223.
FORKS — Laranda Konopaski was beating the odds.

Despite having a baby at 14, Konopaski graduated from Clallam Bay High School with her class, held down a job and earned scholarships to go to college.

And through it all, she kept a positive attitude.

“She made you laugh. She was always happy,” said Vinetta Konopaski, Laranda’s older sister, on Monday, adding that her sister hoped to be a nurse.

That promising life was cut short for the 18-year-old Forks resident Sunday when she was stabbed to death in her home at the Rainforest Mobile Home Park.

Police are looking for Moises Ramirez Matias, 25 — who also goes by the alias of Dario Ramirez Moises — who is suspected as having killed Konopaski during a domestic dispute.

There is no memorial service planned at this time.

Her family has gathered together for support after the attack that left them devastated, said Vinetta, who was designated the family spokeswoman.

Vinetta, 21, said her sister was someone special and despite a rough start was determined to make something of herself.

“As soon as she knew she was pregnant, she got a job. She wasn’t the kind of person to sit back and get welfare,” she said.

Laranda and Ramirez Matias had been together for more than five years, and their daughter, Mariah, 4, was the most important thing in her sister’s life, Vinetta said.

“She did everything for her baby,” she said.

The family had not yet been reunited with Mariah, who was in protective custody with state Child Protective Services.

Vinetta said the family was still unclear on exactly what happened Sunday morning.

Some early reports indicated that the 4-year-old called 9-1-1 and others that there was an aunt involved in seeking help, Vinetta said.

The family thinks that, at some point, the child was on the phone to police.

Police would not say whom dispatchers talked with during the 9-1-1 call.

Vinetta said her niece was capable of the task.

“She’s the most intelligent little girl,” she said.

Laranda worked at Olson’s Resort in Sekiu, where she did housekeeping during the summers for five years, and attended school full time during the school year in order to graduate with her class.

“We’re all still in shock out here,” said Donalynn Olson, owner of Olson’s Resort.

“She was a very good worker — a good little person. This should never have happened to her,” she said.

In addition to her summer job, Laranda had earned a scholarship for college and had told Dinita she was making plans to begin classes.

“She was thinking of going into nursing,” Vinetta said.

Laranda had a lot of friends at her high school, Vinetta said.

She was remembered by her schoolmates Monday, as the Clallam Bay varsity girls basketball team wore Laranda’s name on their arms during their game against the Port Angeles Rough Riders.

Laranda was the third oldest of six children in the family, Vinetta said.

In addition to Mariah and Vinetta, Laranda is survived by her father, Lauren, and mother, Christine; brothers Mason, 27, and Loydin, 15; and sisters Nichole, 24, and Alivia, 11.

They also have many aunts, uncles and cousins in west Clallam County, where the family has lived for several generations.

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Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-417-3535 or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: January 10. 2012 7:27PM
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