LONG BEACH (CBSLA.com) — Police announced the arrest of three suspects Monday in what officials described as a “premeditated murder plot” that left a 62-year-old Long Beach woman near death.
The suspects were identified as the victim’s daughter, 40-year-old Holly Ramos, her son-in-law and Ramos’ husband, Frank Haverly, and alleged hitman Keith Phillips.
The Long Beach Police Department would not immediately reveal the name of the woman out of concern for her safety.
The victim’s grandchildren, ages 2 and 4, had been taken from Ramos and Haverly, both of Monterey County, after Ramos was arrested on child endangerment and narcotics charges, police said.
According to police, the 62-year-old victim was in the process of trying to gain custody of the children.
“It is believed that both Holly and Frank planned out the crime and enlisted the services of a 50-year-old man named Keith Phillips, also from Monterey County, to travel to Long Beach to carry out the plot of killing the victim,” Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell said.
Police said Phillips, the alleged hitman, drove from the Bay Area to the victim’s home in Long Beach on Oct. 11.
Phillips allegedly knocked on the victim’s door at 9:30 p.m. and identified himself as a social worker from the Bay Area there to interview the victim about gaining full custody of her two grandchildren. Within seconds, detectives said, Phillips began beating her.
According to the felony complaint filed against the three suspects in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Phillips repeatedly bludgeoned the victim in the head and attempted to suffocate and strangle her in the attack.
“In this case we had good neighbors who made the calls,” McDonnell said, adding that police were able to get to the scene immediately following the attack.
“The suspect made it clear to the victim that he was there to kill her and she would not live through the attack,” McDonnell said. “What the suspect did not anticipate was the victim’s will to survive.”
The victim not only survived the vicious attack but also provided police with crucial information leading to the arrest. According to McDonnell, she “immediately suspected her family as being involved.”
The felony complaint against the three suspects alleges Ramos was depositing forged checks from her mother’s bank account into a separate account in the months before the attack. On Aug. 30, Ramos purchased a $10,000 cashier’s check made out to herself from the account and cashed it days later.
Ramos is also charged with identity theft, burglary, grand theft and two counts of forgery.
Police would not say if the mother and daughter had a history of problems and would not confirm if the child custody battle was the motive for the attack.
The suspects are being held on $50 million bail. Arraignment for the three suspects on attempted murder charges was postponed Monday.