By Dave Hinton/Rantoul Press Editor
The whereabouts of a caretaker of an apartment complex between Rantoul and Thomasboro is still unknown.
Bernard Ramos, who with his father, Eduardo Ramos, had been caretaker of Cherry Orchard apartment complex, has been at large since last May when he was released by Washington, D.C., authorities.
Ramos was arrested in early April by Washington, D.C., police on one civil contempt warrant and one criminal contempt warrant issued by Champaign County in 2010.
When Ramos appeared at a hearing May 2 in Superior Court, the U.S. Attorney’s Office informed the court that it was not yet in possession of papers required to extradite Ramos to Champaign County. The prosecutor asked for more time to obtain the papers, but the judge denied the request and dismissed the case, clearing the way for Ramos to be released.
Washington, D.C., allows only 30 days for states to obtain extradition papers in the case of in-state extraditions.
Joel Fletcher, Champaign County assistant state’s attorney, said Ramos has remained at large since then.
The Ramoses were sought by police after they failed to appear at hearings in connection with a broken septic system at the apartment complex, which they failed to rectify despite repeated attempts by the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District.
In April 2011 the Ramoses were fined more than $54,000 for failing to legally connect and repair the septic system and ordered to close down the property.
Eduardo Ramos was arrested in February. A Champaign County judge granted him permission to return to D.C. for medical care.
Fletcher said a petition exists to hold Eduardo Ramos in civil contempt but no warrant for his arrest.
He said the criminal contempt warrant versus Eduardo was dismissed due to there being less evidence against him than his son.
And because there have been no reports of anyone living at Cherry Orchard for a number of months, the court stopped scheduling regular hearings to bring him back to Champaign County, he said.
“We’re not going to drag someone in ill health here just to confirm” that he is in compliance on a civil case, Fletcher said.
Fletcher said the criminal contempt case “addressed to past misconduct” is filed only against Bernard Ramos.
“It’s still pending,” Fletcher said. “He’s still wanted on a warrant.”
He said Eduardo Ramos was charged only with a civil contempt of court offense. Because the focus of a civil contempt charge is only to fix the problem, authorities have not pursued the case against him further because there are no longer health violations ongoing at Cherry Orchard due to no people living on the premises, Fletcher said.
A criminal contempt charge is another matter, Fletcher said. Its focus is to punish the individual against which it is filed.