Reward increases to $7,500 for info in murder of Vanessa Ceja-Ramirez

The family of a young Harvey woman murdered while out in a forest preserve with her family wants answers.

On Wednesday, the reward for any information in Vanessa Ceja-Ramirez’s killing increased to $7,500 as police continue to search for her killer.

The 22-year-old teacher's aide was at Midlothian Meadows Forest Preserve last Monday when she told her family she felt tired and would meet them back at the car. She never made it.

“It was vicious, it was brutal, and it’s unacceptable,” said community activist Andrew Holmes.

Two days after she went missing, a volunteer search team found Vanessa's body in the forest preserve. She had been strangled, beaten, raped and partially burned.

Holmes is working with the family to find who killed their loved one.

The Cook County Sheriff’s Department is remaining tight-lipped about their homicide investigation, but during the two days that Vanessa was missing, her phone pinged near the Oak Forest Apartment Complex in the 147th block of Central Avenue.

Neighbors reported seeing federal and local authorities removing items from an apartment unit. Police would not confirm that information.

“It will be interesting to see what they had in those bags,” Holmes said.

Late Thursday afternoon, the victim’s family will hold a press conference in the same area where Vanessa’s body was found. They are hoping someone will come forward.

If you know anything, call the Cook County Sheriff’s Department.