Ramsey’s father, Edward Ramsey, testified Tuesday that his grandson had lived in Ennis most of his life and that he saw his grandson regularly. Aaron Ramsey regularly sent cellphone pictures of the happy boy and arranged weekly phone calls with Johnathan’s mother and two siblings in New Mexico.
Aaron and Elizabeth Ramsey married in 2010, according to testimony. They and Johnathan moved to Dallas in January 2011.
After the move, Williams testified, “everything changed” and communication became less frequent. She tried to arrange visits from New Mexico but was turned away in emails from the Ramseys, she testified.
Through Williams, Johnathan’s maternal grandmother tried to get an address to send presents to the boy for his 11th birthday and Christmas. In emailed responses, the Ramseys told Williams to stop emailing and said they’d send post offfice box information for the gifts later.
“And don’t contact Aaron’s family,” one email from Elizabeth Ramsey’s account said, according to evidence presented by lead prosecutor Eren Price. “They don’t know where we moved to. Nor will they.”
Meanwhile, in Ennis, grandfather Edward Ramsey grew impatient with excuses the couple offered for why he couldn’t see his grandson. He hadn’t seen the boy since January 2011.
“Our contact was limited or awkward,” he testified about his phone calls with Johnathan. It seemed “Elizabeth was over his shoulder … like his words were being controlled.”
In March 2012, Edward Ramsey drove to Plano to begin searching for the boy, first stopping to see his son’s father-in-law at the shoe repair shop he owns. He asked if the man knew where Johnathan had been for the last year.
“He said Johnathan had moved to New Mexico and that he might have died,” Edward Ramsey testified. “He showed no emotion.”
He called Dallas police in mid-March, and they conducted a welfare check at the Ramseys’ home on Clearwater Drive. Officers questioned Elizabeth and Aaron Ramsey separately but never entered the home. Their stories didn’t match, officers testified.
At one point during the visit, Elizabeth Ramsey told officers she was 37 weeks pregnant and was having contractions. After she was taken by Dallas Fire-Rescue to the hospital, officials learned she was not pregnant.
Police opened a child abuse investigation and searched the couple’s cluttered, filthy home for evidence. They found more than a dozen cats and four dogs living there, healthy and well-fed, though living in their own waste.