Family of Ernie Ortiz speaks out on arrest
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - On Wednesday, after nearly four years, 32-year-old Samantha Smith was arrested in South Carolina in connection to a cold case homicide that took the life of restaurant owner Ernie Ortiz in 2019.
Ortiz's family is speaking out following the arrest.
"It shows that all the hard work that we put in these last four years has not gone unnoticed, but also brings back a lot of different emotions that we experienced, you know, four years ago when my uncle passed away," says Ortiz's nephew Alex Ramos.
Alex tells us he was beloved among all of his family members.
"He was able to create those relationships with everyone and make you feel like, you know, you were the most important person, you know, that he was spending time with, and we always made it a point to go and visit with him," Ramos said.
Ortiz's sister Carol Ramos is recounting the horrible day that she learned her brother was found dead after the shooting.
She adds the family is extremely grateful to all of the law enforcement officers, and everyone else that helped bring them this closure.
"The Garden City Police Department has done a very good job," Carol Ramos said. "There's been some times when we didn't hear anything, but you know, it all pays off. I mean, there's reasons why. And now we know why. You know why they had to do what they have to do. And hopefully, we're gonna get some justice served soon."
The family says Ernie's former band is playing at the Garden City Fiesta this weekend to honor his life, nearly four years to the day since he died.