On Thursday, July 29, Lantana Police made an arrest more than a year after a mother of four was fatally shot at the Super Eight Motel on Hypoluxo Road.
Authorities say Andre Ramirez, 29, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder for the death of 29-year-old Denicia Steward, a local mother of four. Ramirez is being held without bail.
See our original story on this breaking news development here: Four Children of Murder Victim Denecia Steward Could Bring Civil Case
Sadly, Seward was found dead in a room at the Super Eight on July 26, 2020. Her body was discovered when a motel guest went outside to smoke and noticed the door of another room was ajar. The guest then saw Seward on the floor and called 911.
Investigators say they have surveillance video showing Ramirez running out of the room and driving away about four hours before Seward’s body was discovered.
Businesses like motels have a duty to provide safe premises for both customers and employees. This means having an appropriate level of security. There are many ways to secure a motel, including having a guard on duty watching the surveillance camera feeds live. For example, someone tasked with watching the surveillance cameras might notice a guest running out of a room and driving away while leaving the room door open. They could then send security officers to investigate and see if anyone in the room needs help.
When a business fails to properly secure the premises and maintain a safe environment, it may be found liable in tragic situations where a death occurs.
A webpage set up after Seward’s death last year described her as “the type of person to give the shirt off her back and would go above and beyond to make everyone laugh. Her family was not prepared for such a brutal tragedy.”
She left behind two sons and two daughters.