When a 30-year-old Doreen Lioy saw Richard Ramirez, aka The Night Stalker, on TV, she fell in love instantly. The fact that Doreen's dream man was arrested for murders, rapes, and burglaries did not stop the former magazine editor from writing love letters and eventually marrying him in 1996.
The story of Richard Ramirez is well documented, equally fascinating, and grim. Netflix did a mini-series Night Stalker: The Hunt For a Serial Killer, and it includes interviews with detectives and family members of his victims.
Ramirez was terrorizing the Los Angeles area between 1984 and 1985. After he was done with his victims, Ramirez would leave various Satanic-related signs.
He was arrested in August 1985, after one of his victims survived his vicious attack and gave an in-depth sketch to the police.
The El Paso native, in his mid-20s at the time of his crimes, received a lot of attention from (female) fans due to his attractive physique. Doreen wrote over 75 letters to her future husband, and the two got hitched although he was awaiting execution.
Doreen Lioy And Richard Ramirez Getting Married: The Bride Wore White
Ramirez was trialed and sentenced in 1989. He was accused of 13 murders, numerous rapes, and other crimes. He received a total of 19 death sentences.
There was no pattern. He attacked regardless of age, ethnicity, or gender.
Doreen, who allegedly has IQ 156, was a devoted Catholic virgin, so what she saw in a Satan-worshiping serial killer remains a mystery.
At first, she insisted that her man was innocent. However, she faced the harsh truth once DNA proved that he raped and killed a nine-year-old girl.
But, in 1985, Doreen, a freelance journalist, and editor wanted nothing more than to start a life with Richard Ramirez.
On the wedding day, she wore a $148 ruffled white dress, pearl necklace, and the groom received a 14-karat gold ring with an inscription: "I love you forever. Doreen."
The two got engaged in 1988, and when they got hitched, eight years later, his sister and brother were the only ones in attendance in San Quentin, where Doreen Lioy became Doreen Ramirez.
Doreen, a 41-year-old bride, did not get alone time with her husband since death row inmates do not get such privileges. She was, however, vocal about his innocence, claiming she would kill herself if anyone dares to execute her husband.
Doreen Lioy's Upbringing Was Very Different From The Night Stalker's
Doreen Lioy was born in 1955 in Burbank, California.
Not much is known about Lioy's childhood. She was a bright and shy girl, and her teachers only had words of praise.
Ramirez, on the other hand, grew up in a volatile environment. His father was abusive, and his cousin would show photos of a woman he raped and beheaded during his time in Vietnam to a young Richard.
When Ramirez was 13, the same cousin shot his wife in front of the teenager.
Moving to Los Angeles at 22 in 1982 was supposed to be a fresh start. Instead, Richard Ramirez saw California as a playground for some of the most gruesome crimes in US history.
Lioy's family life was apparently quiet, but all that changed once she saw Ramirez.
The virgin bride of a serial killer became news herself due to her connection to the Night Stalker. She stated in 1996:
"I love him more than anything in the world."
She did not mind that Ramirez had other girlfriends while awaiting his execution. More importantly, Doreen's twin sister and the rest of her family disowned her. Yet, that did not stop her.
Denise Wilcox, Lioy's twin sister, publicly said she had cut ties with Doreen once she realized that her sister is serious about the Night Stalker. The relationship started in 1987, and Wilcox was determined that she wants nothing to do with it:
"It's unfortunate for me that I've been linked with all of this. I was taken aback by the news. To be related by birth is fine. ... I don't want to be a part of this. It's been a painful event for the family."
"I never believed anything like this would happen."
Lioy only said that her family has nothing to do with her decision:
"My family is innocent. They have nothing to do with my decision. Why anyone would hold them accountable for my decision is beyond me."
Lioy was getting used to her newfound fame, or rather infamy. She trusted that Richard Ramirez was not a murderer and told CNN:
"He's kind, he's funny, he's charming."
"I think he's really a great person. He's my best friend; he's my buddy."
This relationship, which still baffles many, lasted until 2009. However, the couple never got divorced officially.
The DNA Proof Everyone Was Waiting And Lioy Coming To Her Senses
In 2009, only four years before Richard Ramirez died from cancer, DNA evidence linked him to the rape and murder of a 9-year-old girl in San Francisco in early 1984.
This proves that we will never truly know how many adults and children The Night Stalker tortured and murdered.
After this gruesome reveal, Lioy cut all ties with Ramirez.
The woman who a decade earlier said, "I just believe in him completely," basically disappeared from public life.
Though the couple never divorced, the fact that no one claimed Ramirez's body for weeks tells us everything we need about the demise of this unlikely couple.
Ramirez hadn't been allowed any personal visits in 2010, and he refused to let visitors in his final months, which only confirms that Lioy finally accepted the harsh truth.
The last time we heard anything about Doreen was when her father died in 2019. In the obituary, she was signed as Doreen Ramirez.
A former editor of Tiger Beat, a teen magazine, could've had a very different life. She would meet up-and-coming celebrities and turn them into stars.
John Stamos has credited her with helping him to become a celebrity. Stamos remembered Lioy as a "very lonely woman."
In many ways, Doreen was a victim. Not like all the people Ramirez tortured and killed. However, she lost her youth to a monster, and no one knows where she is today.
Clearly, she was suffering from hybristophilia and was a lonely woman. But it still isn't enough for us to understand what a bright and sweet woman saw in the Night Stalker for decades.