SLO County man who tried to flee the U.S. facing life in prison

March 2, 2023

Daniel Ramirez-Gutierrez


A San Luis Obispo judge on Wednesday sentenced a SLO County man, who last year attempted to flee the United States, to 435 years to life in prison for raping his wife, molesting her daughter and abusing another close juvenile relative.

Daniel Ramirez-Gutierrez, 36, committed the crimes in San Luis Obispo and Contra Costa counties over a decade, spanning 2012-2022. Last year, while accused of raping a child under the age of 10, Ramirez-Gutierrez attempted to flee to South America. 

After receiving a report that an 11-year-old female had been molested by her stepfather, SLO County Sheriff’s detectives began an investigation into the allegations. The child disclosed that Ramirez-Gutierrez had been molesting her since the age of five, sheriff’s officials said. 

Likewise, Ramirez-Gutierrez’s wife told investigators her husband had been forcing her to have sexual intercourse and forcing her to orally copulate him on a daily basis over the past three years. The woman notified investigators last March that Ramirez-Gutierrez had packed up all his belonging and fled after becoming suspicious of an investigation.

Ramirez-Gutierrez had a one-way flight the following day to South America from Los Angeles International Airport. Sheriff’s detectives and Homeland Security special agents captured Ramirez-Gutierrez at the airport before he managed to board his flight.

Daniel Ramirez-Gutierrez’s arrest at LAX. Photo courtesy of the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office

Last month, following a five-day trial, Judge Craig van Rooyen convicted Ramirez-Gutierrez of 19 counts of sexual abuse of two children and one adult. The convictions consisted of one count of sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 10, 14 counts of committing a lewd act on a child under the age of 14, two counts of forcible rape and two counts of forcible oral copulation. 

Van Rooyen issued a finding that the crimes involved multiple victims, two of whom were under the age of 14. Due to California law allowing lengthy prison terms for certain sex crimes committed against children, Ramirez- Gutierrez faced an enhanced maximum sentence of 435 years to life in prison, according to the district attorney’s office. 

During the sentencing hearing on Wednesday, the victims spoke via video conference about the severe impact their sexual abuse had on their lives. Following statements by the prosecution and defense, van Rooyen issued Ramirez-Gutierrez the maximum prison sentence.

“In San Luis Obispo County, we vigorously prosecute child predators and fully enforce California law to protect children — our most vulnerable citizens,” District Attorney Dan Dow said in a statement. “While this long sentence will not undo the harm done to these young people, it does send an unmistakable message that sexual abuse of children is reprehensible and will not be tolerated in our community.”

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Imagine if our judicial system was similarly galvanized to wield an uncompromisingly tough outlook in applying very long sentences for drug and firearms crimes. A profound degree of deterrence, protection and benefit would be felt widespread to all of society, but especially so among the innocent potential victims who avoid having their lives torn apart by the inevitable violence & ruination that accompanies criminal drug and gun activity.

According to the nurses at Atascadero State Hospital, these types of sexual offenders and pedophiles can only be warehoused. They cannot be rehabilitated.