By Joe Mahoney
The Daily Star
---- — For an eight-month period that began in late 2011 and stretched into mid-2012, Keith Wilcox, a disabled retiree from New Berlin, said he welcomed Jennifer Ramsaran into his home, where she worked as a caretaker for him as he recovered from a stroke.
When the 36-year-old mother of three was reported missing by her husband in December and theories were advanced that she had left the area, Wilcox recalled Monday, he never believed such a scenario would ever take place.
“She would never, ever leave her kids,” Wilcox told The Daily Star. “Those kids were her life. If somebody tried to abduct her, she would have fought with her last dying breath to get back to her kids and to her parents. Nobody who knew her would have believed that Jen would just take off.”
As soon as he heard that Jennifer Ramsaran had disappeared, following what her husband told police was a shopping trip to a Syracuse mall, Wilcox said he immediately feared she would not be found alive.
Today, 84 days after Ganesh “Remy” Ramsaran contacted New Berlin village police and reported his wife missing, a funeral Mass will be held at St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Church in Norwich for Jennifer Ramsaran.
Her body was recovered last week by the Chenango County Sheriff’s Department off a rural road in Pharsalia. Her cellphone had been recovered in Plymouth by her husband, shortly after the disappearance. And a Chrysler minivan owned by the Ramsarans was later found outside a Norwich apartment building. Ganesh Ramsaran told police his wife had taken that vehicle to the mall.
Today, mourners will remember Jennifer Ramsaran in the same church where she had been a volunteer Sunday school teacher for many years, according to Wilcox and other acquaintances.
Although an autopsy was completed last week in Syracuse, the sheriff’s office said it has not yet received the cause of death from the medical examiner’s office. The death is being treated as a possible homicide, and other possible causes of death — accidental or medical-related — have not yet been officially ruled out.
An obituary prepared by the R.J. Fahy Funeral Home in Norwich said there were no public calling hours.
In addition to her husband, Jennifer Ramsaran is survived by her three children, Cara Lyn, Glenn Robert Walker and Nicole Claire, all of South New Berlin; her parents, Thomas and Caroline Renz of South New Berlin; and her sister, JoAnn Buff, and brother-in-law, James Buff, of Middleburgh; as well as her mother-in-law and father-in-law, Sam and Tara Ramsaran of Yonkers.
Wilcox recalled Jennifer Ramsaran as a kind-hearted person and very diligent in her duties as a part-time caretaker for him. After working for 37 years as a janitor for Sheffield Products, Wilcox said, he was left partially paralyzed as the result of a stroke he suffered in 2010.
In late 2011, he said Susan Converse, a nurse and a friend of Jennifer Ramsaran, recommended the New Berlin mother to fill the caretaker position. He said Jennifer Ramsaran would sometimes bring her children along, and she became such good friends with Wilcox that she would sometimes confide in him the problems that she was having in her home life.
“She was worked up about that,” he said.
Wilcox, 57, acknowledged that he was interviewed by New Berlin police after Ganesh Ramsaran reported his wife missing Dec. 11.
“She was a very good mother,” Wilcox said, adding he is grieving over her loss with friends. “She would pick her kids up after swimming lessons, and I would go with her when she took them home. Then her dad would come over and talk to us. Her parents are very nice people.”
Wilcox said he strongly suspects Jennifer Ramsaran was the victim of foul play.
“I really miss Jen and the kids,” he said.
Ganesh Ramsaran, in an interview two weeks ago, said he has had no contact with Keith Wilcox.
The Chenango County Sheriff’s Office is urging anyone with information about the case to call the agency at 337-1924 or 337-1864.