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Woman Suspected in Slaying of Doctor Emerges From Coma

July 10, 1997|From Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — A woman, charged with fatally shooting her plastic surgeon after her breast implants leaked, came out of a coma Wednesday, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Theresa Ramirez, 45, was in fair condition recovering from a diabetes-induced coma, San Francisco General Hospital spokeswoman Alice Trinkl said.

Ramirez was one of several patients wanted for questioning when paramedics responded to a call for help Tuesday at a San Francisco hotel. They found her unconscious with two guns, one of them linking her to the July 3 fatal shooting of Petaluma plastic surgeon Michael Tavis, authorities said.

Police issued a warrant for her arrest Tuesday as she lay in a coma and posted a guard at her hospital bedside. As of Wednesday afternoon, authorities had yet to inform Ramirez of her rights and read the charges against her.

"She's in custody," Sonoma County Dist. Atty. Mike Mullins said. "She's not going anywhere. The next step is to monitor her progress and get the doctor's OK so that we can transfer her back to Sonoma County and schedule an arraignment."

Ramirez is charged with murder, including a special accessory of lying in wait, which could make her subject to the death penalty. Mullins said that decision will not be decided for several weeks.

"We believe that one of the guns found is the weapon that was used," Mullins said.

In addition, Mullins said authorities found an address book listing Kay Carter, Tavis' longtime office assistant, who also was shot but survived. Carter, 59, who was shot in the head, remained unconscious and in critical condition Wednesday at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.

Ramirez is suspected of shooting Tavis and Carter in their office lobby. Tavis, 53, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Ramirez lost a 1992 malpractice suit against Tavis. She claimed her silicone breast implants were leaking, according to court records.

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