America's Most Wanted Fugitive Sought in 2005 Homicide Posts Wedding Photo on Social Media While on Run
Jihad Amir Ramadan allegedly posted the photos two years after he went on the run
A fugitive once featured on America’s Most Wanted apparently got hitched while on the run from the police – and now authorities are using wedding photos he posted to track him down.
On Monday, the U.S. Marshals Service released a wedding photo of former Hampton University student Jihad Amir Ramadan that was posted on a Myspace account in 2007, two years after he was accused of the stabbing death of Byron “B.J.” Bryant, another student at the Virginia school.
“That wedding was about one year after he was featured on America’s Most Wanted,” Deputy U.S. Marshal Chris Leuer tells PEOPLE. “You don’t see that every day.”
The photo was released for the first time in the hopes that someone could identify Ramadan’s bride.
“We are trying to bring new life to the investigation and hoping that someone from the public will be able to identify this woman,” says Leuer. “Identifying her is very critical in finding Jihad.”
The photo was allegedly taken at Ramadan’s wedding in New York or New Jersey.
“Given the attire of Jihad and his apparent bride in this photo, it does seem likely that many people were at this wedding,” Leuer says. “It does not appear to have been some small-scale event. And we have other photographs that show at least one of his immediate family members at the wedding as well.”
Authorities suspect that Ramadan is either living in the U.S. under an alias or hiding out somewhere in the Caribbean where he has extensive family ties.
“At this point the possibilities are endless,” says Leuer.
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A reward of up to $2,500 is being offered for information leading to Ramadan’s arrest.
“I am so excited about this new interest in this case because it has been 11 years and I thought the case was closed and I thought I was the only person looking,” Bryant’s mother, Cheryl Pitts-Bryant, tells PEOPLE. “To hear from the U.S. Marshals yesterday, it just restored my faith that someone cares.”
“This girl he married probably doesn’t know who he is,” adds Pitts-Bryant. “I am hoping some family members of hers are going to see the picture and say, ‘What the heck?’ and call her and say, ‘Get the kids and get out of there.'”
Bryant, a business major with plans to become a lawyer, was fatally stabbed at a Hampton football party inside an Ethiopian Restaurant in Hampton, Virginia on July 17, 2005.
“I believe the fight allegedly involved a lot of Hampton University students from New York,” says Leuer. “There might have been bad blood between two different groups of students. I don’t think the fight was over anything very serious. It sounded like a fight between young college kids and then someone brought a knife to a fistfight.”
Pitts-Bryant says a group of men including Ramadan surrounded her son, who “proceeded to fight his way out of the circle of boys.”
“This boy stabbed him in the back and his neck and severed his carotid artery and he literally bled to death,” she says. “He had to fight his way out of this circle, and I don’t think he knew he was that hurt. He was stumbling slowly down the stairs before he fell to the ground. I don’t even think he knew. He was in a daze.”
Police say Ramadan, then 18, fled to his native New York after the alleged stabbing and immediately went into hiding.
“We always have known who it was because there were eyewitnesses and they identified him,” says Pitts-Bryant. “It wasn’t about who he was but where is he. How has he gotten away for so many years and hidden himself out for all these years?”
“We haven’t had any closure,” she says. “This has affected so many lives.”