NORWICH — A prosecution witness in the case of accused killer Ganesh “Remy” Ramsaran acknowledged Monday she had sex with the defendant one day before his wife, Jennifer Ramsaran — her best friend — went missing from her South New Berlin home under suspicious circumstances.
Eileen M. Sayles, 36, of Norwich said she was a mother of two when she first met the Ramsarans in 2006 through the involvement of their children in the local Girl Scouts program. Her friendship grew stronger later with Jennifer Ramsaran, she said, even as she began what she described as a passionate affair with Ramsaran’s husband, a work-from-home program manager for IBM, in February 2012.
Sayles, noting she is now separated from her husband, Patrick Sayles, said her involvement with Ramsaran began when he kissed her while they were working out together in a home gym in the basement of the Ramsaran home at 473 Sheff Road while Jennifer was busy elsewhere in the house.
Eileen Sayles is a key witness in the case, with Chenango District Attorney Joseph McBride saying in his opening statement to the jury last week that the alleged killing grew out of Ganesh Ramsaran’s “obsession” with her. Sayles said Jennifer Ramsaran never became aware of her involvement with the father of the couple’s three children.
In fact, Sayles said, she became worried about Jennifer Ramsaran’s participation in online games with strangers, and even asked her at one point prior to the disappearance if she was concerned that those people could find out where she lived.
WITNESS DESCRIBES VOLATILE RELATIONSHIP
Her voice cracking with emotion at times, Sayles also acknowledged that Ganesh Ramsaran had coaxed her to send him nude photographs he asked her to take of herself with a cellphone camera.
By November 2012, she said, her relationship with Ramsaran had grown bumpy, and she returned to her husband briefly, only to field insistent messages from Ramsaran to resume the affair.
Before getting back together with him, however, she confirmed that he had sent her an angry email message. In it, Ramsaran demanded that an iPhone and clothing he had given to her be returned to him, according to the message, which was introduced into evidence by McBride.
Ramsaran also wrote that the thought of Sayles having sex with her husband “destroys me.”
“You used me like a Tampon and flushed me,” he wrote, according to the document. “Don’t ever think of me again.”
But the relationship was rekindled within days, Sayles acknowledged, and on Dec. 10, 2011, shortly after she had sent her two children off to school, the two went to state land off Whaupaunaucau Road and had sex in a vehicle.
Sayles said it was the next day when Ramsaran called her from the Norwich YMCA and asked for a ride home, saying he had jogged there after Jennifer Ramsaran had gone shopping.
When they got to the house in South New Berlin, she recalled, Ramsaran did not invite her inside. That was unusual, said Sayles, who had noted at other points in her testimony that the two often had sex inside that house while Jennifer Ramsaran was away working at a part-time job.
McBride has said the prosecution will show Jennifer Ramsaran never left the house alive that morning, and was killed before 9 a.m., apparently around the time her participation in an online game with a man in England, identified as Rob Houston, abruptly ended.
Houston and Jennifer Ramsaran had exchanged gifts, and she was planning to pick up a money order he had sent her. She, in turn, had shipped him one of her negligees, according to McBride.
SAYLES: “I DIDN’T WANT TO SIT HERE AND DO THIS”
Under cross examination by defense lawyer Gil Garcia, Sayles admitted she was recently arrested for contempt of court after initially ignoring a summons intended to compel her testimony in the case. She has been designated a material witness for the prosecution.
Sayles acknowledged her relationship with Ramsaran had evolved past their sexual intimacy, and she developed emotional feelings for him — emotions that made it difficult for her to willingly participate in the trial.
“I didn’t want to sit here and do this and talk about my personal life and be a spectacle,” she testified.
“I didn’t have a choice,” she added.
Garcia asked if she had assured him two or three months earlier that “she would continue to support Remy.”
“Yes,” said Sayles, whose estranged husband, Patrick, sat in one of the courtroom benches alongside members of a local support group, Justice for Jennifer.
Eileen Sayles also said after Jennifer Ramsaran was reported missing, Ramsaran encouraged her to move into the Sheff Road house and help take care of the three Ramsaran children. She declined to do so, she said, although the two discussed spending the rest of their lives together.
Sayles said Ramsaran, at one point, changed her mailing address without telling her he was doing so, and had set up an email account for her in the name of “Eileen Ramsaran.”
Sayles testified that while Ganesh Ramsaran never punched her, he did grab her by the arm at one point outside the Ramsran home and yanked her back into the residence.
When Garcia asked her if Ramsaran had been physically violent with her, she said, “No, just verbally violent.”
Last week, two other prosecution witnesses, the victim’s sister, Joann Buff, and father, Thomas Renz, said Ganesh Ramsaran, as part of an apparent campaign to defame his wife, had approached them after his wife was reported missing and claimed that Sayles had been a better mother to the Ramsaran children than Jennifer Ramsaran had been.
But Sayles said Jennifer Ramsaran was a very responsible mother who made all of the children’s meals and did their laundry — things Sayles said she did not do.
MOTHER-IN-LAW: “HE WAS THE BOSS”
The day’s other major witness for the prosection was Caroline Renz, Jennifer Ramsaran’s mother. She testified that she last spoke to her daughter the morning of Dec. 9, 2012, two days before the missing person report was filed.
During that call by way of a web cam, Renz said, Ganesh Ramsaran walked across the back of the screen and she heard him state, “OK, that’s it.” At that moment, the call ended, she said, although she acknowledged she could not say with certainty what happened to end the call.
Renz also said her daughter’s marriage to Ramsaran had grown rocky by that point, and Ramsaran was more involved with his running escapades than family life.
“He was macho — the boss,” Renz said. “Everything had to be his way.”
Renz also said that once Jennifer Ramsaran was reported missing, Ganesh Ramsaran never participated in any searches for her, although he did locate her phone in Plymouth one day earlier. Within several days of the disappearance, she said, Ramsaran approached her and claimed that his wife had been sending nude photographs of herself to strangers she had met on the internet.
“I was shocked,” the mother said.
Also testifying Monday was Richard Caputo, who identified himself as Eileen Sayles’s step-father. He said Ganesh Ramsaran visited him a few days after Jennifer Ramsaran was reported missing, upset that Sayles had gone back to her husband, saying his relationship with Sayles had become sexual.
Caputo said Ramsaran was far more focused on Sayles than he was on the welfare of his children and missing wife.
Caputo recalled that when he asked how the Ramsaran children were faring, Ganesh Ramsaran simply stated: “They’re tough. They’ll be all right.”
Yet another prosecution witness, Autumne Arotsky of Sherburne, a former credit union teller, said she stopped by the Ramsaran house five days after Jennifer Ramsaran was reported missing to check up on the family. As that visit was about to come to an end, she said, Ganesh Ramsaran said he regretted she, his wife and himself had not participated in a three-way tryst.
Arotsky said she explained she was married and declined the invitation.
TESTIMONY LOOKS AT DAY OF DISAPPEARANCE
Two other prosecution witnesses, state trooper Michael Layman, and YMCA counter clerk Julie Waller, both recalled Ganesh Ramsaran’s visit to the gym late on the morning of Dec. 11, 2012.
Layman said he was in the sauna when Ramsaran commented that his wife had gone shopping, and he had stopped at the Y after running from his house to Norwich. Waller said Ramsaran made a similar statement to her. Both Waller and Layman said Ramsaran had never commented on previous visits about his wife’s whereabouts.
Layman also said Ramsaran’s breathing did not seem labored.
The trial will continue this week. Whether Ganesh Ramsaran takes the stand is still undecided, Garcia said.