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A teary homecoming

Spokeswoman describes emotional return of former agent convicted of shooting man and trying to cover it up.

February 18, 2009|By Paul Anderson

Ramos gave prison officials a list of five people he wanted there to greet him at the gate. They denied everyone but Monica and Botsford.

“I said, ‘We’ll see about that,’” Setmayer said.

She had pestered the federal Bureau of Prisons liaison so often as she advocated for the agents that they developed what she laughingly calls a “love-hate relationship.”

“So I called my trusty Bureau of Prisons liaison and said, ‘So I hear I’ve been denied access,’ ” she said. “He said, ‘I knew I was going to get this call today. In fact, my superior and I were talking about this very thing. I told him if I know Tara Setmayer she’s not going to get out of that car [at a security checkpoint], so we’re trying to figure out how to avoid that.’”

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Finally, after prolonged negotiations that the liaison compared to congressional tangling over the stimulus bill, Setmayer made the list of first-greeters.

“The DC office knew what was good for them,” she said, chuckling. “I promised Nacho I would be there two years ago and I wasn’t going to break that promise.”

Monica and Tara stayed at a hotel about five minutes away from the prison and picked out some new clothes for Ramos the night before. They were so giddy with expectations they had a tough time winding down. “I didn’t get to sleep until 2:30 a.m. and then I set three alarms and asked for a wake-up call to make sure.”

They got up at 6 a.m., Setmayer put the finishing touches on the news release announcing the news and had it ready to send when it was allowed. They drove in separate cars just in case there was a mix-up, and the guards hassled Setmayer at the gate, but everything went smoothly.

“Within three minutes we saw him processed through the gate,” she said. He was wearing his prison-issued faded jeans with no belt and a plain white T-shirt. Then he changed into the khaki pants, black belt, black Docker shoes, striped, button-down Polo shirt and black sport-coat jacket that Monica and Setmayer had picked out for him.

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