The Downward Spiral, who are you?! Maria..joan…

When I was younger and the internet was new ( yes dear readers I am old enough to remember dial up, going to friends houses to internet purge on their connection and even the day libraries first allowed it to become publicly available!) I was a fan of a website called…I won’t link to it as I am aware most people start their internet journey there, and it’s hardly positive (if you go there be prepared for violence and gore )  but whilst exploring the internet this woman appeared in my life…I loath to say that a decade on I still have no idea who she is, but if you can help let me know. Either way, this image alone will be used in my autobiography of things that I saw and that mattered in my formative years. At 17 I stared at each picture imagining how it happened and was thankful it wasn’t me. That concept always worries me you know, “thank god it’s not me”….but this is my first internet case of such a perception- 


No one will know how much I have researched her in an attempt to give her a name. I want to give her name, nothing more, her story is there, forced in your face.What more could any words say on her?! Either way, I wish I knew her story more. In London her face was used in anti heroin campaigns and now she is a face of anti meth…either way I don’t care what or who she is associated with, I just want to know who she I alone?! All my internet sleuthing has conjured up is that her name may be “Maria Romas” – not confirmed or “Joan” also not confirmed. One comment stated that she had found love and was happily drug free, yet another that she has hurt her own child in her quest to get high..the most likely ending I have found is that she is dead.


No matter what her story is I wish to know it, not to glorify it. This isn’t Catherine F. FFS…but who was this woman whose face is so commonly used as as a warning against drugs? Surely someone must know?!


I hope that you are alive and well and drug free…or dead and free of pain. What I dread is that I find it’s now 30 years and life is still this horrific for you my dear, and if it is, message me. I will do anything to help you. In fact any one in these circumstances, reach out to this silly blogger, as she for some reason wishes she could help Xxx


19 thoughts on “The Downward Spiral, who are you?! Maria..joan…

  1. I’ve been looking at her and researching her since 2012. I also came across the information that her name may have been Maria Ramos or “Joan”. One man commented and said that was his ex-girlfriend. I really am just as curious as you. So… if you do find any more information, please keep me in the loop.

    • Noway, fascinating! I’d love to be able to delve further into it, I have been haunted by for her for long, long time. If I find our more I will certainly update this post…and thank you for stopping by. If you find out anymore as well, please let me know. In the meantime, I keep her in my thoughts x x

  2. Omg! I’m so happy I found this! I too have been haunted by this picture since I first came across it back in 2006. I have wondered so much about her; who she is, what’s her story etc. Please keep updated!

    Ps. I found an article a few years back stating that she died a few weeks after her last mugshot from a heroine od. It also mentioned her name to be “Maria Fernandez”

  3. Pingback: The Downward Spiral : Part Two – BunnyPudding

  4. Hi Bunny Pudding, if you stil have interest in this please reach out me. I know unequivocally who this person is, and it’s not Maria Ramos.

  5. Same here. Came across at a decade ago and have been haunted ever since. What a downward spiral! What a shame! She looks like a naughty little girl in the first photo and then … I discovered this while searching for her name too. Now, I’m gonna read Part Two.

  6. I am the documentary filmmaker working on telling her life story. Learn more at She is alive, well and has an amazing story to tell. You can see current photos of her on this website. I believe she is still alive and doing well because her story was meant to change lives and make the world a better place. That is why I am so passionate about this and am funding the documentary entirely myself.

    We filmed in NYC together in February of 2020 – right before Covid-19 hit. The day we flew out of NYC after filming was the same day NYC news announced the very first known case – a lawyer who caught the Covid-19 virus.

    Things are currently at a standstill because I have been funding this entirely myself for the past couple of years, but can not afford to continue funding it at this moment.

    I need to hire a private investigator to help tell the rest of her story. If you know of a PI willing to volunteer their time, please email me at

    Alternatively, if you would like to donate to help me continue this documentary and hire a private investigator, I am accepting donations through a PayPal at

    Thanks for the interest!

    • Oh my god darling this is fabulous news! I work in digital marketing and PR so will pop you an email through as this is very close to my heart <3 x

  7. Her name is Joan Mertz. I can’t find any information about her mugshots, but I’m glad to find she’s still around, and it looks like she feels good.

  8. This is Jamie writing to let you know she is still alive and well. Her life story still has much to unfold before the documentary can be produced. I am actually with her now creating memories and our friendship has evolved to her becoming “family” I choose.

    Finances, covid and needing the final, most important part of her journey still has to unfold.

    If there are any licensed private investigators able to volunteer their time to help, we could sure use help.

    My personal email is Serious, reputable inquiries only please. 🙏

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