Tuesday, July 15, 2014
"TAVARES, FL — Police said Tuesday they were still trying to determine what led a 32-year-old Tavares man to beat to death his live-in girlfriend and her mother—as well as how the suspect ended up dead in a nearby lake.
"Shannon Ratliff, 42, the suspect's live-in girlfriend, was found bludgeoned to death in the living room of their 905 Hibiscus Court home. Her mother, Mavis Ratliff, 66, died later at a hospital, according to Tavares police.
"Eddie Ratliff, 51, Shannon's brother and a Eustis sanitation worker, remained in critical condition at a hospital Tuesday, where he underwent surgery for injuries suffered in the attack.
"According to an investigative report, police responded to the home about 4:15 p.m. Monday to a call of Shannon being beaten by her boyfriend, 32-year-old James Earl Jones—a man who was forced into LifeStream Behavioral Center in December and who showed up at the facility twice within the last week.
"Officers arriving at the home discovered Jones near a van parked in front, holding a silver aluminum baseball bat and with blood on his shirt. Police confronted him with a stun gun. Jones allegedly dropped the bat, turned around, yelled `come on and Tase me, come on and Tase me,` then took off running through a grassy field in front of the duplex and toward Mansfield Road.
"Police then walked around the van and discovered Mavis lying there in the yard. Eddie, who had driven to the home to help his sister during the beating of Shannon, was found lying face down about 40 feet away from Mavis.
"What amounted to a gruesome scene inside the home, according to the investigative report, officers then found Shannon. The report adds all three sustained severe head injuries.
"Jones allegedly beat the three people with a bat. He was later was found dead, floating in nearby Lake Dora."
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