'Angelic' Miss. Mom Set to Graduate College in December Is Killed by Boyfriend in Murder-Suicide
A 23-year-old Mississippi mother and soon-to-be college grad was killed by her ex-boyfriend on Thursday in a murder-suicide. The tragic events unfolded on a state highway, following a harrowing kidnapping and car chase.
In the last two weeks, Pheonecia Ratliff, 23, of Canton, filed domestic violence and stalking charges against Jamariquis Black, 24, who is the father of her young daughter, the Clarion Ledger reports.
On Thursday night, just before midnight, Black waited for Ratliff to return to her mother’s house in Canton after she and her younger sister finished their shift at a local Subway, local station WAPT-TV reports.
Black hid in the bushes and attacked Ratliff when she got out of the car, say police, WJTV reports.
After tackling Ratliff, the two “wrestled,” Canton Police Department Assistant Chief Terrence Ware told the Clarion Ledger.
When Ratliff’s sister tried to help her, Black shot her in the thigh and forced Ratliff to get into his vehicle, say police.
Black led police on a high-speed car chase on I-55 through Mississippi before he crashed the car near the 30-mile marker in Bogue Chitto, Mississippi Highway Patrol told the Clarion Ledger.
Black – with Ratliff still with him - stayed in the crashed car while police – and his mother, who had come to the scene – tried to coax him out of the vehicle, say police, WAPT-TV reports.
During the tense standoff, Black’s mother called him and asked him to surrender, Canton Chief of Police Otha Brown told WAPT-TV.
Black said he would surrender if he could see his daughter.
“It ended in a tragedy where he killed himself and her,” Ware told the Clarion Ledger.
"The pain that I’m going through right now, it’s unbearable," Ratliff's uncle, Eugene Ratliff, told WAPT-TV. "I love my niece to death. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for my family and I wasn’t able to be there to try to help her."
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Fondly known as “Necia,” Ratliff was a senior at Jackson State University and had worked hard to be able to graduate in December, according to the Clarion Ledger.
“She was a delightful person,” David Willey, the general manager at Subway where she had worked, told the Clarion Ledger. “I mean, she’s as good as gold."
“Let everyone know what a wonderful person she was,” he said.
Ratliff’s family and friends say Black had been abusive toward her for a long time, the Clarion Ledger reports.
“There was a lot of domestic violence in this,” Willey said.
Ratliff had recently broken up with Black and moved to her mother’s house, the Clarion Ledger reports.
Black was arrested on May 8 and charged with domestic violence and aggravated stalking, WAPT-TV reports.
He was released on bond on Monday.
Ratliff leaves behind a young daughter, who “was her world,” K'Shatriyah Humphrey, one of Ratliff's sorority sisters, told the Clarion Ledger.
Humphrey will miss her friend's "angelic" smile and "caring soul," she told the outlet.
"She was always the positive sister throughout all our chaos -- our peacemaker," JSU senior Ilka Stewart, also one of Ratliff's sorority sisters, told the outlet.
On Saturday, Ratliff's family and friends released purple and white balloons in her memory.
“In honor of Pheonecia, fly high baby," her mother, Suzanne Ratliff said as she released her balloons, WLBT reports. "God got you. Fly."