Man Beats Girlfriend, Her Mother To Death Before Taking His Own Life

TAVARES, Fla. (AP) — Police say a central Florida man used a baseball bat to beat to death his girlfriend and her mother and seriously injure her brother before taking his own life.

Police identified 32-year-old James Jones as the suspect in the beating deaths of 42-year-old Shannon Ratliff and her 66-year-old mother, Mavis Ratliff, in Tavares on Monday evening.

Tavares police spokeswoman Joyce Ross says Shannon Ratliff’s brother, Eddie Ratliff, underwent surgery Tuesday morning. Eddie Ratliff is an employee of the city of Tavares, about 30 miles northwest of Orlando.

According to police, Jones drowned himself in a nearby lake after he was confronted by officers and ran away.

Ross says detectives are investigating a motive for the killings. A police report says Jones was schizophrenic and had stopped taking his medication.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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