Man accused of killing knife-wielding wife and daughter; claims self-defense

By Samantha Ptashkin - Reporter

HOUSTON - A mother and her teen daughter are dead, after police say a family member shot and killed them during a domestic dispute.

Police were called to a home in the 15100 block of Alkay Street around 3:15 a.m. Thursday. When officers arrived they learned 44-year-old Michael Ratliff had shot his wife and their 14-year-old daughter.

According to police, Ratliff claimed his wife, 44-year-old Latoya Ratliff, and their daughter, Ariel Ratliff, tried to attack him with knives, so he shot them in self-defense.

Ariel Ratliff was pronounced dead at the scene. Latoya Ratliff was taken to Ben Taub General Hospital where she died. “He was with this woman for more than 20 years,” said relative Tonya Belt. “How could he? Why would he?”

Belt said the couple had martial issues, but she never expected it to end like this. “It’s just a shock,” Belt said. “I’m hurt. I’m disappointed.”

Family members say 14-year-old Ariel was in the 9th grade and had dreams to go to college. The couple also has a son in his 20s. He is in the military and he is currently stationed overseas. The family was trying to reach him Thursday afternoon to deliver the tragic news.

So far no charges have been filed against Michael Ratliff as police continue to investigate.

Anyone with information in this case is asked to contact the HPD Homicide Division at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.

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