Man charged with capital murder in deaths of wife, daughter

HOUSTON - A man has been charged with capital murder in the deaths of his wife and daughter. 

Michael Ratliff, 43, initially claimed that he shot his 14-year-old daughter and wife in an act of self defense. Sandtrece Latoya Raliff, 44, later died at the hospital. Her daughter Ariel died at the scene.

Ratliff told investigators that he was at home when his daughter and wife attempted to attack him with knives shortly before 3 a.m. on June 16. 

Heartbroken relatives said that they didn't believe Ratliff's claim.

"There's just no way that he could feel so threatened to carry out such an action to his wife and his daughter," said Desmond Bertrand, a relative. "And then the range and where she was shot, there's just no way."

Related: HPD: Dad claims self-defense in fatal shooting of wife, daughter

According to police, further evidence led investigators to believe that he did not act in self defense. 

Ratliff was taken into custody Thursday.

Police confirm they'd been called to the house before - most recently on an assault allegation in April - but no charges were filed in those cases. 

"They were together, but separate, their family was coming back together, working on issues," Bertrand said. 

Neighbors were shocked. 

"It's breaking my heart, it's really sad, it almost sounds unreal," said Gilbert Garcia. 

"They seemed to be really nice people, all of them, every time i would see them, they would wave at me," said Perry Green.


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