Indy Unsolved: Killer sought in 2004 death of Indiana woman

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MORGAN COUNTY, Ind. (April 24, 2015)-- Ronli Kay Ratliff was 24 and fed up with the drug use of people around her when she decided to spend the night at a house outside of Mooresville in April of 2004.

Her aunt Kimberly Sink has ideas about who would want the young Morgan County woman dead.

"Whoever was nervous that she was gonna tell, because she always threatened to tell -- that she was just going to turn them all in and I think that's what happened."

Sink said her niece lived in town but decided to sleep at her family's house in the country.

"I think it was somebody that knew she was there," said Sink. "It wasn't somebody that just stumbled on to her."

Morgan County Sheriff Robert Downey isn't so sure.

"We don't know for a fact that the killer is from Morgan County," said the sheriff who was asked if his detectives ever developed a motive for the killing.

"Not that we can put our finger on," he said. "To give you an exact answer of motive, no."

Investigators found Ratliff's body inside the burning home. Whoever killed Ratliff likely set fire to the house to cover their crime.

"I was angry," said Ron Ratliff, remembering the day he stood in the front yard of the house waiting for his daughter's body to be removed. "Angry at the TV cameramen. Everybody. They were gonna bring my girl out in a body bag and I didn't want anybody to see that. I was mad at the sheriff. The detective."

Ratliff has plans for the person who killed his child.

"If I caught him, I would hang him. Hang by his feet and burn him and feed his bones to the dogs."

Ratliff was walking through Whitelick Cemetery outside of Mooresville where he still goes to visit his daughter.

"I was out here three or four days a week right after it happened," he said.  "I talked to her on Easter Sunday, four days before she died."

The part of Ronli's family that's still pushing for answers has suffered since her death.

Aunt Kim had a stoke. Ron fought back throat cancer. But Alana Stout has suffered worse than all.

"I'm damaged," she said, sitting by Ronli's gravesite. "I can't go anywhere. I can't do anything that normal people my age do. I can't face the world. I'm scared. I constantly look over my shoulder. I don't know who I can trust or what I can really do."

Ronli was ten years older than Alana, who is now the age her cousin was when she died more than a decade ago.

"To not have Ronli is missing me. I'm not who I am. I want answers. I want to know who did this. Its not fair."

Ronli's stepmother Vina never expected the woman's murder would remain unsolved for so long.

"No, I didn't. Not with as small as Mooresville is," she said. "It's too small of a town to not to know, and I would say it was somebody that knew her."

At the time investigators made inquiries into the Morgan County methamphetamine trade searching for tips.

Sheriff Downey said his new cold case squad, with a retired IMPD officer on board, will make the Ronli Ratliff investigation the first it tackles.

If you know anything about the murder on Dayhuff Road on April 15, 2004, call Crime Stoppers at (317) 262-TIPS.

Your information could be worth a $1000 reward.

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