Family asks murder suspect to come forward

From left to right, the father and daughter of the victim, Richard and Melissity Hayes.

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Investigators say 41-year-old Ronald David Ratliff is on the run for shooting his former mother in law. Now, the victim's family is asking Ratliff to surrender to authorities.

Richard Hayes told his sobbing daughter, Melissity, he had prayed not to break down during a press conference Monday at the Charleston County Sheriff's office in North Charleston.

"I've forgiven you for taking my love away from me. I just want you to know that you can walk in and you'll be safe," Richard Hayes said Monday. Authorities say Ratliff killed his wife 66-year-old Linda Hayes Saturday night in West Ashley while she was in bed at her daughter's, Ratliff's estranged wife's home.

"I have no hatred for you," said Richard Hayes. "You're hurting a lot of people by not coming in."

Sheriff Al Cannon says Linda and Richard Hayes had just arrived at their daughter's home on Debbenshire Drive from a birthday party. They had traveled from Clearwater, Florida and were visiting their daughter, Ratliff's estranged wife. Authorities say at approximately 6:40 p.m. on Saturday, Ratliff entered the Hayes home and shot Linda Hayes twice while she was in bed.

According to Charleston County Sheriff's Office PIO Major John Clark, Linda Hayes was then transported to MUSC where she died around 7:20 p.m.

Authorities believe Ratliff may be in Florida because he has family and friends in Pensacola.

Ratliff is described as a white male who is 5'11" 210 pounds. He was last seen driving a white 2004 Ford Econoline Van with S.C. license plate EPP-250. Officials believe he may be armed with the same hand gun that was used in the shooting.

Ratliff was arrested last fall on assault and battery charge related to incident on Debbenshire Drive in September. Deputies say he was released from the Charleston County Detention Center on Tuesday January 18th, after pleading guilty to assaulting his ex-wife, Melissity Hayes.

Anyone with information should contact the Charleston County Sheriff's Office or call Crime Stoppers at (843) 554-1111.