Florida Teen Admits to Strangling Mother

Chris Jasurek
By Chris Jasurek
November 3, 2018US News

A 15-year-old from DeBary, Florida gave police a “full and detailed confession” in the strangling death of his mother.

Gregory Logan Ramos told detectives from the Volusia County Sheriff’s office that he strangled his mother, 46-year-old Gail Cleavenger in the family’s home shortly after midnight on Nov. 2.

Ramos then loaded his mother’s body into a wheelbarrow and wheeled her out to her van.

Ramos loaded his mother’s corpse into the van and drove to the Daytona/Holly Hill area, where he planned to dump his mother’s body.

After changing his mind, he drove back to Debary. He buried his mother’s corpse under a fire pit on the property of the River City Church in the early hours of Nov. 2.

Attempted Cover-Up

According to a report on the Volusia County Sheriff’s website, Ramos then recruited a pair of friends, 17-year-old Dylan Ceglarek and Brian Porras, to help create a fake robbery scene at his home.

The friends were juniors and seniors at University High School, Sheriff Michael Chitwood explained at a Nov. 2 press conference. The trio described themselves as “best friends.”

Ramos called 911 after school on Nov. 2, claiming that his house had been robbed and his mother was missing. He further reported that his mother’s van was parked in the driveway with its engine running.

The house where the killing took place.
The house at 35 Alicante Road where the crime and the attempted cover-up took place. (Google Maps screen shot)

Detectives entered the family home at 3:52 p.m. But they soon realized that they were not looking at an act of random violence, but a staged scene.

Detectives noticed that other parts of Ramos’ story didn’t fit the evidence, Sheriff Chitwood explained. “Things were just not adding up,” he told the press conference. “Things were amiss from the very beginning.”

After being interviewed by police, Ramos broke down and confessed to murdering his mother after a fight over his grades.

Ramos had received a “D” in one class, which outraged his mother. His mother called her husband, who was away on business, at around 11:30 p.m. on Nov. 1, to complain about Ramos’ grades. After the call she went to bed.

Shortly after midnight on Nov.2, Ramos went into his mother’s bedroom, woke her up, and strangled her to death.

A Tragedy Felt Deeply

DeBary, Florida is a city of about 20,000 people about 25 miles southwest of Daytona Beach.

Unlike the better-known coastal cities that attract vacationers—and the people who prey on them—DeBary is a relatively safe community, reporting a little more than half the number of violent crimes as Daytona Beach, annually.

The murder of an ordinary working mother by her son hit home hard when the news was announced.

In a post on Twitter, Sheriff Chitwood said, “The case we worked tonight was one of the most disturbing and saddest I’ve seen in my career.

“I have a feeling this is a case we’ll be hearing about for years to come. All our hearts break for this family.”

Cleavenger’s husband was on a business trip to Seattle, Washington. When he returned home on Nov. 2, police had to tell him that his wife was missing.

“He lands and the next thing he knows the police are taking him to the police district to talk about your wife is missing,” Sheriff Chitwood said.

In a comment on the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office YouTube page, Dawn Marie said, “Gail was an outstanding mother, wife, friend, sister and citizen to all that knew her. She was kind to all. It is hard to make sense of it all.

“Her son was not violent in general but came under some influences. He was raised in a Christian loving household and was well on his way to becoming an Eagle Scout.

“Gail was a blessing to all that knew her. I pray for her loving husband and family to be supported during this difficult time.”

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