Possible Homicide is Under Investigation

Matt DiGiovanni

A middle aged woman died in an apparent domestic violence related homicide at the Regency Apartments late Saturday, Apr. 24. Her husband, Jim Ratchford, was arrested for the incident. Ratchford turned himself into police shortly after his wife’s death and is currently sitting in prison. His bail is reported to be approximately 500,000 dollars.

Ratchford, 51, had a history of beating Roxanne Young, 47, during their many alcohol-fueled fights, according to the couple who let Ratchford and Young stay at their third-floor apartment at 200 Elm St.

Long after the beating initially took place, friend Erin Kavanagh decided to call an ambulance for Young, because she “didn’t look right.” Young was transported to Yale-New Haven Hospital, where she later died.

Her death has since been ruled a homicide due to blunt force trauma to the abdomen. Ratchford has been arrested and charged with second-degree assault, although police expect more detailed and serious charges to emerge later this week.

“They both were very good people, but he has a problem,” said Kavanagh, who explained that Ratchford and Young stayed with her family for several months. The couple was known to have severe marital problems and loud fighting was completely common. Young seemed okay initially following the blow, said Kavanagh, but she grew worse as the night went on.

The initial 911 call came in at 10:40 p.m. Thursday. It was reported as chest pains and the police department reports it did not jump to immediate reaction. “This came in as a medical call and there wasn’t any obvious or overt sign of trauma that would initiate a police response,” said police spokesman Sgt. Martin Garcia. The incident was not handed over to police investigation in New Haven until hospital personnel contacted the department regarding bruising and sustainable damage.

“We made a mistake by letting them stay here,” said Kavanagh. Her children had played with Young’s family and Ratchford, although violent, had always seemed kind in the presence of company. His behavior was notable but not questionable.

Ratchford was arrested earlier this year in January for third-degree assault, breach of peace, and interference.

The death is the city’s second domestic violence-related homicide of the year. Headed by police Detective Brian Reilly, the Domestic Violence Unit is dedicated to speeding up the process of domestic violence arrests and connecting victims with protective services more quickly. Creating the initiative was one of the first major actions by new Police Chief John Karajanis Jr.

The incident was quickly resolved and did not involve any university students.