N.C. man gets 12+ years in ‘tragic’ shaken baby case

Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 1:48 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 24, 2023 at 5:53 PM EST
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - A North Carolina man is sentenced to spend the next 12.5 years in prison for the 2019 death of his partner’s infant child at an Ocean Blvd. motel.

In August 2019, Geames Kena Ratliff, 40, of Hamlet, North Carolina, was vacationing in Myrtle Beach with the child’s mother and their other children. Court documents state Ratliff took the child from the couple’s shared hotel room and was alone with him when he became unresponsive.

In 2019, police said they were called to the Camelot by the Sea hotel at 2000 N. Ocean Blvd. for an unresponsive infant. During a search of the hotel room, police found a white substance in the room close to the child’s bottle which tested positive for cocaine, according to the warrants.

The child was taken by ambulance to the Grand Strand Regional Medical Center, where he passed away the following day.

According to the report, the child had injuries consistent with having been shaken.

Ratliff and his partner, Laquena Lanishia Bostic, were both arrested on drug and child neglect charges in connection to the case in 2019.

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“The death of a child is always tragic, but one caused by the intentional injury is especially tragic,” said Leigh Waller, a senior assistant solicitor who prosecuted the case for the 15th Circuit Solicitor’s Office. “I am grateful we were able to achieve some measure of justice. Thank you to the Myrtle Beach Police Department, the State Law Enforcement Division and Grand Strand Regional Medical Center for their assistance in this case.”

Fifteenth Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson said Ratliff pleaded guilty on Monday ahead of his scheduled trial.