Volusia sheriff: Teen strangled mother after fight over grades

- The Volusia County Sheriff said a teen who strangled his mother to death before burying her body in the fire pit area near a church is “probably one of the top three sociopaths” he has ever come across.

The sheriff said, over the course of two days, the teen killed his mother, enlisted the help of two friends to help him dispose of her body, tried to stage his home to make investigators think his mother was abducted and made a phony 911 call to set his plan in motion.

Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said his investigators became involved Friday after the teen made that 911 call to report his home was ransacked and his mother, 46-year-old Gail Cleavenger was gone.

The boy told dispatchers he got home from school sometime after 3 p.m. to find his mother’s vehicle open and running in the driveway of their DeBray, Florida home. He also said their home had been ransacked and there were items missing.

The sheriff said investigators began to piece together what happened after listening to the 911 call and interviewing the boy, 15-year-old Gregory Ramos.

Investigators say Gregory returned home from participating in the Orange City Police Explorer program Thursday when his mother questioned him about a grade he received in one of his classes. The two argued and then Gregory went to his room.

Later that night, the sheriff said Gregory went to his mother’s room and strangled her until he believed she was dead.

The sheriff said Gregory then went to get a wheelbarrow, to remove his mother’s body, but when he returned, she was still alive.

The sheriff said Gregory admitted to investigators he then proceeded to strangle his mother for 30 minutes, with his bare hands, until she was dead.

With the help of two 17-year-olds, the sheriff said Gregory buried his mother’s body in the fire pit of a nearby church, ransacked his home and removed items to stage a burglary and abduction, and then the three went to buy drinks at a local store.

The next day, Gregory allegedly got up, went to school, went to the explorer program, and then went home to make the 911 call.

After detailing Gregory’s alleged movements before, during, and after Gail’s death, the sheriff told reporters about the boy’s chilling demeanor during the investigation, so far.

Sheriff Chitwood said Gregory showed “no sign of remorse, whatsoever” when he allegedly admitted to killing Gail.

Chitwood said Gregory was “a soulless individual who thought he was the smartest person in the room,” and “he believed he deserved a Grammy for the way he performed with the 911 call.”

Once investigators believed they had extracted the truth from Gregory, they took him to the location Gail was buried.

“We brought him out here [Friday] night to reenact the crime scene and you might have thought he was going on national television,” Sheriff Chitwood said.

Sgt. AJ Pagliari interviewed Gregory Friday night. He said the teen was “cold, calculated, and unemotional” while confessing what happened.

Gregory faces a charge of first-degree murder. The two teens accused of helping him are charged with accessory to first-degree murder.

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