Two suspects jailed in double homicide

Osceola County woman a suspect in Scottville murder

MASON COUNTY — An Osceola County woman and a Mason County man are in a Kentucky jail after allegedly fleeing a murder scene in Scottville and taking a Reed City boy from his home on Friday.

LeShawn Whipple, 19, and Patrick Michael-Thomas Bentley, 21, were arrested on Saturday in Ohio County, Ky., after fleeing the state sometime on Friday.

Police believe the pair are responsible for the shooting death of Patrick’s 18-year-old sister, Lacey Bentley, and the strangulation of 28-year-old Fernando Ramirez.

Mason County Sheriff Jeff Fiers said investigators are beginning to establish a timeline of events.

“We know Fernando got out of work at 11:30 p.m. on Thursday evening. We know (he was killed) sometime after work, probably sometime early Friday morning,” Fiers said. “All the indications we have from our investigative leads is that Lacy was already dead when he arrived.”

Ramirez worked second shift at Kaines Manufacturing in Ludington. Lacey Bentley was a student at Journey High School in Scottville.

Mason County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched for a well-being check at the home, located at 3046 N. Amber Rd. in Scottville, at about 9:30 p.m. on Friday. Upon arrival, they discovered the bodies of Ramirez and Bentley. All four people had been living at the same residence, Fiers said, but police believe Whipple is originally from Osceola County.

Patrick Bentley and Whipple fled the scene on Friday in a car Ramirez had borrowed from a friend. Before leaving for Kentucky, where they eventually were apprehended, the pair passed through Osceola County and picked up a 16-year-old boy in Reed City. The boy was reported missing by his parents to the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office on Friday.

“We know he wasn’t involved in anything (in Scottville),” Fiers said. “We believe LeShawn knew the family and may have lived there for a while with them at some point.”

Fiers said Whipple has family spread throughout Osceola County, and police aren’t sure which city she called home before she began staying in Scottville.

Osceola County Undersheriff Justin Halladay said his office received a complaint about the boy’s disappearance on Friday and investigated it as a “voluntarily missing” complaint because of his age and the absence of evidence showing he was taken against his will.

From there, police only know that Patrick Bentley, Whipple and the Reed City boy ended up in Ohio County, Ky., where they ran out of gas. A 911 call was generated by a resident of the area who saw the boy going from house to house, pounding on doors. Bentley and Whipple were seen on foot with backpacks and fled on foot when approached by a Ohio County Sheriff’s deputy.

Bentley and Whipple remain in custody in Ohio County, Ky., where they face felony charges of being in possession of a stolen vehicle, fleeing and eluding police on foot and unlawful possession of concealed weapons.

When they return to Mason County, Bentley and Whipple each face five more charges: Two counts of open murder and one count each of felony firearm possession, unlawfully driving away a vehicle and attempted arson of the Scottville home where Lacy Bentley and Ramirez’s bodies were found. But police have to get them back in the state first.

“The warrants are in hand, but Kentucky has placed a hold on them,” Fiers said. “We’re just waiting to see if they fight extradition. The extradition process in a commonwealth state like Kentucky ... could take up to 90 days.”