Fifteen-year-old Gregory Logan Ramos has been charged with strangling his mother, 46-year-old Gail Cleavenger, to death in the early morning hours Friday. The two had argued about a D he received at school, and Ramos allegedly attacked his mother when she called his father, who was away on a business trip. Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood has called Ramos one of the “top three sociopaths” he has ever met. He described the teenager as a “soulless individual.”
On Friday afternoon, Ramos called 911 and told the dispatcher that he had come home and found it burglarized. ClickOrlando reported that he said his mother was gone and her van was sitting in the driveway running. Ramos would later describe his “performance” during that phone call as “award-winning.” Police were suspicious as soon as they arrived at the home. They described some scratches on Ramos’ face as consistent with wounds incurred in self-defense, and the scene itself felt suspicious.
Officials gathered evidence and spoke to two of Ramos’ friends, Dylan Ceglarek and Brian Porras, who are both 17-years-old. The boys admitted that they helped Ramos stage the burglary and bury his mother. When Sergeant A.J. Pagliari informed Ramos of their confessions, he was unfazed and asked if that meant they had killed his mother. He later confessed to the crime in a way that stuck with Pagliari.
“Wasn’t very emotional about it at all. He used some expletives and said, ‘I’ll tell you what happened.’ Very cold, calculated and very proud of what he did.”
Ramos told Pagliari that he had actually strangled his mother twice because the first time, although he thought he had killed her, he had not. He said that it took him 30 minutes of strangling her to kill her and called his murder of her a “pre-emptive strike,” saying that he thought she would kill him one day. Investigators have found no evidence that Ramos was abused. He used a wheelbarrow to take her body to the car then called his two friends to help him bury her. Porras hung up on him. Ceglarek didn’t answer. They both eventually spoke to him and agreed to help bury his mother. Porras and Ceglarek have been charged as accessories to first-degree murder.
The three boys buried Cleavenger at a church firepit where they had drank and done drugs together. Ramos said he chose that spot because he thought the ground there was “malleable.” Ramos was involved in a program with the Orange County Police Department in which he was a “police explorer.” Those involved in the program work as volunteers with deputies. He had told deputies that he wanted to be a homicide detective. Ramos was also taking classes about criminal justice and crime scene investigation at his high school. He told investigators that he had used what he had learned to return the firepit to a condition that appeared undisturbed. Pagliari said that he bragged about his work, saying, “I did a real good job staging everything.”
All three boys are scheduled to appear before a judge on Sunday.