Nephew among trio arrested in Christmas Day home invasion that left woman dead

YORK COUNTY, S.C. — Three people have been arrested a month after a violent Christmas Day home invasion in York County left an elderly woman dead.

Deputies said the trio broke into a home on Smithfield Road in Hickory Grove that belonged to 75-year-old Billy Childers and his 72-year-old wife, Sarah Childers.

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Detectives said a woman knocked on the couple’s door and claimed she was having car trouble. Billy Childers, was lured outside where two men put a gun to his head, tied him up and kicked him, investigators said.

Sarah Childers heard the commotion and when she went to see what was going on she was also assaulted.

The suspects stole a gun, cash, jewelry and the couple’s SUV.

Sarah Childers died on Jan. 16 while being hospitalized for injuries she suffered during the attack.

The FBI later joined the investigation and offered a $20,000 reward leading to the arrest and prosecution of the suspects.

On Thursday, York County investigators said Jackie Ray Childers Jr., 38, of York, and Virginia D. Ratcliffe, 32, of Harrisburg, Illinois, were arrested in Paducah, Kentucky. Childers and Ratcliffe waived extradition and will be brought back to South Carolina.

The Herald was reporting that Jackie Ray Childers is the couple’s nephew.

Travis Randell Baxter, 29, of Grover, North Carolina, was taken into custody in Andrews, South Carolina, near Myrtle Beach. He is in custody at the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office awaiting transport back to York County.

“It’s been 35 days since this heinous crime and it’s been 35 days of relentless work our detectives have put in to bring these people we believe are responsible for the attack into custody,” Sheriff Kevin Tolson said in a news release. “We continue to send our condolences to the family of Sarah Childers for their loss as a result of this Christmas Day attack.”

Jackie Ray Childers has been charged with armed robbery, kidnapping, first-degree burglary, possession of a weapon during a violent crime and criminal conspiracy.

Ratcliffe is charged with armed robbery, kidnapping, first-degree, burglary and criminal conspiracy.

Baxter is being charged with armed robbery, kidnapping, first-degree burglary, possession of a weapon during a violent crime and criminal conspiracy.

More charges may be pending.

This case is still under investigation.

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The following agencies are involved in this case: The Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Secret Service, South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division, Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, Blacksburg Police Department, Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office, Andrews Police Department, Paducah Police Department, Kentucky; and McCracken County Sheriff’s Office, Kentucky, assisted in this investigation.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.