- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 3, 2002

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (AP) The man who kidnapped and raped two teenage girls was facing a life sentence under California's three-strikes laws and would have killed his victims if officers had not arrived in time, the sheriff said yesterday.
Roy Dean Ratliff, 37, was fatally shot by sheriff's deputies in a desolate stretch of the high desert Thursday after a 12-hour manhunt.
"He was a two-striker. He was going to prison for the rest of his life. He had nothing to lose. He needed to get rid of those girls," Kern County Sheriff Carl Sparks said.
The victims, 16 and 17, were reunited with their families after a 12-hour ordeal that began when Ratliff tied up the girls' dates and abducted the teens from a lovers' lane in the Mojave Desert town of Quartz Hill.
Helicopters and deputies converged on an area about 100 miles away after an animal-control officer spotted Ratliff's stolen Ford Bronco.
Ratliff was shot after pointing a gun at one of two deputies who were first to reach the scene, authorities said. The deputies fired 17 shots.
"Those two girls are safe, and I honestly believe they were probably 10 minutes away from being killed and buried out there somewhere in that ravine," the sheriff said.
Ratliff was wanted in the rape of a 19-year-old relative in October. Under California's three-strikes law, he was facing life in prison if convicted.
He had spent the past 13 years in and out of prison for burglary and possessing a controlled substance, and was paroled last summer

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