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Windsor Mill man charged in murder of woman missing since 2010

Cherice Ragins was killed in 2010.
Cherice Ragins was killed in 2010. (Handout photo)

Six years after 24-year-old Baltimore resident Cherice Ragins went missing, a grand jury in Baltimore County has indicted her boyfriend on a charge of first-degree murder.

County police on Tuesday announced the arrest Travis Eugene Elleby, 30, of Windsor Mill.

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"It was overwhelming," Ragins' mother, Clariese Ragins, said of learning of Elleby's arrest.

Cherice Ragins' body has never been found, and it's unclear what evidence investigators have against Elleby. No court records on the charges were publicly available Tuesday.

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When Ragins vanished, "something did not seem right," said police spokesman Cpl. John Wachter.

While the case took time and Ragins' remains have never been located, detectives "got to the point where they were satisfied that she was deceased and it was the boyfriend that did it," Wachter said.

Elleby was taken into custody Friday at a fast-food restaurant in the 2300 block of Frederick Avenue, Wachter said.

Prosecutor Garret Glennon said he could not comment on the case because there are not yet any public court records on it.

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Clariese Ragins reported her daughter missing in February 2010, days after the young woman said she was going to visit Elleby and never returned.

The mother, who is a retired Baltimore teacher, said it was "totally out of character" for her daughter to not be in touch with her family.

"She would've never just gone off on her own," she said. "She had never done anything like that before."

A graduate of Woodlawn High School, Cherice Ragins loved to read and go to the movies, her mother said. She had struggled with family issues, including the death of her brother, Jonathan, who died at age 23 from complications of kidney disease.

Clariese Ragins said she had always suspected that Elleby knew more about her disappearance than he revealed.

Last week, when Elleby was indicted and arrested, she received a phone call from Glennon, and then one from now-retired Det. Phil Marll, who had worked the case before left the county police department.

The detective and the prosecutor "both reassured me that they never forgot," Ragins said.

"Even though I felt, at times, disappointed because the case wasn't moving along as fast as I thought it should, I feel overall that they've done an excellent job," Ragins said.

Elleby is being held without bail at the county detention center, Glennon said.

Because no court records were available, it was not clear Tuesday whether Elleby has an attorney.

Prosecutors in Baltimore County have twice secured murder convictions despite not having found the victims' bodies.

In 2011, Jason M. Gross was convicted of second-degree murder in the death of 16-year-old Rochelle Battle. And in 2010, Dennis J. Tetso was convicted of second-degree murder in the death of his wife, Tracey Leigh Gardner.

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