Details of Disappearance
Ricardo was last seen in Elkton, Maryland on August 19, 2014. He was riding his bicycle near the park on Cow Lane in the Hollingsworth Manor neighborhood sometime between 11:00 a.m. and noon when a dark blue Chevrolet sedan, driven by heavyset Caucasian male and with a female passenger, pulled up and Ricardo got inside.
On the afternoon of August 18, the day before Ricardo disappeared, his sixteen-year-old friend, Jesse Veasey Jr.
, also vanished. He was last seen getting into the same vehicle Ricardo got into, driven by the same man and with the same woman passenger, in the same neighborhood. Neither of them were seen alive again.
Authorities identified the driver of the car as Donald Ray Bennett. A photo of Bennett is posted with this case summary. He and his female companion, who has not been publicly named, admitted to having had Ricardo and Jesse in the car at separate times and claimed they dropped both of them off alive and well.
A bloodstained t-shirt was found in Bennett's motel room six days after Jesse disappeared; the blood on it turned out to be Bennett's, however, and not either of the missing boys'. A cellular phone under the motel room mattress, however, was Ricardo's. Text messages on the phone showed Bennett contacted Ricardo and asked for drugs, offering to trade a video game console and a Casio G-Shock watch. Jesse owned a Casio G-Shock watch.
Both Jesse and Ricardo sold drugs, and Bennett was one of their customers. He has a criminal record for burglary, theft and assault, was wanted for stealing from an auto parts store at the time of the disappearances, and was arrested and jailed later that month. While he was in jail, he allegedly told another that both Ricardo and Jesse were dead, and that one body had been hidden in water under a tree root and covered with rocks.
When questioned by the police about Jesse and Ricardo, Bennett said the two young men had angered rival drug dealers. He said another dealer gave him a cellular phone with a single number programmed into it, and told him to call that number when he saw Ricardo. Bennett did so, in exchange for $100 worth of crack cocaine, and this was the last time he'd seen Ricardo. He then threw the phone over the drug dealer's fence.
In March 2015, Bennett was charged with murdering both teenagers. In August 2015, he pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder and was sentenced to a term of sixty years in prison. He said approached each one to buy heroin and strangled them to death, sixteen hours apart. He also confessed to stealing heroin, cash and his watch from Jesse; the watch was found on the roof of the West End Gardens apartment complex where Bennett lived. He apologized to Jesse and Ricardo's relatives at his sentencing.
As part of the plea agreement, Bennett promised to lead authorities to the bodies. Acting on his directions, investigators found Veasey's remains in Little Elk Creek beneath the Interstate 95 overpass, 40 yards from the southbound lane of Blue Ball Road. The decomposed body was covered by a tree root and some rocks. They don't expect to be able to find Ricardo's body, however. Bennett said he put it in a trash bin behind West End Gardens. The bin's contents were hauled to the Cecil County Landfill.
It's uncharacteristic of Ricardo to leave without warning or to be out of touch with his friends. His cellular phone has been turned off since the day he vanished. He left behind two baby daughters. Foul play is suspected in Ricardo's disappearance due to the circumstances involved.