Man charged with homeless woman's death

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Jeffrey McCracken, 37, has been charged with murder and manslaughter in connection with the death of 48-year-old Susan Renee Ragan, which occurred Wednesday morning.

A preliminary investigation found that McCracken used physical force to kill Ragan, according to police. The investigation is still ongoing. Ragan's family has been notified.

Police said both McCracken and Ragan were homeless.
McCracken was taken to the Anchorage jail. His initial bail was set at $250,000 cash and $10,000 cash-performance plus a third- party custodian.

While police say Ragan was McCracken’s girlfriend, her brother Jack Ragan says that was not the case.

“There’s a lot of things being said. I don’t believe he was her girlfriend. She had a fiance, but yeah it doesn’t surprise me that drugs were involved,” he told Channel 2.

According to Ragan’s sister, Michelle Westphal Wheeler, Ragan chose to live in Anchorage so she could be near her fiance, who is currently incarcerated.

“She was a very independent woman, she’s been offered to come out to our home and this is what she chose to do,” Wheeler said. “She has a fiance who happens to be incarcerated right now and she wanted to be in Anchorage and she wanted to be close so she could visit him and that’s what she chose to do.”

Jack and Michelle said they first began to worry about their sister when news that a homeless woman had been found dead reached them through social media. Neither of them had heard from Renee in several days.

“I had a sinking feeling, it was just a gut feeling,” Wheeler said. “The last time I spoke with her was on her birthday.”

While both siblings are struggling to process the circumstances surrounding their sister’s death, they say they want to remember Renee for as a person of love and kindness.

“Renee was a kind and loving and infuriating woman,” Jack Ragan joked. “The people on the streets called her Ma. She walked around with a loaf of bread and lunch meat and she would just make sandwiches. She always made sure that she shared with people.”

“It’s hard. I have children, I have grandchildren at home that I had to explain this to. They don’t understand. I have a sister that I’ll never see again,” said Wheeler. “She was a person with a heart. She was a mom, she was a sister, she was an aunt. She was a beautiful human being, she loved the Lord."

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