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Son charged in mother's death

Published April 19, 2007

[Times photo: Zach Boyden-Holmes]
Ryan Young, 24, is questioned by detectives Tuesday outside the New Port Richey home of his mother, Donna Young. Authorities say Young, 52, was suffocated.

NEW PORT RICHEY - Ryan Young crouched in the driveway of his mother's house, hyperventilating, hands cuffed behind his back. It was 3:47 p.m. Wednesday, and he had just been charged with her murder.

He groaned.

"We're going to let him say his good-byes," Detective Dean Quinlan of the Pasco County Sheriff's Office said to the five women watching.

The women were Young's friends and neighbors.

First to reach him was Shelagh Ricardo, also a friend of Young's mother. She hugged him hard.

He couldn't hug her back.

"Sarge, you there?" Quinlan said on his cell phone. "We're 10-15," police code for prisoner in custody.

Donna Young was 52. She used a wheelchair because of multiple sclerosis.

Her son, a 24-year-old 7-Eleven clerk, told authorities he found her unconscious just before noon on Tuesday.

But on Wednesday, authorities said he had suffocated her.

According to sheriff's officials, Young entered his mother's house in the Oaks at River Ridge subdivision Tuesday morning, hoping to steal a ring to trade for cash.

Records show that Ryan Young spent much of 2006 in bankruptcy.

Young was surprised to find his mother at home, the report said, citing a statement he made to a detective.

According to the report, when he saw her in bed, he held a pillow over her face for about a minute.

The report said he opened drawers and cut a window screen to make it look like a break-in.

On Tuesday afternoon, before his arrest, Ryan Young stood crying outside his mother's house as detectives did interviews and technicians gathered evidence.

On his face were what looked like fresh scratches.

Several people hugged him on Tuesday. Then, he was the bereaved son.

Several people hugged him on Wednesday. Then, he was the suspect.

It was partly cloudy with a slight breeze as they loaded him into a dark Chevy Impala and Detective Chris Beaman closed the door.

"See you guys later," Detective Quinlan said, and the Impala pulled away. Young, of 7005 Potomac Drive in Port Richey, was charged with first-degree murder and held without bail.

Shelagh Ricardo fell to her knees. She bellowed and screamed and coughed and heaved. She kicked the side of a pickup truck. "He didn't do it," she said.

Thomas Lake can be reached at or 1-800-333-7505, ext. 6245. Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report.

[Last modified April 19, 2007, 07:39:46]

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