23-year-old falls from parking garage, friends remember his life

23-year-old falls from parking garage, friends remember his life (Image 1)
23-year-old falls from parking garage, friends remember his life (Image 1)

The fashion industry and many young people across the Lowcountry are mourning a beloved and nationally-known 23-year-old fashion stylist who was found dead in downtown Charleston.

It appears Josh Ratliff fell to his death from a parking garage last weekend. Witnesses tell police he may have been intoxicated.

“He was a great guy. The first time you met him you would fall in love with him,” John Polk said.

Friends say to know Ratliff was to absolutely adore him.

“He could walk into a room and make everyone laugh,” Charles Ballard recalled.

For friends, the memory of him is still bold and vibrant just like Ratliff.

“He did those things that made him happy. I mean he would wear fur in the middle of the summer just because it was him,” Ballard said.

“He lived his life so fiercely,” he continued.

“Even though his life was cut short he did a lot that most people don’t even do in 23 years. He accomplish a lot,” Polk said.

Ratliff was a major player in Charleston Fashion Week and was coming into his own as a stylist in New York City and Miami.

“He wasn’t one of those people who had to have the credit for all that he did. He was always teaching and putting himself in the back so that others can shine,” Ballard said.

“You just have to live everyday like it’s your last,” Polk said.

Polk was one of the last people to see Ratliff alive as they hung out hours before he died.

“I got him on the phone and I told him to meet outside the Francis Marion,” Polk said.

Police would find Ratliff’s belongings atop the Francis Marion parking garage and a witness saw someone fitting his description sleeping on the ledge of the garage before his body was found below.

“There’s a lot of answers that will come in the next few weeks. I don’t know that matters all that much. It can’t bring my friend back,” Ballard said.

Police do not suspect foul play in the case.

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