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Death of JonBenét Ramsey

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JonBenét Ramsey
Jonbenet-ramsey.jpg
Born JonBenét Patricia Ramsey
(1990-08-06)August 6, 1990
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Died December 25 or 26, 1996
(aged 6)
Boulder, Colorado, U.S.
Cause of death Asphyxiation due to strangulation
Craniocerebral trauma
Body discovered Boulder, Colorado, U.S.
Resting place St. James Episcopal Cemetery
Marietta, Georgia, U.S.
33°57′18″N 84°33′23″W / 33.95501°N 84.55637°W / 33.95501; -84.55637
Known for Murder victim / child beauty pageants
Parents
Relatives Burke Ramsey (brother)

JonBenét Patricia Ramsey (/ˌɒnbəˈn pəˈtrɪʃə ˈræmzi/; August 6, 1990 – December 25 or 26, 1996) was a six-year-old American beauty queen who was murdered in her family's home in Boulder, Colorado, on December 25, 1996. A lengthy ransom note was found in the house, and her father, John Ramsey, found the little girl's body in the basement of their house about eight hours after she was reported missing. She sustained a broken skull from a blow to the head and had been strangled; a garrote was found tied around her neck. The official cause of death, as reported by the autopsy, was "asphyxiation due to strangulation associated with craniocerebral trauma".[1] Time magazine reported that it was officially ruled a homicide.[2] The case generated nationwide public and media interest, in part because her mother Patsy Ramsey (herself a former beauty queen) had entered JonBenét in a series of child beauty pageants. As of September 2016, the case still remains an open investigation with the Boulder Police Department.

The police suspected JonBenét's death was caused accidentally, either by Patsy or JonBenét's nine-year-old brother Burke, and believed the ransom note and appearance of the body were staged by the parents to cover it up.[3][4] In 1998, both the police and District Attorney stated that Burke was not a suspect.[5][6] The Ramseys gave several televised interviews, but resisted police questioning except on their own terms. In October 2013, unsealed court documents revealed that a 1999 grand jury had recommended charges against John and Patsy for child abuse resulting in death.[7] However, the district attorney said there was insufficient evidence to warrant charges being filed.[7] In 2003, trace DNA taken from the victim's clothes was found to belong to an unknown male, inducing the district attorney's successor in 2008 to send the Ramseys a letter of apology, declaring the family "completely cleared".[8] In February 2009, the Boulder Police Department took the case back from the district attorney and reopened the investigation.[9]

In addition to JonBenét's brief beauty pageant career, media coverage of the case has often focused on her parents' wealth and the unusual evidence found in the case. Media reports have also questioned the police's handling of the case. Ramsey family members and their friends have filed defamation suits against several media organizations.

Brief life

JonBenét's grave at Saint James Episcopal Cemetery in Marietta, Georgia.

JonBenét was born in 1990 in Atlanta, Georgia, the younger of the two children of Patsy and John Ramsey. Her older brother, Burke, was born three years earlier. Her first name was a portmanteau of her father's first and middle names. At the time of her death, JonBenét was enrolled in kindergarten at High Peaks Elementary School in Boulder, Colorado.[10]

Death

Following her death in Boulder, JonBenét was interred at St. James Episcopal Cemetery in Marietta, Georgia. Her grave is next to that of her mother (who died of ovarian cancer ten years after JonBenét) and that of her much older half-sister Elizabeth Pasch Ramsey (who had died in a car crash in 1992 at age 22), daughter of John Ramsey and his first wife, Lucinda Pasch.[11][12] Further information on JonBenét's death can be found at a special article on this topic.

Parents

John Ramsey was the president of Access Graphics, a business computer system company that later became a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin.[13] The family moved to Boulder, Colorado in 1991, where Access Graphics' headquarters was located.[14]

It was there that Patsy Ramsey entered her daughter in various child beauty pageants.[13] JonBenét had won the titles of America's Royale Miss, Little Miss Charlevoix, Little Miss Colorado, Colorado State All-Star Kids Cover Girl, and National Tiny Miss Beauty.[15] JonBenét's active role in child beauty pageants and Patsy Ramsey's reported "pageant mother" behavior were reported on by the media after the murder.[16]

In the summer of 1997 (approximately six months after JonBenét's death), the Ramseys left Boulder and their summer home in Charlevoix, Michigan and moved back to Atlanta, Georgia.[17][18] Patsy Ramsey died of ovarian cancer at age 49 in 2006 and was interred next to her daughter.[19]

Evidence

Ransom note

Text of the ransom note

Mr. Ramsey,

Listen carefully! We are a group of individuals that represent a small foreign faction. We do respect your bussiness [sic] but not the country that it serves. At this time we have your daughter in our posession [sic]. She is safe and unharmed and if you want her to see 1997, you must follow our instructions to the letter.

You will withdraw $118,000.00 from your account. $100,000 will be in $100 bills and the remaining $18,000 in $20 bills. Make sure that you bring an adequate size attache to the bank. When you get home you will put the money in a brown paper bag. I will call you between 8 and 10 am tomorrow to instruct you on delivery. The delivery will be exhausting so I advise you to be rested. If we monitor you getting the money early, we might call you early to arrange an earlier delivery of the money and hence a [sic] earlier delivery pick-up of your daughter.

Any deviation of my instructions will result in the immediate execution of your daughter. You will also be denied her remains for proper burial. The two gentlemen watching over your daughter do not particularly like you so I advise you not to provoke them. Speaking to anyone about your situation, such as Police, F.B.I., etc., will result in your daughter being beheaded. If we catch you talking to a stray dog, she dies. If you alert bank authorities, she dies. If the money is in any way marked or tampered with, she dies. You will be scanned for electronic devices and if any are found, she dies. You can try to deceive us but be warned that we are familiar with law enforcement countermeasures and tactics. You stand a 99% chance of killing your daughter if you try to out smart [sic] us. Follow our instructions and you stand a 100% chance of getting her back.

You and your family are under constant scrutiny as well as the authorities. Don't try to grow a brain John. You are not the only fat cat around so don't think that killing will be difficult. Don't underestimate us John. Use that good southern common sense of yours. It is up to you now John!

Victory!

S.B.T.C

Original text

According to the testimony of Patsy Ramsey given on December 26, 1996, she realized that her daughter was missing after finding on the kitchen staircase a two-and-a-half-page ransom letter demanding $118,000 for her safe return—almost the exact value of a bonus her husband had received earlier that year.[20]

The ransom note was unusually long and the police were told by the FBI that it was also very unusual for a ransom note to be written at the crime scene.[21] It was considered by the police to be staged and included an unusual use of exclamation marks and acronyms and did not have any fingerprints.[22][23]

The ransom note and a practice draft were written with a pen and pad of paper from the Ramsey home.[24][25]

According to a Colorado Bureau of Investigation report, "There are indications that the author of the ransom note is Patricia Ramsey." However, they could not definitively prove it.[26]

Household activities

The only people known to be in the house on the night of JonBenét's death were the victim and her immediate family: Burke, Patsy and John Ramsey.[27] Despite specific instructions in the ransom note that police and friends should not be contacted, Patsy Ramsey telephoned the police at 5:52 a.m. MST.[28] Patsy also called family and friends.[29]

Two police officers responded to the 911 call and arrived at the Ramsey home within three minutes.[30] They conducted a cursory search of the house but did not find any sign of a break-in or forced entry.[29][a] John Ramsey made arrangements to pay the ransom.[17] A forensics team was dispatched to the house. Believing that the case was a kidnapping, only JonBenét's bedroom was cordoned off to prevent contamination of evidence. There was no process taken to prevent contamination of evidence in the rest of the house.[31]

Friends and the family's minister arrived at the home to support the Ramsey family. Victim advocates also arrived at the scene. Friends and advocates picked up and cleaned surfaces in the kitchen, possibly destroying evidence.[31] Boulder Police Detective Linda Arndt arrived about 8 a.m. MST, with the goal of awaiting the kidnapper(s) instructions,[30] but there was never an attempt to claim the money.[33]

Discovery of the body

At 1 p.m. MST, Arndt asked Fleet White (a friend of the Ramseys) and John Ramsey to search the house to see if they could find if "anything seemed amiss."[30][31] Ramsey and White started their search in the basement and John found his daughter's body in a basement room.[31] Duct tape covered her mouth, nylon cord was found around her wrists and neck, and her torso was covered by a white blanket.[34][35] Ramsey immediately picked the body up and took it upstairs. Arndt then moved her into the living room. Each time that she was moved potential evidence was contaminated or disturbed for the returning forensics team.[31][b] Patsy stated that JonBenét was not wearing the clothing that she was wearing when she put her daughter to bed. She was now dressed in white leggings and a shirt.[30]

John, Patsy, and Burke Ramsey provided handwriting, blood, and hair samples to the police. John and Patsy participated in a preliminary interview for more than two hours and Burke Ramsey was also interviewed within the first couple of weeks following JonBenét's death.[35]

Autopsy

The results of the autopsy revealed that JonBenét had been killed by strangulation and a skull fracture. The official cause of death was "asphyxiation due to strangulation associated with craniocerebral trauma".[1][36] There was no evidence of conventional rape, although sexual assault could not be ruled out. Although no semen was found, there was evidence that there had been a vaginal injury and at the time of the autopsy it appeared her vaginal area had been wiped with a cloth.[37] Time magazine reported that her "death was ruled a homicide."[2]

A garrote (made from a length of nylon cord and the broken handle of a paintbrush) was tied around JonBenét's neck and had apparently been used to strangle her. Part of the bristle end of the paintbrush was found in a tub containing Patsy Ramsey's art supplies, but the bottom third of it was never found despite extensive searching of the house by the police in subsequent days.[38]

The autopsy also revealed that JonBenét had eaten pineapple only a few hours before her death.[39] Photographs of the home taken on the day when JonBenét's body was found show a bowl of pineapple on the kitchen table with a spoon in it.[39] Police reported that they found JonBenét's nine-year-old brother Burke Ramsey's fingerprints on this bowl.[40] However, both Patsy and John Ramsey said they did not remember putting the bowl on the table or feeding pineapple to JonBenét.[39][40] The Ramseys have always maintained that Burke slept through the entire episode until he was awakened several hours after the police arrived.[14]:w186–87[41]

Mixed blood sample

In December 2003, forensic investigators extracted enough material from a mixed blood sample found on JonBenét's underwear to establish a DNA profile.[42] That DNA belonged to an unknown male person. The DNA was submitted to the FBI's Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), a database containing more than 1.6 million DNA profiles, but the sample did not match any profile in the database.[43]

In October 2016, new forensic analysis uncovered that the original DNA actually contains genetic markers from two individuals other than the victim, JonBenét.[44][45]

Investigation

Experts, media commentators, and the Ramseys have identified potential suspects in the case.[46] Boulder police initially focused almost exclusively upon John and Patsy Ramsey,[46] but by October 1997 had over 1,600 people in their index of the case.[47]

Complicating the resolution of the investigation [and applicable theory] were errors made in the initial investigation, including loss and contamination of evidence, lack of experienced and technical staff on the investigation, shared evidence with the Ramseys, and delay in formal interviews with the parents.[31][48][c]

Smit and the District Attorney's Office presented the case, with 437 evidential items pointing away from the Ramseys, to the Boulder police in May 1998 but were unable to successfully challenge their steadfast belief that the Ramseys were guilty. The District Attorney's office sought to take control of the investigation.[49] Due to the animosity between the police department and the DA's office and the pressure to obtain a conviction, Roy Romer, the governor of Colorado, interceded and named Michael Kane as special prosecutor to initiate a grand jury.[50][51] Two of the lead investigators in the case resigned. Lou Smit resigned because he believed that the investigation had incompetently overlooked the intruder hypothesis. Steve Thomas quit in protest because he believed that the investigation had failed to successfully prosecute the Ramseys.[38][51]

A grand jury was convened beginning September 15, 1998, based on the probable-cause standard to indict the Ramseys for culpability in the death of their daughter.[52][18] In 1999, the grand jury returned a true bill to charge the Ramseys, but Boulder County District Attorney Alex Hunter did not prosecute them because he did not believe that he could meet the higher standard of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, which is required for a criminal conviction.[52]

Mary Lacy, the Boulder County District Attorney, took over the investigation from the police on December 26, 2002. In April 2003, she agreed with a federal judge who sat on a 2002 libel lawsuit case that evidence in the suit is "more consistent with a theory that an intruder murdered JonBenet than it was with a theory that Mrs. Ramsey did."[18] On February 2, 2009, Boulder police Chief Mark Beckner announced that Stan Garnett, the new Boulder County District Attorney, was turning the case over to his agency and that his team would resume investigating it.[9] Garnett found that the statute of limitations was exceeded from the 1999 grand jury true bill, and did not pursue review of the case against the Ramseys.[52]

In October 2010, the case was reopened. New interviews were conducted following a fresh inquiry by a committee that included state and federal investigators. Police were expected to use the latest DNA technology in their investigation.[53] There was no new information gleaned from those interviews, according to ABC News.[54]

It was reported in September 2016 that the investigation into JonBenet's death continues to be an active homicide case, per Boulder Police Chief Greg Testa.[43][d]

Theories and suspects

Intruder theory

There are two types of theories about the death of JonBenét. One is the intruder theory that was pursued by the Boulder District Attorney's office,[55][e][f] with whom the Ramseys developed a relationship.[48][g] Although the police may have had the Ramseys under an "umbrella of suspicion", they and the prosecutors followed leads for intruders partly due to the unidentified boot mark left in the basement room where JonBenét's body was found.[31]

Early suspects included neighbor Bill McReynolds who played Santa Claus, former family housekeeper Linda Hoffmann-Pugh, and a man named Michael Helgoth who died in an apparent suicide shortly after JonBenét's death. Hundreds of DNA tests were performed to find a match to the DNA recovered during her autopsy.[57]

Lou Smit, a detective who came out of retirement to assist the District Attorney's office with the case in early 1997, assessed the evidence and concluded that an intruder had committed the crime.[58] Smit's theory was that someone broke into the Ramseys' home through the broken basement window. The intruder subdued JonBenét using a stun gun and took her down to the basement. JonBenét was killed and a ransom note was left.[34] Smit's theory was supported by former FBI agent John E. Douglas, who had been hired by the Ramsey family.[58][h] Believing that the Ramseys were innocent, Smit resigned from the investigation on September 20, 1998, five days after the grand jury convened against the Ramseys.[18] While no longer an official investigator on the case, Smit continued to work on it until his death in 2010.[58]

Stephen Singular, author of the book Presumed Guilty: An Investigation into the JonBenét Ramsey Case, the Media and the Culture of Pornography, refers to consultations with cyber-crime specialists who believe that JonBenét, due to her beauty pageant experience, could have attracted the attention of child pornographers and pedophiles.[59]

It was determined that there had been more than 100 burglaries in the Ramseys' neighborhood in the months before JonBenét's murder. There were 38 registered sex offenders living within a two-mile (3 km) radius of the Ramseys' home.[60] In 2001, former Boulder County prosecutor Trip DeMuth and Boulder County sheriff's Detective Steve Ainsworth stated that there should be a more aggressive investigation of the intruder theory.[32]

One of the individuals that Smit identified as a suspect under his intruder theory was Gary Howard Oliva, who was arrested for "two counts of attempted sexual exploitation of a child and one count of sexual exploitation of a child" charges in June 2016 according to Boulder's Daily Camera. Oliva, a registered sex offender, was identified as a suspect in an October 2002 episode of 48 Hours Investigates.[33]

The Killing of JonBenét: The Truth Uncovered, broadcast by A&E on September 5, 2016, concluded that an unidentified male was responsible for JonBenét's death, due to DNA analysis. Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky commented that the documentary showed that an intruder "committed that sexual assault and murdered JonBenet."[61]

Family member theory

The second is the theory that a family member was involved in her death. Boulder police initially concentrated almost exclusively upon John and Patsy Ramsey.[46][48] According to Gregg McCrary, a retired profiler with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, "statistically, it is a 12-to-1 probability that it's a family member or a care giver" who is involved in the death of a child.[48] From the police's perspective, they did not see evidence of a forced entry, saw evidence of staging, such as the ransom note, and did not find the Ramseys cooperative in helping them solve the death of their daughter.[48][i] The Ramseys had stated that their reluctance was due to their fear that there would not be a full investigation for intruders and that they would be hastily selected as the key suspects in the case, according to Daily Camera.[28]

Twenty-year-old Patsy Ramsey as Miss West Virginia in 1977

One theory is that Patsy, who did not have a history of anger or spanking, accidentally struck JonBenét after a bed-wetting episode, which led to her death.[62] Theoretically, the strangulation could have been a "red-herring" aspect to the cover-up that followed.[49][62] Burke, who was nine-years-old at the time of JonBenét's death, was interviewed by investigators at least three times.[63] The first two interviews did not raise any concerns about Burke. A review by a child psychologist stated that it appeared that the Ramseys had "healthy, caring family relationships."[49] In 1998 Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner said during an interview with a news reporter that Burke Ramsey was not involved in the killing of his sister. In May 1999, the Boulder County District Attorney's office reiterated that Burke Ramsey was not a suspect in the murder of JonBenét.[5] He had never been a suspect.[6]

A $100,000 reward was offered by the Ramseys in a newspaper ad on April 27, 1997.[18] Three days later, they submitted to separate formal interviews for the first time at the Boulder County Justice Center.[30][18]

In 1999, Colorado Governor Bill Owens told the parents of JonBenét Ramsey to "quit hiding behind their attorneys, quit hiding behind their PR firm."[64][i]

A Colorado grand jury had voted in 1999 to indict the parents, John and Patricia Ramsey.[65][j] The indictment cited "two counts each of child abuse" and "did unlawfully, knowingly, recklessly and feloniously permit a child to be unreasonably placed in a situation that posed a threat of injury to the child's life or health, which resulted in the death of JonBenét Ramsey, a child under the age of sixteen."[66] Among the experts in the case were DNA specialist Barry Scheck and forensic expert Dr. Henry Lee.[18] On October 13, 1999, Alex Hunter, who was the district attorney at the time, refused to sign the indictment, saying that the evidence was insufficient.[18][65] This left the impression that the grand jury investigation had been inconclusive.[67] In 2002, the statute of limitations on the charges expired.[66] The indictment was not known publicly until October 25, 2013, when previously sealed court documents were released.[68][k]

On July 9, 2008, the Boulder District Attorney's office announced that, as a result of newly developed DNA sampling and testing techniques (touch DNA analysis), the Ramsey family members were no longer considered suspects in the case.[72][73][l] Gordon Coombs, former investigator for the Boulder County District Attorney's office, questioned total absolution of the Ramseys.[55][m]

The police sought to interview Burke Ramsey in September 2010, according to Lin Wood, the Ramsey family lawyer.[18] In 2012, Foreign Faction – Who Really Kidnapped JonBenet? by A. James Kolar, former investigator under Boulder County District Attorney Lacy, was published. The book discounts the intruder theory and proposes scenarios of Ramsey family involvement in JonBenét's death.[18]

The Case of: JonBenét Ramsey, broadcast on CBS on September 18 and 19, 2016, used a group of experts to evaluate the evidence and asserted that Burke hit his sister in the head with a heavy object, perhaps not intending to kill her. The ransom letter was an attempt to cover up the circumstances of JonBenet's death.[74] The Ramsey family lawyer, L. Lin Wood, threatened to sue CBS for libel (defamation) based on its conclusion that JonBenét was killed by Burke.[75]

False confession

John Mark Karr, a 41-year-old elementary school teacher, was arrested in Bangkok, Thailand, on August 15, 2006 and falsely confessed to murdering JonBenét. He claimed that he had drugged, sexually assaulted, and accidentally killed her.[76] According to CNN, "Authorities also said they did not find any evidence linking [Karr] to the crime scene."[77][78] He had provided only basic facts that were publicly known and failed to provide any convincing details. His claim of drugging JonBenét was doubted because no drugs were found in her body during the autopsy.[79] DNA samples taken from Karr did not match DNA found on JonBenét's body.[78][80][81][n]

Defamation lawsuits

Lin Wood, the Ramseys' family attorney, filed defamation lawsuits against the media after JonBenét's murder. Star magazine and its parent company American Media, Inc. were sued on their son's behalf in 1999.[88] Defamation suits have been filed by the Ramseys and their friends against several unnamed media outlets.[89] A defamation suit was filed in 2001 against the authors and publisher of JonBenét: Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation. The suit against Don Davis, Steven Thomas, and St. Martin's Press was settled out of court the following year.[90]

John and Patsy Ramsey were sued in two defamation lawsuits arising from the publication of their book, The Death of Innocence. These suits were brought by two persons named in the book who were said to have been investigated as suspects by Boulder police. The Ramseys were defended in those lawsuits by Lin Wood and three other Atlanta attorneys, James C. Rawls, Eric P. Schroeder, and S. Derek Bauer. They obtained the dismissal of both lawsuits, including an in-depth decision by U.S. District Court Judge Julie Carnes that "abundant evidence" in the murder case pointed to an intruder having committed the crime.[91]

In November 2006, Rod Westmoreland, a friend of John Ramsey, filed a defamation suit against an anonymous web surfer who had posted two messages on Internet forums using the pseudonym "undertheradar" implicating Westmoreland in the murder.[92]

During a September 2016 interview with CBS Detroit and The Case of: JonBenet Ramsey documentary, forensic pathologist Dr. Werner Spitz accused Burke of killing JonBenét.[93] On October 6, 2016, Burke Ramsey filed a defamation lawsuit against Spitz. Burke and his attorneys, who include Lin Wood, are seeking a total of $150 million in punitive and compensatory damages. Wood also claims that he will file suit against CBS at the end of October.[94][95]

Publications

  • Carlton Smith (1997). Death of a little princess: the tragic story of the murder of JonBenét Ramsey. New York: St. Martin's Paperbacks. ISBN 0312964331. 
  • Linda Edison McLean with foreword by Patsy Ramsey (1998). JonBenét's mother: the tragedy and the truth. Parsons, WV: McClain Print Co. ISBN 0870125966. 
  • Eleanor Von Duyke and Dwight Wallington (1998). A little girl's dream? A JonBenét Ramsey Story. Austin, TX: Windsor House. ISBN 1881636445. 
  • Cyril H. Wecht and Charles Bosworth, Jr. (1998). Who killed JonBenét Ramsey?. New York: Onyx Book. ISBN 0451408713. 
  • Lawrence Schiller (1999). Perfect Murder, Perfect Town: The Uncensored Story of the JonBenét Murder and the Grand Jury's Search for the Final Truth. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 0060191538. 
  • Stephen Singular (1999). Presumed guilty: an investigation into the JonBenét Ramsey case, the media, and the culture of pornography. Beverly Hills, CA: New Millennium Press. ISBN 1893224007. 
  • John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker (2000). "The JonBenét Ramsey Murder". The Cases That Haunt Us. New York: Scribner. ISBN 978-0-684-84600-2. 
  • Steve Thomas and Don Davis (2000). JonBenét: inside the Ramsey murder investigation. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0312253265. 
  • John Ramsey and Patsy Ramsey (2001). The death of innocence: JonBenét's parents tell their story. New York: Onyx. ISBN 0451409736. 
  • Walter A. Davis (2003). An evening with JonBenét Ramsey. Philadelphia: Xlibris Corporation. ISBN 1413411096. 
  • Don Gentile and David Wright, ed. (2003). JonBenet: the police files. Boca Raton, FL: American Media. ISBN 1932270035. 
  • A. James Kolar (2012). Foreign faction: who really kidnapped JonBenét?: a former lead investigator breaks six years of silence. Telluride, CO: Ventus Publishing. ISBN 0984763201. 
  • Paula Woodword (2016). We Have Your Daughter: The Unsolved Murder of JonBenét Ramsey Twenty Years Later. Prospecta Press. ISBN 1632260778. 

Video

See also

Notes

  1. ^ It was later determined that had been some unlocked windows and an unlocked door that night. In addition, a basement window was previously broken by John Ramsey when he was locked out of the house.[31] Lou Smit, proponent of the intruder theory, believed that the intruder entered through this basement window. A suitcase was found on the floor almost directly underneath this window. Smit theorized the attacker(s) planned to use this suitcase to get either JonBenét alive as a kidnap victim, or her body, out of the house, but this proved impossible.[32]
  2. ^ Former FBI profiler John E. Douglas, who was brought in to assist the Ramsey's lawyers on case in January 1997 to assess whether the Ramseys were involved, stated that if a family member was involved in a murder, they would generally construe events so that another person found the body. In this case, John found the body and his friend followed him into the basement room. When a family member is involved in a murder, they are likely to cover their child's body in a protective manner, covering all but their head. In this case, just the torso was covered, which did not denote the kind of act a parent would generally perform. In addition, John removed the duct tape from her mouth and loosened the cord around her, which goes against the theory of "staging" the body.[35]
  3. ^ A Boulder defense attorney, Lee Hill, commented that: "The public feels that the police have coddled the Ramseys because they are rich and influential in Boulder."[48]
  4. ^ Boulder Police Chief Greg Testa stated in September 2016 that "To date, the Boulder Police Department has processed more than 1,500 pieces of evidence, including the analysis of over 200 DNA samples. [...] Our major crimes unit has received and reviewed or investigated over 20,000 tips, letters or emails. Our detectives have traveled to over 18 states and interviewed or spoken with more than 1,000 individuals."[43]
  5. ^ The initial District Attorney, Alex Hunter, pursued an investigation of convicted pedophiles in the Boulder area, yet also said that he would not clear the Ramseys. His interest the District Attorney's office taking the actions to investigate pedophiles indicated to former Denver prosecutor Craig Silverman that the District Attorney's office followed the intruder theory. Silverman also said, "Once you have conceded the possibility of an intruder, I don't see how any Ramsey could ever be successfully prosecuted."[48][56]
  6. ^ According to Gordon Coombes, Boulder County district attorney's office investigator from 2008 to 2011, during the time that he worked in the office District Attorney Mary Lacy frequently held staff lunch sessions to prove the theory that JonBenét was killed by an intruder.[55]
  7. ^ The city's mayor Leslie L Durgin said, "I'm extremely concerned about the relationship between the district attorney's office and the Ramsey attorneys. The perception is that they are closer than we thought." Ann Louise Bardach, Vanity Fair author, wrote that there were weekly breakfast meetings between a Ramsey defense lawyer and Peter Hofstrom, the prosecutor's liaison to the Ramsey family.[48]
  8. ^ In his book The Cases That Haunt Us, former FBI agent John E. Douglas (hired by the Ramsey family) writes that he quibbled with a few of Smit's interpretations but generally agreed with the Smit's investigation and conclusions. Douglas particularly praised Smit's discovery in autopsy photos of what appeared to be previously-overlooked evidence of a "stun gun" having been used to subdue JonBenét.[58]
  9. ^ a b James Brooke of The New York Times said "The Ramseys have consistently maintained their innocence. But for four months after the murder, they declined to talk to the police. Instead, they mounted a defense team that sounds like a defense lawyer's Christmas carol: eight lawyers, four publicists, three private investigators, two handwriting analysts and one retired F.B.I. profiler."[48]
  10. ^ Burke testified at a 1999 grand jury hearing.[6] His attorney, Jim Jenkins, sought to prevent his testifying at the grand jury and to eliminate him as a suspect[63] before the DA's office reported that Burke was not and had never been an suspect.[5][6]
  11. ^ In September 2013, Daily Camera reporter Charlie Brennan and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press filed a lawsuit to press DA Stan Garnett to release the grand jury's indictment.[69] In mid-October, the judge ruled that the DA must show why the indictment should remain sealed.[70] The Denver Post (a sister paper of the Daily Camera) published an editorial calling for the indictment to be unsealed.[71]
  12. ^ In light of the new DNA evidence, Boulder County District Attorney Mary Lacy gave a letter to John Ramsey that same day, in which she officially apologized to the Ramsey family members:

    This new scientific evidence convinces us ... to state that we do not consider your immediate family, including you, your wife, Patsy, and your son, Burke, to be under any suspicion in the commission of this crime.... The match of Male DNA on two separate items of clothing worn by the victim at the time of the murder makes it clear to us that an unknown male handled these items. There is no innocent explanation for its incriminating presence at three sites on these two different items of clothing that JonBenét was wearing at the time of her murder....To the extent that we may have contributed in any way to the public perception that you might have been involved in this crime, I am deeply sorry. No innocent person should have to endure such an extensive trial in the court of public opinion, especially when public officials have not had sufficient evidence to initiate a trial in a court of law.... We intend in the future to treat you as the victims of this crime, with the sympathy due you because of the horrific loss you suffered.... I am aware that there will be those who will choose to continue to differ with our conclusion. But DNA is very often the most reliable forensic evidence we can hope to find and we rely on it often to bring to justice those who have committed crimes. I am very comfortable that our conclusion that this evidence has vindicated your family is based firmly on all of the evidence.

  13. ^ Former investigator for the Boulder County District Attorney's office Gordon Coombs claimed that: "We all shed DNA all the time within our skin cells. It can be deposited anywhere at any time for various reasons, reasons that are benign. [...] To clear somebody just on the premise of touch DNA, especially when you have a situation where the crime scene wasn't secure at the beginning . . . really is a stretch."[55]
  14. ^ Authorities had tracked Karr down by using the Internet after emails were sent regarding the case to Michael Tracey, a journalism professor at the University of Colorado.[82] After Karr was arrested and brought back to the US, he was released to face extradition for child pornography charges that originated in Sonoma County, California. Karr was subsequently released from the child pornography charges[78][83] due to lack of evidence.[18] While under investigation, the press coverage of Karr's false confession was described as a media frenzy.[84][85][86][87]

References

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Further reading

External links