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2000 November 14
About.Com Crime Chat
with former Detective Steve Thomas

crimeADM: "How soon on December 26 did the FBI become involved?"

stevethomas: "good Q, as Patsy on LKL suggested they weren't there. The FBI was involved from the early hours of the case, an FBI agent was at the house shortly after the body was found, the FBI was in the bpd sit room during the morning while it was being investigated as a kidnapping. FBI was in early, despite Ramsey assertions otherwise"

jameson comment:  Patsy and John were in shock that morning and they do not recall being told the FBI was there.  Yes, they heard the FBI was called but do not remember being introduced.  I believe if they had been, they would have been all over that man with questions and pinning their hopes on him and not the Boulder police. 

Instead, he left the house and went back to the BPD to discuss the case away from the parents, and we now know he was assuring the police this was probably, based on statistics, a case of a parent killing their child.
From Paula Woodward's book - at the point where JonBenet was missing and the house full of people - this is what John later wrote in his journal:

"We would get JB back & I couldn't wait to hold her in my arms. The FBI had been called we were told but would take a couple of hours to get here. I wanted to block roads, put police at the airport, are we doing enough? We gave the detectives more leads.
We are worried the kidnapper hasn't called - - Where is the FBI? - - We're told they're reachable by telephone for advice. I'm thinking who can I call to get all resources on this? I'm getting desperate now."

(My comment - Why would the FBI not go to the house but sit at the BPD? Is that Standard Operating Procedure? Did they not know the BPD had never dealt with anything like this? Did they not think their presence might be of comfort to terrified parents? Or, if they were so sure the parents were guilty, did they not care to become witnesses? No matter how I look at this, it seems wrong.)

meibomius

(03-01-2017, 12:52 PM)jameson245 Wrote: [ -> ]From Paula Woodward's book - at the point where JonBenet was  missing and the house full of people - this is what John later wrote in his journal:

"We would get JB back & I couldn't wait to hold her in my arms.  The FBI had been called we were told but would take a couple of hours to get here.  I wanted to block roads, put police at the airport, are we doing enough?  We gave the detectives more leads.
We are worried the kidnapper hasn't called - - Where is the FBI? - - We're told they're reachable by telephone for advice.  I'm thinking who can I call to get all resources on this?  I'm getting desperate now."

(My comment - Why would the FBI not go to the house but sit at the BPD?  Is that Standard Operating Procedure?  Did they not know the BPD had never dealt with anything like this?  Did they not think their presence might be of comfort to terrified parents?  Or, if they were so sure the parents were guilty, did they not care to become witnesses?  No matter how I look at this, it seems wrong.)
Robert Whitson (on-call detective supervisor, so in charge of the overall investigation in those first hours) states (in "Injustice" pp 8-11) that he contacted the FBI, first calling around 7:15 AM and got an answering service, then didn't get a return call until about 8:30 AM. He set up a meeting at BPD for 10 AM. In between he went out to the scene for less than an hour, did some cruising of the neighborhood looking for suspicious activity, then returned for the 10 AM meeting. He states that the meeting was just breaking up when word came that JBR's body had been found. This indicates that, apparently, from 10 AM to 1 PM any FBI were at BPD in an initial meeting. Considering the fact that BPD had no experience with kidnappings, it's not beyond reason to accept that the BPD got a sort of "Kidnapping 101" crash course that took up some of that time, and there was also probably quite a bit of discussion about the known evidence.

So, it appears the FBI wasn't terribly quick out of the gate (and BPD was likely not eager to allow the Feds to take over), and just as they were ready to jump in, the case turned from kidnap to murder, and Eller promptly shut the FBI out.

Thomas wasn't present for most/all of these events, and can't be trusted in the first place to accurately relate the facts even of events he was there for.
Thomas was in Georgia when the murder took place. I need to look at his book to remind us just when he got back.

meibomius

(03-03-2017, 09:23 PM)jameson245 Wrote: [ -> ]Thomas was in Georgia when the murder took place.  I need to look at his book to remind us just when he got back.
I don't know a lot about Thomas, but the more I learn, the more he strikes as a yokel from small-town Arkansas who became a trigger-happy super-cop zealot, and after he joined BPD and started shooting up the town, they put him in Narcotics, where zealotry can be a positive rather than a negative, and no one is likely to miss the odd perp he might occasionally gun down. But narcotics is not good training for a detective. He was used to the approach being trying to bag suspects (he believed) he already knew were guilty, not actually methodically investigating anything and following evidence, as opposed to looking for evidence to fit your foregone conclusion. How some trigger-happy narc with no experience in violent felony investigation got assigned to this case and was allowed to stay there so long, I cannot even begin to comprehend. Eller must have really liked the guy for some reason, maybe saw some potential in him. If so, he was more wrong on that than he was on most anything else (and that's saying something).
That's the only way I can make sense of Thomas and his role. Just my opinion.
Yeah, he was kind of a show-off, wanted to bully the Ramseys into a confession. Figured if they were locked up long enough and yelled at, they'd confess.

I watched a TV show yesterday about the murder of Riley Fox and her father's false confession. It was really a great show to watch because her father was found guilty at trial and spent YEARS in jail - - for a crime he did not commit! Had the police not bullied him, I mean really beat him down, he would never have confessed but - - well, the things they said to him just destroyed him at a time he was in shock, had just lost his daughter.

Worse was the questioning of Riley's brother. I was in tears watching the person try to get any ANY statement out of him that could hurt his father. The child was brow-beaten and it ws disgusting.

If you ever get a chance to look at that case, I think you would be interested.

Summer Dawn

The case of Riley Fox happened close to us! My first thought of that case was JonBenets case.... The evidence pointing to Rileys killer was ALL there and they refused to listen to it.

Sad sad story but im glad and relieved her killer was found.

CA4Now

(03-04-2017, 12:12 PM)jameson245 Wrote: [ -> ]Yeah, he was kind of a show-off, wanted to bully the Ramseys into a confession.  Figured if they were locked up long enough and yelled at, they'd confess.

I read somewhere that in narcotics, you have your suspect and you systematically work to break him down, so he will reveal contacts, other possible drug deals, etc.  So Thomas used this technique with Patsy Ramsey, since he'd singled her out as a suspect.  His comment to her, "I think you're good for this.  I think this is what the evidence suggests," shows how dreadfully inexperienced he was in the area of homicide.

I didn't know until a few years ago that his mother died when he was a young child, that when he was assigned to the Ramsey case, he was newly married (he ended up divorced, and I'd imagine this case took its toll on his personal life), and that when his father was in the hospital with heart failure, Thomas stayed in Atlanta, where he was working on the case.  I also read somewhere that he felt regretful years later and said that the fact that he did not yet have a child when he worked on the Ramsey case colored his perspective; perhaps he may have approached the case differently if he'd known what parents endure when their child is murdered. 

Yet I still fail to understand his motives, and will always question his ethics.
I didn't realize he is divorced.

That is so sad for all involved.

Kaligirlsam

(03-01-2017, 12:52 PM)jameson245 Wrote: [ -> ]From Paula Woodward's book - at the point where JonBenet was  missing and the house full of people - this is what John later wrote in his journal:

"We would get JB back & I couldn't wait to hold her in my arms.  The FBI had been called we were told but would take a couple of hours to get here.  I wanted to block roads, put police at the airport, are we doing enough?  We gave the detectives more leads.
We are worried the kidnapper hasn't called - - Where is the FBI? - - We're told they're reachable by telephone for advice.  I'm thinking who can I call to get all resources on this?  I'm getting desperate now."

(My comment - Why would the FBI not go to the house but sit at the BPD?  Is that Standard Operating Procedure?  Did they not know the BPD had never dealt with anything like this?  Did they not think their presence might be of comfort to terrified parents?  Or, if they were so sure the parents were guilty, did they not care to become witnesses?  No matter how I look at this, it seems wrong.)
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