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  on holding the body
Posted by: jameson245 - 05-08-2017, 01:00 PM - Forum: Autopsy - Replies (2)

Coroner: police tried to keep body to force interview
Tests on JonBenet were complete
By CLAY EVANS Camera Staff Writer
Friday, April 25, 1997
Boulder police investigators asked the Boulder County coroner's office if it could withhold the body of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey from her family - even though forensic work was complete - to pressure them into submitting to a police interview, Coroner John Meyer confirmed Thursday.
Meyer, a physician who was legal custodian of the girl's body following her murder and an autopsy, and the only official who could sanction release, refused the police request. JonBenet's body was released to her family Dec. 29, then flown to Georgia for burial.
The request from investigators came through Tom Faure, chief medical examiner for the coroner's office, on Dec. 28, Meyer said.
"My impression at the time was it was sort of a trial balloon, wondering if we could do that," Meyer said. "It was, could we do this ... not necessarily to force the family, but could we put a hold on the body until they do come to an interview."
JonBenet Ramsey was found strangled in the basement of her family's home the afternoon of Dec. 26 by her father, John Ramsey, and a family friend. About eight hours earlier, her mother, Patsy Ramsey, found a ransom note demanding $118,000 and called police.
John and Patsy Ramsey still have not been formally inter viewed by police, but their attorneys said Wednesday that police on Tuesday abruptly canceled separate interviews scheduled for Wednesday.
After receiving the inquiry about holding the body, Meyer told Faure that "certainly I didn't think that was a reason for me to put the body on further hold, that I couldn't use that as justification."
Meyer said the examination of the girl's body was complete, except for toxicology reports, which take up to six weeks for results. He said, however, that his office routinely holds the bodies of homicide victims from 24 to 72 hours after an autopsy is complete, "in case anything comes up."
Police on Wednesday said they were "reluctant to release JonBenet's body because they were not sure all the necessary forensic work had been completed, nor had they had an opportunity to discuss the circumstances of JonBenet's death with the parents."
Boulder Police Chief Tom Koby did not immediately return telephone calls from the Daily Camera on Thursday.
District Attorney Alex Hunter said Thursday there may have been other considerations that led police to ask the body be withheld for additional time.
"For example, was there everything that the CBI (Colorado Bureau of Investigation) needed? Had a pediatrician been involved? A child abuse expert involved?" Hunter said. He said that, all told, the body underwent about 12 hours of examination.
In a telephone conversation the afternoon of Dec. 28, the district attorney's chief trial deputy, Peter Hofstrom, asked Meyer if there was any medical reason to retain custody of the body.
"I told him no," Meyer said. He said he had decided to release the body on Dec. 29, before investigators made their inquiry.
But Meyer said Thursday he believes police investigators "have been doing the best they can" with the 4-month-old case. He also noted the investigators' request did not hold up the release of the body in any way.
Attorney Saskia Jordan, who works for the firm of Haddon, Morgan and Foreman, which is representing John Ramsey, said she accompanied her client to the Boulder County Justice Center on Dec. 28 to provide hair and handwriting samples when she first heard that police wanted to withhold the body.
"At no time when I got there was I told that it had anything to do with a medical or forensic reason," she said. "I was told they would not release the body until they got an interview."
Jordan faults the Boulder Police Department for the situation.
"The D.A.'s office and the coroner did everything they could to do the right thing," she said, "to dissuade the police from ransoming the body."

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  Ramseys trying to see this solved
Posted by: jameson245 - 05-08-2017, 12:50 PM - Forum: Ramsey cooperation - Replies (10)

Ramseys hire only 'the best'
By ELLIOT ZARET
Camera Staff Writer
Saturday, January 18, 1997
When John and Patsy Ramsey appeared on national television New Year's Day, John Ramsey announced he wanted to hire "the best minds this country has to offer" to find his daughter's killer.
Since then, the family has fulfilled that promise - assembling a team of lawyers, investigators, a former FBI agent, a media consultant and even a handwriting expert.
The Ramseys' daughter, 6-year-old JonBenet, was found strangled in the basement of the family home Dec. 26, about eight hours after her mother reported her kidnapped. More than three weeks later, few new details are emerging in the investigation of her murder.
The "Ramsey team" has attracted attention because of the number of high-profile experts on it.
Karen Duffala, deputy director of the National Law Enforcement Center at the University of Denver Research Institute, said she has never seen a team like this, "not all joined together."
"What's unusual is, these individuals are of national status - very well-known - and they're peo-
ple that the Ramseys had access to," said Duffala, a former investigator at the Aurora Police Department.
At the center of the Ramsey team is Pat Korten, a Washington, D.C., expert on "crisis management." Korten's company, Rowan & Blewitt Inc., addresses issues involving "litigation, public policy debate and scrutiny from the media, government, special interest and community organization(s)," according to company literature.
Before joining Rowan & Blewitt about a year ago, Korten had been a journalist, talk-show host, spokesperson for a pharmaceutical trade association, and spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Justice during the Reagan administration.
Korten, who now acts as the Ramseys' spokesperson, answers the flood of up to 200 media calls daily on behalf of the family. He also has set up a World Wide Web page for the family, with responses to coroner's photographs printed in the Globe tabloid and more.
The Ramseys also hired a pair of powerful Denver attorneys to advise them in the case: G. Bryan Morgan and Patrick Burke.
Morgan, 59, a founding partner of the high-powered criminal defense law firm Haddon, Morgan and Foreman, represents John Ramsey. Morgan, who teaches professional responsibility at the University of Colorado Law School, was a Colorado Supreme Court nominee and an unsuccessful Democratic candidate for CU regent.
"He's a highly respected, extremely competent and wonderfully intelligent lawyer," said CU evidence and criminal law professor Mimi Wesson. "He's well regarded in all quarters as a highly ethical and responsible lawyer."
Gene Nichol, former dean of the CU Law School, described Morgan, who was the finance chair for Nichol's unsuccessful Senate campaign, as "a real accomplished criminal lawyer" and "a very effective and passionate advocate."
Morgan won a high-profile murder case in 1980 when he represented Lee Bobb Lindsley in the 1978 shooting death of her husband, Dr. Warren Felix B. Lindsley. Lindsley had been charged with first-degree murder.
Lee Foreman, 51, another partner in the firm, also is working on the case. A former special prosecutor for the Colorado attorney general and president of the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar, Foreman is playing more of a background role in the case.
Burke, 47, who represents Patsy Ramsey, was formerly an assistant city attorney in Lakewood, assistant state attorney general and a federal public defender. Burke has been involved in a number of high-profile cases. In 1987, he successfully defended Richard Scutari, one of four white supremacists accused of violating the civil rights of Jewish talk-show host Alan Berg, who was murdered.
Perhaps the most famous of all the Ramsey team members is former FBI criminal personality profiler John Douglas - the inspiration for special agent Jack Crawford in the movie "The Silence of the Lambs."
In his 25-year career with the FBI, Douglas was a pioneer of modern criminal investigative analysis and became the leading expert on criminal personality profiling. He has studied and interviewed dozens of serial killers and assassins, including Charles Manson, Sirhan Sirhan, Richard Speck and John Wayne Gacy.
Douglas has co-authored books on the killers and his profiling adventures, including "Mind Hunter" and "Unabomber." He's also been an expert witness for both prosecution and defense. Douglas has said he sometimes loses favor with those who hire him because he doesn't always tell them what they want to hear.
"There are defense attorneys contacting me to look at their cases, and I tell them, "I don't know what I'm going to say on this, you might not like what I have to say,'" Douglas said in an interview with the American College of Forensic Examiners.
Ironically, Douglas favors "proactive techniques" - or giving as much information out to the public as possible, something that appears contrary to the Boulder Police Department's tight-lipped policy on the Ramsey case.
Boulder city spokesman Kelvin McNeill said Douglas will be given "an opportunity to provide insight" to police detectives investigating JonBenet's murder. But, he added, "we have said all along that outside investigators are not more or less entitled to information than the general public or media."
The identity of one team member remains a mystery. Korten said the Ramseys hired a handwriting analyst - one that Newsweek magazine reported cleared the Ramseys of involvement in the ransom note. Korten would not comment on the report, nor would he divulge the identity of the analyst, saying only, "He's very well-known in the field."
Rounding out the team are two private investigators: H. Ellis Armistead and David L. Williams.
Armistead, 46, is a former Lakewood police officer and a special investigator for the Routt County district attorney's office. As a private investigator, Armistead is known for his ability "to get statements from witnesses that I didn't think would ever talk to us," said one defense attorney.
Williams has been a private investigator for nearly 20 years. Prior to that he spent five years on the Colorado Organized Crime Strike Force. As a whole, the group may seem unusual, but "it is equally unusual for crime victims to be as wealthy as the Ramseys," said Wesson.
"It sounds like an extraordinary assembly of talents.

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  EARLY 1997 - before anniversary news
Posted by: jameson245 - 05-08-2017, 12:48 PM - Forum: 1997 - 1998 - Replies (13)

Ramseys attend church
By JASON GEWIRTZ and ALLI KRUPSKI
Camera Staff Writers
Monday, January 06, 1997
Seeing an entire congregation lined up to greet her family as they exited St. John's Episcopal Church, Patsy Ramsey stopped and gazed appreciatively through her dark sunglasses.
More than 100 congregants formed two rows to show support for the grieving Ramsey family and shield them from the watchful eyes of the media. The family of JonBenét Ramsey walked between the churchgoers to a reception following a Sunday service that included the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado.
It was the first public appearance of the Ramseys since their return Friday to Boulder after the burial of the 6-year-old beauty queen in Marietta, Ga., on Dec. 31.
Meanwhile, police issued a written list of questions to the parents Sunday, sources close to the investigation said.
"They're mostly housekeeping questions, like a list of handymen," a source said. "They're things like "Does someone deliver milk to your house? Have you had package deliveries in the last week?"
The couple will provide written responses to the questions before police formally interrogate the family. Officials, however, have not scheduled an interview with parents John and Patsy Ramsey or identified any suspects.
Patsy Ramsey called police about 5:30 a.m. on Dec. 26 after she discovered a 3-page ransom note demanding $118,000 on the back stairs of her home at 755 15th St.
John Ramsey and a friend later found JonBenét strangled in the basement. The killer had sexually assaulted the girl, covered her mouth with duct tape, looped a nylon cord around her neck, and fractured her skull.
John Ramsey is president of Access Graphics, a Boulder-based computer distribution subsidiary of Lockheed-Martin. Patsy Ramsey is a former Miss West Virginia and active volunteer.
On Sunday, John, Patsy and their 9-year-old son, Burke, attended the service at their Boulder church. They and others listened as Bishop Jerry Winterrowd of the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado assured them their faith will carry them through the "evil time" of the ongoing investigation and speculation into the slaying of JonBenét.
"Our God, who is scandalized by this evil that has been done says do you have faith, do you have trust in me to overcome," Winterrowd said. "The cross is the only response to this blatant act of evil."
"We conclude today the celebration of Christmas and this is another reason I wanted to be here with you," he added.
The Rev. Rol Hoverstock of St. John's offered a brief but powerful statement in support of the family as police continue to investigate JonBenét's death.
"There is no way in my mind that they were ever part of this evil," Hoverstock said during the service.
As people left the church, they were greeted by a row of television cameras positioned along Pine Street. The Ramseys, offering no comments to the media, then made their trip through the two rows of people. Several churchgoers confronted videocamera operators afterward without incident.
Media representatives also gath ered outside the Ramseys' home Sunday. The police released the house Saturday night.
Several trees and shrubs sparkled with Christmas decorations and lights Sunday evening. One tree in the front lawn has become a shrine to JonBenét. Adults and children have left gifts at the crime scene for the former Little Miss Colorado, including stuffed animals, a blue balloon, guardian angel pins and letters.
"I just came because I think what happened is absolutely tragic," said Lara Weissmer of Boulder. "My 7-year-old (daughter) didn't know JonBenét, but she and I wanted to leave something for her, letting her know we'll really miss her. The world is just an emptier place with one less child in it."
Private investigators hired by the Ramseys entered the house throughout the day, as onlookers drove by and stared.
Boulder police detectives, who interviewed at least 30 friends, family and associates in Atlanta, returned to Boulder on Sunday.
Kelvin McNeill, city spokesman, said Sunday officials signed the search warrant police used to enter the Ramsey house Dec. 26. Now that police have completed their investigation of the house, they have about 10 days to file the original affidavit showing cause for the warrant with the Boulder court that issued the warrant.
But McNeill said that affidavit can be sealed if it can be shown the information in its release would jeopardize the successful completion of the case.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the tip line (441-4310). Police also have established a toll-free hot line: 1-800-444-3776.

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  some early news stories
Posted by: jameson245 - 05-08-2017, 12:40 PM - Forum: Burke Ramsey - bio - Replies (5)

Ramseys hire lawyer for son; won't submit to police questioning
By KEVIN McCULLEN, Scripps Howard News Service
Wednesday, February 4, 1998
BOULDER -- John and Patsy Ramsey have hired a lawyer to represent their young son, whom police want to question as part of the probe into the 1996 murder of their daughter, JonBenet Ramsey.
The Ramseys recently retained an Atlanta-based lawyer for their son, Burke. The lawyer will represent the 11-year-old in discussions about whether police can question him about what he saw or heard the morning his 6-year-old sister was killed, authorities said.
The lawyer also represented John Andrew and Melinda Ramsey, John Ramseys older children, when police questioned and then cleared them in March. Police say they are unsure whether they will get permission to speak to Burke.
John and Patsy Ramsey have declined a request to be interviewed again, unless they can review evidence in the case and have police questions in writing.
Boulder Police Chief Tom Koby said Tuesday that attorneys for John and Patsy Ramsey sent a letter to police several weeks ago saying they would have no further contact with detectives.
"The letter essentially said, 'We're not talking to you. Don't bother communicating with us,'" Koby said.
There was no comment Tuesday from attorneys for the Ramseys.
Detectives continue to plow through a task list outlined by Cmdr. Mark Beckner when he assumed overall command of the case in October, and Koby has said he believes detectives could complete their work and present a case to him by mid-spring.

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  the Media circus stories
Posted by: jameson245 - 05-08-2017, 12:18 PM - Forum: 2001 - No Replies

MEDIA; Turning a Mystery Into a Courtroom Drama
BY JIM MOSCOUAPRIL 23, 2001

There was a moment about a year ago when it appeared this story might finally go away. Authorities in Boulder, Colo., were calling the investigation into who killed JonBenet Ramsey effectively stalled. A 13-month grand jury investigation the previous year had not resulted in an indictment or vindication. No one had heard publicly from the parents, and the major news media that once opened minibureaus in this college town had long ago packed up and moved on.

But a second Ramsey maelstrom is on the horizon. Four and half years after her murder, JonBenet's death has metamorphosed into an all-out rumble of libel, slander and First Amendment civil lawsuits.

No fewer than 10 lawsuits, claiming more than $250 million in damages, have been filed either by or against tabloid and mainstream media, local police, Ramsey neighbors and employees and JonBenet's family.

''I will say that this is the first time I've ever seen this, at this scale,'' said Daniel Petrocelli, who successfully represented the family of Ron Goldman in a $33.5 million wrongful death claim against O. J. Simpson.


In fact, the Ramsey civil cases are part of a national trend. More Americans are turning to civil claims -- some say legal vigilantism -- when criminal charges were not enough or seemingly failed. The National Crime Victim Bar Association in Arlington, Va., says it has tracked since 1991 a 200 percent increase in civil cases originally stemming from crimes that went to trial and whose verdicts were appealed (the association does not track trials that do not lead to appeals).

But the JonBenet libel suits are writing a new chapter to this courtroom drama. The machinery of a civil lawsuit is not only being wielded to redeem reputations, but to identify JonBenet's killer or expose police corruption.

''I'm in a position to prove who murdered JonBenet,'' said Darnay Hoffman, who in 1996 represented Bernard H. Goetz in civil lawsuits by three of the men he shot in a New York subway in 1984. In the last year, Mr. Hoffman filed two $50 million libel lawsuits against John and Patsy Ramsey on behalf of Christian Wolf, a Boulder resident, and Linda Hoffmann-Pugh, the Ramseys' housekeeper. The Ramseys named both as suspects in their 2000 book.

At the heart of Mr. Hoffman's case is the Ramsey ransom note, a rambling three-page demand that police say was written by the killer. Beginning in May, Mr. Hoffman will begin taking depositions from key figures, including JonBenet's parents, in efforts to tie handwriting similarities -- specifically the shape of letters like ''s,'' ''d'' and ''n'' -- to whom he believes is the primary suspect.

''If I show Patsy is the writer, everything she wrote and said is a lie,'' Mr. Hoffman said, ''and we win.'' As was done in the Simpson civil case, he would insist on confiscating the Ramseys' assets.

Mr. Hoffman's adversary, though, is L. Lin Wood, who also represents the libel claims of Richard Jewell, who was falsely accused of planting a bomb at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. Mr. Wood is also aiming to tap the workings of the civil courts for his client's own crusade.

''Darnay will be, in a backhanded way, doing us a favor and putting whether Patsy killed JonBenet into play,'' says Mr. Wood, who intends to prove that local authorities had it out for his clients. To press his point, in March the Ramseys filed an $80 million libel and due process claim against Steve Thomas, a lead detective in the Ramsey case who retired and wrote a book calling Mrs. Ramsey the murderer. Adding to this operatic legal drama is Mr. Thomas's choice for defense attorney: Mr. Petrocelli.

Meanwhile, there are other libel filings, the most compelling surrounding JonBenet's brother, Burke, who was 9 at the time of the murder. In May 1999, an article in the tabloid The Star suggested that the boy killed his sister. The story was picked up by The New York Post and by Time magazine's Web site. The problem was Burke was never a suspect in the case, according to statements Boulder authorities have made since the day of the murder.

Though The Star retracted its article, Mr. Wood filed a $25 million suit against the magazine as well as another tabloid, The Globe, for a similar piece. Both were settled for undisclosed amounts.

Mr. Wood also filed $4 million suits against The Post and Time .com, which stood by the articles (though Time.com did remove its article from its Web site). Those cases are in litigation, as is an $11.75 million suit filed against the author and publisher of a Texas book that portrayed Burke as the murderer.

All lawyers involved stamp everyone else's lawsuits ''frivolous'' and ''publicity stunts.'' And all agree that while the 2001 litigation will probably reveal tantalizing clues as to whodunit, it will not solve the crime. As a result, the public can certainly expect more news coverage of the case.

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  I spoke to him
Posted by: jameson245 - 05-08-2017, 12:13 PM - Forum: Dr. Henry Lee - No Replies

Can't remember just what year it was - a few years after the murder.  At that time he was not taking any clear position but my feeling was he felt the intruder evidence was compelling.  He helped me receive some evidence and told me how to properly store it until it was accepted for DNA analysis.  he also taught me more about chain of custody and from that I made a plan - and it worked.  I accepted the evidence - had the tipster send it to me in a sealed envelope and I never opened that envelope.  I thne put that envelope in a LARGER envelope and sealed THAT.  I immediately sent it to the office of someone working in the law enforcement field and - - - it may as well have been placed immediately into the BPD evidence locker.  It was safe and the chaim of custody could not be questioned.  Eventually it did go to the lab for testing and the suspect was cleared.

I am pleased that I have been able to do similar things several times.  All those suspects may have been cleared but it helped to get them removed from suspect lists.

Anyway, having said all that, I watched Dr. Henry Lee on the CBS show and wondered if the man I spoke to had been assimilated by BORG or just found his interview cut and pasted together so even he was sick.  (I remember Larry Schiller telling me he didn't give interviews unless they were live because of that cut and twist danger.)




ANYWAY, I found this quote in a two-year anniversary news story and thought I'd share it here.


Henry Lee, famed for his work on behalf of O.J. Simpson's defense team, said a successful investigation is based on four crucial elements — a good crime scene, strong physical evidence, witnesses and "a little bit of luck."
"Unfortunately, we lack all four of those elements," Lee said. "But we always keep a sort of hope. We never give up."

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  2 years later
Posted by: jameson245 - 05-08-2017, 12:02 PM - Forum: 1998 - No Replies

Clues elusive 2 years later
Conflicting theories still only theories in JonBenét Ramsey murder investagation
By Matt Sebastian
Camera Staff Writer





Joe Barnhill once thought the mysterious murder of his angelic young neighbor, 6-year-old JonBenét Ramsey, would be solved within three days.
Today, he's still waiting for that closure, as the investigation into the death of the one-time Little Miss Colorado enters its third year.
"I'm just beside myself," Barnhill said last week, having just returned from a walk with JonBenét's dog, which he and his wife still care for.
"It's so sad," he said quietly. "We loved that girl."
For the second time since the 1996 Christmas slaying, the anniversary of JonBenét's death will pass without an arrest — even though her parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, remain under intense and constant suspicion.
Many of the actors in this nationally televised drama have changed over the past two years, and the case is now being considered by Boulder County's grand jury. But the key questions remain:
Has this couple gotten away with murder? Or, as the Ramseys themselves insist, was there an intruder in their Boulder home that Christmas night?
Police officials and members of Boulder County District Attorney Alex Hunter's prosecution team remain optimistic that the current grand jury inquest may still solve this mystery.
"There are people working on this case that won't stop working until it's solved," Adams County District Attorney Bob Grant said recently.
Another one of Hunter's advisers acknowledges that it's an uphill battle.
"This whole case just boils down to a lack of information," Dr. Henry Lee, director of the Connecticut State Police Forensic Science Laboratory, said last week.
"The crime scene was already contaminated from day one," said Lee, who has worked on the Ramsey case since early 1997. "And as for physical evidence, we do not really have any major pieces."
    
POWER TO COMPEL    
After long pondering the move, Boulder's district attorney — with the aid of three special prosecutors — finally began presenting the labyrinthine Ramsey murder investigation to the county's grand jury this past September.
Using the panel's power to compel testimony and secure documents under subpoena, Hunter and police hope to answer some of their remaining questions about what happened that Christmas night.
Even the Ramsey family, which had repeatedly criticized the police investigation into JonBenét's death, hailed the progress in the case.
Today, Patsy Ramsey's sister says the grand jury is the best hope yet to find JonBenét's killer.
When asked recently if she still believes the case can be solved, Pam Paugh emphatically answered, "Absolutely!"
"If the faith I continue to have in Alex Hunter holds any water," she quickly added.
Over the course of the fall months, with the 12 jurors and five alternates meeting twice most weeks, the panel heard evidence from Boulder police officers and detectives, as well as Colorado Bureau of Investigation handwriting analysts and chemists.
The jurors toured the former Ramsey home and subpoenaed documents from a variety of sources, including the private hangar where John Ramsey kept his plane.
Currently on a five-week holiday hiatus, the grand jury is expected to reconvene Jan. 5 and work into the spring.
    
INSURMOUNTABLE?    
But for all the power of the grand jury, it remains unclear whether it can overcome the Ramsey case's own history — especially the crucial mistakes allegedly made on the first day of the investigation.
Henry Lee, famed for his work on behalf of O.J. Simpson's defense team, said a successful investigation is based on four crucial elements — a good crime scene, strong physical evidence, witnesses and "a little bit of luck."
"Unfortunately, we lack all four of those elements," Lee said. "But we always keep a sort of hope. We never give up."
Boulder police officers Rick French and Karl Veitch arrived at the Ramsey home, 755 15th St., at 5:52 a.m. on Dec. 26, 1996.
Patsy Ramsey had called 911 after she said she found a 2½-page ransom note on a spiral staircase in the rear of the sprawling house. The note demanded $118,000 in exchange for the safe return of JonBenét.
But after calling police, the Ramseys contacted several friends and their pastor. At least five people arrived at the home shortly after the two officers. The first detective, Linda Arndt, didn't show up until 8 a.m.
"You just don't want people traipsing through your crime scene," said former FBI profiler Gregg McCrary. "If you believe a stranger has been in that house, you don't want other people in there.
"Even before they were aware it was a homicide, it was at least the scene of an abduction that needed to be contained and cordoned off."
Police didn't even tape off JonBenét's bedroom until 10:30 a.m., according to a search warrant affidavit.
Perhaps the most crucial error came at 1 p.m. Tired of waiting for the supposed kidnapper to call, Arndt asked John Ramsey and two of his friends to search the house.
John Fernie went upstairs; Fleet White followed Ramsey down to the basement. But White came running back upstairs almost immediately.
John Ramsey had found his daughter's lifeless body beneath a blanket in an unused, windowless room. He removed a strip of tape from her mouth and carried her body upstairs.
"Why in God's name were John Ramsey and Fleet White allowed to find that body without a police officer present?" asked retired Boulder police officer Dale Stange, an investigator with eight years of homicide experience. "That just destroyed everything right there."
Ten months later, then-police Chief Tom Koby would admit, "If we had it to do all over, we would do it differently."
Privately, current Boulder police officers say they wish Koby had acknowledged that earlier and more sincerely.
Mark Beckner, who has headed the Ramsey case since fall 1997 and succeeded Koby as Boulder police chief in June, won`t discuss that first day.
"I`m going to really choose not to go back and review the history of this case at this point," Beckner said recently.
THE 'UMBRELLA'    
Boulder police still deny that John and Patsy Ramsey are suspects in their daughter's murder, instead describing the couple as falling under "the umbrella of suspicion."
But many people have little doubt that the Ramseys were the police department's only real suspects and now are under full grand jury investigation.
That's still surprising to some.
"Somebody wearing a badge who's had access to the facts says the Ramseys are innocent," Denver defense attorney Larry Pozner said, referring to the recent resignation of detective Lou Smit, who served as an investigator on the case for Hunter.
A retired El Paso County homicide investigator, Smit left the district attorney's office last September, saying he was convinced of the Ramseys' innocence and afraid Hunter was bent on prosecuting them.
"That's very troubling," Pozner said. "You just don't ever see that."
The Boulder Police Department has been sharply criticized by the Ramseys and their supporters for, they say, single-mindedly going after JonBenét's parents.
Even Hunter admitted as much, telling The New Yorker magazine, "The cops became so convinced that the Ramseys did it that they've never been able to look at the evidence objectively."
Throughout the case, the district attorney's office has been perceived as being open to other theories about the crime — so much so that some close to the case allege Hunter is in cahoots with the Ramseys, a charge both sides deny.
In May 1997, the district attorney's office said in a court filing that there remained "the real possibility that the murder was committed by an intruder."
Even Boulder County Sheriff George Epp mulled over the idea of running an investigation parallel to the Boulder Police Department's.
"Somebody had suggested that to me, but it just wouldn't have been a good idea," Epp said last week, declining to say who brought it up.
    
INTRUDER?    
After two years of work, is it possible that Boulder police have missed the boat entirely, letting an intruder get away with a crime?
David Protess, a Northwestern University journalism professor, thinks it could be possible. He has seen it before.
"I certainly have investigated, as a journalist, a number of cases involving children who vanish from their beds and are later found murdered," Protess said. "In most of those cases, the parents are not involved.
"What we don't expect or accept is that a young child could vanish from her bed in the middle of the night and be killed. I think our society would prefer for the parents to have committed this crime. It makes us safer to believe that, even if the assumption is false."
Ramsey supporters point to several pieces of evidence that they say will shed doubt on any future case against JonBenét's parents.
Just this past month, police asked Pam Paugh and four other Ramsey family relatives to submit DNA for comparison to genetic material found under JonBenét's fingernails and on her underwear.
The Ramsey relatives, who were not in Colorado at the time of the murder, voluntarily complied.
Police also have long sought the match to a still-unidentified palm print found somewhere in the house. More significant yet is the imprint of a Hi-Tec boot found in the same room where JonBenét's body was found.
And despite the Ramseys' initial report to police that all their doors and windows had been locked Christmas night, subsequent investigation revealed one unlocked door and a half-dozen unlatched windows.
For these reasons and because of his own faith in his neighbors, Joe Barnhill is firm in his opinion of the Ramseys.
"I've never thought the parents did it and I still can't believe they did," Barnhill said.
Now Barnhill, like the rest of Boulder — and the whole world — will wait and see if the county's 12 grand jurors can determine what happened in that house two years ago.
And, all involved must hope a third Christmas doesn't pass before a killer is brought to justice.

December 26, 1998
 

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  Note - handwriting attributed to Patsy
Posted by: jameson245 - 05-08-2017, 11:57 AM - Forum: 1997 - 1998 - Replies (2)

Not forgotten: Controversy still surrounds the murder of JonBenét Ramsey
By JULIE POPPEN, Camera Staff Writer
Friday, December 26, 1997
"Why didn't I hear my baby?"
Those were among the first words uttered by a distraught Patricia Ramsey to Boulder police Detective Linda Arndt who showed up at the Ramseys' sprawling University Hill home to investigate an alleged kidnapping.
Ramsey's darling, 6-year-old daughter JonBenét, was not in her bed. At 5:52 a.m. the day after Christmas - one year ago today - "Patsy," a former Miss West Virginia, and her husband John, then head of Boulder-based Access Graphics, had already pointed police to a bizarre, nearly three-page ransom note.
Neatly coifed and dressed for the day, Patsy found the alarming letter on a spiral staircase as she made her way downstairs to make coffee. In one interview, she said she was preparing to go "visiting" that morning. The Ramseys also were scheduled to meet John Ramsey's adult children from a previous marriage in Minneapolis, where they would take a private plane with the Boulder Ramsey clan to the family's second home in Charlevoix, Mich. His two older children had left Atlanta early that morning.
"It said 'Mr. Ramsey ... we have your daughter,'" Patsy said, describing the ransom note during a Jan. 1 CNN interview. "And I - you know, it just wasn't registering, and I may have gotten through another sentence ... And I immediately ran back upstairs and pushed open her door, and she was not in her bed, and I screamed for John."
Although it's one of the most highly publicized cases in criminal history, the heinous murder and apparent sexual assault of JonBenét Ramsey has yet to be solved. Speculation on her murder - she was found strangled with a fractured skull in the basement of the family's home in the early afternoon - has run rampant.
Boulder police and investigators with the Boulder County District Attorney's office remain tight-lipped. The Ramseys, with a team of attorneys and private investigators, will not talk openly about the untimely death of their daughter, described as an outgoing child who showed a remarkable concern for others. Despite being described as a "focus" of the investigation, the Ramseys have adamantly denied any knowledge of their daughter's brutal end.
The police and family friends - especially those who were at the Ramsey home when JonBenét's body was found - now have unlisted phone numbers and no desire to express their grief, pain or anger publicly.
But the release of documents - such as search warrants for the Ramseys' Boulder home and their summer home, the autopsy report and transcripts of interviews with the Ramseys and their hired experts - provide a snapshot of events that transpired on that infamous winter day.
The Ramseys
The Ramseys moved to Boulder in 1991. John Ramsey, then president and chief executive officer of Access Graphics, outlined lofty goals for the company he relocated from Atlanta.
Once here, the family moved into a 15-room, Tudor-style home worth $760,000 near Chautauqua Park. Access Graphics outperformed expectations in 1996, raking in $1 billion in revenues. The success was noted in the Ramsey family Christmas card.
For John, it was like a second life. He had three children with his former wife, including a daughter, Elizabeth, who died in a car wreck in the Chicago area in 1992. One of his adult children, John Andrew Ramsey, was enrolled at University of Colorado at the time of the murder.
Often away on business, John Ramsey returned weekends and spent time eating dinner with his family, reading to his children and helping with homework, friends said not long after the slaying. "He disciplined with love," Patsy's mother, Nedra Paugh, said at the time. Friends said John never raised his voice or spanked his kids.
Others, though, describe him as an "enigma" and "hard to get to know."
Patsy, who will turn 41 on Dec. 29, is a former Miss West Virginia and, with her two sisters, beauty queen aficionados. She was known as a community do-gooder, volunteering at her son Burke's school even as she recovered from a bout of ovarian cancer in 1994. In fact, Judith Phillips, a 46-year-old professional photographer who has known the Ramseys for 14 years, noted that Patsy spent even more time with her kids after her battle with the deadly disease.
Family friends have said Patsy doted on her children, introducing her youngest, JonBenét, to the intriguing world of child beauty pageants. One autumn, Patsy denied to friends that she dyed little JonBenét's dishwater blond hair a bright gold and said it had been bleached in the summer sun in Michigan. But those who knew JonBenét said it was obvious.
"I knew it was dyed," Phillips said. "That was a ridiculous lie - what does she think I am, stupid?"
Named JonBenét after her father, John Bennett, the little girl loved to sing, dance and perform, observers said. She appeared well-versed in social graces, but had a mischievous side.
The Ramseys were active churchgoers, holding social functions at their home for parishioners at St. John's Episcopalian Church. The Ramseys were known for their lavish parties. One Christmas, Patsy had as many as eight Christmas trees in different rooms of the house.
A year ago, the home's walkway was decorated with singing candy canes, one report said. Despite the intensity of their entertaining, people have described the Ramseys as "down to earth" and "easygoing."
Christmas Day
The Ramseys spent part of Christmas night delivering presents and attending a Christmas party in the evening at the home of oil magnate Fleet White Jr. and his wife Priscilla. Nobody noticed anything peculiar. In fact, Patsy was described as being excited about the planned trip to Michigan.
"Patsy was just bubbly, full of life," a family friend had said. "And she was excited about going to Michigan the next day."
Earlier in the week, they threw a major holiday fete attended by about 50 people - including Santa Claus. Bill McReynolds, a former University of Colorado journalism professor who worked as Santa in Boulder for years, said little JonBenét gave him a vial of star dust (glitter) for him to sprinkle in his beard.
As usual, JonBenét was trying to make sure everybody was having fun. She stayed close to her brother, Burke, who was 9-years-old at the time.
Christmas day was warm and sunny for the most part, and JonBenét and her brother each received new bicycles that their mother picked out from University Bicycles downtown.
One police report indicated Patsy was the last person to see JonBenét alive - safely tucked in her bed at 10 p.m. at 755 15th St. Another report said John Ramsey told a detective he was the last person to see his daughter in her second floor bedroom at 10 p.m.
Nobody - except the killer or killers - knows what happened in the home for the next eight hours. The only people in the home, according to the Ramseys, were Patsy, John, JonBenét and Burke, now 10.
There were no new footprints in the fresh dusting of snow and frost on the family's lawn or in a crusty accumulation of old snow, according to police who first arrived on the scene. But some walkways might have been free of snow - making such preliminary evidence non-conclusive.
And recent news reports indicate police might have footprint evidence from inside the home. Investigators recently have asked family friends whether they own SAS or Hi-Tech shoes or boots. Hi-Tech boots are commonly worn by law enforcement officers, one store owner said.
Initial reports also note there were no signs of forced entry, yet one Boulder police sergeant later noticed a pry mark in the door jam of a rear kitchen door.
John Ramsey told police the home was locked when he went to bed and when he awoke. But the alarm system was off. The Ramseys, who declined comment for this story, also indicated they heard no strange noises overnight.
The first two Boulder police officers arrived on the scene at 5:52 a.m. Dec. 26. Several family friends were already inside - including White, his wife, friends Barbara and John Fernie and the pastor from St. John's Episcopalian Church, Rol Hoverstock. Throughout the day, more friends came and went.
The ransom note, printed with a felt-tip pen on a note pad later recovered from the home, demanded that John Ramsey turn over $118,000 to a "foreign faction" for the safe return of his daughter. If he failed to comply with the demands, which included a warning not to contact police or the FBI, JonBenét would be "decapitated." The monetary amount matched an annual bonus Ramsey had received at Access.
JonBenét's bedroom was sealed about 10:30 a.m.
Body discovered
At 1:05 p.m., after attempts to monitor phone calls failed to turn up the kidnappers, Detective Arndt asked John Ramsey, White and Fernie to search the house for "any sign of JonBenét or anything that may have been left or taken that belonged to her."
JonBenét's lifeless 45-pound frame was discovered almost immediately in a windowless basement room by her father and White. Police said she had been dead for "quite some time," but no time of death has ever been officially established, according to the Boulder County Coroner's Office.
"John Ramsey immediately went to the basement of the house, followed by Fleet White and John Fernie," Arndt reported. "Within a few minutes, Fleet came running upstairs, grabbed the telephone in the back office located on the first floor, and yelled for someone to call for an ambulance."
An FBI profiler hired by the Ramseys said in one interview that John Ramsey ran upstairs screaming, "Oh my God, my baby."
Arndt ran to the front of the house, near the door leading to the dark basement. She saw Ramsey run up the stairs carrying his youngest child with her tiny arms stiffly positioned above her head, a thin rope dangling from her right wrist. He deposited her small frame near the front door where resuscitation was attempted.
Ramsey already had removed a blanket that had covered her and ripped duct tape from her mouth. JonBenét, a former Little Miss Colorado, was neatly dressed in a white knit shirt decorated with a sequined silver star and white long underwear. An autopsy later revealed that her long johns were stained with urine.
Beneath her long underwear, she wore panties with the word "Wednesday" on the waist band. Those, too, were soaked with urine and investigators spotted evidence of blood. The Ramseys had stated they last saw JonBenét wearing a red turtleneck, prompting some speculation that the girl's clothes were changed after death. A red turtleneck was found in her bathroom sink, according to previously published reports.
Her striking long blond hair was secured with blue hair ties in two ponytails - one in the back of her head and one on top. She had a red ink heart drawn on the palm of her left hand. On her neck hung a gold necklace with a cross pendant. She wore a gold ring on the middle finger of her right hand and a gold bracelet on her right wrist that had "JonBenét" on one side and "12-25-96" on the other.
She had a rope around her neck that had been tightened with a crude garrote fashioned from a broken paint brush found in the Ramsey home. There was a red circular mark in the front of her neck at the base of her throat.
A detective searched the basement to look for the perpetrator. Nobody was found.
The Ramseys used the room where JonBenét's body was found to store Christmas decorations. There, police recovered two blankets, a piece of wire, a pink Barbie nightgown and some broken glass - all of which police later collected as evidence.
The cute, green-eyed girl had pieces of a Christmas garland - similar to the greenery that decorated the spiral staircase - tangled in her hair. There were dark fibers and dark hair on the outside of her shirt. The autopsy revealed numerous traces of a dark fiber in the 6-year-old's vaginal and pubic areas.
There was evidence of sexual abuse, such as blood in her panties. However, the stains didn't match blood on her skin - prompting Boulder County Coroner John Meyer, who arrived at the scene at 8 p.m., to note the evidence was "consistent with the child's pubic area having been wiped by a cloth." The doctor also noted that JonBenét's injury was consistent with "digital penetration of her vagina."
Boulder pediatrician Francesco Beuf, who also showed up at the Ramsey home Dec. 26, has gone public denying evidence of abuse in JonBenét's past. But, like many, he has since become quiet. "I think until this case goes to trial, the less I make public statements about it, the better it's going to be," Beuf said.
The girl had an 8.5-inch fracture in her skull, "consistent with a blow to the head," the coroner reported. By the time Meyer arrived, the girl's body had been moved again to the living room and was covered by a Colorado Avalanche sweatshirt and blanket.
"It was a real emotional scene as for the family putting a child down in front of the Christmas tree as they're trying to ... rub the ... skin, the body is ... cold," said John Douglas, a former FBI profiler hired by the Ramseys to help solve the crime, in a January interview with Dateline NBC. "And ... the mother is hysterical, the father's hysterical, the minister's there, and the neighbors are running in and out. And so there really isn't a crime scene."
Key evidence
During a search of the home that same day, police recovered a note pad with three pages ripped from its center. An analysis by Colorado Bureau of Investigation lab agent Chet Ubowski revealed tear marks that matched those at the top of the ransom note. The beginning of a "practice" ransom note also was recovered. The note pad in question was turned over to police by John Ramsey.
"On the page immediately preceding the missing three pages, the words 'Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey' had been written with what appeared to be the same felt tip pen as the three-page ransom note," according to one search warrant affidavit. The note pad also contained other handwriting later analyzed by Ubowski. The real ransom note began "Mr. Ramsey."
"This handwriting showed indications that the writer was Patsy Ramsey," according to a search warrant affidavit.
Ubowski would not comment on the ransom note, saying all information compiled by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation is the domain of Boulder authorities. But according to Boulder police, Ubowski reported that handwriting samples from John Ramsey showed "indications" he did not pen the bizarre, rambling three-page note that seemed to rip quotes from books and films, and that it was "probable" Burke did not write it.
"The evidence falls short of that necessary to support a definite conclusion," the Colorado Bureau of Investigation reported.
Ramseys disappear
After the murder, the Ramseys effectively dropped out of sight, by staying with friends and restaurateur Jay Elowski and others. They selectively appeared at a church service two Sundays after their daughter's death. While many parishioners attempted to shield the grieving family from the onslaught of news cameras, it was later revealed their spokesman, Pat Korten, had alerted the media about the photo opportunity.
The Ramseys never returned to the tony Boulder home they spent several years and thousands of dollars renovating.
On Dec. 31, they attended a hastily organized funeral service in Atlanta. JonBenét was laid to rest alongside Elizabeth Ramsey in the city where she was born only six years earlier.
With the closing of JonBenét's coffin came the opening of one of the most widely publicized murder mysteries in American history.

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  lawsuit news
Posted by: jameson245 - 05-08-2017, 11:44 AM - Forum: 2001 - Replies (6)

National News Briefs; Ramseys and Tabloid Settle JonBenet Lawsuit

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS    MARCH 9, 2001

John and Patsy Ramsey have settled a lawsuit against a supermarket tabloid over articles that suggested that their son, Burke, had molested and killed his sister, JonBenet.

Meanwhile today, the Ramseys' former housekeeper, Linda Hoffmann-Pugh, sued the couple in Atlanta, asserting that their book falsely named her as a suspect in the 1996 death of JonBenet. No one has been charged in the case.

Terms of the settlement with the tabloid, The Globe, were not disclosed, The Daily Camera newspaper of Boulder reported today.

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  Stephen Miles
Posted by: jameson245 - 05-08-2017, 11:27 AM - Forum: Names to remember - Replies (11)

Photographer sues Enquirer, Ramseys
Tabloid story leads to lawsuit
By MATT SEBASTIAN, Camera Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 4, 1998
Angered by tabloid reports accusing him of pedophilia and murder, a Boulder photographer filed a defamation suit Tuesday against John Ramsey and the National Enquirer.
Stephen Thomas Miles, 49, suffered "shunning, hatred, ridicule and contempt" as a result of an Enquirer article that reported Ramsey believed the photographer killed his 6-year-old daughter, JonBenet, according to the lawsuit. The suit did not seek a specific damage amount.
"This guy wouldn't kill a housefly," Miles' attorney, Lee Hill, said Tuesday.
The photographer - who does have a lengthy criminal history, primarily involving drugs - was attending to a sick parent Tuesday and unavailable for comment, Hill said.
Ramsey's civil attorney, Bill Gray, said Tuesday he wouldn't discuss pending litigation.
Hill, however, said he spoke to Gray earlier in the day and that he said Ramsey denies accusing Miles of the Dec. 26, 1996, killing of his daughter.
Representatives of the National Enquirer, based in southeast Florida, could not be reached for comment.
Suing for libel, slander and intentional infliction of emotional distress, Miles' complaint also names as defendants two of the tabloid's reporters, John South and David Wright.
The first of two articles Miles takes issue with ran Oct. 21. Credited to South and Wright, the piece quotes an unnamed source saying, "John and Patsy will claim that the real killer is a neighbor, Stephen Miles, who was once arrested and accused of a sex offense against a minor."
The Enquirer article also states Ramsey was planning on telling police his suspicions about Miles. In his suit, the photographer alleges the tabloid article "creates a deliberate, cumulative false impression in a reasonable reader that (the) plaintiff is a sex offender and a pedophile."
A second story, written by Wright and published Nov. 11, refers to a list of potential suspects allegedly given to police by the Ramseys' attorneys. "Included on that list are dozens of pedophiles and sex offenders living in Boulder. One of them, gay photographer Stephen Miles ..."
Miles was arrested in 1989 on suspicion of taking pornographic pictures of juvenile boys and providing them with drugs and alcohol. Some of those photographs allegedly featured simulated sex acts.
But the Boulder County District Attorney's Office dropped most of the charges when Miles agreed to plead guilty to a single charge of criminal attempt to contribute to the delinquency of a minor, according to district court records.
Miles is not on the Boulder Police Department's list of registered sex offenders.
But the photographer does have a history, stretching back to his teenage years, of getting into drug-related trouble.
Miles was arrested as a 19-year-old on suspicion of possession of marijuana. Ten years later, in 1977, he was placed on three years probation after pleading guilty to a charge of conspiracy to distribute narcotics. In return for that plea, three other drug charges were dismissed.
Since then, Miles has agreed to plea bargains in two other drug-related charges and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor theft charge, according to court records.
Although he said he can't say whether police are looking into Miles as a suspect, the photographer's attorney said his client has not been interviewed by detectives.
Hill also said he's unsure if the libel suit will force Ramsey to publicly testify as to the events surrounding his daughter's murder.
If it turns out Ramsey isn't the source of the accusations printed in the Enquirer, Miles' suit leaves open the option to include other defendants.
"It wouldn't surprise me if a couple of others float to the surface as the investigation continues," Hill said.

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