from Newsweek
#1
FOCUSING ON THE FAMILY ON THURSDAY MORNING, DEC. 26, 1996, THE BOULDER, COLO., Police Department received a 911 call at 5:52 a.m. The caller, Patsy Ramsey, said her daughter, JonBenet, had been kidnapped and there was a ransom note. When the first officer arrived eight minutes later, he searched the house for the child and for any sign of forced entry, but found nothing. It was still dark outside.
By noon everyone was still waiting for the kidnappers to call. An hour later JonBenet's father, John Ramsey, searched the house for something that might have been taken along with his daughter. Moments later he found JonBenet's body--wrapped in a white blanket, her mouth covered with duct tape--in the wine cellar in the basement of the house. It was 1:05 p.m.
At Boulder police headquarters, Det. Sgt. Larry Mason got a page from the Ramsey house: ""We've got a body.''
""Oh, f---,'' Mason said, half aloud. ""Ron,'' he told FBI Special Agent Ron Walker, ""it's a homicide.''
Walker, an experienced FBI profiler, knew that finding JonBenet's body in her own home meant there had probably never been a kidnapping. In the case of a homicide where the dead child is found in the parents' home, the FBI's standard procedure is to investigate the parents and the immediate family first and then move outward in circles. Then would come people who had frequent access to the child--babysitters and domestic help. The next circle would contain friends and business associates. The outermost circle would be strangers. The technique was to avoid leaping over these concentric circles too quickly.
Fifteen minutes later Mason and Walker arrived at the Ramseys' house. First they looked at the body, lying now at the foot of the living-room Christmas tree, a noose around JonBenet's neck. Then they went downstairs to the wine cellar. Mason noticed that there was something about the crime scene--he couldn't put his finger on it--that made it look unnatural. Meanwhile, in the Ramseys' study, another detective overheard John Ramsey talking on the phone to his private pilot. He was making plans to fly somewhere before nightfall. Moments later Ramsey told Mason that he, his wife and his son would be flying to Atlanta that evening. ""You can't leave,'' Mason told him. ""We have to talk to you.''
At 7 p.m., Detectives Fred Patterson and Greg Idler knocked on the door of the Ramseys' housekeeper, Linda Hoffmann-Pugh. That morning Patsy Ramsey had told police her housekeeper had a key to the house and had major money problems. The police told Hoffmann-Pugh that JonBenet had been murdered. She screamed and couldn't stop shaking. After the housekeeper settled down, they asked her to print some words on a sheet of paper--Mr. Ramsey, attachE, beheaded and the number $118,000 (unknown to her, all phrases in the ransom note)--but Linda was too upset to write. She assumed that JonBenet had been beheaded.
The police spent three hours talking to the Pughs that night. Had Linda ever witnessed any signs of sexual abuse in the Ramsey household? Had JonBenet ever wet the bed? Had Linda seen semen, blood or anything unusual on the child's bed? On anyone else's bed? Hoffmann-Pugh would know for sure she was a suspect when the police returned the next day to search her house and fingerprint her. At a local doctor's office, she cried as the police yanked strands of hair from her head and she gave blood samples.
On the afternoon of Dec. 27, Pam Griffin found a telephone message from Patsy's sister Polly. ""Patsy needs you right now.'' Griffin was the seamstress who made JonBenet's pageant costumes and was Patsy's confidante about beauty pageants. At the Boulder home of John and Barbara Fernie, friends of the Ramseys', Pam, a former registered nurse, touched Patsy's skin and realized she was dehydrated. She brought Patsy some water and made her drink it. ""You need to brush your hair,'' Pam told her. ""You need to lie down a little bit.'' But Patsy stood up to greet each new person who arrived to offer condolences, and as she did, tears streamed down her face. Hours later, Patsy finally took Pam's advice and lay down in the bedroom.
Patsy reached up and touched Pam's face. ""Couldn't you fix this for me?'' she asked. Pam thought she was delirious. It was as if Patsy were asking her to fix a ripped seam. ""Patsy said something like, "We didn't mean for that to happen','' Pam would say later. Pam couldn't say why, but she remembered feeling as if Patsy knew who killed JonBenet but was afraid to say.
While Patsy slept, Pam went downstairs. She found John in the living room holding the Ramseys' other child, Burke. To Pam, John Ramsey seemed to be in a trance. His face was blank. His eyes were red. ""I don't get it,'' he said over and over. Then he got up, walked outside, shook his head and asked aloud, ""Why?''
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