krugman interview
#1
Burden of Proof - Monday, December 29, 1997

Krugman interviewed on Burden of Proof

Also former FBI profiler Van Zandt

December 29, 1997

This transcript just covers the Ramsey case section

COSSACK: Doctor, you are a leading child abuse expert. The police brought to you the autopsy report of JonBenet Ramsey for your opinion. You concluded that this was not perhaps a case of sex abuse, but perhaps a case of child abuse, why?
KRUGMAN: Well first Roger child abuse to me includes physical abuse, sexual abuse, and a variety of other forms of abuse and neglect. What I said at the time was that I couldn't say with certainty that this was a sexual abuse case. It clearly was a physical abuse case. And it was a physical abuse case because of the massive brain injury, the skull fracture, and because of the strangulation.
COSSACK: Why were you not able to say with certainty about a sexual abuse case, Doctor?
KRUGMAN: Well for one to know with certainty that sexual abuse occurred that night I think one would need some forensic evidence that I'm not sure is available. I haven't seen any certainly to make me feel that way. There are a lot of people around the country who have from afar or even from looking at the autopsy said they are certain she was sexually abused. The problem is that children who are sexually abused may or may not have any physical findings. The reason I wouldn't say with certainty that she was or wasn't is because at least 40% of children have absolutely no physical findings and they are being sexually abused; whereas children who have some physical findings around the genital area, may have been physically abused or may have been sexually abused. And I saw nothing to let me know with certainty that sexual abuse was here in this particular case that particular night.
COSSACK: Doctor you made a statement which almost made it sound though that you believe that the sexual abuse was a coverup to perhaps hide the amount of physical abuse. Do you have a feel on that area?
KRUGMAN: In my view that's certainly a possibility.
COSSACK: Well why would you suggest that it is a coverup? I mean, what is there to suggest sexual abuse being a coverup to perhaps hide physical abuse?
KRUGMAN: Well let's again be careful of our terms. There was a lesion an abrasion on the hymen. That may have been part of sexual abuse. That may have been part of physical abuse. That may have been part of a coverup. I just don't see enough things in the autopsy to say with certainty what happened. And I think the main problem we have with this case and in this country is that we are using the wrong system that is the criminal justice system to try to deal retrospectively with a problem like child abuse, which is an enormous public health problem and has killed over 2,000 other children anonymously since JonBenet died.
COSSACK: Doctor what I am and I agree with you, of course, but what I am particularly interested in is your use of the word coverup here as some sort of way of perhaps hiding something. And I'm trying to get you to explain that to me.
KRUGMAN: Well I'm not sure I can explain it to you Roger other than to say that when you see an injury someplace on a child there can be a lot of different reasons why that injury is there. And if you are involved in an investigation or you are trying to work out diagnostic possibilities you need to think of them all and then you need to have other information that helps you sort out those possibilities.
COSSACK: Alright. Clint, working for the FBI, and we have heard the doctor explain leading abuse expert explain that perhaps there were some things that maybe we use word coverup maybe not. Where does that lead you? I mean, in terms of looking possible suspects, where does that lead you?
CLINT VAN ZANDT: Well you know one of the things you have to look at Roger is we have to differentiate between a pedophile and someone who would abduct a child for ransom two different breeds of cat. We don't have a cross-fertilization, psychologically, between these two different types of individuals. We also look at, from an investigative standpoint, usually it is 12 to one. When we look at the number of children that are killed around JonBenet's age, older, younger, 12 to one it is usually someone it is usually a parent or somebody within the home; somebody who has access to the home, as opposed on an unknown offender. Now, statistics don't make you guilty of anything but those have to play in and have to be part of this. I think perhaps what the doctor may be suggesting and obviously he speaks for himself is we saw a coverup as far as I'm concerned, with the note. I don't think that note was written by someone who actually expected to kidnap JonBenet, carry her away, and get $118,000 ransom. We see other things that were done to the victim the night of the crime, which, to me, suggests a coverup which to me suggests staging, someone trying to make a crime look like something it's not. So perhaps the staging that I see behaviorally might go along with the coverup that he is speaking about medically.
COSSACK: If I understand you correctly, what you are suggesting is that perhaps this child was murdered before that note was written that perhaps that event occurred, and then somebody the murderer, perhaps wrote and planned this elaborate hoax to throw people off. Is that what you are suggesting?
VAN ZANDT: That's what I'm suggesting Roger. The idea that an unknown offender, at least two, perhaps three people would break into the house that night knowing what they were going to do but not have written that note in advance then would be able to find a pad of paper, start to write the note, tear it up, write another 3 page note, take the time to do that. In the note, one reference there is a dozen references we can talk about. One speaks that if the authorities are notified, the victim will be beheaded. That to me suggests that the victim was already dead that the killer already knew the type of ligature damage that was done to the victim and that translated into the note suggesting the victim might be beheaded.
COSSACK: Does that suggest an accidental death?
VAN ZANDT: My opinion Roger is that there was an accidental death that took place on the victim, in the house; and that there was a subsequent cover-up, physical damage, and other things that took place injuries to the victim. So we had an initial accidental injury. We had the death of a victim, and then we had to coverup by subject or subjects whoever were involved in this.
COSSACK: Alright. does that suggest and I want to eliminate, for the purposes of this conversation, the Ramseys? Does it suggest someone who the Ramseys knew? Does it suggest someone within the family?
VAN ZANDT: It suggests someone who knew the house, who knew the family, who knew enough about Mr. Ramsey to make some very interesting remarks in the note. It suggests that the killers either came from that house or had access to that house on a fairly common basis, as opposed to an unknown offender. We can't rule that out because we just don't know. But if we look at statistics, statistically the chances are greater from a behavioral standpoint that the killers either came from that house or had access to the house, as opposed to this unknown offender who just happened to come upon the Ramsey household and carried this off.
COSSACK: Suspicions, theories and media speculations. more than a year has passed since the murder of JonBenet Ramsey, and we have little more than that. There's no trial, there's no suspect in custody, and there's no indictment from a grand jury. Lisa, you've been covering this case from the beginning. There have been allegations of serious police mistakes right from the beginning. List them. what are the alleged police mistakes?
RYCKMAN: Well Roger I think the first and foremost mistake was that they did not secure the crime scene. And that opinion as being their biggest mistake comes from a lot of experts in homicide investigations, not from myself, of course. And as a result of that failure to secure the crime scene, there were a lot of people tramping through the crime scene, possibly contaminating or eliminating evidence. Another mistake that they made subsequent to leaving this crime scene unsecured was to ask John Ramsey, JonBenet's father, to go search his house again, and they allowed him to do this alone that is without a police escort he took two friends with him. This is when he found his daughter's body in the basement room. Of course, his instinct as a father was to go to the child to pick her up, to take the duct tape off her mouth to see if she was still breathing, and then to carry her upstairs out of the dark basement and into the light of the upstairs house and into the arms of her family. Of course, I'm sure your experts can speak to this. All kinds of evidence may have been lost or contaminated to the point where it would make a conviction in this case it would jeopardize it quite possibly.
COSSACK: Lisa, in defense of the police, at that time when they allowed Mr. Ramsey to do all those things they were treating this case as a kidnap rather than a murder. Isn't that true?
RYCKMAN: Well, I think yes of course that was true. But I think that what most police at least outside police investigators say is that it doesn't matter. Kidnapping, murder hey, whatever this is, it's crime, and this was the scene and it should be secured.
COSSACK: Alright. David Schertler, former federal prosecutor, let me throw this case file in your lap now. Where do we go with this?
SCHERTLER: That's the $40,000 dollar question. I think Lisa is absolutely right. This whole you know you have an upstairs bedroom where the child is kidnapped from. You have a ransom note on the first floor. The whole house should have been a crime scene. It should have been roped off. Everybody should have gotten out of the house. And what you would've liked is to have gotten important scientific evidence that could have solved the crime or told you who the killer was. Without that in the case with no witnesses, you don't have a whole lot to go on. You don't have scientific evidence that links anybody with this crime. You have evidence that even though the statistics seem to support the notion that it came from someone inside the home, the evidence doesn't rule out the possibility that it was an outside intruder. Without scientific evidence, somebody talking to you about confessions or statements that the killer might have made to them or without an eyewitness, you have nothing at this point. And I assume that at this point the police have exhausted all those avenues of investigation. Right now, the only thing I see happening in this case to solve it, and it's an unlikely proposition, is that the killer either the killer himself or herself or somebody close to the killer who knows something about the crime would come forward out of consciousness of guilt and tell the police, look, I got to get this off my chest. Here is what happened, or here is what so and so told me about committing this murder. That to me is the only way that you're going to solve this crime.
COSSACK: Alright. now I'm going to come to you and you're the prosecutor in this case, and I just repeat back to you what you've told me. And I say look David we don't have a heck of a lot, but we believe that perhaps there may be some involvement by the family or perhaps a close friend of the family. But we don't have a whole heck of a lot. Do we arrest anybody in hopes that somebody gets behind bars and then cracks or gives up some information?
SCHERTLER: Absolutely not. I think it violates a prosecutor's ethics to do that without significant evidence to establish probable cause that a particular person did it. I don't see anything close to probable cause in this case. All I do see is a lot of speculation, a lot of theories about what might have happened. And some of them, like Clint's, are good theories that make a lot of sense, but there is absolutely no evidence to support it. Even if you said this happened, and it was committed by somebody inside the home; who was it? Was it the father? Was it was the mother? Was it the 11yo brother? We don't know.
COSSACK: Let's go back to Denver for a second. Dr. Krugman you've had the ability to analyze this autopsy report. Was there a time when during your analysis you saw indications that perhaps a taser gun or a stun gun was used on this young girl.
KRUGMAN: No, I didn't.
COSSACK: Was there any marks whatsoever?
KRUGMAN: There were other marks. There were other abrasions noted, and various things noted on the autopsy report. But I think you might need a pathologist to tell you for sure whether or not there was a stun gun. But that speculation has arisen over the last couple of weeks and seems to be filling the airwaves again, and is probably yet another indication of everyone's frustration with the inability to solve this case.
COSSACK: Alright. Clint, is this frustration? I mean, are they just pulling at straws now?
VAN ZANDT: I think right now Roger we're at the point where you start turning the rocks over. We've turned them over once; they got to turn them over a second time. But after a year you know we've got 22,000 known homicide in the U.S. every year only about 65 percent of those are solved. And the scary thing is as we're suggesting right now, without hard, cold forensic evidence that can link an offender to the victim the only think we have is someone raising their hands and says I got to tell you, I feel so bad about what I did. If we don't have that if they had forensic evidence, they would have indicted by now.
COSSACK: There's a new chief investigator in this case, Mark Beckner, who says he wants to reinterview the Ramseys. Why?
VAN ZANDT: He's the new captain of the ship Roger. I don't care what's been done before for the last 367 days it's a brand new investigation as far a he's concerned and he's saying, I want to talk to them. I want to get a feel for them. I want to see the evidence. I want the neighbors re-interviewed.
SCHERTLER: Let me add I think that in terms of investigative tactics that might be the one thing you want to do reinterview potential suspects. If you can get them in inconsistency if somebody may break and say OK let me tell you what happened, that's a real possibility. Now of course, the Ramseys are represented by counsel. I have the feeling that any interviews with the Ramseys are going to be very carefully monitored.
COSSACK: And let me just say even though my cohost Greta Van Susteren is not here today if she were here she would be saying if I were their lawyer I wouldn't let them talk to anybody.
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