Pete Peterson
On Sept. 24, 1999, Denver private investigator Robert W. "Sneaky Pete" Peterson (SPP) held a press conference outside the Regent Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills. Representatives from ABC, KABC, KCAL, KCBS, KNBC, FOX, KCOP, CNN, Extra and others attended. Here's a transcript of the press conference...which may explain why Sneaky Pete has not made any further media appearances, despite his promise.

SPP: ...for two years now and we want to announce some of our findings which are somewhat contrary to the official line of Boulder quote-unquote authorities. We think should get on the right track. We realize it's been a myopic investigation there--different approach--Grand Jury for a year and we think we know who did it. In the next couple of days we'll pass out some of our handwriting comparisons--compare them with the ransom note, and other findings. Some of the people we think they should retarget are --or at least have under the umbrella of suspicion-- are one William Irwin McReynolds, and his wife, Doris Janet McReynolds. For those of you familiar with the case, you know that Bill McReynolds is Santa Claus at the Christmas party, just prior to JonBenét's murder. And we think they should be reinvestigated.

REPORTER: They've been cleared.

SPP: Well, who hasn't, besides the parents?

RPTR: Besides the parents.

SPP: Right.

RPTR: But Santa's been cleared, privately, if not publicly. So why are you picking on this man?

SPP: No, he hasn't been cleared.

RPTR: He is not considered a suspect. It's amazing I know your case better than you do.

SPP: You do? What do you know about it? How do you know he's been cleared?

RPTR: Well, if you want to pay me what the Ramseys are paying you, I'll tell you.

SPP: You think he's been cleared on the DNA evidence? You don't know that because I know the case better than you do.

RPTR: Really. Please, don't let me interrupt.

SPP: Let's be civil.

RPTR: Why?

RPTR: Are you saying that he should be reinvestigated or that he did it?

SPP: I'm saying with 99% certainty that he did. We have handwriting comparisons here.

RPTR: But the CBI excluded both McReynolds and his wife from being the authors of that ransom note. How do you--?

SPP: And who have they included?

RPTR: They have excluded the McReynolds.

SPP: No, they haven't.

RPTR: What evidence do you have that leads you to think--?

SPP: I have handwriting samples from when he was a journalism professor. We'll make these public in the next couple days. You know, I think it's been--there are a lot of people who have invested in the parents having done it. I think this thing happened after the O.J. Simpson case, and I think a lot of people didn't like them, didn't like their lifestyle, didn't like the fact that they have attorneys. And they don't want to believe--we could start with the psychological block to believe that old Santa did it.

RPTR: Who are you working for? Who's paying you?

RPTR: Yeah, who's paying you?

SPP: We started out working for a client in Boulder, a Dr. XXXXX XXXXXXXX, whose daughter was molested in their house, and there are a lot of parallels to this case. A lot of parallels overlapped to this case, and--misdirected routes in the process. But we think we're onto the right route.

RPTR: You're saying this same suspect could have been responsible for both?

SPP: No, no. We excluded the first one, who was involved in our client's case. But in the process, through that process, we got into this case with the blessing of the client. And determined--we know what occurred.

RPTR: So this is now paid for by the family, by the Ramseys?

SPP: No.

RPTR: By Hal Haddon. A cut-out.

SPP: No. I'm just gonna ignore you. Hal Haddon is their

RPTR: Yeah.

SPP: --and he's an attorney, OK?

RPTR: So who is your client?

SPP: We have no client. We had a client when we got into this case. It was a psychiatrist in Boulder whose daughter was molested in their house, and there are a lot of parallels to the Ramsey case. This person got in the house, hid in the house, after the alarms were set--or before the alarms were set, three hours later attacked the daughter. We thought there were parallels to the Ramsey case, and that's how we got into it.

RPTR: Was the person wrapped in cellophane like Santa would have had to be?

RPTR: Did you call this today because you think the investigation needs to be reopened into the Santa Claus character? Is that why this is called today?

SPP: No, I think--realistically, anybody that's followed this case realizes that quote-unquote authorities in Boulder--I mean, they're the laughingstock of the country. Let's face it. I mean, they have absolutely nothing, zero evidence of the parents. It's dragged on, everybody's frustrated. Everybody knows it's a stressful case, but I think they need to look in another direction.

RPTR: What other evidence do you have besides the handwriting?

SPP: We have a lot that we're gonna disclose to them in about two days.

RPTR: Who's "them"?

RPTR: For example. Humor us.

SPP: We have an entire background on these people, going back to their childhood.

RPTR: Which implicates them as what?

SPP: Which fits all kinds of profiles. That's kind of circumstantial. We think the handwriting is not.

RPTR: Patsy took five handwriting samples and has not been eliminated as the writer of the note.

SPP: She hasn't been included either. Yeah, she's cooperated fully. I mean--

RPTR: So was Santa wearing plastic wrap so he didn't deposit DNA? The man's got a beard down to his--here.

SPP: What DNA is there? You don't know this case. I'm not gonna talk to--

RPTR: Explain why you're holding the press conference at this time, sir.

RPTR: It seems a bit fantastic.

SPP: Well, if we were worried about timing we would have probably held it on the 19th, just before the Grand Jury is disbanded. We're not worried about timing. We're only doing this because of our suspects.

RPTR: Why in Los Angeles?

SPP: Because we were here.

RPTR: Because you were here?

SPP: Yeah, and I won't get in a lotta detail, but it has to do with our suspects.

RPTR: So your suspect is here in town?

SPP: No, they're on the East Coast.

RPTR: But you just came to town today. So why here, why now?

RPTR: Why are you here and not in Denver?

SPP: We happen to be here working, and there's a timing factor that I can't get into. A lotta detail that I won't disclose here but we'll be happy to give it to the quote-unquote powers that be in Boulder.

RPTR: Wasn't McReynolds recovering from open-heart surgery at the time of the murder?

SPP: Spry as can be! He carried his bags on the plane, we all know that. Went to Spain a month later, after the murders [sic].

RPTR: Aren't you afraid he'll sue you for making him a--?

SPP: Sure! Only if I'm wrong.

RPTR: Well, you're wrong.

SPP: Thank you.

RPTR: Is it just the handwriting? Is that the only piece of evidence?

SPP: No, we have other evidence. We're happy to share it with Hunter and the other people there.

RPTR: Why won't you share it with us?

RPTR: When will that be?

SPP: We'll disclose that in about two or three days.

RPTR: So the only reason you're here tonight is to point the finger at Mr. McReynolds?

SPP: That's pretty accurate, right.

RPTR: Will you say that?

SPP: Huh?

RPTR: Will you say that for us?

SPP: No, I won't say that--

RPTR: So that's not why you're here? Tell us why you're here tonight.

SPP: I won't go quite that far. You said--to get the investigation on track?

RPTR: And you believe you're the man to do that?

SPP: That's right. I've worked on it for two years.

RPTR: Have you been paying for this yourself then?

SPP: I could sit down and tell you chapter and verse. I know the ransom note by heart. I know everything about this case that you don't.

RPTR: How do you know?

SPP: I'm insulted by your question.

RPTR: Has the psychiatrist client been paying you for two years?

SPP: No, he paid us for about four months.

RPTR: Who was that person? Can you name him, the psychiatrist?


RPTR: How do you spell that?

SPP: X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X, probably...X-X-X, possibly.

RPTR: You'd think he'd know.

SPP: (OFF MICROPHONE) ...home, yes. He was out of town. The wife was there and the wife kept on bringing the guy into the house. He went out, went off the balcony. There were a lotta similarities there. This was about three months after the Ramsey murder.

RPTR: But then you said that--Santa Claus was not someone who was--

SPP: No.

RPTR: Well, what was the catalyst?

SPP: Because we got into it after that case. Working in Boulder, you know, ground level, we came across it. We were excluding people, trying to include people.

RPTR: I happen to know that--I was in Denver for the last two years working--and I believe Mr. McReynolds' handwriting was taken, his sample was taken.

RPTR: And his DNA and hair samples.

SPP: His handwriting, from the last three notes--I bet you folks don't have it. The lady questioned whether the McReynolds' handwriting was excluded. I'm here, putting the old reputation on the line. I've been an investigator for 25 years. I'll give you copies of Santa, OK? You think his handwriting has been included? [sic] It hasn't. I don't know who--handwriting is a voodoo science. Handwriting analysis is a voodoo science. There's nobody--trust me--that's totally certified in that. It's an art and not a science.

RPTR: Then how can you base your evidence on that?

SPP: Well, look, I don't want to stand here and be argumentative. We're just here to tell--

RPTR: Lies.

SPP: --the world that Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey, the parents, did not do it.

RPTR: How did you get the--

SPP: I studied handwriting for about 22 years. I think this is the 26th [?] year. And the last year-and-a-half I've really devoted a lotta time to it.

RPTR: Is that your background, sir, handwriting analysis?

SPP: No. I have an investigative agency for 25 years [sic].

RPTR: Have you had any discussion with the prosecutors in the case?

SPP: We talked to them way back. We sent them some information. We talked to Lou Smit, who resigned in protest because he didn't believe the case was handled properly. He thought the parents were being targeted unfairly and that they weren't looking at anybody else. He was kind of on the same page. Other than that, except for the event of a--you know, vilify the parents in the press. I think they've been persecuted for two years, and I think it's time. They won't have anything out of this Grand Jury because they didn't do it. So maybe it's time to look at somebody else. Maybe they would sit down and look at handwriting comparisons that we have from the real world--not longhand--against the printed note. Now, all the movie quotes, and we know some other things in the printed ransom note that purportedly Patsy Ramsey sat down and wrote after she garroted her daughter and sexually abused her in the basement of their house, that tie to other people.

RPTR: How did you get this note? How were you able to--?

SPP: The note is on the Internet, by the way.

RPTR: The other handwriting samples?

SPP: This is a second generation copy. We got it from a person who's--back a year-and-a-half ago.

RPTR: Sorry, from who?

RPTR: Michael Tracey?

RPTR: Did you analyze this note yourself or--?

RPTR: Would you give us your name again?

SPP: It's Robert Peterson.

RPTR: o-n.

SPP: P-e-t-e-r-s-o-n.

RPTR: Did you analyze this note yourself, without any other handwriting experts?

SPP: No, I took it to a couple of other experts.

RPTR: Who?

SPP: There's no such thing as a handwriting expert, by the way.

RPTR: Well, then, so how--?

SPP: We took it to two other experts and they both thought it was a match, although they had excluded McReynolds earlier because all they had was cursive writing and they didn't have printed writing.

RPTR: Who are your two experts?

RPTR: I'm not clear: If you don't believe--

SPP: They're in Denver. I'll get them later. I'll ask them if they want to tell you.

RPTR: If you don't believe that handwriting experts have any validity, then how can you say McReynolds wrote the note?

SPP: Well, I'm saying that it's not a science. It's an interpretative thing. If you have six different handwriting experts in a room, they'll give you different opinions at any given time.

RPTR: So how do we get to McReynolds?

SPP: Well, I mean, they could ask the--they could ask the person for printed samples, he could copy the note.

RPTR: He has done that.

SPP: I mean, he's gonna change his writing.

RPTR: Besides you, who are the other people you had analyze the writing?

SPP: I'll have to get--he's in the Denver phone book. But I'll be happy to get that for you.

RPTR: What is his official--what does he do for a living?

SPP: I can get that for you. He's a court qualified expert. He's about 60 years old. He did it for 25 years, something like that.

RPTR: What other evidence do you have besides --?

SPP: We have four other pieces of evidence. We have something to do with their alibi. These two people were in a cabin in Boulder purportedly that night, and--

RPTR: Longmont.

SPP: Not Longmont. That's where the mother lives. It was Rollinsville. He lived in a cabin in Rollinsville. You know the case, right?

RPTR: So Santa did it 'cause he lives in a cabin and not a fancy house?

RPTR: Do you work for Ellis Armistead?

SPP: If you don't know the case, you shouldn't--get on the Internet and learn the case before you come to a press conference. We can't reinvent the wheel.

RPTR: How do you sleep at night?

SPP: Did you ask Barry Scheck that question in the O.J. thing?

RPTR: You said four pieces of evidence. What were the others?

SPP: Actually we had four or five.

RPTR: What are some of the others?

SPP: Well, we're not going to disclose that here.

RPTR: When you say "we," what does that--?

SPP: We have three people working on this case.

RPTR: Who are the other two?

SPP: I don't want to answer that.

RPTR: Ellis Armistead is the real P.I. who couldn't come up with anything.

RPTR: Have you talked to the Boulder police at all?

SPP: Yeah, we have. Probably eight months ago, probably eight.

RPTR: Did you make them aware then of the evidence that you had?

SPP: To some extent, yeah. At that point it was a little formative. We talked to Lou Smit who was at that time resigning from the Boulder Police Department--from the D.A.'s office.

RPTR: Why go to the press instead of the authorities?

SPP: Well, what are the authorities doing?

RPTR: So this is to what, put public pressure on them?

SPP: Yeah.


SPP: We paid for them, yeah.

RPTR: What's your motivation for it?

SPP: Well, when I got into it, we were working for the doctor, at his house. Let me put it to you this way, at the risk of sounding maudlin, I have an eight-year-old daughter who was six years old at the time. She likes to play dress up. She also likes to dance and sing. And the idea of portraying JonBenét Ramsey as this lurid little, you know, sex object kind of goes against--kind of galled me at that point.

RPTR: More than bleaching her hair?

SPP: Is bleaching her hair a bad thing?

RPTR: For a four-year-old? That's when it started, when she was four.

SPP: JonBenét was evil, ma'am. What media of the outlet [sic] do you work for, by the way?

RPTR: If you're such a great investigator you should know that.

SPP: Well, why don't you just tell us that? I've never seen a media person carry such a cheap recorder.

RPTR: That's right, I'm just an interested party.

SPP: Then butt out.

RPTR: You said you would share this with Alex Hunter?

SPP: That's right, in the next one or two days.

RPTR: Will you approach him?

SPP: No, been there and done...We're working on another matter here, which is why we did this, and for other reasons I won't detail here we needed to get this out there at some point. It has to do with our suspects. It'll make perfect sense in probably three or four months.

RPTR: But the indictments are coming down next week. Is Patsy ready to be deloused and strip-searched?

SPP: Patsy? You want to delouse her?

RPTR: Someone oughta.

SPP: You're convinced of her guilt?

RPTR: Yeah.

SPP: On what basis?

RPTR: Would you like to go have a drink and I'll set you straight?

SPP: No, I don't want to do talk with you.

RPTR: Too bad. Then I'll just talk to the people who matter.

RPTR: How long have you been doing this?

SPP: Twenty-five years.

RPTR: Are you licensed?

SPP: Are you a licensed journalist? I'm not big on wackos.

RPTR: Authorities in Boulder must be aware that you suspect Santa.

SPP: Oh yeah, we've been working on it a year-and-a-half now.

RPTR: Have you had any feedback?

SPP: I think they're fixated on the--no.

RPTR: Are you going to go to Denver and help out at all?

SPP: I live in Denver.

RPTR: Well, why are you here then?

SPP: I'm working on a case.

RPTR: Do you think they'll do anything with it?

SPP: I think they have to, I think they have to.

RPTR: So you will go in and present it to the D.A.?

SPP: Sure.

RPTR: When?

SPP: I'm not going to go in. They can come to me. We tried. Been there and done that. I mean, they're still totally fixated on the parents. There's just no evidence.

RPTR: Well, there's more evidence toward them than Mr. McReynolds, at this point.

SPP: Are you Bill's wife or something?

RPTR: Her name is Janet. Don't you know that?

SPP: You're the person who kept calling our office, harassing us today.

RPTR: Yes. How do you do?

RPTR: You know the general opinion is, if not them, who?

SPP: Well, how do you come to that conclusion? I wouldn't--they lived in the same house, right? If you're a parent, you live in the same house. It's a cliché to say that, well, statistically the parents or the family is going to be involved. Do you look nowhere else? The house was a sieve. There were seven entrances that were unlocked on the ground level.

RPTR: Right.

RPTR: Not right.

SPP: They were there on the third floor, they could hear nothing. So anybody who wants to has the free will to do anything they want to.

RPTR: Is it your understanding that Mr. McReynolds had a key to the house?

SPP: I don't think he would have needed a key.

RPTR: There was a chimney.

SPP: He toured the house the year before.

RPTR: Just to clarify though, his handwriting was examined in Denver, was it not?

SPP: Well, I've got his handwriting here. I'll let you look at it.

RPTR: Can we see it, maybe shoot it?

RPTR: You think they're just targeting the parents?

RPTR: Four thousand people were questioned.

SPP: Here's the note. Are you aware there's five movie quotes in the note?

RPTR: Yes.

SPP: I'm not real organized. The professional aesthetic of murder doesn't--there's an article by Kate Durbin about the play--actually the book that Kate Millett wrote, "The Basement." An adaptation of a human sacrifice which is what Janet McReynolds based her subsequent play on, that was called "Hey Rube." And it's about the murder of a girl in a basement. Now for those of you who don't know the case, I suggest you get on the Internet and review it so we don't reinvent the wheel. OK, I'll show you some handwriting samples. I know the case. If you'd like to call me within the next couple days, call our office, I'll get back to you. But first get on the Internet, know what the autopsy says, know what the ransom note says, know about the movie quotes.

RPTR: What's Santa's motivation for doing this?

RPTR: What are we looking at?

SPP: (SHOWING TYPED TEXT WITH SOME HANDWRITTEN NOTES) These are classroom corrections. This is from Journalism 1-0-whatever, critiquing movies, whatever.

RPTR: This is Mr. McReynolds' writing?

SPP: Yeah.

RPTR: So this is his handwritten note over the typewritten--?

SPP: Right.

RPTR: And the handwriting matches Mr. McReynolds, or Mrs. McReynolds?

SPP: I'm gonna let someone else be the judge of that since we're so conflicted about whether there's experts or not.

RPTR: Do you have her's too? Do you have Mrs. McReynolds' also?

SPP: Yeah, yeah. She didn't write it.

RPTR: That's a small sampling.

SPP: Yeah, well, right.

RPTR: Do you have any more?

SPP: Uh, yes. So what else can I answer for you?

RPTR: Is Ellis out of it now and you're taking over? John Ramsey promised a world-class--

SPP: Does anybody else have a question?

RPTR: Robert, what is the one thing you want us to learn from what you're talking about this evening?

SPP: Well, I think, first of all, if you're new to this case you don't understand, you don't know anything about it. You can't have an opinion.

RPTR: No, wait a minute. You called for this press conference. I'm asking you a question. What do you want us to report?

SPP: I want you to pressure the Boulder police.

RPTR: Well, you should have had this in Colorado. (LAUGHTER) Your office hung up the phone on me today when I asked what was going to be reported. They weren't very polite, and I'm just asking you a question. What do you want us to report on today?

SPP: They should be looking elsewhere.

RPTR: Where?

SPP: I think I've laid it out.

RPTR: Mr. Peterson, so what you're saying is--there's really nothing new in what you're saying because he has been looked at.

RPTR: He's not a suspect.

SPP: They've excluded his handwriting. That's a mistake. I don't think that's been done. I don't think there's been much forensic evidence gathered. The evidence they gathered that is available at the scene is so limited that they can't--it's almost noncomparable [sic]. They can't analyze it.

RPTR: And do you think you have enough evidence to make a strong case against Mr. McReynolds?

SPP: I think so.

RPTR: You might help our skeptical attitude if you give us a little bit more. You're saying you have other information?

SPP: Yeah, and I won't go into that now.

RPTR: Well, you can see that people are not buying it.

SPP: Well, time will be the judge of that, OK? You tell me six months from now if the Ramseys aren't convicted and where this case had gone, OK? We'll let time be the judge.

RPTR: Without even charging them for murder the Aisenbergs may be facing a 30-year sentence for obstruction of justice and fraud. The parallels to the Ramsey case are significant. No comment, huh? Gee, I can't understand.

RPTR: What besides the handwriting?

SPP: We know the alibi doesn't hold up. We know three or four other things that I won't detail.

RPTR: Can you say that again, about the alibi?

SPP: The alibi does not hold up.

RPTR: That he was supposedly where?

SPP: Up in their cabin in Rollinsville.

RPTR: Home asleep.

SPP: They had a little cabin.

RPTR: It doesn't bother you that you could possibly be slandering this man?

SPP: No.

RPTR: How can you be sure?

RPTR: Why doesn't the alibi hold up?

SPP: Who's been slandering the Ramseys with impunity for the last two-and-a-half years?

RPTR: But that has nothing to do with this guy.

SPP: Let's face it. These people went on Larry King, they went on Good Morning America [sic]. I'd say three different--

RPTR: In lieu of talking to the police.

SPP: No, I'm talking about the McReynolds now. Try to follow along, OK? They went on three different national TV programs and made statements about--talked about what they knew about JonBenét. So they're public figures.

RPTR: Why doesn't their alibi hold up?

SPP: Well, for one thing--I won't get into a lot of detail but they're a husband and wife who were apparently home alone in a little cabin up in the mountains.

RPTR: Mr. Peterson, I have to say your reputation has been questioned in Denver. Is that why you're holding this news conference here?

SPP: Oh, I'm controversial. My competition will tell you that.

RPTR: But you've served jail time, haven't you?

SPP: Jail time? No. Where are you coming from?

RPTR: I'm coming from Los Angeles. Where are you coming from? What about your arrest?

SPP: Oh, I had a DUI once. That doesn't make me a bad person.

RPTR: Can you be reached the next couple of days?

SPP: You have our office number. Apparently you guys found us. 800-366-5860. Go to www--and have a look at

RPTR: Who is paying you?

RPTR: So what is your motivation?

RPTR: Somebody put a lump of coal in his Christmas stocking.

From Westword

1995: R.W. "Pete" Peterson, the most public of private operatives (he was an early Westword cover boy), takes one right on the beezer -- a $120,000 judgment against his firm in favor of John Masek, an ex-partner of billionaire Marvin Davis. Masek accused the P.I. of ordering a burglary of his office and obtaining confidential financial information in his efforts to spy for Davis. Peterson, who'd previously taken credit for tracking down the daughter Roseanne Barr put up for adoption, also claims to have worked the O.J. Simpson case for unspecified "Friends of Nicole" (a group that family members say they've never heard of). He's linked to another tabloid-heavy case when one of his employees is charged with trespassing after staking out a Cherry Creek parking garage in search of reputed Clinton ex-paramour Gennifer Flowers.

1998: Peterson surfaces in the Ramsey case, holding a press conference to finger Bill "Santa Claus" McReynolds as a suspect, long after the police cleared the former journalism prof. He also takes credit for snapping photos that expose Governor Roy Romer's longtime romance with deputy chief of staff B.J. Thornberry -- while boasting that eight years earlier he'd been "authorized" by Romer to spy on Westword when the paper was preparing a story on that very same relationship. Meanwhile, an elderly client accuses Peterson of taking $1,000 and refusing to give it back, but Denver prosecutors decline to press charges in the fee dispute. Peterson becomes a regular on Geraldo, Dateline and other Ramsey-obsessed outlets.
Karen Bowers | July 5, 1995 | 4:00am


Print Article
part 1 of 2
Deadline-grabbing private eye R.W. "Pete" Peterson fits all the requirements of a media darling. He's glib, likable, quotable and presentable in a slick-haired kind of way. And due to a few high-profile cases (the Denver investigator is credited with locating the daughter that TV star Roseanne gave up for adoption more than twenty years ago), his name and face have appeared on everything from Larry King Live to People magazine.
Peterson also is an unabashed self-promoter who's learned to use publicity to his advantage. The latter-day Jim Rockford, who keeps a supply of disguises in his office and flies helicopters in his spare time, has been known to summon press conferences announcing his latest professional coups. In addition, he's helpfully compiled a three-page, quick-hit handout listing his appearances on television broadcasts and radio talk shows and in newspaper and magazine articles.


These days, however, most of the news about Peterson is abysmal. And it's likely to get worse.
The controversial investigator's problems began in January when Peterson employee Samuel Sprague was arrested on trespassing charges while trying to snap photos of Gennifer Flowers in the parking garage of a Cherry Creek condominium complex. Flowers, a onetime nightclub singer, claims to be President Clinton's former paramour, and Sprague reportedly had been hired to get the pictures for a tabloid TV show. (The paparazzi P.I. was later acquitted.)
In April Peterson lost a well-publicized lawsuit to oilman John Masek, a former business partner of billionaire Marvin Davis. Masek alleged that Peterson or his employees had burglarized his office, invaded his privacy and engaged in a pattern of "outrageous conduct." Denver District Judge Lynne Hufnagel sided with Masek and ordered Peterson to ante up $120,000, a judgment that could double if Peterson is found liable for Masek's legal fees.
In May Peterson and his firm lost an unrelated, and unpublicized, slander-and-defamation suit before Denver District Judge Paul Markson. In that case, one of his employees was accused of masquerading as an investigative reporter and telling potential witnesses in a civil trial that a Denver doctor abused cocaine.
In keeping with his shoot-from-the-hip style, Peterson has taken the court losses personally. He has since launched a campaign to unseat Judge Hufnagel, calling her "as corrupt and sleazy as any judge who ever sat on the bench in Colorado." And in contrast to his usual rosy relations with the media, Peterson recently clashed with Channel 9 newsman Ward Lucas. In a piece he aired on May 9 accusing sometime Peterson employee Alex Jaeckel of using her investigator's wiles to harass a woman with whom she'd had a traffic altercation, Lucas told viewers that Peterson threatened to smear him if he didn't back off the story. (Peterson denies threatening Lucas, to whom he refers as "the sleazebucket from hell.")
And still the dirty laundry piles up. On June 2 Peterson was named in yet another civil suit stemming from the Masek debacle. The Denver district attorney's office recently confirmed it has launched a criminal investigation into Peterson's business practices relating to the Masek case. And now private investigators in California and Colorado are questioning whether Peterson's biggest claim to fame--his assertion that he's been hired by friends of Nicole Brown Simpson to shore up the prosecution's case against O.J.--is merely a tall tale crafted by Peterson in an attempt to hop a free ride on the Simpson publicity train.
Few people are lining up to defend Peterson, who has made a lot more enemies than friends in his 22 years as a private eye. Over the years, Peterson has publicly disparaged attorneys, judges, police investigators and other private investigators. He speaks openly of using trickery and ruses--including lying about his identity--and of skirting the boundaries of the law to get what he needs to know.
Peterson has offended people in just about every line of work P.I.s come across, acknowledges his friend Tom Miller, who owns and operates his own Denver private-eye firm. "And after twenty years," says Miller, "the tree is bearing fruit."
The first time Peterson and Tom Miller met, back in the mid-Seventies, they took turns trying to kick each other in the groin. The men were in the same karate class together, Miller explains. By then, Peterson was already a gumshoe. Miller was a self-described "poet" and a correspondent for Karate Illustrated.
The men's friendship was cemented after they began frequenting the same bar and after Peterson used Miller as a source of information about some karate enthusiasts he was investigating. Apparently inspired by the experience, Miller eventually opened his own agency after serving a stint editing investigator's reports for the Pinkerton detective agency.
The investigation business, Miller quickly learned, "is a hard way to survive, and it's made harder by the competition and the scramble to make a buck." It's also, he says, a community marked by vitriol, internal politics and "huge egos."
That certainly describes Pete Peterson. In a 1994 interview with Newsweek magazine, Peterson blithely told a reporter that he had been hired in the O.J. case because "the police aren't as intelligent as we are for the most part."
That Peterson would make such a remark is surprising in only one respect: He claims to have once been a member of the blue fraternity. Back when cops were "pigs" and the smell of marijuana drifted from beneath every dorm-room door, Peterson says he spent six months patrolling the streets of the Chicago suburb of Downers Grove.
In news stories about his exploits, Peterson has provided differing explanations for his rapid departure from the police force. In one version, he left to escape the city. In another, it was the pervasiveness of pot that eventually led him to seek greener pastures; he says didn't want to be put in the position of busting his friends for smoking weed.
The Downers Grove Police Department is unable to verify either version--a spokeswoman there says the department's records don't go back far enough to confirm Peterson's tenure or his departure. But whatever the reason, Peterson packed up and headed west to Denver. And in 1973 he opened the doors of the R.W. Peterson Investigative Agency.
In rare moments of humility, Peterson allows that his first few years in the business were a learning experience. His office was a dumpy little room in a three-story walkup on East Colfax. But he mastered the art of locating people and ferreting out hidden assets. He did some bodyguard work--including, he says, a brief stint protecting pop singer Olivia Newton-John during a visit to Colorado. And despite what he describes as his dislike for lawyers, he did the occasional odd job for attorneys.
Peterson's first taste of life in the limelight may have come in November 1977, when he appeared on the cover of Westword, obligingly posing at the wheel of a Corvette convertible, an assault weapon clutched in his hands.
In the early days, Peterson admits, "I told reporters what they wanted to hear." And what they wanted to hear were tales of skulduggery, glamour, guns and babes. So he told them about filthy-rich sheikhs and corporate espionage. He described working for Marvin Davis and his then-partner John Masek to find out who'd been stealing oil from their pipelines. He says he broke that case by working undercover and by watching over the oil fields with night-vision binoculars. And though he said back then that the case involved the theft of "millions," he now acknowledges that the true figure was considerably lower.
In 1988 Peterson began doing work for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which was trying to untangle the savings-and-loan bailout and track down assets belonging to deadbeat millionaires. But it wasn't until 1989 that he vaulted out of the pack into the big leagues. It can all be traced back to an indiscretion committed a quarter-century ago by young Roseanne Barr.
In 1971 the unmarried Barr gave birth to a daughter at a Salvation Army center in Denver. The baby was put up for adoption and later moved with her new family to Texas. Eighteen years later, in April 1989, the National Enquirer reportedly hired Peterson to find Roseanne's long-lost child. (Brian Williams, general editor for the Enquirer, declines to confirm whether or not his paper hired Peterson. "It's important for us, in terms of doing business, to maintain that confidentiality," he explains.)
Peterson, however, brags that he located the girl "in about a week." He says he turned over the information to the tabloid, but that he got angry when the editors reneged on their promise to allow him to break the news to Roseanne as well. "I gave it to her anyway," he says, "because I wanted to be the investigator to the stars."
The Enquirer, Peterson adds, "milked the [Barr] story for six weeks." Peterson's been milking it for six years.
Peterson's brush with Hollywood inspired him to set up shop in Los Angeles. He received his California private investigator's license in June 1989, two months after taking on the Roseanne case. The California Bureau of Collection and Investigative Services lists Peterson as having two offices in California--a main office in San Diego and a branch office in Los Angeles. Eventually he would add an office in Chicago as well. He changed his Yellow Pages ads to tout his new interstate status.
But the ads are as illusory as the hat with the fake ponytail that Peterson keeps in his office closet. His Chicago "office," he readily admits, is nothing more than an 800 phone line that rings back to Colorado. But he becomes testy when asked for details about his shops in California. "It depends what you mean by `office,'" he says. He finally concedes that the San Diego office is located in a house where one of his investigators lives. "But the L.A. office," he says, "is a real office."
In fact, Peterson's San Diego "office" is his father-in-law's home. His Los Angeles office is also a residence, this one owned by a George F. Scott. A recent call made to the Los Angeles telephone number of the R.W. Peterson Investigative Agency was answered by Peterson's secretary in Denver. His L.A. investigator, Peterson says in an attempt to explain, "must be out of the office and he had his phone forwarded." A phone message left for Peterson's L.A.-based "operative" went unanswered.
Whatever the status of his office situation in the Golden State, Peterson claims he spent much of 1989 "doing a lot of work" for California celebrities.
Peterson, for instance, says he was hired to tail Roseanne Barr's love interest, actor Tom Arnold, although he won't say who paid the tab. It's a typical Peterson tease. In a 1993 magazine interview, Peterson dropped the names Elizabeth Taylor, H. Ross Perot and Adnan Khashoggi. One of them, he told the reporter, was a client. But he declined to say which one.
Despite his habit of dropping names, Peterson spent most of his time in the years following the Roseanne case consumed in the less glamorous business of pursuing the hidden stashes of S&L debtors. By 1993, he claims, upwards of 40 percent of his income came from the FDIC. And because his fees range from $100 to $125 per hour, the FDIC proved to be a lucrative client.
Even Peterson's detractors admit he's a wiz at tracking down hidden assets. Much of that has to do with his talent for utilizing commonly available public records. Some of it has to do with his computer expertise and a database he says contains "every source known to man." And some of it has to do with the fact that Peterson is not averse to employing what he freely calls "fairly devious techniques."
"I've heard investigators say that our code of ethics would fit on a matchbook," Peterson says. "The rules are, don't double-cross a client and don't break the law. But we do things lawyers can't. We're devious, we use ruses, sure. But police departments all over the world do that every day. Look at stings. That's the way you investigate."
Peterson's firm may have someone pose as a travel agent to get information, he says. Then there's the "secretary ruse"--phoning a businessperson and pretending to be an associate's secretary--or "the reporter ruse," in which the investigator pretends to be researching information for an article.
"In my opinion," says Denver private investigator Rick Johnson, "lawyers would raise their eyebrows at [Peterson's] methods." In Colorado, adds Johnson, a former Denver district attorney's investigator, using deceit to obtain proprietary information such as financial data "is a felony."
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Peterson, however, has openly bragged about using just such investigative techniques in his savings-and-loan cases. And that S&L work has provided him with plenty of good publicity--even if some of it was overstated.
In late 1990 Peterson was hired by Capitol Federal Savings to look into the finances of a company called M&L Business Machines. His task was to verify M&L's inventory, which the company had put up as collateral for a $6 million loan. But when Peterson began checking, he found contradictory business statements and little else. On February 4, 1991, frustrated by efforts to assess the company's assets and inventory, court-appointed bankruptcy trustee Christine Jobin began going through sealed boxes of "computer equipment," only to discover that the cartons were filled with bricks and dirt. Peterson was present when Jobin uncovered the company's scheme only because U.S. marshals had been unavailable to provide security. Somehow, though, Peterson eventually became the hero, credited with uncovering one of the nation's largest Ponzi schemes.
Within a year, Peterson's growing reputation would win him back an old client with a hefty reputation of his own: Marvin Davis came back into the fold.
end of part 1
Karen Bowers | July 5, 1995 | 4:00am

part 2 of 2
In the years since Peterson had worked for Marvin Davis and John Masek to find out who was pilfering oil from their pipelines, the business partners had been involved in an acrimonious parting of the ways. As is often the case in such disputes, they devoted much of their time after the split to suing each other.
When he wasn't fighting Masek in court, Davis was busy diversifying his vast wealth into hotels, restaurants, golf courses and the Aspen Ski Corp. He bought and sold the 20th Century Fox film studio, sold many of his oil holdings and eventually shifted his base of operations from Denver to Beverly Hills, where he could hobnob with movie stars.
Because Peterson, too, had shifted some of his interests to California, he dropped Davis a line to let him know that he was still around and available. In January 1992, Davis and his attorney James Regan took him up on the offer. (Davis, who is notoriously closemouthed about his personal life and financial dealings, did not respond to Westword's request for an interview. Attorney Regan didn't return phone calls.)
Like the FDIC, Davis coveted Peterson's asset-tracking skills. The billionaire had won a $20,000 judgment against Masek in Wyoming, and he was suing his ex-partner in yet another case in that state. Masek, however, claimed that he was tapped out and had no money with which to pay Davis. Though Masek had made millions back in the late 1970s, he claimed in depositions that he was living a hand-to-mouth existence, surviving only with the aid of loans from friends and family members.
Davis was understandably suspicious of Masek's claims, and he hired Peterson to find Masek's funds. Peterson says Davis told him that he "was certain" Masek had money in secret offshore bank accounts, most likely in the Cayman Islands.
Peterson and his staff--which consisted of a secretary, a string of unpaid paralegal "interns" and a small number of "contract employees"--quickly turned up evidence to substantiate Davis's suspicions. Masek, they found, had offices in a downtown Denver highrise. He'd plunked down $25,000 in cash for a one-year lease on a half-million-dollar home on Lookout Mountain. And he and his girlfriend were tooling around town in brand-new vehicles--he in a GMC pickup and she in an Audi Quattro. Peterson and his staff eventually found a paper trail leading to a series of banking institutions in Wyoming, New York and Grand Cayman. Masek later paid his debt to Davis in full.
In April 1992, Masek later testified in court, he began to suspect that someone had been surreptitiously looking into his bank accounts. He believed his file cabinets and office drawers had been rifled. He hired an electronics expert to sweep his office for bugs, and he hired Denver private investigator Rick Johnson to discover who, if anyone, was after him.
Johnson's work eventually led him to Pete Peterson's front door. ("Johnson," Peterson says with a sneer. "He couldn't find his butt using both hands.")
Johnson, however, found enough to put the identical portion of R.W. Peterson's anatomy in a sling. Masek filed suit against Peterson's company later that same year, accusing the P.I. of burglary, invasion of privacy and "intentional infliction of emotional distress by extreme and outrageous conduct." He sought relief under the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act, which was established to guard against racketeering.
During the course of the nonjury trial, held before Judge Hufnagel in December 1993, Peterson's investigative methods were put under close scrutiny. Peterson admitted to using "accounting ruses" to obtain information about Masek's bank accounts (according to testimony from a bank employee, a man identifying himself as Masek called and asked for a printout of recent account activity). Peterson also acknowledged that some of his contract employees might have used subterfuge to obtain information, posing as employees of an accounting firm.
Peterson identified those contract employees as Kevin Stymiest and Alex Jaeckel. The 46-year-old Stymiest came to the Peterson agency with a less than stellar record. He had two burglary convictions to his name, as well as arrests for car theft and hit-and-run. Peterson says Stymiest was up front about his criminal record when he hired on in 1991. And Stymiest has only nice things to say about Peterson, who he says gave him a second chance when no one else would.
Jaeckel, 40, had hired on as a contract investigator only the year before. She says she originally went to Peterson to learn the tricks of the trade in order to protect herself against a "vindictive" ex-husband.
During the course of the trial, it was revealed that in investigating Masek, Jaeckel had contacted a Grand Cayman private investigator by the name of Claude Myles. According to court documents, Jaeckel identified herself to Myles as Masek's daughter, Lisa Moore. She told Myles that she would soon be arriving on the island, and she provided him with a list of information she wanted to obtain about Masek's assets there. It was only after Jaeckel arrived in Grand Cayman, Myles claimed in an affidavit, that Jaeckel gave him her true name and identified herself as an investigator.
"I was suspicious of the way she was conducting her business," Myles, a former police officer, said in the affidavit. "I did not like the fact that she had not been honest and given me her true name from the beginning. This is not the usual practice of private investigators when dealing with each other."
According to Myles's affidavit, when he demanded money up front before proceeding, Jaeckel told him she'd have to check with Peterson first. When Myles heard back from her several days later, he said in the affidavit, she'd already left the island. Jaeckel claims that she fled after receiving veiled threats from thugs wearing gold chains and piloting a cigarette boat. She says they warned her about asking too many questions about the wrong people.
The trial in Masek's suit against Peterson concluded in mid-December 1993. It would be almost fifteen months before Hufnagel would render her judgment in the case.
While Peterson waited to learn his fate, he took on a job for Denver's financially struggling Yellow Cab Company. Initially, Peter-son simply swept the company's office for bugs. Then, Peterson says, Clark Trammel--the company's court-appointed receiver--asked him to help the company in a civil suit it had filed against Karen Mathis, an attorney who had been the receiver prior to his tenure. As it turned out, Hufnagel was the judge who'd appointed Mathis receiver after earlier infighting at the taxi firm. His investigation, Peterson says, included making visits to the Mayan Theater on Broadway in an attempt to track down rumors that Hufnagel and Mathis were secretly meeting there to discuss the case. Peterson says he handed out his business cards to theater employees, asking them to call if they spotted the judge and Mathis together.
Peterson says he realized that investigating a judge who was about to rule in one of his own court cases was unusual. He says he told his attorney in the Masek case that he had come across Hufnagel on another investigation and was concerned that his work for Yellow Cab might pose a conflict of interest for the judge or for himself (even though Hufnagel presumably had no way of knowing he was looking for her at the Mayan). But he says his attorney told him "he didn't want to piss off the judge," who had yet to rule on Masek's claims, by raising the issue. Peterson went ahead with his snooping operation.
Peterson's S&L work continued to serve as his bread and butter well into the 1990s and was his most consistent source of favorable publicity right up until August of last year. That's when Peterson took the national media by storm with his claim that he'd been hired by a group calling itself "Friends of Nicole." His job, he announced at a Los Angeles press conference he'd called himself, would be to do everything possible to bolster the State of California's case against O.J. Simpson.
Peterson told Newsweek he was looking for evidence of spousal abuse and "eighteen other angles." He told USA Today he was attempting to nail down suspicions that O.J. Simpson had been stalking his estranged wife for weeks prior to her murder. And he told the Denver Post he planned to provide the prosecution with information that would discount allegations of racism leveled against Los Angeles police detective Mark Fuhrman.
That Nicole Simpson's friends would hire Peterson puzzled many people in the private-investigation community, particularly because Los Angeles is chock-full of P.I.s, many of them former police detectives with solid backgrounds in homicide investigation and crime-scene work. Peterson, however, says it made perfect sense for Nicole Simpson's friends to turn to his firm. "We're good and trustworthy and dependable," he says. "And they were looking for someone who wouldn't sell the story to the tabloids"--ironic reasoning, perhaps, given that up to that point Peterson's only real claim to fame had been tracking down Roseanne's daughter for the National Enquirer.
When pressed to name who hired him, Peterson says that the Friends of Nicole have requested anonymity. "Larry King begged me to have them on his show," he adds.
One well-known Los Angeles private investigator tells Westword that numerous private eyes, some of them working for national media outlets, have attempted to determine who hired Peterson. They got nowhere. "No one who knows her had ever heard of [Peterson] before his press conference," says the investigator. "All her friends say they didn't hire him and don't know who did. It's hard to refute a negative."
Uncovering the identity of the Friends of Nicole has been made even more difficult by media reports in which Peterson has been quoted as numbering the group that hired him at anywhere from two to four people. He's also put the number of Nicole Simpson's "close friends" in the group at different times as one or two.
Even Lou Brown, Nicole Simpson's father, says he doubts Peterson's claims that he's working for someone who was close to Nicole. "He's not legitimate as far as we're concerned," Lou Brown told Westword in a phone interview from California. "Who are those `friends'? I think he's just a person who's exploiting the name and making money on the side."
Peterson dismisses Brown's skepticism. Nicole Simpson's friends don't trust Lou Brown or, for that matter, anyone in the Brown family, he says. "All of them were on O.J.'s dole." (Many members of the Brown family did receive jobs and/or money from O.J. prior to Nicole Simpson's murder.)
And that Peterson has been investigating the case is not really in doubt. He has surveillance tapes of Kato Kaelin and A.C. Cowlings, though they consist of such mundane scenes as Kaelin giving an unidentified woman a quick kiss and Cowlings getting into his car outside his chiropractor's office and talking to a friend at a yogurt shop. Peterson has provided the press with regular updates on his findings, and he's gone to the L.A. district attorney's office with some of what he's found.
"Like thousands of other people who've tried to give us information, [Peterson has] done the same," says D.A.'s investigator Mike Stevens. "We did have a meeting with him. He said he had a witness who might have observed O.J. Simpson stalking [murder victim] Ron Goldman. It turned out that the information was of no benefit to us."
Peterson, says Stevens, had "sugarcoated" the information he'd presented to investigators, laying out a scenario that wasn't entirely backed up by the man's statements. But Stevens says he's reluctant to say more about Peterson's witness, just in case a higher-up changes direction and decides to put the man on the stand.
If Nicole Simpson's friends should choose to forgo his services, Peterson says, he'll probably still go forward with his investigation, even if it means working for free. "I want to crack the O.J. case," he says with a laugh. "That would be a real claim to fame."
In April 1995, more than a year after the Masek trial, Judge Hufnagel finally issued her findings in that case. She came down hard on Peterson and his cohorts, finding that the evidence showed they had trespassed at Masek's business and indulged in "wanton conduct." The judge added that Peterson had displayed "utter disregard for the truth" in his testimony. Hufnagel ordered Peterson's firm to pay Masek's company in excess of $120,000 and may yet force the private eye to cough up Masek's attorney's fees. The judge says she can't comment on the case. Peterson says he plans to appeal

The following month, Peterson lost another civil case. He and Stymiest were named as defendants, along with a podiatrist named Stephen Albert, in a suit filed by Denver doctor Gerit Mulder, who has since left town. Although the court files have been sealed at Mulder's request, the doctor's attorney, Phil Pearson, says the action was a slander-and-defamation case.
The court fight began when Mulder sued Albert for allegedly telling people that Mulder had AIDS and abused cocaine. Peterson and Stymiest were added as defendants only after Albert hired them to assist in his defense. According to Pearson, a witness said that Stymiest, posing as an investigative reporter, told her Mulder was "on drugs." Peterson denies ever slandering Mulder and says he only asked potential witnesses questions about Mulder's personal habits.
The jury found for Mulder but decided that Peterson, Stymiest and Albert should pay just $1 each in damages. The panel, however, awarded Mulder $28,000 in attorney's fees. According to attorney Pearson, Mulder has since requested a new trial in an attempt to recover financial losses he says he suffered as a result of the slander.
Peterson was angry about the judgments in both cases, and he responded in typically blunt fashion. First, he requested that Hufnagel recuse herself from the Masek case, even though she'd already rendered her decision. The basis for his request: Hufnagel had a conflict of interest in that before she'd ruled, Peterson had begun the Yellow Cab investigation of her and Karen Mathis. Hufnagel refused to step down.
Next Peterson accused Hufnagel of turning Judge Markson against him in the Mulder case. Then he set up what he calls the Committee to Unseat Hufnagel. To build ammunition, he took out advertisements in local newspapers seeking other dissatisfied defendants. To date, he says, only a few people have climbed aboard. The reason for the lukewarm response, he says, is that people are afraid of Hufnagel.
On June 2 Masek filed yet another suit against Peterson, alleging the very same facts that he had presented in the earlier trial. That suit, however, names not Peterson's company but Peterson as an individual. Masek also names Stymiest, Jaeckel and Marvin Davis as defendants.
As if that weren't enough, Jaeckel found herself the subject of a May 9 Ward Lucas "I-Team" investigation. Jaeckel, Lucas determined, had been involved in a traffic altercation with a woman named Margaret Clausner in a parking lot earlier this year. According to Lucas's report, immediately following that altercation, Jaeckel pulled Clausner's motor-vehicle registration information. Within 24 hours, Clausner's phone service, utilities and cable had been turned off, reportedly at the request of a woman identifying herself as Clausner.
Jaeckel told Lucas (and later Westword) that she'd only tracked down data on Clausner for a client. But she declined to identify the person. In his televised report, Lucas mentioned Jaeckel's involvement in the Masek case, including the fact that she "took the Fifth" when asked if she'd ever represented herself as someone else.
But before the piece ran, Lucas says, he received a late-night call at his home from Peterson. According to the newsman, Peterson started out civil but became more and more "outrageous. He said that if I mentioned his name in a story about Alex that he'd come after me," Lucas says. "He said she wasn't acting as his employee [in the Clausner incident]. Then he started getting goofy. He said he knew a lot of personal information about me and that he could let people know. He said, `I know for a fact that you intercept people's calls and go through people's garbage.'"
When the Jaeckel piece finally ran, Lucas told viewers that Peterson had tried to coerce him into dropping the story. Peterson denies threatening the newsman and accuses Lucas of being biased against him. "We're going to sue Ward Lucas over the piece," Peterson says.

Peterson claims to be undisturbed about yet more bad news--that the Denver district attorney's office is investigating possible criminal charges against him in light of the ruling in the Masek case. "Hufnagel probably put them up to it," he charges. "Or Rick Johnson. Anyway, the statute of limitations has run out."
His current difficulties, he says, are simply the result of owning a successful, high-profile business. "The higher the eagle flies," he says, quoting an acquaintance, "the more hunters it attracts."
For now, it appears that Peterson will stay in the eagle business. He denies one published report that he wants to ditch the P.I. business to become a radio talk-show host. "What I really want," he says, "is to be the Marvin Davis of the private-investigation business."
end of part 2
June 27, 201211:18 AM
By RW “Pete” Peterson
The Jon Benet case is the most frustrating case of my career and I refuse to discuss the case with people who aren’t very knowledgeable of it because it just gets my blood pressure up.
I have spent years on it and am still working on it. I have many boxes full of files on this case and have spent a lot of sleepless nights on it. I’ve traveled thousands of miles following up on leads.
My involvement began when we were retained by a Boulder, Colo., doctor to investigate an assault on his adolescent daughter.
The client was out of town on business and his wife and daughter were home alone. They had set the house alarm after returning home at approximately 7 p.m. The alarm had not been set prior to them coming home.
At approximately 11:30 p.m., the mother was awakened by sounds in the daughter’s adjoining room. She went to investigate and was bumped by an intruder who brushed by and went out a screen door over a porch roof. He jumped to the ground and disappeared.
When police were called the same detective who was first responder at the Ramsey house, Linda Arndt, showed up. The parents were not impressed with the way the case was handled and had to insist that the police should dust for prints.
The daughter stated that the intruder woke her up with a hand over her mouth while touching her genitals with the other hand. He called her by name and told her to shut up or her would kill her. (Her name was on her wall in large wooden lettering and he may have been able to read it in the limited ambient light.)
This case happened approximately six months after the Jon Benet murder and had similarities. One of the things we developed was that our client’s daughter and Jon Benet had attended the same dance studio. Our client felt that it would be productive to look for more similarities between the two cases.
The Boulder Police Department (PD) was only fixated on the parents in the Jon Benet case and would not listen to anything else. One of their lead “detectives” wrote a book accusing John and Patsy after he left the department in disgrace. This detective was “wet behind the ears” and had never worked a homicide in his life. I debated him on national TV and he was flustered and clueless (literally). Boulder PD hunkered down in a turf war and would not accept outside help. They saw this as their biggest case and were more interested in keeping it to themselves than solving it.
I took a lot of heat from the Denver and national media types who were convinced that “the parents must have done it.”
The D.A.’s office was at odds with the PD and brought in a terrific homicide detective named Lou Schmidt. I was shocked when he agreed with my assessment that the parents were not involved. He was the only light in a very dim-witted bunch of law enforcement investigators. The Boulder PD stonewalled and did everything possible to limit what the DA’s office could do.
I believe that Boulder PD did not want to see it solved if they couldn’t do it. They did not want to be outshone.
This case took us as far away as Nantucket Island following leads and suspects. We are still focused on two people in this case.
There is partial (contaminated) DNA in this case and with the advances in the study of DNA very soon we will see much more specific identifiers as to race, gender, age, eye and hair color and who knows what else.
We have two people that we’re focused on and I believe that this case will be solved.
RW “Pete” Peterson has operated his investigative firm for 30-plus years. He can be reached at 760-443-0575;
For the Record

Pete Peterson contacted me many years ago, we emailed and he seemed reasonable.

I was warned to be cautious of him - he had gone to the house of a reporter and had stolen some files.

I was careful of him and had no regrets.

His work seemed reasonable but I came to believe the man had a serious drinking problem, anger issues and had been disowned by just about everyone who could have worked with him to advantage.

His initial client, the daughter's assault, the very similar circumstances - - I still believe the cases could be related. I would like to see the father of Amy asked some different questions about suspects that were not discussed in 1997, 8, 9.

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