could it be heard?
#1
Boiler room theory arises in Ramsey killing
Theory supported, in part, by basement window facing street

By Charlie Brennan
Scripps Howard News Service





BOULDER— A key argument supporting a possible intruder in the JonBenét Ramsey case is a belief by some investigators that she was killed in a basement boiler room.
This theory is supported, in part, by the existence of a basement window facing the street, outfitted with an open air duct, the Denver Rocky Mountain News has learned. That air duct may explain how a neighbor could have heard a scream the night the child died.
The boiler room theory is further buttressed, sources say, by the fact that remnants of the paint brush used to fashion the fatal garrote were found just outside that room, which is adjacent to the wine cellar where her body was found.
When grand jurors toured the house and grounds Oct. 29, several were seen studying the boiler room window and its unsealed air duct from the outside.
Lou Smit, who recently resigned his position as investigator on the case for Boulder District Attorney Alex Hunter, believes the boiler room theory, sources say, and thinks it argues against a family member's involvement in the crime.
Smit declined to discuss his theories Friday. "I wish I could, but I really can't, at least until I testify before the grand jury," he said.
Smit, a former El Paso County homicide detective who came out of retirement to work for Hunter on the Ramsey case, resigned Sept. 20. He cited frustration with other Ramsey investigators' reluctance to consider suspects outside the family.
"The case tells me there is substantial, credible evidence of an intruder and lack of evidence that the parents are involved," Smit said in his resignation letter. But the 2½-page letter did not detail his reasons for suspecting an intruder.
Melody Stanton, a Ramsey neighbor at the time, told police she woke with a start not long after midnight Dec. 26, 1996, to a frightening scream; her statement was first reported by the Globe supermarket weekly nearly a year later. ABC's "20/20" reported that Stanton typically slept with her window slightly open.
John and Patsy Ramsey have told police they heard nothing unusual after putting JonBenét to bed around 10 p.m. on Dec. 25.
Some investigators have had trouble reconciling that statement with the neighbor's account of a scream.
Smit is among those, however, who think the basement air vent opening toward the street — and no longer connected to anything in the boiler room — could have broadcast the scream toward houses across the street without the same scream being audible in the parents' bedroom on the third floor.
A source close to the family said auditory tests performed by police during a second search of the home in the summer of 1997 determined that sound travels more easily from the basement out to the street than it does up through the home's four levels.
Sources say Smit thinks that if the scream emanated from the boiler room, it's likely where the murder occurred and that Smit can't envision a family member selecting such a space to commit such a crime.
JonBenét was strangled, had a fractured skull from blunt trauma and had injuries consistent with sexual molestation.
"You wouldn't have to take her downstairs if you lived in the house," said an investigator familiar with Smit's thinking, who would talk only speaking on condition of anonymity. "If you were living in the house, you'd sure choose another place besides that."
JonBenét's body was discovered in a windowless basement room next to the boiler room by her father about seven hours after her mother called 911. She reported finding a 2-½-page ransom note demanding $118,000 for the child's safe return.
The child's parents are under suspicion but proclaim their innocence. The murder is under investigation by a grand jury that convened in Boulder on Sept. 15.
Robert Pence, former director of the FBI office for the Rocky Mountain region, sees the logic in Smit's reasoning. "I think that would be one good reason that would point to an outsider," he said. "A lot of these are spur-of-the-moment-type things, a rage or argument, something that got triggered, and wouldn't necessarily call for the person — whether it's a parent or siblings or whatever — to take the victim to an out-of-the-way room. I think it would explode right where it happened."
Even if Smit is right about the murder taking place in the boiler room, Pence still can't completely accept Smit's conclusion that such a scenario bolsters the intruder theory.
One reason is the ransom note, which Patsy Ramsey said she found on the bottom step of a back staircase while heading down to the kitchen early in the morning.
"If it were an intruder, the thing that would be most inconsistent would be the note," Pence said. "If it's an intruder, you're not going to leave the body and that note anywhere near the same crime scene. That just increases the trail of evidence."
An investigator close to the case also sees Smit's theory as flawed because no physical evidence was found in the boiler room.
And, the source said, if an outsider killed JonBenét in the boiler room, why take the time — after a scream loud enough to wake a neighbor — to move her body to yet another room?
"If that scream is loud enough to be heard, then that intruder is gone, because he knows Mom and Dad are upstairs," the police source said. "With this scream, if she (Stanton) in fact heard it, if in fact it happened, why stay? You're out of here. Are you going to waste additional time in there? Nah."


November 9, 1998



(My prints are on this.)
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#2
From Lou Smit's presentation as written up in the Rocky Mountain News - - apparently Melody was still happy with this story - - she wasn't objecting.... she did sound a bit flakey BUT - - her husband was supporting her story and that must be considered too....
THE SCREAM

Smit's argument: A scream reported by a neighbor could have come
from the basement without the parents' hearing it.
"Terrifying" scream: Neighbor Melody Stanton, who lives across the
street from the Ramseys, about 150 feet to the south, reported hearing
"the most terrifying child's scream I have ever heard" between midnight
and 2 a.m. She slept with her window partially open.
Noise path: Tests conducted by Smit
indicate noise from the wine cellar is heard
more easily from Stanton's bedroom than
from the Ramsey's third-floor bedroom
because the noise travels through a vent to
the outside and across the street. The
Ramsey house has no third-floor windows
on the same side as the vent, and there are
three carpeted, furnished floors between the basement and the third
floor, which muffle or block noise from the basement.
Concrete on steel: Stanton woke her husband at the sound of the
scream. He has reported hearing the sound of steel hit concrete shortly
afterward. This could be the sound of the metal grate hitting the cement
window well -- perhaps a sound created when an intruder fled through
the basement window.
Response: Thomas said a scream is audible from the Ramsey
bedroom. Stanton originally said she didn't hear anything. Later, she told
police she hadn't been truthful because she didn't want to get involved.
In one instance, Stanton said the scream might have been "negative
energy" from JonBenet. But a detective eliminated that from a report
because Stanton insisted the scream was audible and never returned to
the "negative energy" statement.
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#3
#8, RE: Christmas night
Posted by BraveHeart on Jun-06-03 at 10:59 PM
In response to message #7
Melody woke her husband up after midnight, on the morning of the 26th., saying she had heard a terrifying scream. That is his testimony and he has never waffled on this. She did not say, "I heard a terrible scream two nights ago, please listen and tell me what you hear tonight".
It is obvious that something woke her up, and that she thought that something was a scream. Being asleep at the moment might make the event seem surrealistic afterwards, especially if one wants to disassociate themselves from the investigation
but her husband's recounting of events has never changed. That plus the fact that the air duct acts as a megaphone amplifying sounds in the direction of the Stanton house, and the probability of the murder taking place in the basement boiler room tell me that there probably was a scream that she heard.
I don't believe in "negative energy" and it is possible that she heard a scream from some other source than the Ramsey's house.
Aside from the scream question, Mr. Stanton did hear a metal striking concrete sound coming from the Ramsey house, and he wasn't asleep when he heard it. I think that is very significant.
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#4
Lou's experiment was eye opening in regards to their statements about hearing stuff going on at the Ramsey house.

I understand why some people think the Ramsey's should have been able to hear JonBenet scream, but this experiment proved them wrong. Thomas ofcourse doesnt believe this because it doesnt go with his wack theory. Its as simple as how the house was built! That simple.
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