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The ransom note advised the Ramseys to collect $118,000.00 as a ransom.  Since the Ramseys were worth several million dollars, their business had just been noted in the news as having hit a BILLION dollars in sales in that year, the amount is almost silly.

But the number had to mean something to the killer.

BORG theory has it, and most BORG insist, the 118 was a reference to the bible.  They say that was Patsy's favorite Psalm (though Patsy and John said otherwise).  They say it describes the murder, a religious sacrifice, but I honestly don't see it. 

If it WAS a religious sacrifice, does the BORG really think it would involve a sex assault and ransom note?  I sure do not.

If a religious sacrifice - - - isn't that something a person would WANT "on the record"?  I mean, the blood of an early Jewish sacrifice of a lamb was used to mark the door as a sign to God - and everyone else, right?  What good to kill a sacrifice and blame someone else for the act?  Sorry, just makes no sense.  Patsy wasn't in a cult, the parishoners sacrificed money and time and talent, not their kids.  (And JonBenét wasn't even a first born!)

BORG confuses me when they are so sure Patsy asked for that amount because of some... assinine theory like that one.

118 might be a date, a weight, a house number, the number of miles traveled that day. Only the killer knows for sure.
Not only should we expect that the number 118,000 means something to the perpetrator, but we should also anticipate that it had meaning to the reader(s) of the note.  Expected to read the note would be the Ramseys, local law enforcement, and the FBI, the latter because this is a ransom note claiming that JonBenét had been kidnapped.

We all know that 118,000 is close to the bonus that John Ramsey received.  The number doesn't obviously mean anything in particular to BPD, but it might mean something to the FBI, in particular those employees concerned with sexual homicides.

In fact, a paperback edition of the book Sexual Homicide: Patterns and Motives (ISBN-10: 0028740637) by Robert K. Ressler, Ann W. Burgess, and John E. Douglas was published in June 1995.  The first hardcover edition (ISBN-10: 066916559X) was published back in March 1988.  The copy I have is a 1996 hardcover reprint.  Two of the authors (Ressler and Douglas) were FBI employees.

This book spends a lot of time discussing a study of sexually related homicides of 118 victims committed by 36 killers.  The number 118 is mentioned on page xi of the Preface for the hardcover edition.  The number 118 is very prominently mentioned seven times in three pages (pages 62-64)  of the hardcover edition.  It's mentioned three times in one short paragraph and once in the even shorter paragraph that immediately precedes it, plus three more times in other paragraphs that follow.  It is mentioned again on page 200.  Anyone who reads pages 62-64 should remember that 118 is an important number in this book.

In my opinion, this number was not intended to be notorious because it was too low to be taken seriously (the common, even pedestrian viewpoint), but was intended to be notorious because of how it was supposed to be interpreted by someone who read it --- because of something quite specific.  Furthermore, I believe that this point should be obvious.  

However, and unfortunately, the ransom note has been throughly misinterpreted by almost everyone in law enforcement, including Gregg McCrary and others, but I don't think that the author intended for this to happen.  He (I assume “he”) seems to have believed that people working in law enforcement, especially at the FBI, think like he does, but they don't.  The majority of them are dull, law-abiding, uninteresting people with little imagination.


I think it is of interest that $118,000.00 in the denominations that were specified would be about 5 inches high. What would one need an adequate size attache case for this. It could almost be put in two coat pockets.

This is a little off subject but the ransom note has two distinctions that are odd. SBTC is typed with one hand except for the periods. Also the note itself contains every single letter of the alphabet. The two that are used the least are q and v. That was taken care of by writing "adequate size." J was taken care of at the end by using "John" 3 times. Probably means nothing but it is odd. One other oddity that I have not seen discussed. In the note at the top of the 2nd page it reads "and hence a earlier pick-up." This is grammatically wrong. It is "and hence AN earlier pick-up."
(08-30-2017, 06:03 PM)MozartFan Wrote: [ -> ]Also the note itself contains every single letter of the alphabet.

The fact that the ransom note contains all of the letters of the alphabet is not terribly surprising thanks to its length.

An interesting short paper about using examples from language in teaching statistics discusses the number of characters that might be expected to be required by a typical pangram (text that uses all letters in an alphabet) and can be found here:


The mode (most frequent value) for two different ways for generating pangrams was found to be "just above 1500 letters" (actually about 2000 as I read the histograms).  Using text utility programs, I quickly checked the ransom note and it appears to have 1484 letters after eliminating spaces, punctuation, special characters, etc.  Now the distributions for the short paper were produced by studying Dicken's novel A Christmas Carol, so one could argue that the ransom note is a different type of material, but as a first estimate, about 2000 letters are typically required for a pangram. 

The mode is significant here because of the following: If you had a large number of pangrams (based on A Christmas Carol) and randomly chose one, the most likely value would be about 2000 letters, i.e. the mode.  1500 letters was the third most frequent value out of 30 or so bins for one of the histograms, so the probability of picking a pangram of 1500 letters is also quite high.

Edit: What I posted above nearly four years ago excluding the URL contains about 1050 letters and contains all letters of the alphabet except for z.
People have asked how anyone would have known the amount of John Ramsey's bonus for the year 1995. I can think of three ways.

1. Someone at AG shared the secret with the wrong person.
2. Every paystub printed after John got the money in the beginning of 1997 listed that bonus. He left those stubs out where someone looking for information might find it easily.
3. In the Jaguar car were some papers that should have been locked away - including a list of bonuses given to John and other AG executives. Someone could have gone into the car and found that information.

Summer Dawn

Number 2--

John admitted he kept this unlocked in his desk at their house. Including his w2. IMO, the killer had enough time to search through all this stuff. He could have walked by the desk and started going through his paperwork.
From Steve Thomas' book:

A handwritten ledger reflected his increasing wealth over the years. Later I would find records showing that as of May 1, 1996, Ramsey had assets of $7,348,628 and a total net worth of $6,230,628. Total liabilities were an even $118,000, and the similarity of that figure to the ransom demand jumped out at me.
(08-12-2018, 05:31 PM)jameson245 Wrote: [ -> ]From Steve Thomas' book:

A handwritten ledger reflected his increasing wealth over the years. Later I would find records showing that as of May 1, 1996, Ramsey had assets of $7,348,628 and a total net worth of $6,230,628.  Total liabilities were an even $118,000, and the similarity of that figure to the ransom demand jumped out at me.

TYPO:  "Total liabilities were an even $1,118,000, and the similarity of that figure to the ransom demand jumped out at me."  (Page 66 of the hardcover and is $7,348,628 minus $6,230,628.)

This May ledger would defnitely be out of date by December and begs the question: Why demand $118,000 instead of the latest current net worth, or half that much, or a quarter that much, 10% of it, etc.? 

It just doesn't make much sense for this to be the source of $118,000 for the author of the note, regardless of who it is.  Consider how many other numbers are probably in the ledger, especially if every asset and liability are itemized.