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  Was anything taken?
Posted by: jameson245 - 09-14-2018, 08:57 PM - Forum: The House at 755 15th Street, Boulder, CO - Replies (1)

TT: Okay. Before the police arrived and after you guys checked of Burke did either one of you run through the house and check the house at all?
PR: John, I remember him running, going like to the doors, various doors, cause I kept saying how did they get in, how did they get in? And he uh, checked some of the doors I remember. The door to the garage, you know, from the coat room there.
TT: Um hum.
PR: I don’t you know, I just remember him kind of going around checking. I think he went down to the butler kitchen there. Checked, I don’t, you know, I wasn’t watching he did.
TT: Did he ever make a comment about being, any of the doors being unlocked to you? Did he find any doors unlocked that you recall?
PR: He didn’t say that he did.
TT: Okay.
PR: I don’t remember him saying, you know, he didn’t say Oh I found it or something. I don’t remember him . . .
TT: Okay. Do you remember if John ever went down to the basement to check any of the windows down there before the police arrived?
PR: You know I, you’re just going to ask him I don’t . . .
TT: Okay.
PR: . . .I was just, you know . . .
TT: Okay. Patsy, after the 26th have you guys been able to do any type of inventory of the house. Have you come u with anything missing at all?
PR: No, I haven’t been back.
TT: Okay. Has John done anything like that? Any type of inventories to see if anything is missing?
PR: I don’t, not to my knowledge.
TT: Look at it like big jewelry items, anything like that something that . . .
PR: Yeah.
TT: . . .you guys might see as obvious that was missing.
PR: No.

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  Atlanta Questions
Posted by: jameson245 - 09-14-2018, 08:43 PM - Forum: odds and ends - No Replies

ST:  How about, uh, uh, certainly we, we’ve chased a lot of things locally, but were there ever any Charlevoix concerns or concerns in the greater Atlanta area as you live there or continue to have ties there that you’ve thought of that we might be aware of? Any, anybody, zealots, nuts, fanatics in Charlevoix uh, any bad business dealings, bad neighbor dealings, anything at all?
PR:  Um. . .
ST:  The Northridge home, uh . . .
PR:  No, I mean, there was one incident in uh, Charlevoix that, and you can ask John more about this, but, um, he was getting ready to do this yacht race to Mackinaw Island and this fellow, and I can’t remember his name, was going, you know they had to have six, I think a, six or eight people on the crew or something and one of the guys, one of the people on the race had to have done the race before, that was one of the boat rules or race rules or something like that and this guy that they, from the Charlevoix boat store or something like that was going to be, his name was Tim something, Tim, I think is was Tim something, was going to be on the race with them, and they were all suppose to meet in Chicago. Fleet White was going to be on the race and a couple of these buddies of Fleets from California and John and Melinda and John Andrew and then this guy from Charlevoix. Tim Mur. . .Murtock, Murtaugh, or something like that was going to meet them over in Chicago. Well, they were over there the day before the race and it was hotter than blazes that day and this guy never showed, never showed and I remember trying to down his wife. I called his wife and said, you know, where is, where is he. They’re waiting for him, you know, to qualify for this race or whatever and she said well he’s in Chicago, you know, that’s what he told me and he never did show up on that race. Now, I don’t know why he didn’t do that, but they almost, you know, they were pretty, he, John and Fleet were miffed over that. And they had to take a, this woman crew member, you know, which is kind of a, you know, walks around say does anybody need a crew, anybody need a crew, (inaudible) and they said yeah and she happened to have done this race before so they qualified, but that guy, you know, never did show up. Tim Murtock.
ST:  How about Atlanta. Can you think back, days in Atlanta and Northridge and (inaudible) and I know, again, you’ve racked you brain and I’m sure you would have forwarded that to us, but anything today that comes to mind.
PR:  No, um, no.
ST:  Patsy, one of the things that, that I’m, certainly have to ask you about is we try to think of who would have had any reason or intent or motive to have done something like this and what might have pushed them to do something to do this would be terribly strong feelings and um, uh, have there and I need to ask you this, um, has there been any spurned or scorned lovers or infidelities in your marriage to John, uh that we need to look at as a, as a possible actor in this?
PR:  No, absolutely not.
ST:  And, and let me ask that another way. Have there been any infidelities in your marriage to John.
PR:  No.
ST:  Are you aware of a woman in Tucson claiming to have had an affair with John.
PR:  Um hum.
ST:  And what’s your response to that?
PR:  She’s an extortionist.
ST:  Okay. One person that we have not been able to run down, that I certainly want to exhaust in this ting is uh, a woman who Lucinda revealed to us is having had an affair with John that ultimately lead to the dissolution of their marriage. Um, that was some time ago, but, um, I think people have been reluctant to share that with us. Do you know who this person was?
PR:  No, I’m not aware of anything like that.
ST:  Are, are you aware of prior to today, because I had to ask Nedra and Pam and Paulie and uh, if they were aware of this person, while we were in Georgia so we could find her, and make sure she’s not some kook that laid in wait for 20 years. . .
PR:  Um hum.
ST:  . . .um, is today the first time you’ve been made, made aware of this woman?
PR:  I don’t know of any woman with, I don’t know anything about this, no.
ST:  Okay. Are you aware that John had some sort of infidelity according to Lucinda?
PR:  No (Inaudible).
ST:  Okay. So you certainly wouldn’t know this woman’s name then?
PR:  No.
ST:  And you’re not in a position so I’ll ask John if he’ll share that with us.

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  Charlevoix boat race
Posted by: jameson245 - 09-14-2018, 08:42 PM - Forum: odds and ends - No Replies

ST:  How about, uh, uh, certainly we, we’ve chased a lot of things locally, but were there ever any Charlevoix concerns or concerns in the greater Atlanta area as you live there or continue to have ties there that you’ve thought of that we might be aware of? Any, anybody, zealots, nuts, fanatics in Charlevoix uh, any bad business dealings, bad neighbor dealings, anything at all?
PR:  Um. . .
ST:  The Northridge home, uh . . .
PR:  No, I mean, there was one incident in uh, Charlevoix that, and you can ask John more about this, but, um, he was getting ready to do this yacht race to Mackinaw Island and this fellow, and I can’t remember his name, was going, you know they had to have six, I think a, six or eight people on the crew or something and one of the guys, one of the people on the race had to have done the race before, that was one of the boat rules or race rules or something like that and this guy that they, from the Charlevoix boat store or something like that was going to be, his name was Tim something, Tim, I think is was Tim something, was going to be on the race with them, and they were all suppose to meet in Chicago. Fleet White was going to be on the race and a couple of these buddies of Fleets from California and John and Melinda and John Andrew and then this guy from Charlevoix. Tim Mur. . .Murtock, Murtaugh, or something like that was going to meet them over in Chicago. Well, they were over there the day before the race and it was hotter than blazes that day and this guy never showed, never showed and I remember trying to down his wife. I called his wife and said, you know, where is, where is he. They’re waiting for him, you know, to qualify for this race or whatever and she said well he’s in Chicago, you know, that’s what he told me and he never did show up on that race. Now, I don’t know why he didn’t do that, but they almost, you know, they were pretty, he, John and Fleet were miffed over that. And they had to take a, this woman crew member, you know, which is kind of a, you know, walks around say does anybody need a crew, anybody need a crew, (inaudible) and they said yeah and she happened to have done this race before so they qualified, but that guy, you know, never did show up. Tim Murtock.

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  Patsy on the bonus
Posted by: jameson245 - 09-14-2018, 08:38 PM - Forum: 118 thousand dollar ransom - No Replies

ST:  How immediate did it come to your mind or John’s mind uh, that that uh, amount of money asked for in the ransom note roughly equaled John’s bonus? Were you aware of that on the morning of the 26th?
PR:  Was I, was I aware of what now?
ST:  The bonus amount equaling. . .
PR:  I was not aware that, I, I didn’t know that he had gotten a bonus.
ST:  Okay.
PR:  Or that that, he takes care of all that stuff and I didn’t know, I think at some time that morning he, I remember him saying that that might be close to a figure that was a bonus that he had gotten, but. . .
ST:  Okay. I’m assuming his salary, and I don’t know if you know this, was to $118,000. Do you know what John’s salary was in relation to a bonus being $118,000?
PR:  I don’t know any of that.
ST:  Are you not privy to any of the financial information in the household.
PR:  Well, I’m sure I’m privy. I can see it if want to, but . . .
ST:  Okay.
PR:  . . .I just. . .
ST:  Okay. That’s not your day to day affair?
PR:  That’s not my day. . . no.

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  Patsy in interview
Posted by: jameson245 - 09-14-2018, 08:33 PM - Forum: Christmas Day, 1996 - Replies (9)

TT:  Okay. How about December 25th, Christmas day. How did that start out? Who got up first and that sort of thing?
PR:  Uh, well, the kids came up and woke us up and John went down, he went to get everything ready, you know, get the lights on, get the music on, you know. . .
TT:  Um hum.
PR:  . . .uh, I think he, he said he had, he brought he, Santa Claus Brought me a bicycle so he had to go get that under the tree. . .
TT:  Okay.
PR:  . . .and then we all went down and, into the living room. That’s where we had the Christmas.
TT:  Okay. Big tree in the living room. Okay. Because I know there’s kind of trees all over.
PR:  Right.
TT:  What, what do you normally store the Christmas presents say before the 25th.
PR:  I the basement. I had them all in the basement.
TT:  Okay. Because there were some extra Christmas presents. Who were they for? Do you remember?
PR:  Well, I had, I had some uh, bagged up and kind of ready to go up to the lake.
TT:  Okay.
PR:  We were going to the lake the 26th.
TT:  Um hum.
PR:  Michigan. And I had Melinda’s and Stewart’s and John Andrew’s.
TT:  Okay. Those were the presents that were down in the cellar still?
PR:  Uh. There were probably were some down there.
TT:  Okay.
PR:  I don’t know when you mean down still.
TT:  Um, on the 26th there was still some presents downstairs.
PR:  When, uh, I was, if there were I don’t remember, I had them kind of. . .
TT:  Kind of all over the place?
PR:  . . .you know, all over, yeah. And I had, uh, I know I had a (Lego?) set down there that I had gotten for Burke’s birthday which was in January, so I. . .
TT:  Okay.
PR:  . . .I had that there kind of back, held back.
TT:  Okay. Why don’t you walk me through the rest of the 25th. What all did you guys do that day?
PR:  Well, I continued to wrap some presents. I went back down to the basement on the washing machine area there and wrapped for taking the stuff to the lake . . .
TT:  Okay.
PR:  . . .and the kids were playing with there toys and the Colby kids were over and some other little new kids that moved in a couple of doors up uh, where the Whites had. . .
TT:  Okay.
PR:  . . .rented a house two doors up the hill.
TT:  Towards Baseline?
PR:  Towards Baseline.
TT:  Um hum.
PR:  Uh, south I guess that is. Um, there were just kids all around, you know, they all playing with all their stuff and . . .
TT:  Quite a few kids in the house, around the house?
PR:  Yeah, right.
TT:  Okay. And then about what time did you guys go over to the White’s house that night?
PR:  Um, um, dinner timeish, you know, five or six or something like that.
TT:  Al right. What did you guys do at the White’s house, kind of, how many people were over there?
PR:  Well, that whole group of her family was still there. . .
TT:  Okay.
PR:  . . .and uh, you know what? I think Heather did not come to our party cause she was, had a cold, but she rallied and was there for dinner at Fleet’s house.
TT:  Okay.
PR:  Um, so, you know, all of them were there.
TT:  Okay.
PR:  And we. . .
TT:  (Inaudible)
PR:  . . .were all there, yean.
TT:  About what time did you get home from the Whites that night?
PR:  Well, we stopped a couple of places on the way home to drop off Christmas gifts.
TT:  Okay.
PR:  By the Walkers and the Stines.
TT:  Um hum.
PR:  And I imagine it was about nineish, something like that.
TT:  Okay. Sometime, nine, after nine, something like that?
PR:  Some, yeah.
ST:  (Inaudible) um.
TT:  Question?
ST;  Uh,    quick quick question. Give me some more detail Patsy, if you will, on, on the daytime and afternoon of the 25th. Um, we sort of moved quickly to that evening but, but uh. . .
PR:  Yeah.
ST:  . . .walk me through that day.
PR:  Well, we opened our presents and uh, try to have them do it slowly so it doesn’t it’s not over with in five minutes, you know, and we all opened our things and then we had breakfast and uh, I was packing, as well as wrapping gifts that day. We were, we were going to go to the lake on the 26th so I was putting a few things together for that trip and um, and trying to get the presents together to take up there and then I was packing our suitcases to go, we were going to go on a Walt Disney cruise on. . .
ST:  Big Red boat?
PR:  Bid Red boat. On my birthday, the 29th. So I was, had summer clothes, trying to get all that ready, so uh, and packing and uh, I think I colored my hair that afternoon, like with one of those quick, you know, uh. . .
ST:  Everybody stayed home the whole day. No trips out on the 25th prior to going to the Whites?
PR:  Uh, John, I think went out to the airplane to kind of, he always kind of checks, checks it out.
ST:  Prior to a flight?
PR:  Yeah. So he went out there that afternoon and the kids were just in an out playing and playing with their, JonBenet was making this little jewelry things and Burke had this car that he was playing with.
ST:  So you and the kids were home the whole day . . .
PR:  Yes.
ST:  . . .prior to going to the Whites and John returned from his short outing. . .
PR:  Right.
ST:  . . .uh, and that was his only trip out that day?
PR:  As best I can remember. Yes.

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  Christmas Eve
Posted by: jameson245 - 09-14-2018, 08:29 PM - Forum: odds and ends - Replies (6)

TT:  Got a little of your tea left. Okay. Patsy, let’s move over to the uh, to the 24th. I want you to start kind of, actually let’s go more towards the afternoon of the 24th. That would be the 24th of Christmas Eve. The kids are all excited. Kind of run me through that in the same fashion. What did you guys do?
PR:  Well we um, uh went to church, the family church service which was at four or 4:30 . . .
TT:  Okay.
PR:  . . .something like that. And uh, after that we went to Pasta Jay’s for dinner. . .
TT:  Um hum.
PR:  And then we drove around town looking at Christmas lights and we drove up to the star up on the mountain there and um, I remember JonBenet was miffed because we wouldn’t let her get out and she wanted to walk up into the star . . .
TT:  Um hum.
PR:  And uh, she just had her little velvet Sunday school shoes on, you know, so she was, she said, ‘Well, what’s the use coming up here if you can’t even go up to the star.’ Um, so then we came down, down from the star and we wound around by the White’s house and uh, I think, and we went in there for a few minutes and uh, then we went home.
TT:  Okay.
PR:  And, you know, got everybody ready for bed.
TT:  Okay. About what time (inaudible).
PR:  Oh, gee, I don’t know.
TT:  Okay.
PR:  I don’t know exactly.
TT:  Okay. Um, go home, go to bed.
PR:  Early evening.
TT:  Okay. Early evening?
PR:  Um hum.
TT:  Go home, got ready for bed um, where did everybody sleep that night?
PR:  Well, JonBenet was in her bed in her room. . .
TT:  Okay.
PR:  . . .and Burke was in his bed and we slept in our room.
TT:  Okay. Do you have an idea if JonBenet moved over towards Burke’s room at all that night. Slept in his room?
PR:  Um, I can’t remember, can’t remember.
TT:  Okay. Is that something that she would normally do?
PR:  No.
TT:  Sleep in Burke’s room. I know everybody’s got, you got, they both have two beds in their rooms.
PR:  Yeah, right um, I don’t think so. I just can’t remember.

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  Shreveport (letter)
Posted by: jameson245 - 09-14-2018, 08:23 PM - Forum: odds and ends - Replies (3)

TT:  Okay. Patsy, we got a uh, got some information for a friend of yours down in Shreveport. You know anybody down in Shreveport, Louisiana?
PR:  I don’t know anybody down in Shreveport.
TT:  The name, that come up at all you guys know of?
PR:  I think I heard something about it in the press or something, but I never have known anybody that I can remember in Shreveport.
TT:  Okay. Um . . .
PR:  Do you know the name? Do you guys have the name?
TT:  I, I don’t have the name right off. I don’t have that.
PR:  Maybe it’s somebody I knew that moved to Shreveport and I didn’t know that.
TT:  Right.
PR:  But I don’t . . .
TT:  Don’t know of anybody that, recent friends that would have moved down there.
PR:  No.

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  St. John's Foyer Group
Posted by: jameson245 - 09-14-2018, 08:14 PM - Forum: The House at 755 15th Street, Boulder, CO - No Replies

Patsy in interview with Thomas and Trujillo

TT:  Okay. Um, you guys had a, a Foyer Group meeting back on the 13th.
PR:  Right.
TT:  You want kind of . . .
PR:  What is that?
TT:  What is the Foyer Group, yeah.
PR:  The Foyer, it’s a Foyer dinner group from church . . .
TT:  Okay.
PR:  . . .from St. Johns and um, they have small groups , kind of a dinner group assigned and you meet with that group throughout the year, usually like school year.
TT:  Um hum.
PR:  And you have dinner in each others home, but this particular, there are like dinner, individual dinner groups of maybe six to ten that meet in each others homes and then the entire Foyer Dinner Group which is made up several of these smaller groups. . .
TT:  Um hum.
PR:  . . .had a Christmas party at our house, so the entire group was invited.
TT:  (Inaudible) the six to ten of that, six to ten couples or six to ten people?
PR:  People.
TT:  Okay.
PR:  (Inaudible) Might be couples and singles.
TT:  Right. So, about once very six months to ten months you rotate around to another house. Is that, to have dinner. Is that right?
PR:  Right. Well, I think they have, they meet monthly, you know, and like if we’re all in a group we’d go to your house one month and my house one month . . .
TT:  Right.
PR:  . . .or whatever.
TT:  Okay, and so about once a, once every five to six months you have a host of a group of a, a group six to ten people . . .
PR:  At your house, right, uh huh.
TT:  Okay. Now, is this just a dinner group, religious group . . .
PR:  Well, they’re, they all go to St. Johns so their, you know. . .
TT:  It’s not like you sit down and discuss the Bible while your eating dinner or anything like that.
PR:  No, it’s more social. Yeah.
TT:  It’s all social. Okay.
PR:  Yeah, uh huh, yeah.
TT:  About how many people were over at the house on the 13th?
PR:  Oh, you know, 50 or 60 maybe.
TT:  Okay. Quite a few then?
PR:  Yeah.
TT:  How many total, do you have an idea about how many total Foyer Groups there are? Are there about 10 groups then?
PR:  Probably yeah. Well, no. I think there are more than that, but I think, you know, not everybody came.
TT;  Okay.
PR:  I know there are a couple of pages worth, I think. I don’t, I don’t remember ever having counted them exactly.
TT:  Do, do you have a list of the people that were over to the house on the 13th?
PR:  No, but Carolyn Blyley probably does.
TT:  Over at St. Johns?
PR:  Yeah, she’s, she put it together. She just called me and asked me if I would have it at our house and I think, you know, I wouldn’t have to do anything just have my house . . .
TT:  Okay.
PR:  . . .she know I decorate a lot for Christmas and all that.
TT:  So you were just kind of the host house. . .
PR:  Right.
TT:  . . .invite everybody.
PR:  Right. She sent the invitations and all that.
TT:  Okay. Steve.

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  PDI
Posted by: jameson245 - 09-09-2018, 09:11 PM - Forum: Handwriting - No Replies

Local professor profiles JonBenet's ransom note

  • Feb 18, 2003


Try 1 month for 99¢

Rachelle Treiber
He was not allowed to take photographs while touring the palatial Boulder, Colo. home where a 6-year-old girl had been killed just months earlier.
But Thomas McAninch did what any good criminologist would: he carefully committed as many details as possible to his memory.


The unique layout of the family's home, the odd placement of light switches and the maze that made up the basement where the child's body had been discovered the day after Christmas in 1996.
Although he is not directly involved in the case, as a professor of criminal justice at Scott Community College, McAninch took a special interest in the 1996 homicide of JonBenet Ramsey, and in an investigation that has resulted in no arrest and little closure.
He believes that is due in part to a botched investigation by Boulder Police.
"I have been there and been through the house, I have spoken with people who investigated the murder — but I am not connected to the case," said McAninch, a 53-year-old Bettendorf researcher and educator. "I teach profiling, but I do not consider myself an expert."
McAninch, a member of the Quad-City Council of Police Chiefs, has written numerous publications and lectured at national conferences on various criminology subjects including profiling.
Along with his wife, Helen, a local lawyer, he has developed supplemental materials for criminology textbooks for Wadsworth and McGraw-Hill publishers.
In addition, he has toured Chinese prisons at the invitation of that country's government, serves as an associate editor of the Journal of Gang Research, and was recently honored with the Frederic Milton Thrasher Award — named for a University of Chicago sociologist who studied gangs in the 1920s.
This semester, in one of his courses at Scott Community College, he explores profiling methods used in several murder cases including the unsolved killing of JonBenet, the little beauty queen who for years after her death still was being featured on the cover of national tabloids wearing pageant gowns.
"I have been asked this at conferences, by academicians, by the press — but I don't know who killed JonBenet. I do know that someone in that house is connected with her death," he said. "And that this was never a kidnapping, it was a murder whether accidental or purposeful."
Standing before his class during a recent lecture on the subject of profiling, he explained his analysis of the ransom note found in John and Patsy Ramsey's home just hours before their daughter's body was discovered in the basement.
"It is a right-handed person who wrote this block-style with their left hand," McAninch said of the letter.
"I have had many kids sit down and re-write this — it takes an average of 15 to 30 minutes. Someone just killed a 6-year-old then sits down to write a three-page letter in the house where the body is — that is someone who is not afraid of being discovered in the home," he added.
He said the note itself attempts to point the reader to a type of individual, specifically a Middle Eastern terrorist —a person who would act quickly and without empathy for JonBenet or her family.
But McAninch said he was taught something very important from famed FBI profiler and criminologist Robert Ressler.
"One of the things Bob Ressler taught me is if someone is trying really hard to get you to look one way, the first thing you should do is look the other way," McAninch said.
And that is why his interpretation of the ransom note has led him to believe the author is someone exactly the opposite of what the note states. A person who is staging a crime scene.
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He said it was apparent from the beginning of the letter that a crime was being staged to look like something it was not.
"The author says they represent a ‘small foreign faction,' but no self-respecting terrorist would consider themselves less that representative of the masses," he said. "It also says ‘we respect your business,' but would a foreign faction respect your business? You just don't find this kind of thing in kidnapping notes," he said.
Furthermore, he believes a sentence that states, "speaking to anyone about your situation will result in your daughter being beheaded," also is an example of the author trying to speak as they believe a terrorist would.
And terms written in the letter like "fat cat" are idioms that would not be taught to a foreign person learning the language. For those reasons, he said it was easy to eliminate a person from the Middle East as the author of the ransom note.
"A profile does not predict the individual, it predicts the type of person, and more specifically, it eliminates people," he explained.
Regarding the lengthy period the person took to write one version of the letter, he said the note itself is edited, which would have taken even more time. "There is an inserted ‘not,'" which is very important. It reinforces that this person had time and they are comfortable — not a stranger to the house."
Several parts of the letter, he said, also show the author is a person who knows John Ramsey well.

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According to FBI agents, the $118,000 requested in ransom note turned out to be the exact amount of John Ramsey's Christmas bonus.
And the end of the letter, which states "Victory, S.B.T.C.," is something McAninch said stands for Subic Bay Training Center, where John Ramsey was stationed while serving in the military in the Philippines.
"Also, throughout the letter, the writer stops calling John ‘Mr. Ramsey,' and begins to call him by his first name, showing he or she knows the family on a personal level," McAninch said.
There are also several aspects of the note that lead McAninch to believe a well-educated female likely wrote it. "The use of the word "attaché. With the exception of people in government, men usually call it a briefcase. And phrases like ‘and hence,' and ‘law enforcement countermeasures,' are fairly sophisticated," he explained.
He said the letter also refers to southern phrases like "use that good southern common sense of yours."
He said John Ramsey and his wife, Patsy, have given handwriting samples and neither has been charged with any crime related to the case.
However, McAninch stressed that his profile is not necessarily for who killed JonBenet, but rather for who wrote the note. He believes the girl's mother fits the profile of the ransom note's author.
"Patsy ends up fitting the profile really well. That is not a fingerprint, not a DNA match — those are absolutes. This is very subjective and that is why we cannot convict on this type of thing," he said.
In the end, he knows only what type of person could or could not have written the letter.
"So what do I know — I know that the ransom note was not written by a transient, terrorists from the Middle East, or a sexual offender. I believe it was written by someone close to the family or a family member," he said.
"They say this is still an open case, but unless something huge happens, it is closed," he said.
Rachelle Treiber can be contacted at (563) 383-2363 or rtreiber@qctimes.com.

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  PDI
Posted by: jameson245 - 09-09-2018, 08:58 PM - Forum: Handwriting - No Replies

Local professor profiles JonBenet's ransom note

  • Feb 18, 2003


    Rachelle Treiber
    He was not allowed to take photographs while touring the palatial Boulder, Colo. home where a 6-year-old girl had been killed just months earlier.
    But Thomas McAninch did what any good criminologist would: he carefully committed as many details as possible to his memory.


    The unique layout of the family's home, the odd placement of light switches and the maze that made up the basement where the child's body had been discovered the day after Christmas in 1996.
    Although he is not directly involved in the case, as a professor of criminal justice at Scott Community College, McAninch took a special interest in the 1996 homicide of JonBenet Ramsey, and in an investigation that has resulted in no arrest and little closure.
    He believes that is due in part to a botched investigation by Boulder Police.
    "I have been there and been through the house, I have spoken with people who investigated the murder — but I am not connected to the case," said McAninch, a 53-year-old Bettendorf researcher and educator. "I teach profiling, but I do not consider myself an expert."
    McAninch, a member of the Quad-City Council of Police Chiefs, has written numerous publications and lectured at national conferences on various criminology subjects including profiling.
    Along with his wife, Helen, a local lawyer, he has developed supplemental materials for criminology textbooks for Wadsworth and McGraw-Hill publishers.
    In addition, he has toured Chinese prisons at the invitation of that country's government, serves as an associate editor of the Journal of Gang Research, and was recently honored with the Frederic Milton Thrasher Award — named for a University of Chicago sociologist who studied gangs in the 1920s.
    This semester, in one of his courses at Scott Community College, he explores profiling methods used in several murder cases including the unsolved killing of JonBenet, the little beauty queen who for years after her death still was being featured on the cover of national tabloids wearing pageant gowns.
    "I have been asked this at conferences, by academicians, by the press — but I don't know who killed JonBenet. I do know that someone in that house is connected with her death," he said. "And that this was never a kidnapping, it was a murder whether accidental or purposeful."
    Standing before his class during a recent lecture on the subject of profiling, he explained his analysis of the ransom note found in John and Patsy Ramsey's home just hours before their daughter's body was discovered in the basement.
    "It is a right-handed person who wrote this block-style with their left hand," McAninch said of the letter.
    "I have had many kids sit down and re-write this — it takes an average of 15 to 30 minutes. Someone just killed a 6-year-old then sits down to write a three-page letter in the house where the body is — that is someone who is not afraid of being discovered in the home," he added.
    He said the note itself attempts to point the reader to a type of individual, specifically a Middle Eastern terrorist —a person who would act quickly and without empathy for JonBenet or her family.
    But McAninch said he was taught something very important from famed FBI profiler and criminologist Robert Ressler.
    "One of the things Bob Ressler taught me is if someone is trying really hard to get you to look one way, the first thing you should do is look the other way," McAninch said.
    And that is why his interpretation of the ransom note has led him to believe the author is someone exactly the opposite of what the note states. A person who is staging a crime scene.

He said it was apparent from the beginning of the letter that a crime was being staged to look like something it was not.
"The author says they represent a ‘small foreign faction,' but no self-respecting terrorist would consider themselves less that representative of the masses," he said. "It also says ‘we respect your business,' but would a foreign faction respect your business? You just don't find this kind of thing in kidnapping notes," he said.
Furthermore, he believes a sentence that states, "speaking to anyone about your situation will result in your daughter being beheaded," also is an example of the author trying to speak as they believe a terrorist would.
And terms written in the letter like "fat cat" are idioms that would not be taught to a foreign person learning the language. For those reasons, he said it was easy to eliminate a person from the Middle East as the author of the ransom note.
"A profile does not predict the individual, it predicts the type of person, and more specifically, it eliminates people," he explained.
Regarding the lengthy period the person took to write one version of the letter, he said the note itself is edited, which would have taken even more time. "There is an inserted ‘not,'" which is very important. It reinforces that this person had time and they are comfortable — not a stranger to the house."
Several parts of the letter, he said, also show the author is a person who knows John Ramsey well.

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According to FBI agents, the $118,000 requested in ransom note turned out to be the exact amount of John Ramsey's Christmas bonus.
And the end of the letter, which states "Victory, S.B.T.C.," is something McAninch said stands for Subic Bay Training Center, where John Ramsey was stationed while serving in the military in the Philippines.
"Also, throughout the letter, the writer stops calling John ‘Mr. Ramsey,' and begins to call him by his first name, showing he or she knows the family on a personal level," McAninch said.
There are also several aspects of the note that lead McAninch to believe a well-educated female likely wrote it. "The use of the word "attaché. With the exception of people in government, men usually call it a briefcase. And phrases like ‘and hence,' and ‘law enforcement countermeasures,' are fairly sophisticated," he explained.
He said the letter also refers to southern phrases like "use that good southern common sense of yours."
He said John Ramsey and his wife, Patsy, have given handwriting samples and neither has been charged with any crime related to the case.
However, McAninch stressed that his profile is not necessarily for who killed JonBenet, but rather for who wrote the note. He believes the girl's mother fits the profile of the ransom note's author.
"Patsy ends up fitting the profile really well. That is not a fingerprint, not a DNA match — those are absolutes. This is very subjective and that is why we cannot convict on this type of thing," he said.
In the end, he knows only what type of person could or could not have written the letter.
"So what do I know — I know that the ransom note was not written by a transient, terrorists from the Middle East, or a sexual offender. I believe it was written by someone close to the family or a family member," he said.
"They say this is still an open case, but unless something huge happens, it is closed," he said.
Rachelle Treiber can be contacted at (563) 383-2363 or rtreiber@qctimes.com.

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