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  news stories
Posted by: jameson245 - 05-11-2017, 03:05 PM - Forum: DNA - more technical discussions - Replies (16)

CBI lab picks its way through the clues
Camera Staff Writer
Thursday, January 9, 1997
DENVER -- In a dim room on the fourth floor of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation building, Alex Rugh turns down the brightness on the monitor of his scanning electron microscope until only a single green dot appears on the screen.
He zooms in on the dot - a metal fragment one thousandth the thickness of a dime - and presses a button. On a second monitor to his right, a color display produces a graph that within seconds tells him all the elements that make up the fragment.
Iron, potassium, calcium - it's no bullet fragment. They have lead, barium and antimony - and bullets are the only things in the world that would have all three elements in a single micron sample.
Rugh is one of 22 analysts at the CBI laboratory, which is processing much of the physical evidence in the investigation of JonBenet Ramsey's murder.
Much of the Ramsey investigation hinges on results from the CBI lab. Boulder detectives sent hair, blood and handwriting samples from Ramsey family members and some undisclosed friends, along with many pieces of undisclosed evidence from searches of the Ramsey homes, to the lab last week. University of Colorado evidence and criminal law professor Mimi Wesson said forensic evidence can be crucial. "If you don't have witnesses and you don't have a confession, physical evidence is all you have. So of course it's tremendously important."
The CBI processes evidence for many departments throughout the state, which, like Boulder, aren't big enough to have complete labs.
During a murder investigation, it is not uncommon for the CBI to process about 80 pieces of evidence, said Chester Ubowski, the agent in charge of the laboratory and a forensic documents specialist. That evidence could range from articles of clothing to spent bullet shells to ransom notes.
The forensics lab includes several divisions. The documents division examines written or printed documents and conducts handwriting analysis. Serology conducts analysis of blood, hair and fibers. Chemistry examines drugs and chemical properties of materials. Other analysts test DNA and firearms.
Many pieces of evidence require testing by more than one division. For example, a note might be examined for handwriting in documents, but might also contain hair fibers or bodily fluids to be analyzed in serology, Ubowski said.
But the forensics are only as good as the evidence gathered at the crime scene, CU's Wesson said: "You have to assume that the sample that you find is fresh enough and large enough."
The science of forensics is based on a simple law called "Locard's Principle of Exchange."
"Any time two things come into contact, there is an exchange of material between them," said Ubowski.
He wiped his finger across the glass surface of his desk to demonstrate. "I have left skin cells on the desk," said Ubowski. "I may have left enough for identification."
On his finger, he explained, there are now glass ions from the desk. "I may not be able to find them, but they're there," said Ubowski. "In that sense, there may not be such a thing as the perfect crime. Because if you were there, you left something."
Finding what was left behind can be a slow, meticulous process. A case like the Ramsey murder, which involves many forensic disciplines, typically takes a month, Ubowski said. DNA evidence takes two weeks to process - and that's only after other tests and prep work have been performed on the sample.
On the other hand, some evidence, such as simple blood analysis, could be returned to the local department in a week, Ubowski said.
Forensic evidence requires something to com pare it to, Ubowski explained. For instance, a sample of blood found at a crime scene would be compared to blood taken from a suspect. DNA testing cannarrow the field to only a handful of people.
Jurors tend to put more faith in evidence that's most easily understood, such as fingerprints and handwriting analysis, even though DNA testing can be more accurate, Wesson said.
"Even though there may be more art to it and less science, sometimes jurors will put more stock in it than they will in, for example DNA testing," she said. "Jurors tend to be suspicious of things they don't understand and DNA evidence is hard to understand."
It takes only a bit of organic evidence to make a match. Trace amounts of blood, skin, semen and other bodily fluids can be "grown" in a laboratory by a process called "polymerase chain reaction," in which the sample is basically cloned by separating its DNA.
While blood evidence is the most revealing, for most people, blood is not necessary for DNA analysis if other bodily fluids are available. Sources close to the Ramsey investigation say bodily fluids were found near the dead girl's body.
Document analysis is less straightforward. A forensic documents analyst doesn't simply analyze the handwriting.
"They look at all the facets involved in the communication," said Ubowski.
In the Ramsey case, investigators reportedly found the notepad used to write a ransom note and a "practice" note written with a similar pen in the Ramsey home. Sources say the draft and the actual ransom note were "written kind of in shaky handwriting," and that both notes were written with a similar felt-tip pen.
For a handwritten note, the ink is analyzed, as is the paper it's written on. The document is inspected for foreign materials - hair, fiber, spilled coffee or even bodily fluids can be collected and sent to the serology lab for analysis. The document is then inspected for tears or other distinguishing marks. Scientists examine it with lasers and infrared light, searching for clues.
Sometimes the most important clues are not found in the actual writing but in indentation marks on the paper.
If someone tries to fake their handwriting on a note, the CBI usually can tell. The only way a perpetrator could leave no indication of their natural handwriting is by using a stencil - and even that could leave a clue, such as whether the person used a similar stencil at work.
Like all forensic evidence, handwriting evidence requires a sample to match it to. Just like blood evidence would be matched to a suspect's blood or a spent bullet would be matched to a bullet fired through a suspect's gun, the handwriting on the note is compared to a suspect's writing.
Despite the intense media and public interest in the Ramsey investigation, the CBI contends evidence from that case is no different from evidence it gets every day.
"It's easy to forget that even though the Ramsey case has gotten some national notoriety," Ubowski said, "we've got a dozen other murder cases pending."

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  Early rewards
Posted by: jameson245 - 05-11-2017, 02:36 PM - Forum: Reward offered until 12/31/2017 - No Replies

1/15/1997 - old information that was requested

Boulder County Crime Stoppers officials said they have coordinated a $100,000 reward fund for information related to JonBenet's slaying. The fund includes $50,000 from the Ramsey family and money from other sources. The Globe also offered a $50,000 reward Tuesday and said the weekly has established a tip line.

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  Globe tabloid obtained crime-scene photos
Posted by: jameson245 - 05-11-2017, 02:32 PM - Forum: odds and ends - Replies (9)

Tabloid obtains murder-scene photos
Camera Staff Writer
Saturday, January 11, 1997
The Boulder County Sheriff's Department on Friday began investigating how the Globe tabloid obtained crime-scene photos of murdered 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey.
The Boca Raton, Fla.-based supermarket tabloid plans to publish six pictures in the next several days, sources said. Globe officials did not return phone calls.
"They are authentic, and I believe that they were photos that were taken by my office," said Boulder County Coroner Dr. John Meyer. "This is something that has never happened before to my knowledge, and it's one of the real nightmares of any medical examiner."
NBC officials notified Meyer of the snapshots Friday afternoon.
"We had a copy of the tabloid before it reached the newsstand," said Jack Chesnutt, the NBC News Denver bureau chief. "Our interests in the photos were on two levels: One, were they authentic? And two, had they been taken from the coroner's office? We were never interested in putting the Globe's photos on the air, and we will not broadcast them."
Officials took the photographs after JonBenet's father and a friend found the child strangled in the family's wine cellar on Dec. 26. About eight hours earlier, the girl's mother, Patsy, had discovered a ransom note demanding $118,000 and called police. Some of the pictures depict the slain 6-year-old beauty queen wrapped in a blanket, sources said.
"There's one that's of a child's hand with a Boulder County coroner's tag on it and an ID number," a source said. "There's another picture of a nylon cord, so they're definitely in very bad taste."
The publication of the photographs has shocked the five employees of the
"At first I was just dumbfounded, and that quickly turned to anger that anybody would do this," said Meyer, who would not reveal the photo lab that processes the office's pictures. "This is evidence and it's evidence that's gotten into hands that shouldn't have it."
Other authorities had a similar reaction.
"It's just sick, because the paper probably paid someone at least $50,000 for those pictures," a law-enforcement source said. "They could have come from anyone, like the photo processing lab the coroner's office contracts with, a cop working on the case, the coroner's office or anyone else. I hope they find who did this."
The Sheriff's Department has assigned three deputies to the case, said Sheriff George Epp.
"We'll hopefully leave no stone unturned," Epp said.
"I"m confident that they'll arrest who did this," said a Ramsey family friend. "But it's absolutely revolting that someone would take advantage of a tragedy like this. People just need to leave this family alone."
In other developments Friday:
Records indicate a guest at a party at the Ramsey house misdialed and called 911 at 6:47 p.m. Dec. 23, according to Boulder police. The person disconnected the phone before a police dispatcher spoke to the caller. About six minutes after the call, police attempted to call the Ramseys but received a voice-mail message. An officer arrived at the Ramsey home about five minutes later and confirmed the caller had misdialed. About 50 adults and children attended the Christmas party at 755 15th St.
JonBenet's parents, John, the president of Access Graphics, and Patsy, a former Miss West Virginia, remained in seclusion with private guards, sources said Friday. Police have not formally interviewed the couple or identified any suspects in the child's slaying.
The Ramsey family hired a handwriting expert to work on analyzing the ransom note, sources close to the family said. Investigators found the actual note, a "practice" note and the legal pad used to write them in the Ramsey house.

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  news stories
Posted by: jameson245 - 05-11-2017, 02:24 PM - Forum: Misleading the media - No Replies

Boulder girl's storybook life ends suddenly and brutally
Camera Staff Writers
Sunday, January 5, 1997
From the outside looking in, JonBenet Ramsey's life was long on sugar and spice.
A successful beauty queen at age 6, JonBenet's pixie-like face and shower of golden hair seemed somehow to fit the confident demeanor she brought to the runway. She looked both young and elegant.
Sashaying across the stage in a sparkly, black-and-white Las Vegas showgirl costume or singing "I want to be a cowboy sweetheart" in a frilly pink cowgirl outfit, there was something perkily reminiscent of Shirley Temple about JonBenet.
Life looked like it was going to be good for the little girl. She had told people she wanted to become a professional ice skater or maybe an artist. In November she was named to the "Star's Honor Roll" at High Peaks Martin Park Elementary School for winning an "I Caught You Being Good" award.
She lived in a 15-room manse - worth at least $760,000 - in the upscale, bucolic quietude near Chautauqua Park in Boulder with her brother Burke, 9, and her well-respected parents, who are the portrait of all-American success.
John Bennet Ramsey, 53, is chief executive officer of a billion-dollar company and moves in powerful circles. He has a jet pilot's license.
Patricia "Patsy" Ramsey, 40, is a former Miss West Virginia who won plaudits for volunteering at her son's school even as she re covered from a bout with ovarian cancer in 1994. Although never fully happy with the family's move from her native South to Boulder in 1991, Patsy Ramsey made the most of her situation, throwing lavish parties for friends and members of the St. John's Episcopal Church congregation, sprucing up her home for the Christmas holidays with yuletide trees in nearly every room.
When JonBenet was found strangled to death in the family's basement Dec. 26 - clothed, wrapped in a blanket, duct tape over her mouth, a cord wrapped around her neck, a fractured skull and with bruises indicating a sexual assault - her fairy-tale life suddenly froze in time, leaving a nation to wonder what had gone wrong.
Grieving, the girl's parents made hasty arrangements to bury their daughter in Marietta, Ga., on Dec. 31, adjacent to the grave of her half-sister Elizabeth Ramsey, who died in January 1992 in a car accident.
"When a child is lost, one feels that a part of a future promise is gone," said the Rev. W. Frank Harrington at a funeral service near Atlanta. "All of us who are parents fully expect that our children will live long after we are gone."
The Ramseys returned to Boulder on Friday morning and reportedly are staying with friends.
The bizarre tale that has unfolded in the aftermath of the murder has provided occasional details - but few substantive answers - for a curious public.
The case initially was called in to police as a kidnapping after Patsy Ramsey found a rambling, three-page, handwritten ransom note about 5:30 a.m. Dec. 26 on a spiral staircase between the bedrooms upstairs and the basement where JonBenet's body was found.
The house was locked at the time, but the security system apparently was not turned on. After discovering the ransom note, the family called in friends and a minister, and spent several hours waiting with police for a telephone call about their daughter.
But when no word came, a police investigator encouraged - critics say improperly - the Ramseys to thoroughly search their own home. About 1:30 p.m., John and a friend descended to the basement, where they found JonBenet's blanket-wrapped body. John Ramsey has since said he screamed and carried his daughter's body upstairs.
When John and Patsy Ramsey went on Cable News Network on New Year's Day to make their only public statement on the case, they insisted that an unknown killer had robbed them of their daughter.
"There is a killer on the loose," Patsy said tearfully. "We don't know who it is, or if it is a he or a she. But if I were a resident of Boulder, I would tell my friends to keep your babies close to you. There is someone out there."
JonBenet's murder is eerily similar to a killing in the same neighborhood years ago: In November 1972, kidnapper Peter Roy Fisher lured two 11-year-old girls into his van as they walked home from a birthday party. He handcuffed the girls together, sexually assaulted them, shot them, then left them for dead after pushing them over a cliff near Gold Hill. One girl miraculously survived the attack. The second girl, Jessica Schaffner, was killed; she lived at 715 15th St., just a few doors down from the Ramseys' home. Fisher is still serving time for the crime.
But as the investigation by Boulder Police Department detectives entered its second week, it was clear they were giving little credence to the kidnapping story:

  • Sources say the investigation is tightly focused on the home, and that key events associated with the murder appear to have taken place in the home.
  • Police and city of Boulder spokespeople repeatedly have told residents of the city there is no cause to worry that a killer is on the streets.
  • The ransom note appears to have been handwritten inside the house, on paper taken from a pad in the house, casting doubts on whether it was a premeditated crime. Writing in the first portion of the note has been described as "shaky," then improving.
  • The contents of the ransom note indicated that the "kidnappers" were from a foreign country and were protesting business practices of some company, perhaps Access Graphics, of which John Ramsey is CEO.
Questions linger about the methods of the alleged kidnappers: Why kill the girl before giving the Ramseys an opportunity to meet ransom demands? Why not remove the girl from the house? Why request the relatively paltry sum of $118,000? Boulder police sent five detectives to Roswell, Ga., to interview friends and family members of the Ramseys.
Police have pursued interviews and taken tissue samples from many people - including a baby sitter and her boyfriend, not long after the body was discovered - but there has been no indication that they are casting a wide net for suspects (none has been named, as yet).
Inevitably, the apparent lack of police interest in the alleged kidnapping turned increasing public attention on John and Patsy Ramsey, and the couple responded: Each of them hired a Denver attorney - G. Bryon Morgan for John, Patrick J. Burke for Patsy. Both are highly respected, prominent criminal defense attorneys.
They also hired Washington, D.C., publicist Pat Kortin and two private investigators, including Armistead Ellis, who worked on behalf of Nathan Dunlap, who was convicted in the 1994 murders of several people at an Aurora Chuck E. Cheese restaurant.
Then there was the New Year's Day interview on CNN, which for many TV watchers raised more questions than it answered. Patsy alluded to two high-profile recent cases - the murders of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman, for which O.J. Simpson was acquitted; and the murder by Susan Smith of her two young sons in South Carolina - in attempting to explain why people were suspicious.
"It's really interesting," said one family acquaintance, "before that (the interview) we just thought, "How tragic.' Afterward, we didn't know what to think."
Attempts by the Daily Camera to talk with the Ramseys or their publicity agent were unsuccessful last week.
Contrary to numerous press reports, police have had fairly extensive contact with the couple. However, on the advice of their attorneys, the Ramseys have so far chosen not to sit for a videotaped deposition in front of investigators. (Some police sources now say they may have erred in not trying to take such depositions the day the body was found.)
But friends and family fume over any speculation that the Ramseys - especially John - aren't telling the whole truth about what they know.
"It's just devastating. We've lost our little girl and now the press is trying to destroy my son-in-law," said Nedra Paugh, Patsy's mother, who lives in Roswell, Ga. "I don't know why the press is trying to do that. We want people to get on their knees and pray to the Lord that He reveals the facts so that He can stop this horrible, horrible nightmare. We are heartbroken. We are trying to pick up the pieces."
Family and friends also say John Ramsey was a devoted father to JonBenet, even though he was often away on business, coming home frequently only on weekends. He is described by family members as patient and loving with his children, never spanking them or even raising his voice: "He disciplined with love," said Nedra Paugh. He read to his daughter, they went over school papers together, and John tried to eat dinner with the family when he was home.
Friends say Patsy is a trusting person who, despite moving in affluent circles, was casual and easygoing about her home. She increasingly made JonBenet her focus in recent years, shepherding her daughter into the little-known world of child beauty pageants.
"She spent most of her time, most of her real energy, on that little girl," said one friend.
The family has seen its share of tragedy before: In 1992, John's daughter from a previous marriage, Elizabeth Ramsey, was killed in an auto accident during a snowstorm near Chicago. Patsy Ramsey battled ovarian cancer in 1994.
But this holiday season seemed to offer some reasons for celebration for the family. Friends threw a surprise 40th birthday party for Patsy in November (her birthday was Dec. 29) and Patsy seemed to thrive on Christmas traditions: She had as many as eight Christmas trees in different rooms of the house one recent year, and the outside of the home was adorned with plastic candy canes and Santa Claus ornaments.
But perversely, JonBenet's body was discovered in the family's unfinished basement in a wine cellar - not far from where they stored their Christmas decorations.
Now while the family, the community and the nation eagerly await news of the case - and wonder when an arrest will be made - police sources caution that major developments could come slowly.
With the inch-by-inch examination of the Ramsey house complete, the wait is on for the return of forensic evidence - handwriting, blood and hair samples from family members and others who had access to the house, as well as samples of "bodily fluid" collected from the area near JonBenet's body - now in the hands of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
Sources close to the investigation say they don't expect major movement in the case until those results come back - and that could take as long as two or three weeks. But others say the CBI has given the murder of JonBenet its highest priority, and that could mean a development as soon as this week.
But if an arrest is made in the case, one thing seems certain: There will be a sensational trial, and this mostly quiet college town of Boulder will have to prepare to withstand the glare of the national media spotlight for months - or even years - to come.

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Posted by: jameson245 - 05-11-2017, 02:21 PM - Forum: odds and ends - No Replies

JonBenet Ramsey obituary
December 31, 1996
JonBenet Patricia Ramsey of Boulder died Thursday, Dec. 26, 1996, at home, the victim of a homicide. She was 6.
She was born Aug. 6, 1990, in Atlanta, the daughter of John B. Ramsey and Patricia Paugh Ramsey.
She attended High Peaks Elementary School and was a member of St. John's Episcopal Church of Boulder. She moved from Atlanta to Boulder in 1991.
Survivors include her parents of Boulder; maternal grandparents, Don and Nedra Paugh of Atlanta; paternal step-grandparents, Richard and Irene Wills of Sun City, Fla.; two brothers, Burke Ramsey and John Andrew Ramsey, both of Boulder; and a sister, Melinda Ramsey of Atlanta. A sister, Beth Ramsey, died in 1992.
A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. today at the Peachtree Presbyterian Church in Atlanta. Interment will follow in St. James Episcopal Cemetery in Marietta.
Contributions may be made to St. John's Episcopal Church, 1419 Pine St., Boulder 80302 or to High Peaks Elementary School in care of Crist Mortuary, 3395 Penrose Place, Boulder 80301.

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  Hacked computers?
Posted by: jameson245 - 05-10-2017, 05:29 PM - Forum: Police errors - Replies (6)

Hackers invade Ramsey case file
D.A.'s office fears information stolen
Camera Staff Writer
June 13, 1997
Computer hackers may have stolen documents about the JonBenet Ramsey homicide from a computer located in a "war room" set up by the Boulder County district attorney's office, authorities said Thursday.
The Boulder Police Department asked the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to investigate the possible theft.
Someone gained access to a computer containing Ramsey case information about 1 a.m. Saturday, according to city spokeswoman Leslie Aaholm.
Monday morning, detectives discovered an anomaly in a computer inside the "war room" assembled for authorities assigned to the case at the Boulder County Justice Center at Sixth Street and Canyon Boulevard.
About eight hours after her mother reported her kidnapped Dec. 26, 6-year-old JonBenet was found strangled in the basement of the family's upscale Boulder home. In more than five months of investigation, police have yet to name a suspect or make an arrest in the case.
In part because of the little girl's participation in beauty pageants, many of them videotaped, the murder has drawn international attention. Two men were arrested in January for stealing coroner's photos from a private lab and selling them to a supermarket tabloid. Such tabloids continue to feature the case every week.
In the most recent development, investigators did not find any signs of forced entry to the "war room" and immediately called for technical assistance.
Technicians from the Boulder Police Department and the city's information services department conducted an assessment and "determined the likelihood that a theft of information had occurred," Aaholm said.
Officials asked the Colorado Bureau of Investigation for assistance Tuesday afternoon, said CBI inspector Pete Mang.
CBI technicians have completed a preliminary examination of the computer equipment.
"All we're trying to do is determine whether or not anyone had gained access to the computer and what they could have taken," Mang said. "It's still in the investigative stages right now. It's undetermined how long (the investigation will take), it just depends on what we find."
Meanwhile, authorities plan to verify the accuracy of electronic reports by comparing the documents with hard copies, according to Detective Cmdr. John Eller, who helps manage the homicide investigation.
"We don't believe anything has been lost, but we don't know what, if anything, has been copied," Eller said in a statement. "Whether this will have an impact on this case depends on the outcome of the investigation."
Officials intend to upgrade the security on individual computers and the room.
District Attorney Alex Hunter, through spokeswoman Suzanne Laurion, had no additional com
Police moved into the room - formerly the county's Community Corrections Department - on June 2.
Those assigned to the office include a detective supervisor and four detectives from the police department; two attorneys and an investigator from the district attorney's office; and a detective from the Boulder County Sheriff's Department, Aaholm said.
The room has eight work stations, a phone system, computers, covered windows, garbage cans, and at least one printer and paper shredder, according to Laurion.
"The office is protected by electronic security," Aaholm said. "There is a metal detector to go into the Justice Center, so there is security in that entire building. The building is not open after hours to the general public."
The possible theft may influence the public's view of the Boulder Police Department, said David Kaplan, a criminal defense attorney and a former president of the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar.
"Fundamentally in what has been termed a "war room' you would assume that the Boulder Police Department would be capable of maintaining the security of the investigation," Kaplan said. "The inability to make sure that their documents are secured does not speak well of the department."
The effect of the potentially stolen documents on the homicide investigation depends on the content of the material, Kaplan noted.
"I'm sure that the Boulder police and district attorney's office don't want all of their thought processes communicated to the public at large," Kaplan said. "Even if it doesn't compromise the investigation, it will impact the confidence that everybody has - including the Ramseys - in the investigators. Hopefully, the information released won't further unjustifiably compromise the Ramseys' reputation.

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  Kane brought in Foster's info
Posted by: jameson245 - 05-10-2017, 05:27 PM - Forum: Grand Jury Indictments - No Replies

Grand jury to examine work of Vassar linguist

By Matt Sebastian
Camera Staff Writer

The grand jury investigating the JonBenét Ramsey murder apparently will review the work of a controversial linguist who concluded the 6-year-old's mother wrote the ransom note left in the family home.
Although he has not testified before the secret panel, Vassar College professor Donald Foster said he and prosecutor Michael Kane, who is presenting the case to the grand jury, have been discussing the matter.
"I've been in communication about how my work should best be presented but was asked not to discuss it," Foster said, declining to elaborate.
While handwriting analysis has indicated that Patsy Ramsey may have written the note, investigators apparently have not reached a definitive conclusion.
But a source close to the case told the Daily Camera last fall that Foster compared the language of the ransom note to Patsy Ramsey's writings and concluded JonBenét's mother penned the 2½-page note.
In fact, officials attending a two-day presentation of the case that detectives made to prosecutors in June called Foster's evidence crucial to the police theory of the crime, the source said.
Yet six months before going to work for Boulder police, Foster wrote to Patsy Ramsey, saying he believed "absolutely and unequivocally" that she was innocent.
Surprised police and prosecutors didn't find out about Foster's letter until several days after the June case presentation.
Last fall, when news of his letter to Patsy Ramsey surfaced, Foster refused to elaborate on his apparently contradictory analysis.
"I think that will be entirely explained in due course," Foster said in October.
Suzanne Laurion, the Boulder County district attorney's spokeswoman, declined to comment Thursday on Foster's involvement with the grand jury investigation.
An English professor at Vassar, Foster gained notoriety by linking Theodore Kaczynski to the Unabomber Manifesto and determining that Newsweek columnist Joe Klein was the anonymous author of the political novel "Primary Colors."
On Dec. 26, 1996, JonBenét Ramsey was found beaten and strangled in the basement of her parents' 15th Street home, about eight hours after Patsy Ramsey reportedly discovered the ransom note demanding $118,000 in exchange for the girl's safe return.
Boulder County's grand jury has been hearing evidence in the slaying since mid-September. JonBenét's parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, remain under suspicion in the case. They have vehemently maintained their innocence.

January 29, 1999

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  Santa Bear
Posted by: jameson245 - 05-10-2017, 05:26 PM - Forum: odds and ends - Replies (2)

New twist in Ramsey case
Investigators ask public to help identify stuffed toy in photo
By Matt Sebastian
Camera Staff Writer

Boulder County District Attorney Alex Hunter, in a highly unusual move, appealed to the public Thursday to help identify a stuffed bear somehow connected to the JonBenét Ramsey murder investigation.
With no explanation of the toy's role in the 2-year-old investigation, the district attorney's office posted a photograph on the Internet of the furry white bear, dressed in a Santa Claus suit.
Investigators are trying to determine the bear's manufacturer and where such a stuffed animal could have been purchased in 1996 or earlier.
Such queries seem to imply detectives don't believe the bear belonged to JonBenét and now must find out who bought it and how it came to be in a crime-scene photo, presumably taken in the 6-year-old's bedroom.
"I make this public request for assistance knowing that it will give rise to considerable speculation about the status of the Ramsey case," Hunter said in a prepared statement released Thursday. "I intend to let this speculation take whatever course it will since to confirm or deny theories about what all this means would most certainly damage the ongoing investigation."
Suzanne Laurion, the district attorney's spokeswoman, would not elaborate on where the bear was photographed, whether police seized it as evidence or if the Ramseys have denied owning such a toy.
"We have nothing more to say," Laurion said Thursday.
Six-year-old JonBenét Ramsey was found beaten and strangled in the basement of her parents' Boulder home Dec. 26, 1996.
Police have named no suspects, although JonBenét's parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, remain under suspicion. They repeatedly have denied any involvement in their daughter's death.
Hunter convened the county's grand jury in September to investigate the case. The 12 jurors and five alternates met again Thursday.
A Ramsey attorney also declined Thursday to discuss the mysterious stuffed bear.
Despite having observed police present their entire case last June, at least one member of Hunter's prosecution team was completely unaware of the bear.
"I don't know anything about it," Adams County District Attorney Bob Grant said. "This is the first I've heard of it."
Judging from the grainy photograph, the bear appears to be lying next to a Barbie doll on a bed spread or comforter.
The search warrant affidavit filed in Boulder District Court for the Ramseys' 15th Street home lists no stuffed animals in the inventory of items seized by detectives. A comforter from JonBenét's bed, as well as sheets and a pillowcase, are listed, though.
Denver legal analyst Andrew Cohen believes the district attorney's handling of this situation insinuates the bear is missing.
"If they had the bear, they'd say, 'We have this bear and we want to know where it comes from,' " Cohen said Thursday. "The ambiguity of it all probably suggests that they don't."
But the air of mystery surrounding the toy may not necessarily mean it's connected to the killer.
"You can't leap to the conclusion that the bear was used to lure the little girl out of her bedroom to the basement where she met her death," Cohen said.
Joseph Matthews, a retired Miami Beach homicide investigator, believes detectives are just wrapping up all the loose ends of their case.
"There's a game plan by the defense attorneys to come up with enough reasonable doubt that they could present to the jury if this could ever go to trial," Matthews said.
A stuffed animal that no one can explain could easily be used to raise such doubt and, therefore, must be checked out, the former detective said.
Investigators also could be doing the same thing in their quest to match unidentified DNA found on JonBenét's body and clothing. As recently as this month, detectives continued to take samples in hopes of identifying the unknown genetic material.
"I think they're just covering all the bases now," Matthews said.
According to the DA's office, the bear is about a foot long, with its torso and face covered in white, furry fabric. It's wearing a red Santa jacket, pants and a hat.
The clothing is trimmed along the edges with material that looks like curly lamb's wool. A half-inch-wide black belt is strapped around the bear's stomach. Attached to the belt with a shiny gold loop is brown pouch, about three inches long.
Any information on this specific bear, including photographs of possible matches, should be sent to Hunter, in care of the Boulder County District Attorney's Office, 1777 Sixth St., Boulder 80302

January 29, 1999 |

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  Police want Mills' inttapes
Posted by: jameson245 - 05-10-2017, 05:24 PM - Forum: odds and ends - No Replies

Ramsey tapes wanted by DA

By Matt Sebastian
Camera Staff Writer

Boulder County District Attorney Alex Hunter has requested an unedited version of a University of Colorado journalism professor's interviews with the parents of JonBenét Ramsey.
Suzanne Laurion, Hunter's spokeswoman, said Tuesday that the district attorney asked professor Michael Tracey for the videotapes but has received no response.
Although Tracey was willing to discuss the documentary he co-produced, when contacted Tuesday he wouldn't comment on Hunter's request for the uncut footage.
Boulder police made a similar request to CNN in early 1997 after the cable news network aired an interview with John and Patsy Ramsey — the couple's first media appearance, one that came before the parents even talked extensively to investigators.
CNN complied with that request.
Tracey and two Newsweek reporters sat down with the Ramseys in Atlanta in February to discuss the murder of 6-year-old JonBenét, whose strangled and beaten body was discovered in the Ramseys' Boulder home on Dec. 26, 1996.
A year and a half after the slaying, police have named no suspects. Although JonBenét's parents deny any involvement in the girl's death, police have said the couple remains under suspicion.
Last month, the Ramseys were interviewed for three days by representatives of Hunter's office. Hunter is considering presenting the case to a grand jury, although Laurion said no decision had been made.
The documentary, which Tracey co-produced with a fellow Briton, David Mills, will air Thursday on England's Channel 4.
The CU professor is still seeking an American outlet for the film, which he describes as a criticism of the media coverage of the Ramsey case.
"We insist on maintaining a fairly high level of editorial control of the program that goes out in the U.S.," Tracey said, noting that the networks so far have not acquiesced to that demand.
Should the documentary ever be aired in America, it won't be the same program seen this week in England.
The British version runs about 50 minutes, Tracey said, while the American cut is 75 minutes, which could be aired over an hour and a half with commercials.
The British version also doesn't feature much of the actual interview with John and Patsy Ramsey.
To cut it down in length, Tracey said, "We had to lose something and, ironically, we had to lose them."
The American version of the documentary features "much more" of the interview, which Tracey called "compelling," as well as some unseen home video footage of the family and JonBenét.

July 8, 1998

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  COORS Event center
Posted by: jameson245 - 05-10-2017, 05:23 PM - Forum: odds and ends - Replies (7)

O.J. vets to attend Ramsey review
Boulder police prepare overview of killing for the district attorney
By Thomas Henry Eaton and Matt Sebastian
Camera Staff Writers

When Boulder police present the JonBenét Ramsey murder case to the district attorney next week, two veterans of the O.J. Simpson defense team will be there, along with several Denver area prosecutors and police officers.
About 26 people are expected to observe the case presentation Monday and Tuesday at the Coors Events and Conference Center at the University of Colorado.
Boulder County District Attorney Alex Hunter has said he will decide within 30 days of the presentation whether to grant investigators' request for a grand jury investigation into the unsolved slaying. Six-year-old JonBenét was found dead in her family's basement Dec. 26, 1996, several hours after being reported kidnapped.
Two Simpson alumni, Dr. Henry Lee, director of the Connecticut State Police Forensic Science Laboratory, and Barry Scheck, an attorney famed for his DNA analysis, will bring their insight to Boulder next week.
"I want those people who have been on the case from the beginning and those who bring fresh approaches to analyzing and evaluating the evidence," Hunter said Thursday.
"I want my longtime, trusted advisers there."
To that effect, 10 members of Hunter's staff will be present, including Chief Trial Deputy Peter Hofstrom; assistant district attorneys Bill Wise and Phil Miller; Chief Deputy Pete Maguire; senior trial deputies Trip DeMuth, Mary Keenan and John Pickering; and retired Colorado Springs detective Lou Smit.
Hunter's newest staff member, grand jury specialist Michael Kane, also will attend. Kane reported to work Tuesday and was sworn in by Boulder District Chief Judge Joseph Bellipanni as a deputy district attorney.
Three Denver area district attorneys have been invited as well — Adams County's Bob Grant, Denver's Bill Ritter and Arapahoe County's Jim Peters.
For investigative expertise, Hunter will bring along Tom Haney, a 29-year veteran of the Denver Police Department currently supervising homicide investigations, and Dan Schuler, a witness interview specialist from the Broomfield Police Department.
The Ramsey case will be presented by Detective Cmdr. Mark Beckner and Sgt. Tom Wickman, along with the six detectives still assigned to the investigation.
Beckner and Hunter are scheduled to hold a press conference at the end of the two-day meeting.

Friday, May 29, 1998

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