pic The case of jonbenet ramseyPresented to: Rehka IyerpicThe Ramsey’sHomeSubmitted by:Sarah Pinsonneault9845735The first images of JonBenet Ramsey that were broadcast to the world showeda pretty little girl in heavy make-up and flamboyant costumes paradingacross a stage.
At the time, the media described her as being “a paintedbaby, a sexualized toddler beauty queen. ” From the day in 1996, whenJonBenet was found dead in the basement of her home in Boulder Colorado,the Boulder police and a large proportion of the world’s media believedthat her parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, were responsible for her death. Prior to the murder of their daughter, John and Patsy Ramsey’s life seemedalmost ideal. Patsy, a former beauty queen, was married to a successfulbusinessman.
They had moved to Boulder in 1991 where John ran a computercompany that had started in his garage. The Ramsey’s readily adapted totheir new life in Colorado and made several new friends. They built a largehouse in an elite suburb, and entertained often. Their last party inBoulder, just three days before the murder, was particularly happy. Over ahundred guests were present at a Christmas function with a difference asthe Ramsey’s had good reason to celebrate. Patsy had warded off cancer andJohn had been voted Boulder’s “businessman of the year.
“According to the Ramsey’s testimony, they drove home the few blocks from aparty at a friend’s house on Christmas night. JonBenet had fallen asleep inthe car so they carried her up the stairs to her room and put her to bed at9:30 pm. Shortly after, Patsy and John went to bed as they planned to getup early to prepare for a trip to their holiday home on Lake Michigan. The next day, Patsy woke just after 5:00 am and walked down the stairs tothe kitchen. At the foot of the staircase, she found a two-and-a-half pageransom note that said that JonBenet had been kidnapped by a “small localfaction” and was being held for a ransom of $118,000. She was to beexchanged for the money later the same day.
The letter warned that if themoney were not delivered, the child would be beheaded. Patsy yelled to Johnas she ran back up the stairs and opened the door to JonBenet’s room. Finding she wasn’t there they made the decision to phone the police. The911 dispatcher recorded Patsy’s call at 5:25 am.
The police arrived at thehouse seven minutes later. The uniformed police officers that attended were openly suspicious from thestart. The Ramsey’s, treating the demand seriously, were already takingsteps to raise the ransom. The note said that the kidnappers would callJohn Ramsey between 8-10 am but no call came. It was while the police werewaiting for the call that they made several critical mistakes.
They did notconduct a proper search of the house, the area was not sealed off andfriends were allowed to walk in and out at their leisure. No moves weremade to protect any forensic evidence. The scale of their mistakes becameapparent later. On December 27, the Rocky Mountain News quoted anAssistant District Attorney as saying, “It was very unusual for a kidnapvictim’s body to be found at home – it’s not adding up. ” According toCharlie Brennan, the journalist who wrote the story, the police had alsoindicated to him that they held a strong belief that the parents wereresponsible.
Julie Hayden, a television reporter for Denver’s Channel 7,also covered the story on the same day and drew the same conclusion. Shelater explained that from her first exposure to the case, the police hadmade it very clear that they were not scouring the area looking for “somemad kidnapper” but instead, concentrating their efforts on John and PatsyRamsey. While spokespersons for the Ramsey’s have contended that the Boulder policefailed to investigate anyone but the Ramsey’s, this is untrue. There was awide-ranging investigation. Other suspects:1.
All present and former employees of Access Graphics (and their spouses) -which had 360 employees in July 1997 – were asked to give handwritingsamples. 2. People who had been in the Ramsey house on Dec. 23 were questioned andinvestigated.
3. The man who had played Santa on that day (for the third year running),67-year-old Bill McReynolds, a retired University of Colorado journalismprofessor, provided handwriting, blood and hair samples to police. 4. His wife Janet, 64, who’d been a film and drama critic for the BoulderDaily Camera for 10 years, also gave handwriting, hair and blood samplesafter police learned she had written an award-winning play in 1976 about ayoung girl who was tortured and sexually abused for months, before beingmurdered in a basement.
It was based on a true story from Indiana. (Coincidentally, on Dec. 26, 1974, a 9-year-old daughter of the McReynoldswas abducted and forced to watch as another young girl was molested. Thetwo girls were then released and no one was ever arrested.
)The McReynolds told police that they both went to bed at 8 p. m. the nightJonBent was murdered. McReynolds, who had allowed his Santa-like beard togrow for years, eventually shaved it off and he and his wife moved to theEast Coast. 5.
Then there’s Randy Simons, the 46-year-old professional photographerwho was a veteran of the beauty pageant circuit. In October 1998, Simonswas arrested while walking nude down a rural road in Colorado. When adeputy sheriff walked up to Simons, before the deputy said a word, Simonsblurted, “I didn’t kill JonBent. ” Simons had taken some of the best-knownpictures of JonBent, and told authorities he felt his career as aphotographer was ruined because he had been questioned in connection withher death.
The Ramsey’s had reneged on an offer during the spring of 2000 tovoluntarily submit to polygraph exams. On April 11, the Boulder PoliceDepartment had accepted John and Patsy Ramsey’s public offer with certainconditions to take polygraph exams regarding the death of their daughter. During the next month, from May 6 through 17, they underwent “a series” ofpolygraph exams administered by nationally prominent polygraphists of theirchoosing. The first indication that all was not well at the Ramsey household tookplace three days before JonBent’s murder. At 6:48 p.
m. , Dec. 23, 1996, a911 call was placed from the Ramsey home to the Boulder Police Department. The call was terminated before an emergency dispatcher could speak to thecaller. Six minutes later the police called the Ramsey home, but got avoice-mail message, so a police officer was dispatched to the house. Nopolice report was filed, so one must presume the officer was told that thecall was in error, and was satisfied with the explanation.
While initially vowing they would do everything in their power to cooperatewith police so the killer of JonBent could be caught, the Ramsey’s erectedbarriers that would stifle the investigation to this day. The major findings of the autopsy, however, were that she died of ligaturestrangulation, with a furrow surrounding her neck, and cranial damage -including an 8-inch long skull fracture, with a piece of skull nearly aninch square broken loose. However, there was no laceration of the scalp, aswould be expected if she was struck with a flashlight or a golf club. Thewound would be more likely the result of her head being bashed against atoilet or a bathtub. It was determined that the strangulation wasaccomplished by the murderer using part of the handle on one of Patsy’spaint brushes to tighten the cord around JonBent’s throat to choke her todeath.
There were also abrasions on her back and legs consistent with herhaving been dragged. There was bloody mucus under the tape, and a perfect set of the child’s lipprints, which did not indicate a tongue impression or resistance,indicating that JonBent had not been alive when the tape was affixed toher mouth. The Ramsey’s have vigorously promoted the theory that an intruder murderedJonBent. The first fact militating against this possibility is the allegedabsence of footprints in the snow around the house. Plus there was no signof a forced entry. One of the fact’s pointing at the family is the ransomnote.
The person who breaks into a house to kidnap a child is apprehensive– fearful lest any sound wake the parents. Such intruders tend to comeprepared — complete with a ransom note if they intend to leave one. The police quickly eliminated John Ramsey as author of the ransom note, butafter a series of handwriting samples from Patsy Ramsey (five altogether),the police refused to eliminate her as the possible author of the note. Det. Thomas a handwriting specialist said that after studying all thewriting samples “I believe I am going to conclude the ransom note was thework of a single individual: Patsy Ramsey.
” Thomas explains that histextual analysis work is based on “much more than one letter looking likeanother. Even the slightest things, such as the use of periods or the spacebefore the start of a paragraph, could create a distinctive linguisticfingerprint “We can’t falsify who we are, Sentence structure, word usage,and identifying features can be a signature,” says Det. Thomas. Thomas hadstudied Patsy Ramsey’s writing samples from both before and after themurder of her daughter. According to Thomas he noted to the investigators”Not only did certain letters change, but her entire writing style seemedto have been transformed after the homicide.
There were new ways ofindenting, spelling, and writing out long numbers that contrasted with herearlier examples, and she was the only suspect who altered her usualpreferences when supplying writing samples to the police. “These findings alone, considering they were coming from the top-mostauthority in the nation in textual analysis — the same expert who hadunmasked the anonymous author of the sensational best-seller Primary Colorsand that the FBI had used to identify Theodore Kacznski as the Unabomber –would have been more than enough evidence for the Boulder Grand Jury toreturn an indictment against Patsy Ramsey, but the Boulder DistrictAttorney’s office chose not to permit Foster to testify before the grandjury. A year after JonBenet’s murder, police basically have two theories aboutthe case:That someone entered the Ramsey’s house through unknown means, possiblysexually abused then brutally, yet silently, killed JonBenet, hid her body,took the time to write a long ransom note, then left unheard and unseen;Or that someone who was in the house that night committed the horriblecrime. However the investigation is concluded, police will have three options:make an arrest, ask for a grand jury investigation, or deactivate the caseuntil new information is obtained.
As things stand, it is highly unlikely that anyone will ever be charged orprosecuted for the murder of JonBent Ramsey – unless someone were to comeforward and confess. Time is on the Ramseys side. When the grand jury failed to indict them,they passed their gravest test. In the Ramsey’s’ book, The Death ofInnocence, they describe in great detail the fear they had of the grandjury and how they expected an indictment against both of them. They were sosure they would be indicted that they returned to Boulder in the daysbefore the grand jury was mandated to finish its deliberations.
They wanteddesperately to avoid the ignominy of being arrested in Atlanta and forcedto spend several days in the Fulton County Jail before being extradited toColorado. Both had a deep revulsion to the image of their being arrestedand handcuffed. Above all, they did not want to be handcuffed. They wantedto be able to just turn themselves in to the District Attorney’s office andhave bond posted immediately for their release. Chances that the new district attorney, Mary Keenan, will convene anothergrand jury are not strong, but not so fast, there is another shoe thatcould drop.
The Ramsey case is spawning a number of lawsuits, both criminaland civil, and, no doubt, more will be filed down the road. Two civil suitsthat are perking their way through the legal system could be of particularvalue in breaking the case open if they make it into a courtroom.picThe Ramsey’s talk with CNN on New Years DayBottom of Form