#Shakedown Stirs Up Old Insights Into JonBenet Ramsey, America’s Most Famous Cold Case, Part 2

What people chose to lie about says a lot.  It offers great insight into their vulnerabilities, their fears and motivations.  There are a number of inconsistencies in the Ramsey’s statements, but let’s focus on just one.  What’s the significance of the bikes?

JB on christmas

While Lou Smit is interviewing John, he asks him how they prepared for Christmas in 1996.  Where were the gifts kept and when did they open them?

From John Ramsey’s Interview with police in 1998:

SMIT: Okay. Did you go to the Barnhill’s to pick up a bike?

JOHN: Yeah, Christmas Eve. We’d given JonBenet a bike; we got Patsy a bike. We were giving Burke a bike but not that year.

This is a specific detail that John remembers and offers up without prompting – they had made a decision that Burke wasn’t getting a bike that year.

JOHN:  Anyway, there was a bike that we put in their basement, and I gone over after the kids mr-barnhill-with-jbs-dogwent to bed to get it to put it under the tree. And Joe went down to the garage and went down to get it and brought it up. I offered to go get it and he said no, he’d go get it himself. I don’t know where it specifically was, whether it was actually in his garage or his basement.

From Websleuths, taken from the Daily Camera on Dec 28, 1996:

“I didn’t see a lot of people over there Christmas Day,” said Barnhill, who had hidden until Christmas Eve the bicycle JonBenet’s father had bought his daughter. “I didn’t see JonBenet with her bike, but I did see (her 10-year-old brother) Burke ride his bike down the lawn there.”

Burke was three years older than JonBenet, and likely had a bike of his own at that stage.  But did he want a new one too?  More importantly, did he want the attention that big gifts tend to bring.  Nobody gushes over a kid opening a random toy.  Who knows, maybe he was even playing with JonBenet’s bike outside.

From John Ramsey’s Interview with police in 1998:

SMIT: You know, I’ve looked at a lot of pictures in regards to this particular case and I can’t remember seeing any bikes. What happened to the bikes?

JOHN: Well, they were in the garage, I guess. JonBenet rode her bike for a moment outside before we went to the White’s; just round the patio. I’m sure that went back in the garage. Patsy’s bike, I don’t know, it could have gone in the garage. I don’t remember.

SMIT: Have you seen it since, Patsy’s bike?

JOHN: Yeah. We have it.

SMIT: (INAUDIBLE) took it?

JOHN: No. We gave, Jonbenet’s bike, we gave away. Patsy’s bike we haven’t (INAUDIBLE).

Now, take note, this whole conversation has been about two bikes.  JonBenet’s and Patsy’s.  John doesn’t pipe in and say if Burke had a bike or where that bike might be.  And Smit had no reason to ask John about Burke’s bike because John told him, Burke didn’t get a bike that year.  Smit moves on to other questioning, but eventually returns to the topic of Christmas Eve, gifts and bikes.  Why?  Because this crime happened on Christmas night.  There’s a good chance the holiday had relevance.  But how?

From John Ramsey’s Interview with police in 1998:

JOHN: Yeah. I don’t remember exactly.  But it was dark, I remember that. Because the lights were on and I remember the starlight. So if we went to five o’clock church that would have been over at six or so. Then we went to dinner and (INAUDIBLE) somewhere around there. I don’t specifically remember the kids going to bed, but I’m sure they went to bed fairly early because they wanted to get up at the crack of dawn. You know, the normal routine was (INAUDIBLE) was as soon as we thought the kids were asleep we got Christmas organized.

SMIT: And how would you do that? What would you do to organize Christmas?

JOHN: Well, we’d get up, haul the presents and put them under the tree. And a lot of the things were not wrapped so the kids had the surprise when they came down. And we put those out and we got the bike.

SMIT: Where would you keep these bikes?

JOHN: They were usually in the basement. That was Patsy’s department. But I think she kept them in that cellar room. We usually kept all of Christmas stuff in there. Our Christmas trees and lights and that stuff, the trim.

SMIT: So you think that somebody would have gone down to get those? Did you go down there?

JOHN: I don’t remember specifically. I mean —

SMIT: Kind of think about that because that’s kind of important. Who was in the basement close to the time of Christmas?

JOHN: Well certainly we both would have been because Patsy did most of her wrapping down there. And that’s where all the present stuff was stored. So in the process of getting ready for Christmas that would certainly have been down there and been in there. The only thing I remember is going over to Joe’s and getting the bike out of his garage. And then after Patsy went upstairs, I had her bike in our garage and I got that out and put it by the tree. And then I went upstairs.

John is still crystal clear with his memory of only two bikes.  He remembers exactly where they hid JonBenet’s, as well as Patsy’s, prior to Christmas day.  If they had gotten a bike for Burke, wouldn’t they have hidden that at the Barnhill’s too?

SMIT: So both bikes then were at the tree. You just took the one from Joe Barnhill and put it by the tree?

JOHN: And brought Patsy’s in from the garage.

SMIT: I was just wondering, like when you brought the bikes back in and Patsy was already in bed and then —

JOHN: Yeah.

A little bit later in the interview, Smit brings up Christmas day again.  For some reason, John’s story suddenly changes.  Unfortunately, Smit, being too smitten with John, doesn’t notice there’s now three bikes, not two.

From John Ramsey’s Interview with police in 1998:

SMIT: Do you remember kind of what the kids got? What she [JonBenet] got?

JOHN: Well JonBenet got a bike. I think Burke got a bike too. It seems like we had three bikes there. JonBenet, I think she got a little doll that was one of these look-a-like dolls that was supposed to look like her. I remember her looking at it and saying, this doesn’t look like me.

SMIT: Was that made specially in a certain spot?

JOHN: Supposedly, I guess. Yeah. That’s a good question. Patsy would know. She got it. It’s one of these – it’s supposed to be a doll that’s made to look like the child.

SMIT: So it’s a specially made item then from a certain kind of store.

JOHN: I believe so, yeah. Patsy, I’m sure, would know specifically where it came from, the details on that. But I seemed to remember her holding it up saying this doesn’t look like me. And she didn’t.

SMIT: And she held it up for you?

JOHN: She did.

SMIT: And can you think of anything else?

JOHN: They always get so much stuff. I guess I don’t remember. It’s always kind of a little bit overloaded with so many things. I remember she did a little (INAUDIBLE) that night and a little jewelry maker wrapped up in little strips of paper and little beads. I remember specifically playing that with her that evening, Christmas day evening.

John peppers his answers with the phrase, I don’t remember, yet he seems to remember a fair amount of details about what JonBenet got for Christmas that year, as well as her reactions.  He even wrote about it in their book The Death of Innocence.

From acandyrose:

“The kids screamed and cheered as they realized that Santa had brought just about everything in their lists.  JonBenet wanted to take her new bike outside for a spin, but Burke suggested, “Let’s get all the other gifts opened first.”  Ah, the wise and experienced big brother.  JonBenet agreed.  They quickly busied themselves playing Santa’s elves and distributing the beautifully wrapped gifts.  JonBenet asked for Burke’s assistance with the name tags since he could read and she couldn’t.  It was the most fun in the world, doling out the gifts and seeing whose pile would become the biggest.”

Once again, we have reference to only JonBenet getting a bike.  Interestingly enough, John mentions Burke’s reaction to JonBenet wanting to take her new toy outside – Burke didn’t want to do that, he wanted to stay in and open other presents… presumably, because he didn’t get a bike too.

Also, isn’t it odd that JonBenet couldn’t read names at the age of six?

img_3140Their book goes on to describe how Patsy doted over JonBenet that morning.  They made a big deal about how they presented the doll to JonBenet.

From acandyrose:

“Patsy rearranged the gifts in JonBenet’s stack so that a very special box would be opened last.  Inside was a My Twinn doll, fashioned to look like JonBenet from pictures Patsy had furnished the dollmaker, with a couple matching outfits so JonBenet and the doll would dress alike.

JonBenet opened the box and examined the doll with a look of curiosity.  “Well, now doesn’t she look like you?” Patsy asked.

JonBenet held the doll at arm’s length and tilted her head slightly.  “I really don’t think she looks that much like me,” she concluded and laid the doll to one side.  She quickly returned to a jewelry craft set, which she had previously opened.  Patsy looked at me, raised her eyebrows, and gave a disappointed shrug.  Sometimes the big gift you had in mind for your kids really wasn’t the hit you had expected.”

Meanwhile, I wonder what Burke is doing on the sidelines while his parents are making a big to-do over a doll and shiny new bike.  I came across an obscure, but very interesting, quote from Joe Barnhill that he gave to a local reporter.

From Websleuths, from the Irish Times 1997:

“It would be heartbreaking if that family was involved. They worshipped her almost as if she were Jesus Christ. The parents are good Christian people. They’re members down at St John’s Episcopalian Church,” Mr Barnhill said, before he excused himself and went back to his mowing.

Fast forward 20 years, and Burke Ramsey just completed a series of interviews for Dr. Phil.  One of the many questions asked was “did you get what you wanted for Christmas?”  Burke doesn’t reply yes or no.  He simply answers “a Nintendo 64.”  That’s the same game Burke grabs on his way out the door on the morning of December 26, when John and Fleet White shuffle him out of the house.   Dr. Phil asks Burke what JonBenet got.  He answers, a big dollhouse, and… “we both got bikes.



For more of #Shakedown’s insights on this case, get a copy of

The Craven Silence.  Available exclusively on Amazon.

The Craven Silence 2 coming in October.




Lin Wood’s Twitter Meltdown

Patsy Ramsey called Wood three years after JonBenet’s death, in the fall of 1999. A grand jury was investigating the parents, and tabloids screamed accusations.  The grand jury ended its work without an indictment, and the Ramseys started suing.

Forums for Justice, Boulder Daily Camera

“Lin Wood is guilty of the same thing that he is laying at the feet of his adversaries, and that is that he’s editing the material for the public,” [Lawrence] Schiller said.

“He is in essence a public-relations expert.”

Lin Wood’s response to the CBS series The Case of: JonBenet Ramsey…

“He knows how to play the game, and the media allows him to play the game,” [Andrew] Cohen [legal analyst for CBS] said.

Wood is an aggressive and zealous attorney, but his efforts are all “window dressing,” “spin” and “pizzazz,” Cohen said before stopping abruptly.

“I better be careful what I say,” he said. “I don’t want him to sue me for libel.” – Forums for Justice, Boulder Daily Camera


“I have a big ego,” Wood admitted. “A lot of lawyers do.”

– Forums for Justice, Boulder Daily Camera


“I’ve had failures,” Wood said. “I didn’t get married four times because I was good at it.”

He hasn’t had many failures in the Ramsey case.

“So far in a court of law, I’ve won every case,” Wood says. “And I’m not worried about losing in the future.”  – Forums for Justice, Boulder Daily Camera

The million dollar question these past two weeks has been… why the hell, after 20 years, did Burke Ramsey come out from under his rock to do an interview?  Let’s be honest, Burke doesn’t exactly present himself as a full deck of cards.  Something everybody close to him is obviously aware of.  So why do it, and why now?  Nick and I have a few of our own opinions regarding that question, which we’ll get to in due time, but as far as why Burke chose Dr. Phil of all people to present his “narrative” to the world… I think the answer to that has become blindingly apparent…

From law.com [July 2016]:

Atlanta libel attorney Lin Wood—who filed the defamation suit last week on behalf of [Dr. Phil] McGraw and his wife, Robin, in Palm Beach County Circuit Court in Florida—says the Enquirer, the Star and other publications of Florida-based American Media Inc. knowingly printed “outrageous lies” about the McGraws, their marriage and their character, and that constitutional press freedom privileges offer “no safe harbor for publishing statements known to be false or manufactured by paid sources.”

Sound familiar?

Among other false claims, Wood said several stories alleged the couple is planning to divorce. “It is these types of lies that the National Enquirer and American Media have been publishing for years while making millions of dollars in the process of so doing,” he said. “The McGraws are determined to stop these lies and the business practice of libel for profit.”

No surprise, in episode 3 of Dr. Phil’s series with Burke, he defends the Ramsey’s decision to hire lawyers rather than work with the police.



#Shakedown Stirs Up Old Insights Into JonBenet Ramsey, America’s Most Famous Cold Case, Part 1

Judith Phillips knew the Ramseys for 13 years.  They first became friends in Atlanta, then judith-phillipsthe relationship continued after the families moved to Boulder.  Not only was Judith a family friend, she was also a photographer who frequently took photos of JonBenet and Patsy.  Over the years, Judith got to know the Ramsey kids fairly well.

These past few weeks, Judith has appeared on a handful of specials about the JonBenet case. Depending on which special you watch, you get two different sides of Judith’s story; the Ramsey friendship and then post.

Initially, she seemed sympathetic. Talking about how difficult it was to watch her friend suffer from cancer.  But the more she talked, the more it became apparent that Judith wasn’t fooled by the Ramsey veneer.

How well do any of us really know the Ramseys?  In order to unravel this crime, understanding the family dynamic is where we need to start.

Judith piqued our interest as one source for insights, especially when she revealed that after speaking to the police [post JonBenet’s death], the Ramseys suddenly cut her off.  She went so far as to say it was frightening how angry they got. After that, the 13 year friendship was suddenly over.


From the 1997 People Magazine article, Under Suspicion:  patsy-2

“She put her house up for some kind of tour [in 2014] at Christmas.  In fact, she put her pageant dress on her bed with the crown, so people could see it.”  

“I’ve met a lot of families in the South where they just sweep all the [bad] stuff under the rug and they create this perfect outward image,” Judith declares. “Patsy was a Miss America contestant.  And image building is the whole thing in the Miss America contest.  She does it well.”

Patsy loved extravagant things.  She loved to decorate not just her homes in Charlevoix and Boulder, but also herself.

But in rooms behind closed doors, there was clutter, tossed clothing, urine soiled sheets and scattered toys.  Their house was a mess.  I was shocked the first time I saw the crime scene photos. What is clutter a sign of?  Often, anxiety and depression.

Patsy had hired hands for literally everything that needed to get done in and around the home – the cleaning, the decorating, the gardening, the fix-it projects.  If somebody wasn’t hired for a task, it simply didn’t get done.  Patsy also rarely cooked.  John told investigators in his 1998 interview that several nights a week they’d go out to dinner.  JonBenet didn’t fuss about it because she liked to socialize, but John said that Burke didn’t like to go out. He always preferred to stay in.  Regardless, night after night, the parents dragged their kids out to eat.

All of it certainly didn’t fit the picture of domestic bliss. It was more the portrait of a family at their breaking point – stressed, divided and sick – trying desperately to hide it all from the world.  Patsy found some escape in religion and JonBenet.

“She believed that this cross healed her”


From the 1997 People Magazine article, Under Suspicion:

On Sept. 2 Patsy was watching Larry King Live.  In the wake of Princess Diana’s death, King was hosting a celebrity rant against stalkerazzi, and Patsy charged headlong into the fray.  “She jumped out of her chair and started calling,” Nedra reports.  “I said, ‘What are you going to say?’ She said, “The Lord will direct my words” King took her call, and she launched into an on-air diatribe castigating the tabs:  “I would ask in the memory of my daughter, JonBenet, America’s people’s princess – and the beautiful people’s princess of Great Britain – to ask everyone worldwide to boycott.”


John was the polar opposite of Patsy.  Quiet, reserved and hard-working.  How do two img_4006people, so completely different, remain united?  The investigators on the scene on the morning of December 26, said they thought the Ramseys were either separated or divorced because they basically ignored each other the entire time JonBenet was “missing.” They didn’t comfort each other during the crisis.

Judith says after Patsy went into remission, the divide between Patsy and John was apparent.  Any affection the couple had previously had for each other seemed to be non-existent.  In an interview in 1998, John told investigators that intimacy was painful for Patsy and their relationship suffered, not just from that, but from the change in Patsy’s moods.

The possibility of John having an affair had been raised, and John was questioned about that by investigators.  It wasn’t so far-fetched considering he had previously had a 2 year affair during his first marriage to Lucinda.

Her name was Doreen Williams. The affair would eventually break up his marriage.  While John admits it was his fault that the marriage ended, he pointed to his mistress as being overly aggressive, and somewhat of a stalker.  He casually evaded responsibility by making it seem like he was kinda forced into the relationship.  A sign that John was also willing to do and say whatever necessary to keep appearances up.

On Christmas Day, while JonBenet and Burke were playing with their toys and friends, John left his family to go tinker with his plane for over three hours. I’ve often wondered if that’s where he actually went.  On one of the most important religious holidays of the year, John left his wife at home to tend to a houseful of kids. Why?  Did he have another agenda, or person to visit?  Or, did he simply need breaks away from his family?

img_4001What’s intriguing is that John and Patsy stayed together after JonBenet’s death.  A large percentage of marriages break up after the loss of a child because of guilt and resentment, and an inability to move on.  The individuals are so swallowed up by their grief, they have no energy left to focus on a partner.  But not John and Patsy.  They seemed to get closer after JonBenet’s death.  What was the driving force that suddenly brought them back together and kept them devoted during the worst time of their lives?

Here’s a clue:  one of their requested conditions for meeting with the police was that they always be interviewed together, never apart.  [Their request was denied.]

From the 1997 People Magazine article, Under Suspicion:

In Boulder the Ramsey fairy tale would begin to unravel.  On Jan. 8, 1992, John’s oldest daughter, Elizabeth, died from injuries suffered in an auto accident near Chicago.

“She was sweet and gentle, just like her daddy,” says Shirley Brady Burke’s ex-nanny. Devastated, John Ramsey “became more introverted” after she died, according to Jim Marino.  “Work became his pacifier, his distractor.”  In 1992, John’s father died.  And the couple was shaken again in 1993 when Patsy was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer, which had spread to her lymph nodes.


img_3935Where do we start with Burke?  Was he just a shy, awkward kid?  Is it really that simple?  Or, was his loner personality, the video games, the laughing and totally care free attitude about the murder of his sister, a symptom of something far worse?

Why does a child smear feces in their home [more than once]?  When investigators searched the Ramsey house after JonBenet’s murder, they found a box of chocolates that she had received as a gift with feces smeared on the outside of the box.  What message was Burke sending to his sister?

From the CBS docu-series, The Case of: JonBenet Ramsey:

img_3084“When Burke was 4 he was the apple of his parents’ eyes.  He could do no wrong.  He got the full treatment of gifts, clothes and trips and you name it.  But then when JonBenet came along, especially as she got older and her destiny was to be in the pageant system, that attention that Burke had switched from him to JonBenet.”

“I think Burke had a bad temper.  It’s like he had a chip on his shoulder.  He had hit JonBenet.  Before the murder, I would have to say, it was probably a year and a half.  They were playing in the yard and apparently he hit her with the golf club, right here [points to area under eye].  She [Patsy] says the kids were playing, Burke lost his temper and hit her with a golf club.”

The Ramseys, however, told police in their interviews that the golf club incident was purely an accident.  How many other times had Burke hit JonBenet?

More to follow in Part 2


Excerpt from The Craven Silence #JonBenetRamsey

From the chapter…

Odd Ducks and Duct Tape

On Wednesday, April 19, 2006 John and Patsy Ramsey appeared on a Hawaiian based art2atelevision show called Connection Point.  The couple were interviewed by Pastor Wayne Cordeiro, the founding pastor of New Hope Christian Fellowship in Honolulu.

Cordeiro, a charismatic man of God with a passion for family and Christian family values boasts a weekend attendance of 11,500 members. But were the Ramsey’s – accused by some of murdering their own daughter – really the model American parents Christians ought to turn to for inspiration on Christian parenting?

Were the Ramseys the best folks to give advice on typical family issues such as preparing for pageants, making meals at home, how to deal with bedwetting and shit smearing and their speciality – how to rationalise a botched kidnapping in your own home?

Patsy on bedCordeiro seemed to think having “the most hated parents in America” talk about their faith might inspire and uplift his flock.  Perhaps the church is no different from the news – no news is worse than bad news?  But by speaking to the Ramseys, Cordeiro was certainly assured of getting a lion’s share of attention for his efforts. Christians and heathens alike were likely to tune into his interview. Perhaps he could gain a few converts among the burgeoning true crime community?

Interestingly in that April interview, Cordeiro – who seems surprised when John says JonBenét was found in their home the same day of her kidnapping – asks Patsy whether the beauty pageants made JonBenét a target. 

If this was a conventional case the answer would be conventional too.  It would be a simple “yes”, wouldn’t it?  The pageants had somehow attracted the wrong sort of attention, and this is what cost the little girl her life.  Most people making a cursory examination of the case tend to stumble over this obvious assumption first.  But let’s see how Patsy explains the juxtaposition of pageants and a kidnapping.

Patsy defends herself and says “truthfully, we hadn’t done the pageants very much [just two and a shoot in the week before she was murdered]…”  

The strange thing is Patsy sees no connection whatsoever. She says the crowds attending these pageants were tiny – a dozen people perhaps. John adds that the people who attended these pageants were hardly killers or kidnappers – they were grandparents and parents.

This is another example of what’s so weird about this case.

While I understand Patsy and John both trying to make the case justifying their own parenting choices, what I don’t understand is how they can continue pushing the routine of a sort of paedophile non-paedophile kidnapper at the same time.  If it wasn’t the pageants, if the pageants didn’t attract the unknown intruder to JonBenét, what did?

John Ramsey, deferring to…

The Craven Silence is available exclusively on Amazon