The First Words Spoken
“I couldn’t stand all that waiting then.”
Coming this year…
Hours before publishing our latest book, I spoke with Loen Kelley, a producer at HLN. HLN is an affiliate of CNN and a major contributor to the Mainstream Media narrative surrounding the JonBenét Ramsey case.
Kelley had gotten wind that we might have valuable information; they wanted to know exactly what we had. But essentially what they wanted boiled down to this:
How about an arsenal? We have a mountain of evidence. The Ramsey case is the Mount Everest of criminal cases. Just as Mount Everest is the world’s tallest mountain, so too is the Ramsey case the world’s tallest mountain of criminal evidence.
We’ve completed two trilogies on this case with a third trilogy to go. How are 9 narratives possible on one case about one little girl? Easy. Alex Hunter, the Boulder District Attorney at the time described the evidentiary mountain of the Ramsey case as greater “than any I’ve ever prosecuted in 29 years.” Of course Hunter went on to cite a lack of evidence when he railroaded the case in August 1999.
Boulder police interviewed more than 600 people in this case; investigated over 140 potential suspects, reviewed more than 3,400 letters and 700 telephone tips and logged 1400 items of evidence. The case file in 2000 was approximately 40,000 pages long. That’s not 40 000 words – 40,000 pages. That’s 80 individual 500 page paperback books – all 80 filled not with fluff but wall to wall with facts and evidence. And that was 17 years ago.
In terms of 80 paperbacks of evidence, what exactly is a smoking gun? Is it a True Bill stating that the Ramseys are accused of being accessories not only to a first degree murder, but a murderer also considered guilty of child abuse? Not sexual abuse, child abuse.
Is the smoking gun Burke Ramsey saying he often slept with his sexualized sister in his sister’s bed? Is the smoking gun a life-size doll found naked in the playroom that gave a little boy weird ideas about his sister? Is the smoking gun the cutesy photos taken surreptitiously of JonBenét in the laundry room of the basement? Is the smoking gun a book providing a blueprint for murder, written by an FBI profiler, that was found and photographed in the house and then disappeared? Is the smoking gun a moment where – confronted with the incriminating photograph 17.7 – Patsy Ramsey burst out crying? Or is the smoking gun the levitating Ransom Note – pieces of paper floating from one side of the Ramsey home to the other, pages the Ramseys admit they hardly read and never touched.
But HLN say they want something tangible – like a solid piece of new DNA evidence. They want a magic trick where KAZAM here’s the DNA and it points to….
It’s the 21st century and there’s a reason 20 year old unsolved cases are unsolved. It’s because we’re not paying attention. Because we’ve lost the capacity to “listen carefully.” We want a quick fix solution that’s no longer than 140 characters in a Tweet.
Sometimes the most obvious truth is the most recondite. The biggest smoke from the biggest gun occurred right at the beginning of this case. The first police officer on the scene arrived at the Ramsey home before 06:00, before dawn. He noticed trace snow had covered the exterior of the home, and surrounded all of it. Nowhere was there any evidence of footprints leading away from the house. The officer knew before entering the house that the crime had been reported as a kidnapping. You’re approaching a home at more than an hour and twenty minutes before the crack of dawn with the idea of someone stealing a child out of the home. The first thing you’re going to notice is why that doesn’t make any sense. There are no footprints on the virgin snow leading to the front door, and no footprints anywhere else.
I said to the producer [who has an affiliation with CNN’s Jean Casarez / John Ramsey interview that aired this week] why not directly address what John Ramsey said on that show – that he didn’t know he was indicted as an accessory to murder, and that he doesn’t even know what “accessory” means. Wouldn’t the public appreciate that – a real response to obvious misdirection? Can you guess what the producer said? It was something along the lines of – “I heard about that, but didn’t really watch the show.” Then reiterated they’re looking for some type of solid, physical evidence. But this is a circumstantial evidence case! Ugh.
These are the types of conversations – that although make you want to bang your head against the wall – ultimately reinforce the work we’re doing.
You want a smoking gun? How about this. Neither Patsy’s nor John’s fingerprints are on the Ransom Note. But one fingerprint was found – it belonged to the technician who examined the note. Make sense?
The Ramseys are the ones who found it, read it and moved it, according to their various versions of events. Was this a case of possibly making the scene a little bit “too clean?”
And then this… on January 1, 1997, when the Ramseys did their CNN interview, Cabell asks John what he did immediately after finding the Ransom Note. John says this:
And Jean Casarez adds [as a voiceover clip] “there was no sign of JonBenét in her brother, Burke’s, room.”
Yet, when questioned by police just four months later, Patsy completely contradicts what John has just said.
From BOULDER POLICE INTERVIEW April 1997 police interview:
TRUJILLO: Okay. Do you have an idea if JonBenét moved over towards Burke’s room at all that night? Slept in his room?
PATSY: Um, I can’t remember, can’t remember.
TRUJILLO: Okay. Is that something that she would normally do?
There’s a reason murders are tougher to figure out than election results are to predict. The folks who commit murder have a huge stake in getting away with it. They don’t want any obvious evidence out there, so evidence is destroyed, removed, and what can’t be removed is clouded over with confusion and murk.
This case is a very murky case, with a lot of murk hanging over the simplest things like:
Unlike HLN, we don’t try to pluck a single smoking gun out of the ether. We look at everything – all the latest interviews, the search warrants, the historical record of police reports, the medical reports, the books, the documentaries, etc. – and then we conduct our own interviews, we speak to our own experts and we crystallize it all into a psychology that makes sense.
Only when we’re satisfied we’ve answered “Why?” in an authentic way, in a way that rings true, do we consider our work done. That’s our process. The vast majority of reviews from the reading public validate our work as enlightening and revelatory, more than anything else that’s out there including Ramsey Apologia, “definitive” books, and experts involved directly with the case.
As for those experts – there have been legendary detectives assigned to this case that have been defeated by their own shortsightedness. There have been experts in DNA that, it turns out, have made a mess. There have been people at the helm of this case that buried it. There has been a circus of fools running ragged over a case that is complicated but not unsolvable.
We believe we’ve solved the psychology of this case. As far as we know, no one else has. Some have made a few stabs at who and how, but none have addressed why. We have.
Our work needs exposure. We can’t put it any more simply than that. It needs exposure, not for us, for JonBenét.
Coming in 2017…
AMY: Do you feel you know who killed JonBenet Ramsey?
JUROR: I highly suspect I do.
AMY: And who do you think that is?
JUROR: I wish not to answer.
Did ABC really think viewers would be OK with that? That they could name a show “JonBenet: Grand Juror Speaks,” have a logo with those exact words emblazoned at the bottom of the screen for most of the hour…. Then have the juror say, nah, not gonna answer the one thing everyone wants to know. WTF!
I should have known better than to get my hopes up with the juror when I saw that Lawrence Kobilinsky was being dragged out of his crypt to [yet again] comment on the misleading DNA. Here’s what he said on A&E back in September:
Inescapable? Well whoever it was, they’ve escaped detection for 20 years. Clearly that evidence isn’t exactly rock solid. But for a moment 20/20 dangles a carrot and makes the viewer think that perhaps Kobilinsky has had a change of heart. They declare that they’ve obtained the DNA reports – guess what, so have a lot of other people. After he pores over them in a bit of a drumroll moment, and admits the two spots of Touch DNA on JonBenet’s clothing are ‘not perfect’ nor would he say the spots are a ‘match,’ Kobilinsky says Mary Lacy was right to exonerate the Ramseys. Dr. Baden doesn’t agree. Neither do several other experts. Neither does the current DA, Stan Garnett. Nor do we.
As for the mysterious grand juror, are there any insights we can glean from him at all?
AMY: Before you became a grand juror, what did you know about the JonBenet Ramsey case?
JUROR: Very little. I saw that there was a little girl dressed up with, in my opinion, a sexual persona and it disgusted me and I turned off the TV.
Interesting that he was so turned off by the pageants. I wonder if his opinion of that changed during the proceedings or if they played any part in the indictments. We wouldn’t know, because unfortunately Amy Robach only asked him three questions, at least that we got to see.
He next shares what it was like to be in that basement when the jurors were taken on a field trip to see the house. His response seems to support the same thing both housekeepers, Linda Hoffman Pugh and Linda Wilcox, said about the unlikeliness of an intruder committing this crime.
JUROR: In the basement where she was found it was actually kind of an obscure layout. And you had to, to go into, you come down the stairwell, and you had to go into another room to find a door that was closed. It was a very eerie feeling. It was like, somebody had been killed here.
The next question I found a bit ridiculous. We’ve all known since 2013 that the grand jury voted to indict on two charges, so what’s the point of asking this?
AMY: Was there enough evidence to indict John and Patsy Ramsey of a crime?
JUROR: Based upon the evidence that was presented I believe that’s correct.
This for me was probably the most interesting answer of the entire [brief] exchange. The way he says ‘based upon the evidence that was presented’ you get the sense that he feels he voted accordingly but perhaps not as he would have liked had there been other information given or factors met. And if that’s the case, what was missing for him?
AMY: (voiceover) But did he believe the Ramseys would be convicted?
JUROR: No. There is no way that I would be able to say ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ this is the person.
He doesn’t hesitate at all on this answer. But what’s frustrating is Robach has asked him a pretty vague question. One would assume, when she asked him if the Ramseys would be convicted, she meant for the charges the grand jury voted to indict them on. But she doesn’t exactly clarify that. And his answer seems to suggest he was referring to which of them [John or Patsy] committed the actual murder.
Hasn’t that always been the problem with this case though… trying to pin “murder” on only one of the three? In our narratives we explain precisely why this doesn’t work.
AMY: There was no smoking gun?
JUROR: Not to the point of knowing exactly what happened, or exactly who was involved, no. And you are the district attorney, if you know, if you know that going in, it’s a waste of taxpayer dollars to do it.
It’s a pretty cryptic and also contradictory interview, isn’t it? He agrees there was evidence to indict, so he clearly feels there were crimes committed that were provable. But he also feels strongly there wasn’t enough for a conviction, but a conviction of what and of who? Murder, accessory, neglect? We just don’t know.
He does seem to think he knows who the killer is. So why would it be a total waste for a jury to hear this case? Isn’t that where justice is supposed to play out – in a courtroom? There was obviously enough of something presented for him to positively think that he knows who did it. But maybe that’s where the clue lies, in all of this silence.
I don’t think it’s a stretch to assume he believes the killer is one of the family members. Even though we don’t know exactly what evidence was presented, we do know who [most] of the witnesses were and they were all Ramsey-centric. So, which one of the three is it? Does his hesitation stem from the very same reason the records remain so tightly sealed after all these years?
I didn’t have much hope for the CNN special, to be honest. With the usual suspects like Pam Barday, Bob Whitson and clips of Lou Smit talking about the broken window that John could care less about on December 26th, you can expect Apologia. At least in their marketing efforts they didn’t hoodwink us like the 20/20 special did. We’ll get to that program in our next blog.
If you want a sense of how fluffy this “special report” really is, just visit Jean Casarez’s Twitter feed where you’ll find a picture of her and John together draped by a beautiful, sweeping background. Doesn’t exactly look like a murder interrogation; more like somebody who’s awe-struck and didn’t do their homework.
Jean sends out another tweet that says: “It was really amazing to learn so much more about this case…” Whatever she learned, she must have learned it off camera, because from what I saw, it was rehash and nonsense. She mostly sat doe-eyed through the interview with John, never once challenging him on things like why his and Patsy’s fingerprints are absent from the ransom note that they were man-handling on the morning of December 26th.
How about this gem:
When John is asked about being indicted for abuse/neglect, he admits, he should have been better about locking the doors and checking the alarm. Does John really think we’re that dumb? Do people really get indicted for feloniously neglecting their children to the point they die because they didn’t lock their door?
Even better, when asked how he felt about being labeled an “accessory,” John doesn’t know what that means. Not only that, he doesn’t seem to remember that particular indictment at all.
While we’re being frank, let’s take a look at what John has to say about the indictments in their book Death of Innocence [originally published in 2000, excerpts in green].
“After thirteen long months of looking at all the evidence presented by the special prosecutors and police, the Boulder grand jury said no to an indictment.
It takes a mountain of evidence to convict, but only a paltry amount of evidence to indict. Yet in the eyes of the grand jurors, even that did not exist.”
Hmm. Did his lawyers fail to mention to him and Patsy in 1999: Oh by the way, you dodged a bullet? Are we really to believe they had no clue? Or, is it more likely they knew that we’d have no clue, since everything was sealed?
Perhaps we’ll cut Jean Casarez some slack, and assume she hasn’t read their book.
“Of course, in the months that followed the grand jury’s secret decision, there was much speculation by the media on what the grand jury did conclude. To suggest that it voted to indict and that the D.A. refused to go along, as some of the media speculated, is pure folly.”
Pure folly, indeed.
The “special report” ends with John and his new wife, Jan, taking a leisurely stroll through the red rocks of the Southwest. I guess the paid-for PR message of the month is if they can move on, why can’t we? I guess the joke’s on us.
Before 09:00 on the day after Christmas, 1996, detectives asked John Ramsey for the film inside his camera. John promptly took a number of photos in order to reach the end of the film reel. Inadvertently John took a photograph of the wet bar area and a short glass table with two legal notepads on it. This was Photo 17.7 from John’s own personal camera with film that also contained Christmas Day photos. In 17.7 two notepads are clearly visible on the knee high glass table. But in crime scene photographs taken during the “kidnapping phase” some unknown time later the notepads were missing from the glass table**.
Let’s quickly get acquainted with this area of the house. You see the infamous spiral staircase in the background where the three page ransom note sat on one of the bottom steps. Directly to the right of the spiral staircase are the steps that lead down to the butler pantry [also called butler’s kitchen]. JonBenet and Patsy occasionally used the butler pantry area for painting.
Just slightly to the right of those butler stairs, on the same level as the spiral staircase, is a small sink and counter area that one could refer to as a wet bar.
Continuing right along that wall, you see the rectangular glass table [with shelves just above it.]
To the right of the table is the entrance to the kitchen where Patsy dialed 911 and where the Sharpie pen was ultimately found.
Note the position of the white wet bar in the schematic in relation to the spiral staircase and low glass table.
Back to the table in the hallway. Where are the two white lined notepads? Why is that significant? From police photos, the notepads – one of which was Patsy’s and was used to write the Ransom Note – aren’t there. In Photo 17.7 from John’s own personal camera – with film that contained Christmas Day photos – two notepads are clearly visible on that table.
Here’s Detective Lou Smit prodding John for an explanation of Photo 17.7 in June 1998.
SMIT: Just one more question. I have got a photograph here called 17.7. Somehow this is in your roll of pictures or someone’s roll of pictures from before [investigators arrived and took photos] okay, and it shows, first of all, put it to the camera so they can see that. And I am going to show you that.
SMIT: Do you know who would have taken that photograph?
JOHN: It’s remotely possible that I was having trouble with my camera, I think, and I don’t remember doing this, but I can remember just clicking camera, trying to see if it worked.
SMIT: When was that?
JOHN: I mean, I don’t know. I mean it was, you know, the only time we got the cameras out were typically at Christmas time. But this looks like the pad frankly that I gave her [Linda Arndt.]
SMIT: Does that look like the spot where you would – that you picked it up from?
JOHN: Yes, my recollection, yeah.
SMIT: So that could be the actual pad of a picture [I think he means picture of the actual pad] taken prior to what happened?
JOHN: That’s possible.
Well then why wasn’t it on the table when investigators photographed that table on the morning of December 26th? In true Ramsey fashion, there’s a whole lotta waffling going on including the I don’t remember, but I remember and the ridiculous statement that they never took pictures other than at Christmas time, but oops, they couldn’t even manage to do that, that year.
As the questioning continued, John’s answers got dodgier and dodgier, but wait til you hear how Patsy responded to the discovery…
*Photo 17.7 has never been shared with the public
**The pads had been moved from the glass table [see red arrow] and placed in a different unknown location, until they were given to the police upon request some time after 09:30.
***More police arrived around 09:30. BPD Sergeant Bob Whitson arrives at 09:30 and enters through the rear exterior kitchen door. Per the Bonita Papers: “Whitson and Patterson then asked John for samples of his handwriting.” JonBenet’s bedroom door was sealed around 10:30 that morning.
We believe Burke’s knife is the most compelling evidence connecting him [let’s say possibly connecting him] to the murder of his sister.
The knife isn’t the murder weapon, however it’s possibly directly linked to the manufacture and assembly of weapons used to subdue, suppress and strangle JonBenét.
What’s also very suspicious to us is when Burke is asked an open-ended question two weeks after JonBenét’s murder by Dr. Bernhard about what he thinks happened to JonBenét, the first weapon Burke mentions is a knife**.
One of the two murder weapons – the Garrotte – appears to be assembled in situ near Patsy’s paint tray on the floor in the corridor opposite the boiler room and leading to the wine cellar. A urine stain was also discovered here.
The question we ought to be asking is: which is more likely, that an unarmed intruder would break in and use all the materials inside the Ramsey home to execute his crime, and then fail to execute it [he didn’t kidnap JonBenét], or that someone in the Ramsey home, someone familiar with the home and all things inside it, used what they usually used in what eventually escalated into the murder of a child?
The distinctive white camping cord could also be traced [theoretically] to a nearby camping store for which the Ramseys held receipts.
We must also utilize the benefit of hindsight and ponder: if the Grand Jury felt the Ramsey parents [both parents] were deserving of indictments on charges of child abuse and neglect, and if the third party they had aided and abetted in the commission of the crime was Burke, we can also see the possible neglect and recklessness in not confiscating a weapon, especially given it may ultimately have been used to kill JonBenét.
Prior instances of injury to JonBenét by Burke*** ought to have necessitated at least the removal of objects, items and weapons that could be [and perhaps were] used to injure her.
Hoffmann-Pugh made good on her threat. [According to Hoffman-Pugh she] “got tired of cleaning [the wood shavings] up… [Burke had] been asked to do it over paper or a bag or something. So, I just put the knife up one day, in a cupboard over the sink in that area outside of JonBenét’s room” on the home’s second level, an area that also had a microwave and laundry facilities. Hoffman-Pugh said she didn’t tell JonBenét’s parents where she stowed Burke’s knife.
[Although] Hoffmann-Pugh never saw the knife again… it resurfaced [in the evidence inventory] following the 10-day police search [of the Ramsey home]…Specifically, Detective Kerry Yamaguchi discovered Burke’s knife on a countertop near a sink just down a basement corridor from the [wine cellar] where JonBenét’s body was found.
Burke used his knives for scouts and camping. Two principal tasks scouts must learn include whittling/kindling wood and the mastery of cords, rope and knots.
An intruder may have armed himself with Burke’s knife, though if he wrote and left the ransom note in the kitchen, why not use a kitchen knife or his own knife?
Conversely, Burke may have used the knife as he habitually did. Whether it was Burke or an intruder, whoever whittled the garrotte, was the same individual who placed the birefringent wood fragment inside JonBenét’s genitalia. What we know for sure though, at least if Hoffman-Pugh’s testimony is reliable, is that Burke whittled often. This seems to skew the likelihood towards Burke using his own knife, and fashioning a garrotte, and tying the sort of knot scouts needed to know about, rather than a random intruder with a very spontaneous and haphazard approach to kidnapping and murder.
6. TESTIMONY: Burke admits owning a knife, admits it has his name on it, admits using it to tie knots and that his mother Patsy gave it to him.
From the National Enquirer October 3, 2016 article – (these are portions of Burke’s 1998 interview with Detective Dan Schuler):
SCHULER: You have two knives?
BURKE: I have one that says my name on it – it has Switzerland on it.
BURKE: That one has a big knife, small knife, saw, corkscrew, screwdriver, flat head screwdriver, toothpick and tweezers. And I think that’s it. And then I have another one that has a saw, scissors, it’s got this little hook thing that you tie knots better with. Um, I said saw? A cork opener.
SCHULER: Both of those Swiss Army knives?
BURKE: One knife is smaller.
SCHULER: Where do you normally keep those? In your scouting stuff?
BURKE: I think I like (inaudible) and I have a little place for them in my room.
SCHULER: Did you take them both camping with you?
BURKE: I just took the —
SCHULER: The one with your name on it?
SCHULER: Oh, okay. So somebody must have given you that one, for a special occasion?
BURKE: My mom.
7. INTERROGATION/Confirmation [December 11, 2001 Patsy Ramsey Deposition Wolf vs Ramsey]
HOFFMAN: One of the most controversial pieces of evidence is a red Boy Scout knife or a whittling knife. I don’t know if it is a Swiss Army knife. Do you know whether or not Burke owned a red knife at any time?
PATSY: He had a couple of them.
HOFFMAN: He had more than one?
PATSY: I believe so.
HOFFMAN: Do you know if he had more than one at one time?
8. DISPUTE [June 1998 Patsy Ramsey Interrogated by Detectives Thomas Haney and Trip DeMuth]
Not surprisingly, Patsy denies seeing Burke whittle during an interrogation in June 1998, but concedes she’s seen whittle wood in the play room. The denial is reinforced in the Ramsey’s book Death of Innocence**** published in March 2000, approximately six months after their “official exoneration” by the Boulder D.A. Alex Hunter. In June 1998 Patsy appears to reveal crucial information but also withhold crucial information about Burke.
DEMUTH: Patsy, I read somewhere that Burke would walk through the house whittling sometimes, whittle in the house; is that true?
PATSY: I never saw him walk through the house whittling. Now I did, on occasion, in the play room see little whittling like wood, kind of whittles, you know.
DEMUTH: You did ever see [Burke] whittle?
PATSY: No, No, I didn’t.
DEMUTH: Is there any reason why Burke would have a knife like this.
PATSY: No. Huh-uh.
But didn’t Burke say Patsy had given him the knives?
9. Additional Points
*Insights are based on research documented in The Craven Silence and The Day After Christmas trilogies, both published between September and December 2016.
**BURKE: I think that someone took her very quietly and tip-toed down the basement, then, then they took a knife out and [motions with arm]…like that.
***We know for a fact that Burke hit his sister in the face in August 1994, shortly after her fourth birthday. Was this an isolated incident? In JonBenét’s medical records there are also instances of her bruising her nose after falling on her face on May 8th 1995, another fall and a cut above her left eye in December 1995, in May 1996 JonBenét hurt her fourth finger of her left hand in another fall,.a bloody bowel movement on November 1st, 1994, repeated instances of rashes, inflammation and vaginitis and “trouble sleeping”. On August 27, 1996 Patsy reported to JonBenét’s pediatrician that JonBenét had been asking about sex roles and reproduction.
**** Death of Innocence Page 321: “I wondered if, as they walked through the basement, any of the jurors brought up the issue of Burke’s red Swiss army knife, which according to the media had been found on the countertop near a sink, just a short distance from where JonBenét’s body was found. The implication was that the killer could have used the knife to cut the nylon cord used to tied (sic) JonBenét’s wrists together. The cord was also used to make the garrote placed around her neck, which ultimately resulted in her death by strangulation. Linda Hoffmann-Pugh, our cleaning lady, had said on a TV talk show that she thought the issue of the knife was relevant to the murder.
Patsy and I never quite understood why she’d made those statements except that we knew she was mistaken about a number of other issues when she spoke on national television. The truth was that we had no idea where someone might find Burke’s knife at any given time; he has a tendency to leave things lying around when he loses interest in them. The knife could have been anywhere in the house. And we had no idea if the knife had any relationship to anything that happened in the crime.”
1999 February 18 – Lawrence Schillers book “Perfect Murder, Perfect Town
“Burke had this red Scout knife and always whittled. He’d never use a BAG or paper to catch the shavings. He’d whittle all over the place. I asked Patsy to have a talk with him. She answered, “Well I don’t know what to do other than take the knife away from him….After Thanksgiving I took that knife away from him and hid it in the cupboard just outside JonBenét’s room. That’s how that problem was solved….” – Linda Hoffman-Pugh
*****From The Bonita Papers: A red Swiss army knife was also found lying in the corner of the room away from the blanket. On the floor outside the door to the cellar was a paint tray and acrylic painting supplies. One of the detectives observed a wooden handle to a paint brush, the type used by artists, which appeared to be broken and a piece missing. The floor of the wine cellar was vacuumed to collect any trace evidence. The black duct tape, blanket, nightgown, knife, broken paint brush and paint tray, and vacuumed particles were all collected and logged into evidence.