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**.
- Were they missing because John had already handed both pads to police?
- Or had the pads been moved before more police arrived***?
- Where did John go when asked by detectives for samples of his handwriting?
- Where did he collect the pads?
- Did he collect them from the glass table as Photo 17.7 suggests?
- Or did he collect them from somewhere else?
- If the latter, then what?…
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.
When exactly where those pads moved, by whom, and why?
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.