The Craven Silence Featured on Australian News

A week ago on Sunday, Nick and I Skyped with Sydney-based journalist, Emma Reynolds, to share our take on the Ramsey case.  Emma works for news.com.au, which according to Nielsen Online Ratings, was Australia’s most popular news website as of January 2015.

On the day we spoke, September 25, the CBS program The Case of: JonBenet Ramsey had already aired, but that was a week after our book The Craven Silence was published. A point Emma was keen not to miss.

We weren’t entirely surprised, however, when she wanted to get to our theory of the murder quickly.  For us, the story isn’t as simple as identifying the murder weapon.  The real story of JonBenet is rooted deeply in the maddening obstruction of justice.  How and why did so many people stand in the way of getting answers for a murdered little girl?  Once you begin to understand that, the details of the murder start to fall into place.  Regardless, when the article published yesterday, the headline’s focus was, of course, on the weapon used.

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Up to this point, the article does a nice job of capturing some of the observations we expressed were relevant to this case. Where the article strays from what we discussed is the assertion that we believe Burke used “a pair of bats” to bash his sister.  Although we brought attention to the two bats found outside the home, we never claimed both were used in the commission of the crime.  We believe one may be a decoy, being placed outside to suggest an intruder dropped it on his way out.  We believe the same possibility exists with the golf clubs seen stashed in a small cubicle closet off the train room where Burke frequently played.

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Another element we feel may have been over-simplified in this article is the reasoning behind the theorized cover-up by the Ramseys.  The article states it was “a plan to protect their only remaining child.”  While we believe that is a part of the reason, there are other factors at play in the need to cover-up that are examined thoroughly in our book.

One other detail to rectify is the use of “middle-class mansion” to describe the Ramseys and their home.  In actuality, the Ramseys were an upper class, affluent family, and their home certainly reflected their wealth.

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An area that we would have liked to discuss in more detail, had time allowed, was the psychology of the Ramseys, particularly Burke.  It’s a topic we cover extensively in The Craven Silence 2, our follow up book due out next week.

KIIS 101.1 a radio station in Melbourne, has also picked up our story as part of their promotion for an interview they’re airing with John Ramsey over the next 3 days.  So much for Dr. Phil being his “last” interview.

We will be conducting additional interviews in the weeks ahead to share more discoveries and insights on this case.  Stay tuned for those times and dates.

If you’d like to read The Craven Silence, it’s currently available exclusively on Amazon Kindle.

Our full discussion with Emma Reynolds can be heard below at the SoundCloud link.

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#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?

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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.

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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.

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