Sunday, December 19, 2010

Burke Ramsey still not talking to police...

JonBenet Ramsey's brother Burke: What police contact really means for him

  • October 4th, 2010 9:36 am ET

JonBenet Ramsey's parents John and Patsy Ramsey.
Photo: Patrick Davison/Getty Images
Jon Benet Ramsey's brother Burke contacted by police
Burke Ramsey, the older brother of child beauty queen and murder victim Jon Benet Ramsey is now 23 years old and suddenly garnering attention of Boulder police, according to Fox News.

Burke and Jon Benet Ramsey's parents John and Patsy lived in Atlanta, GA prior to moving their small family to Boulder, Colorado. But now Jon Benet and her deceased mother Patsy, 49--who died in 2006 due to ovarian cancer--are interred in the southern state.

AOL News reported that Burke now lives in Atlanta too, according to his Facebook page.

Burke graduated from Indiana's Purdue University last year. The older brother of JonBenet was aged 19 when his mother Patsy died; Burke was only 9 when his sister JonBenet was brutally murdered in their 7,000-square-foot home.

JonBenet Ramsey's brother has two tragic family deaths behind him, and now lives on his own. Police are interested in talking with the young man again who was exonerated by DNA evidence in May of 1999.

"We continue to work the Ramsey case and have tailored our investigation based on recommendations from our 2009 advisory committee," Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner told the press.

That advisory committee, which consists of 20 or more state and federal agency investigators, became the governing entity for the JonBenet Ramsey murder investigation after the Boulder County Prosecutors were relieved of handling the case in 2009.

John Ramsey, Jon Benet and Burke's father, is now a resident of Michigan and was unsuccessful in a 2004 run for political office.

The elder Ramsey was tied romantically to Beth Holloway Twitty in 2007, who is the mother of missing Alabama student Natalee Holloway.

It is unclear if John and Burke are estranged, or if they have each just chosen a city of residence where they feel most comfortable living, despite the fact that they are the only two remaining members of the family--and separated by many miles.

Burke Ramsey's young sister JonBenet was a 6-year-old at the time of her tragic--and still unsolved--death in Dec. 1996. And since Burke was but 9 at the time, his age may now lend itself to further disclosures that can help the police with the case.

Police Chief Beckner said as much when he discussed the continuation of the investigation, alluding that Burke isn't the only person they are contacting.

"This [investigation] has included additional contacts and interviews with those who may have information pertinent to the case."

"I understand that they met with Burke and gave him a card and said, 'If you want to talk to us, here's how you would contact me," Lin Wood, the Ramsey family attorney said, per a Fox News report.

Burke Ramsey has not conceded to make that call or welcome any interviews with police as of yet, however.

Wood attempted to make clear that the police's initiation of contact with Burke in no way incriminated the older brother of JonBenet, but rather, instead, it might aid law enforcement in some new information received somehow.

"Whatever the reason for any type of approach with Burke, it would have nothing to do with the case other than with the reality that John and Burke could help the Boulder police as witnesses in the investigation."

Burke Ramsey's parents underwent years of suspicion and interrogation about the unexplainable death of his sister JonBenet. The entire family was exonerated, however, in 2008 by then-District Attorney Mary Lacy per Wood. So it is highly likely the young man who was but a child at that time is unwilling to reopen the door in any shape, form or fashion.

JonBenet Ramsey's brother Burke Ramsey, however, could potentially provide some small bit of information that aids law enforcement in finally closing the murder case of his sister JonBenet.

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Book lays blame on Patsy

By Karen Augé and Marilyn Robinson
Denver Post Staff Writers

April 10 - On Dec. 26, 1996, John Ramsey "woke up a completely innocent man, a deer in the headlights," a former Boulder detective believes.

But Steve Thomas, who resigned in August 1998 after investigating JonBenét Ramsey's death for nearly 20 months, is convinced that the instant John Ramsey read a three-page ransom note a few minutes later, he knew with absolute certainty that his wife was involved in whatever had happened to their daughter.

"I think he saw everything but her signature on that note," Thomas said in an interview with The Denver Post last week.

And from that moment on, John has protected Patsy Ramsey with an armada of attorneys and with his own silence, Thomas said.

Thomas shot onto the national radar with a blistering, bridge-burning resignation letter that lamented a botched investigation and accused Boulder District Attorney Alex Hunter of cozying up to attorneys for the Ramseys and "thoroughly compromising" the case.

And now, the 38-year-old former detective steps back into the spotlight as he joins a long list of people who've written books and posited theories about the still-unsolved death of the 6-year-old beauty queen.

But Thomas' book, "JonBenét: Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation," is different from the shelves full of books that try to peek behind the curtains of a seriously troubled investigation to reveal what happened to the little girl.

His tell-all is told from the inside looking out.

And that's what is creating an uproar. Even though the book doesn't go on sale until Tuesday, early media reports already have prompted Hunter - who has not read it - to publicly defend his office and jab back at Thomas.

In his book, Thomas does what no one officially connected to the case has done - although Gov. Bill Owens has come close - he names names. Or rather, names one name.

By page 13, there is no doubt who Thomas thinks killed JonBenét: "- ... the little girl was killed by a family member, whom I believe to have been her panicked mother, Patsy Ramsey, and that her father, John Ramsey, opted to protect his wife in the investigation that followed." In later chapters, he sketches his version of what happened to JonBenét:

After a long day that included an argument with her daughter over what JonBenét would wear to Christmas dinner, Patsy Ramsey, harried and irritated about getting ready for a holiday trip she didn't really want to make, and distraught over her upcoming 40th birthday, found that the child had wet her bed - again.

Thomas contends that as she cleaned up after JonBenét's accident, Patsy Ramsey wiped her daughter too roughly - which he believes accounts for the appearance of sexual abuse, and "there was some sort of explosive encounter in the child's bathroom ... I believed JonBenét was slammed against a hard surface, such as the edge of the tub, inflicting a mortal head wound." Then the former Miss West Virginia panicked, Thomas theorizes. And Patsy Ramsey cooked up the whole kidnapping, wrote the ransom note, tied cord - loosely, according to Thomas - around JonBenét's wrists, wrapped a cord around the child's neck and put tape over her mouth, then carefully wrapped her in a blanket to cover up what Thomas believes initially was an accident.

He dismisses as absurd the Ramseys' argument, which they make in their own book, "The Death of Innocence," that Boulder police never looked for other suspects.

"Cops don't huddle up and say, 'Let's not get the killer, let's frame so-and-so,' " he said.

The Ramseys have maintained their innocence, saying the Boulder cops pegged them as suspects early in the case and never looked elsewhere.

One of the suspects Thomas said he looked at thoroughly, and eliminated as the killer, was John Ramsey. Initially investigators thought Ramsey had been molesting his daughter, but "there was no pathology, no personality, no history and no evidence indicating any history" that he ever molested any of his children, or anyone else's, Thomas said.

Thomas believes, though, that John Ramsey did lie about when he found JonBenét's body in the basement of the family's home. Ramsey was unaccounted for, according to Linda Arndt, the only detective on the scene at the time, for about an hour the morning of Dec. 26.

"Frankly, I think that's when he found the body," Thomas said last week.

Later, when Arndt asked Ramsey and former family friend Fleet White to search the house again, Ramsey "made a beeline" for the tiny dark room where his daughter's body lay.

Thomas said Ramsey's son, John Andrew Ramsey, told investigators his father told him that day that he had found JonBenét's body at 11 a.m. It was after 1 p.m. when Ramsey carried JonBenét's body from the basement.

But why would a man protect anyone, even a wife, who had killed his child?

"He'd already lost his eldest daughter," Thomas said, referring to Beth Ramsey, a daughter from John's first marriage, who died in a car accident. "Now he's lost his youngest daughter. Was he then going to lose a spouse too?" The key evidence to back his theory, Thomas said last week, are the key components of the ransom note: the pen, the pad, the handwriting, the linguistics. All, he insists, belonged to Patsy Ramsey.

But throughout the book and throughout nearly two hours of conversation, it's clear Thomas also found the Ramseys' behavior odd. And he admits that's not enough to convict anyone. "Behavior is not something you can take into court and say, 'They acted funny, they're guilty.' " Of the Ramseys, he said: "If they're innocent, they did the greatest disservice by not cooperating." He contends most of the investigation team agrees with his findings. "I'm not the lone voice on this. The FBI supported us, the police department supported us, with the exception of Linda Arndt.

"Lou's the lone voice on this." Lou Smit, the Colorado Springs detective Hunter coaxed out of retirement to work on the case, believes an intruder killed JonBenét - just as passionately as Thomas believes Patsy Ramsey did it.

"He's the best defense witness in the world," Thomas said of Smit. Despite their polar-opposite views on the case, he considers Smit a wise man. "I take nothing away from Lou. I like Lou."

Thomas treats Smit relatively well, but elsewhere, his 353-page book seethes with anger - anger at the Ramseys, at DA Hunter and several of Hunter's lieutenants, and at the top brass within his own department.

While other accounts of the investigation have offered glimpses of the animosity between the Boulder police and Hunter's office, Thomas exposes an all-out war.

Relations between the two got so bad that police copied their case files in a secret, midnight raid and then hid them. They kept bits of evidence hidden from the DA's office out of fear that it would be passed along to what Thomas unfailingly refers to as "team Ramsey." Hunter called it "absolutely flabbergasting" that Thomas would write a book.

"I have just never heard of a detective writing a book when you have an ongoing case, a viable case in progress," Hunter said Sunday.

"This is just pure and simple blood money." But Thomas said writing the book was not about money. He called it "a story that should be told." However, Hunter said Sunday the book will damage Thomas' credibility as a witness if the case goes to trial.

"This guy is toast," the DA said. "I hope the public sees it for what it is."

Thomas doesn't spare his own former department, either.

Thomas paints a picture of an only-in-Boulder police department, where former Chief Tom Koby spouts Zen philosophy but doesn't care much for hard-nosed police work; where there is no money for clerical help to relieve overworked, stressed-out detectives, but plenty of funding for unsolicited emotional counseling; where Koby tells investigators to cut back on overtime expenses then hands out certificates for massages to command officers.

Thomas's books also reveals that several detectives wanted to bug the Ramseys' Atlanta home with help from Georgia officials, but ultimately Beckner vetoed the idea.

As he nears the book's conclusion, Thomas sums up his feelings by saying, "When the police botched the crime scene, they damaged the Ramsey case. When the district attorney's office started making deals, they lost it."

Police Chief Mark Beckner declined comment Sunday.

"I'd rather just stay out of it," he said.

But talking about his book and the case last week, Thomas admitted that with the evidence police and prosecutors have now, it would be almost impossible to convict anyone for the crime.

"Beyond a reasonable doubt is such a incredible threshold in this day and age, particularly if the defendant is wealthy," he said.

There is still in Thomas a bit of the idealistic kid who looked at the uniformed, spit-shined cop who came to speak at his school in Arkansas and thought "look at this hero. If I could emulate someone like that...- . " And for the remnants of that child, life after law enforcement can be tough.

"I miss the hell out of police work," he said. He still follows the case closely in the media - and like most of his former colleagues, he says, still regularly checks in with Mrs. Brady, the suburban Philadelphia woman whose Web site is the ultimate clearinghouse of information about the Ramsey case.

Still, Thomas insists he's not looking back. "I think it's time to move on to the next chapter of my life," he said.

The most immediate chapter includes the usual round of interviews, promoting his book.

After that, it's probably back to the construction business he and another former police officer, Todd Spears, operate.

His police career is but one of many casualties of the Ramsey investigation. Arndt, detective Cmdr. John Eller and Koby all left the Boulder Police Department as a result of fallout from the case. And with the exception of Eller, who now works for a police agency in Florida, all have left law enforcement entirely.

Quietly, and almost always off the record, a few of Thomas' former law enforcement colleagues have criticized him for writing the book - for exposing the inner workings of the investigation and for profiting from it.

Thomas says he expected that and doesn't regret his decision to write about the case.

He wouldn't say whether his account is based on his own notes or case files.

And what is it he wants the public to gain from that telling?

"I want them to look at the facts of the case and make their own decisions about what went on in Boulder ... I hope readers share the same frustration I felt when I left a career that I loved."

RAMSEY BOOKS

Nearly a dozen books have been published about the JonBenét Ramsey case. Here's a sampling:

- "JonBenét: Inside the Murder Investigation," by former Boulder police Detective Steve Thomas and Don Davis. It goes on sale Tuesday.

- "Death of Innocence," by John and Patsy Ramsey

- "Perfect Murder, Perfect Town," by Lawrence Schiller

- "Who Killed JonBenét Ramsey? A Leading Forensic Expert Uncovers the Shocking Facts," by Cyril H. Wecht, Charles Bosworth Jr.

- "A Mother Gone Bad: The Hidden Confession of JonBenét's Killer," by Andrew G. Hodges

- "A Little Girl's Dream? A JonBenét Ramsey Story," by Eleanor Von Duyke and Dwight Wallington

- "Presumed Guilty: An Investigation into the JonBenét Ramsey case, the Media and the Culture of Pornography," by Stephen Singular

- "JonBenét's Mother: The Tragedy and the Truth!" by Linda Edison McLean

- "Death of a Little Princess: The Tragic Story of the Murder of JonBenét Ramsey," by Carlton Smith

- "JonBenét's Gift: A Miracle for the Millennium," by Jane Gray Stobie



Need to check this???
Thomas said Ramsey's son, John Andrew Ramsey, told investigators his father told him that day that he had found JonBenét's body at 11 a.m. It was after 1 p.m. when Ramsey carried JonBenét's body from the basement.