JonBenet Ramsey-Labyrinth of Lies Part 3


John and Patsy Ramsey

John and Patsy Ramsey

The Worm Turns

There was ferocious tension between Boulder P.D. and the District Attorney’s office.  Boulder P.D. wanted to indict the Ramseys but the D.A. needed an iron clad case to compensate for what happened at the outset.  John’s crime scene shenanigans had gifted the prosecution  with a vast and desolate lake of crackling thin ice . Slick… so, so slick.  Boulder P.D. had been inept and John had turned that ineptitude into a wrecking ball against the prosecution.   Nicely played, everyone.

It wasn’t long before the D.A.’s office placed a very public vote of no confidence on its own police department.   In March of 1997 the D.A. asked famed cold case detective Lou Smit  to come out of retirement to lend his expertise to the JonBenet case.  If the Ramseys were guilty, Lou could nail them.  Lou went to work sifting through the files and visiting the crime scene.  It wasn’t long before Smit had found a rasher of clues that Boulder P.D. had overlooked as well as a small parade of outright lies that had been leaked to the media.

Footprints in the Snow

Boulder P.D. demonstrated a consistent pattern of feeding the media half truths, outright lies, and innuendos.  The first of these was their assertion that there was snow all over the ground, yet there were no footprints in the snow.  Therefore, there were no intruders.   In fact, all the paved walkways circling the house were completely free of snow.

They also let it leak to the press that they were going to do an intensive examination of all Ramsey personal computers in an effort to locate pornography.  There was no pornography found of any kind, yet dark suspicion had been planted in the public’s mind.

Steve Thomas, lead detective for Boulder P.D. then released a bomb telling the press that the prosecution’s theory was that JonBenet had once again wet her bed, gone upstairs to waken her mother, and in a fit of rage  born from holiday pressure and exhaustion, Patsy had struck her child in the head and accidentally killed her.  In some mindless panic, the mother then scribbled a ransom note, fashioned the garrote from one of her paint brushes, staged the strangulation and for extra good measure, jabbed her daughter in her privates so as to implicate a male perpetrator.

Apparently, Patsy had failed to consider that her dead daughter’s corpse left in the basement would completely negate the three page ransom note that she had just so craftily penned.   Her deviousness, it would seem, only went so far.  The coldhearted snake of a mother didn’t have the sense to load her dead child into the trunk of her car and head for a forest.

Had this scenario ever gone to trial, defense would have been pointed out that there was no swelling under the scalp and relatively little blood in the cranium, indicating that JonBenet was either already dead or very close to death, at the time of the blow to the head.   The type of injury that she had received from the blow to her head should have caused so much vein and capillary damage that the blood would have leaked from her nose and her eyes.  As previously stated, the coroner did not realize that there was anything wrong with the skull until he peeled back the scalp at autopsy.

Furthermore, JonBenet’s sheets were dry.  Thomas and his team had to have known that they were dry.  How, one wonders, could Steve Thomas have been so utterly unscrupulous?

 The Basement Grate

Grate Over Basement Window Access

Grate Over Basement Window Access


Smit quickly found evidence that a locked basement window had been approached, tried, and abandoned.  Just around the corner from that window was the grate which gave access to another basement window. When Smit lifted the grate, he must have smiled at what he saw.

There was vegetation growing along the edge of the grate that had been dragged inward and had became pinched between the grate and the support lip indicating that someone had recently lifted the grate and slid down into the well.

Pinched Foliage Under Grate

Example of Pinched Foliage Under a Grate


Down in the well, dirt, leaves and debris had clearly been recently disturbed. The center window was broken and slightly open.  Dust on the outer sill clearly had been disturbed   Boulder P.D. had discounted this window as being the point of entry for an intruder stating that no adult could have fit through it.  However, an average height and weight Lou Smit had no trouble fitting through that window and dropping into the basement.


Basement Window Under Grate

Basement Access Under the Grate

Basement Access Under the Grate

 Basement Floor Plan

Floorplan of Ramsey Basement

Floorplan of Ramsey Basement

Boulder P.D. did not seem to have any curiosity about this; evidence of a hand coming through  the basement window

Unknown Hand

Unknown Hand

Clues in a Guest Bedroom

2nd Floor

2nd Floor


JonBenet’s room (top left) is colored pink .   There is a bathroom next to her room that belongs to the guest room.  John Ramsey’s older son, John Andrew, from his first marriage used that room whenever he visited.   Both John Andrew and his full sister Melinda were already in Michigan waiting for John, Patsy and their half siblings to join them.

Drawers and cupboards in the guest bathroom were hanging open, a dirty rope was sitting on the floor near the closet.  When Smit studied police photographs of this room, he was struck by something everyone else had ignored.   His eyes stopped at the bed skirt.    This is what he saw:


JonBenet Guest Room

JonBenet Guest Room

The very bottom of the right edge of the bed skirt looks uniformly tucked inward.  The foot of the bed shows an area in the front corner that is pushed outward.   The room itself is only a few feet away from JonBenet’s room and it sits over the garage.  This would be the perfect location to wait for the returning family.  As for the rope, no one knew where it had come from.

Rope from guest room floor

Rope from guest room floor

Smit’s Shocking Discovery-The Thin Blue Line

There was no sign of struggle in JonBenet’s room.   Detectives reasoned that if JonBenet had been put to bed immediately upon return to the home at 9:30 p.m., she must have been taken from her room by someone she knew and trusted.   There were many items on top of the dresser which was positioned very close to the bed.  Nothing had been knocked over, nothing was disturbed.  She had either climbed out of bed and voluntarily gone downstairs with someone or she was carried downstairs by someone she trusted (ie. her father)

The autopsy had identified two small markings on JonBenet’s back but gave no indication as to what could have caused them.  Smit noticed that these two marks were the same distance apart as similar marks on the right side of JonBenet’s neck.  To satisfy a strong suspicion, he had a close up enlargement made of the marks on her back.   And there it was….he was right.  Here is what he found, a faint, thin blue line:


Autopsy-Marks on Back

Autopsy-Marks on Back

And this is what made those marks

Stun Gun

Stun Gun

Smit presented his discovery to the Boulder P.D.  They, in turn, consulted with highly respected pathologist Dr. Michael Doberson of the Arapahoe County Coroner’s Office.  When they emerged from the meeting, they told the press that  the esteemed Dr. Doberson did not concur that the marks were from a stun gun.  Once again, Boulder P.D. was concocting a fiction to poison public perception.  What Dr. Doberson had said was that he could not verify that the marks were caused by a stun gun or not because he had no weapon to match the wounds to. 

Smit subsequently brought an Air Taser 1000 stun gun over to Dr. Doberson.  After comparing the distance between the two electrical nodes of the stun gun to the distance between the marks on JonBenet’s back, he was able to confirm that she had been subjected to a stun gun at least twice the night she died!  Smit was ready now to go suspect hunting, and it wasn’t the Ramseys.

It was right about this time in May of 1998 that the Governor named a special prosecutor, Michael Kane.  Smit  suddenly found himself locked out from the Murder Office that the D.A. had set up for him.  There would be no suspect hunting unless the suspect was named Ramsey no matter what the evidence.

Michael Kane-Special Prosecutor

Deputy District Attorney Michael Kane

Age: 47

Michael Kane was hired by the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office in May 1998 to help weigh whether a grand jury investigation would further the Ramsey case.  A graduate of the University of Colorado School of Law, Kane worked for seven years in the Denver District Attorney’s Office.  He also served as chief deputy attorney general in Pennsylvania, worked as an assistant U.S. Attorney and, just prior to this, was the deputy secretary for enforcement in the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue.

Kane made a name for himself in 1984 by securing the conviction of a Denver man who murdered his girlfriend’s 9-year-old daughter. There were no eyewitnesses to the crime and the murder weapon was never found.  In 1991, he convinced a Pennsylvania grand jury to indict a mother for the murder of her child, a killing that initially had been ruled an accident. The woman later pleaded guilty to third-degree murder. Not surprisingly, Kane’s forte seemed to be winning convictions with scanty evidence.  By August, prosecutors announced their intention to use a grand jury and, under Kane’s direction, the panel began hearing evidence Sept. 15.

Snake in a Suit Tries to Set Up Kangaroo Court

Not only was Lou Smit locked out of the Murder Office, he was slapped with a lawsuit from Kane demanding that Smit turn over all evidence and leads that he had developed.  Kane also petitioned the court that Smit’s evidence be destroyed.  In February of 1999, Kane denied Smit permission to present evidence to the grand jury!  Smit was able to prevail in court with the end result that he kept all of his materials and he did present his evidence to the grand jury.  Smit also released all of the police photos which up to this time had been kept from the public.  According to Smit, he had never done that before in all his illustrious career but he was disgusted and infuriated with what he felt was a railroading of two innocent parents.  He had resigned from the D.A.’s office fearing that his continued presence there would imply that he had agreed with the indictment that was sure to come.

Grand Jury Indictment

“The indictment on child abuse resulting in death, when charged as “knowingly or recklessy,” is a Class II felony in Colorado that carries a sentence of four to 48 years. The statute of limitations on that charge in Colorado is three years from the date of the crime. The vote for the indictment was in October of 1999, over two months before the statute of limitations would have taken effect.

Then D.A. Alex Hunter refused to sign the indictment, presumably because he did not believe there was sufficient evidence to win a courtroom conviction. There is no doubt that the completely botched crime scene would have enabled the defense to put up strong resistance to any allegations advanced by the prosecution.

On the other hand, in refusing to sign the indictment, Hunter did not follow the Colorado statute governing grand jury practices. The statute stipulates that “every indictment shall be signed”  by the foreman of the grand jury and the prosecuting attorney. As University of Colorado Law School Professor Mimi Wesson told the Daily Camera, the proper legal procedure would have been for Hunter to sign the indictment — also known as a true bill — file it with the court and then move in open court to dismiss the charges. “That would be the more transparent and responsible course, in my opinon,” she said.” source: The Boulder Daily Camera

The indictment which the D.A. refused to sign was kept from the public until 2013.  It read:

“On or between Dec. 25 and Dec. 26, 1996 in Boulder County, Colo., John Bennett Ramsey did unlawfully, knowingly, recklessly and feloniously permit a child to be unreasonably placed in a situation which posed a threat of injury to the child’s life or health, which resulted in the death of JonBenet Ramsey, a child under the age of sixteen.


On or between Dec. 25 and Dec. 26, 1996 in Boulder County, Colo., John Bennett Ramsey did unlawfully, knowingly and feloniously render assistance to a person, with intent to hinder, delay and prevent the discovery, detention, apprehension, prosecution, conviction and punishment of such person for the commission of a crime, knowing the person being assisted has committed and was suspected of the crime of Murder in the First Degree and Child Abuse Resulting in Death:”

To be continued in Part 4-Turning A Blind Eye Is Not the Same Thing as Justice