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The belief in conspiracy theories with emphasis on the kennedy assassination
 

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    The belief in conspiracy theories with emphasis on the kennedy assassination The belief in conspiracy theories with emphasis on the kennedy assassination Document Transcript

    • CRIMINAL PROFILING CJUS440 SPRING 2012 Equivocal Death Analysis – JonBenet Ramsey by Elise Stone The University of Findlay Department of Justice Sciences Findlay, Ohio May 2012
    • Abstract Due to the quizzical conclusion of the case, the mystery of the JonBenet Ramsey case is one of the most famous murder investigations in the United States. In this analysis we will look at Boulder, Colorado (location of the murder), the crime scene and its processing, the initial consideration of a kidnapping which turned into a homicide, the autopsy, evidence, the ransom note, individuals at the scene outside of law enforcement, and victimology (which is the "study of victimization, including the relationships between victims and offenders, victims and the criminal justice system, and victims and other social groups and institutions, such as media, businesses, and social movements" (Victimology Law & Legal Definition, 2012)). In addition, possible suspects will be considered, along with my thoughts and opinions regarding the conclusion of this case. iv
    • Table of Contents List of Tables ..................................................................................................................... vi List of Figures ................................................................................................................... vii Chapter 1: Introduction ....................................................................................................... 1 Background ................................................................................................................... 1 The Demographics of Boulder Colorado ...................................................................... 2 The Crime Scene ........................................................................................................... 5 Autopsy Analysis .......................................................................................................... 7 Summary ....................................................................................................................... 9 Chapter 2: The Investigation ............................................................................................. 11 Time Line .....................................................................Error! Bookmark not defined. Kidnapping Protocol and Response .............................Error! Bookmark not defined. Murder Protocol and Response ....................................Error! Bookmark not defined. Crime Scene Investigation & Security .........................Error! Bookmark not defined. Medical Examiner/Coroner response to the scene .......Error! Bookmark not defined. Evidence Collected at the Scene ..................................Error! Bookmark not defined. Evidence Collected at Subsequent Search Warrants ...Error! Bookmark not defined. Individuals Present at the Crime Scene .......................Error! Bookmark not defined. Summary ..................................................................................................................... 14 Chapter 3: The Victim ...................................................................................................... 15 Who is JonBenet Ramsey ................................................................................ ..........15 Review of Family Members Present in Home ............................................................ 16 Summary ..................................................................................................................... 18 Chapter 4: Evidence Review ............................................................................................. 19 Review of all Physical Evidence................................................................................. 19 Physical Evidence Findings ........................................................................................ 19 Review of Ransome Note ........................................................................................... 22 Summary ..................................................................................................................... 23 Chapter 5: Implications, Recommendations, and Conclusions ........................................ 25 Implications................................................................................................................. 26 Recommendations ....................................................................................................... 26 Conclusions ................................................................................................................. 27 References ......................................................................................................................... 32 Appendixes ....................................................................................................................... 34 Appendix A: Title ....................................................................................................... 35 Appendix B: Title ....................................................................................................... 36 v
    • List of Tables None provided. vi
    • List of Figures None provided. vii
    • 1 Chapter 1: Introduction Within this chapter the discussion revolves around the background of the JonBenet Ramsey case, the demographics of Boulder, Colorado, the crime scene and the autopsy of JonBenet. Each component of the case has an impact on discovering the truth of what actually happened to the six-year-old girl. Researching each aspect more closely provides a more detailed setting and a better image of what actually happened on December 26, 1996. The background provides a good basic knowledge of the case and story before it evolves throughout the paper. It explains a little about the investigation and why this particular case has caused such controversy. Understanding the demographics makes it easier to picture what took place on the day JonBenet Ramsey was murdered. Included are the weather, comparisons of crime rates to other college towns, and the requirements, as well as the education levels, of the Boulder police. However, not only are the background and demographics important; the crime scene and autopsy are critical. The crime scene shows what events took place on December 6, 1996, from the time John and Patsy Ramsey awoke to the time when JonBenet's body was found. Also, the autopsy is presented to examine what injuries JonBenet received pre-death, how she was injured what was used to cause harm. Background The JonBenet Ramsey case is one of the most famous cases of in the history of criminal investigations. Because it was a high profile case involving a child with heavy
    • 2 media coverage that ended as a mystery, it created a lot of controversy, especially since there was no conviction. Also, due to the weakness of the police investigation, it is difficult to determine the events that actually took place. It is because of the sloppy investigation methods that there were no convictions, making this case as famous as it is today. The Demographics of Boulder Colorado Boulder, Colorado, in 1996, had a population of roughly 89,522. The Boulder community had a positive employment rate with a decreasing unemployment rate. In addition, the average cost for a home in the Boulder area was $133,600 (Employment & Unemployment: Boulder, CO, 2012). The Boulder community has a relatively average number of crimes compared to other college communities. In the year 1996, there was one murder, 49 rape, 132 assault, and 874 burglary cases (Crime reported by Boulder Police Dept, Colorado, 2010). In comparison with the Boulder crime statistics, Auburn, Alabama, another college town, with a smaller population of 36,320, also had only one murder in 1996, eight rape cases, 79 assault, and 318 burglary cases (Crime reported by Auburn Police Dept, Alabama, 2010). Although, the murder rate of both Boulder and Auburn are the same, the other statistics differ. The difference in population may be the reason for these differences. East Lansing, Michigan is another college town, but one that appears to have a much higher crime rate than both Boulder and Auburn. With the population of roughly 120,821, the number of murders are ten, 172 rape, 1,124 assault, and 1,607 burglary cases (Crime reported by Lansing City Police Dept, Michigan, 2010). In comparison with the
    • 3 other two, East Lansing's numbers are significantly higher. There is a major difference between the murder rates in Boulder and Auburn as compares to East Lansing. The reason, again, may be a result of the difference in population. One other college town used for comparison is Georgetown, Texas, which has a lower population than the previous three locations with 18,315. Looking at the numbers for 1996, there were zero murders, three rapes, 31 assaults, and 130 burglary cases (Crime reported by Georgetown Police Dept, Texas, 2010). Auburn appears to have more similar statistics (one murder and eight rape cases) to Georgetown than to Boulder and East Lansing. This could be due to the closeness in population number: Georgetown with 18,315 and Auburn with 36,320. The last city being compared to Boulder is Bloomington, Indiana, a college town with the population of 63,527. In comparison to Boulder, Colorado, Bloomington's numbers are still fairly low. Bloomington's crime statistics in 1996 consist of one murder, 27 rapes, 69 assaults, and 398 burglary cases (Crime reported by Bloomington Police Dept, Indiana, 2010). Boulder, Auburn, Georgetown, and Bloomington all are shown as having lower murder rates despite the difference in population. Recapping each city's crime statistics in comparison with Boulder, Colorado, it is evident that Boulder could easily be seen as having average crime rates. Given the average crime rate, it is logical to assume the experience level in handling crimes is average as well. Considering there were only six murders within the time period of 1995 and 1997, it could be said that the Boulder police may not have been as experienced as necessary in handling such a complex case.
    • 4 Information from the Boulder Police Department about the staff during the year of the JonBenet Ramsey's murder in 1996 was not available. Looking at their statistics from the past, the information found in a search on their website only resulted in data from 2001. According to the Boulder Police Department 2001 Annual Report (2001), the department had an annual budget of $21 million. The staffing levels consisted of 173 commissioned employees and 93 non-commissioned personnel. There were a total of 266 employees and 74 volunteers. In 2001, there were 23.5 detectives, four sergeants, and six support personnel. Their detective units included a major crimes unit with one sergeant and six detectives; a special investigations unit with one sergeant and six detectives; a general investigations unit with one sergeant and eight detectives; and a crime analysis unit with one crime analyst and two assistants. Another aspect of the Boulder Police Department is the education level of the officers. Since the education level could not be located for the year of the Ramsey case, the 2010 Colorado Police Academy Requirements may suffice. The education requirements for an officer in 2010 were at least a high school diploma or a GED. They were also required to have 60 semester hours or sworn police officer experience. Since these were the requirements to become an officer in 2010, the education level of the officers in 1996 may have been similar or somewhat less. If this was the case and the officers at the time of the Ramsey murder did not have the necessary education, this may be an explanation for how the case was handled overall.
    • 5 The Crime Scene The crime scene of the JonBenet Ramsey case takes place predominately in the home of John and Patsy Ramsey on December 26, 1996. Throughout the day, the weather was recorded as being a high of 49 degrees Fahrenheit and a low of two degrees Fahrenheit. There was zero precipitation or snow with slight winds. It was considered a nice day with sunshine (WFO Denver/Boulder: Denver Monthly Climate Products, 2010). The Ramsey family lived at 755 15th Street, Boulder, Colorado in a 7,240 square foot home. The house had three floors and a furnished basement. JonBenet's room was on the second floor while her parents slept on the third. JonBenet's room was the primary crime scene for her alleged kidnapping. In 1996 there was only one homicide in Boulder, Colorado. When the call came into the Boulder Police Department about JonBenet Ramsey's disappearance, it was not immediately apparent that a murder had occurred. The initial call to the police, at 5:52AM, was that JonBenet had been kidnapped. Several minutes after the call was made, Officer Rick French was the first on the scene. He stated, "John Ramsey directed me through the house and pointed out a three-page handwritten note which was laid on the wooden floor just west of the kitchen area (Ramsey Case Timeline, 2009)." However, it is apparent that he did not thoroughly investigate the house as JonBenet’s body was not found until later in the day. At 5:59AM, Officer Karl Veitch arrived at the Ramsey house. Neither of the officers present followed the normal protocol, "the police did not seal off the defendants' home, with the sole exception being the interior of JonBenet's
    • 6 bedroom (Ramsey Case Timeline, 2009)." Not sealing the home properly allowed anyone in the house to walk where they wanted, contaminating evidence in the process. At 7:00AM Burke Ramsey, JonBenet's nine-year-old brother, is awakened and dressed. After sleeping through the events of the night, Burke appears to play no part in JonBenet's disappearance. He is then taken by Fleet White and John Fernie, family friends, to the White's home. Fleet White later returns to the house. In between 8:00AM and 10:00AM, Detective Linda Arndt arrives at the Ramsey home to monitor incoming phone calls and instruct John Ramsey on answering the phone if it rings. Officers followed standard procedure by putting taps inside the house and in John Ramsey's office. In addition, police had called a team of victims' advocates, trained in helping families through traumatic situations. This team brought bagels and coffee. After using the kitchen, the advocates began wiping down the counters with a spray cleaner, which could have possibly wiped away evidence. Between 10:00AM and 1:00PM, officers did little to protect the crime scene and any potential evidence elsewhere in the home. Since the initial call to the police was a kidnapping, the only room sealed off was JonBenet's, which was realistically only part of the crime scene. Before 1:00PM Arndt had instructed John Ramsey and Fleet White to search the house top to bottom to see if anything was out of place. What they found was a body in the Ramsey's basement. Upon its discovery, John Ramsey began tearing the duct tape off JonBenet's mouth and attempted to untie her hands. He then proceeded to carry her upstairs. After Officers Ron Walker and Larry Mason saw JonBenet's body in the living room, they decided to search the basement, and Mason secured the house. Shortly afterward, John Ramsey is overheard placing a phone
    • 7 call to his pilot about leaving for Atlanta; the police instruct him that the family is not to leave town. At 1:50PM, the police began to properly secure the home as the crime scene. Later in the evening, at 8:00PM, Dr. John Meyer, pathologist, arrived at the house. The first search warrant was executed at 8:20PM. Autopsy Analysis After the death of JonBenet Ramsey, an autopsy was conducted on December 27, 1996 by the Office of the Boulder County Coroner. The autopsy report concluded with a nine-page detailed report. The report stated the time of death as December 26, 1996 at 1323 or 1:23PM. The pathologist in charge of the autopsy, John B. Meyer M.D., also stated the cause of death to be asphyxia by strangulation with associated craniocerebral trauma. In addition, Meyer found many external and internal findings that seemed to be pertinent to the case. The findings included abrasions, hemorrhaging, vaginal markings, stomach content and many ligature marks. It is necessary to understand the external and internal findings to determine a possible cause of death. To begin, the external findings are absolutely necessary in helping to determine the cause of death. As stated in the autopsy report (Office of the Boulder County Coroner, 1996), the external evidence of injury includes a rust colored abrasion found inches below her right ear, as well as the upper and lower portion of the eyelids, displaying petechial hemorrhaging and also on the right upper and lower eyelids. Livor mortis had set in. In addition, a double knotted length of white cord, similar to what was tied around JonBenet's wrist, was wrapped around her neck. Looking closely at the neck, there was also a deep ligature groove. Around the ligature marks on the neck were areas
    • 8 of petechial hemorrhaging and abrasion. The abrasions and petechial hemorrhaging around the face and neck lend themselves easily to the theory of strangulation. The piece of cord that was found around her neck was also tied around a wooden stick behind the back of her head. Not only was the cord wrapped around the wooden stick, which eventually was identified as one of Patsy Ramsey's paintbrushes, but her blonde hair was entwined around the stick as well. Another external aspect of the autopsy was found at the front of the vagina and the vaginal wall. According to the autopsy report, inside the vestibule of the vagina and along the distal vaginal wall was reddish hyperemia. This means there is an abnormally large amount of blood in the vaginal cavity of the body. This also extended to inside the vaginal orifice, which again refers to the tubes or openings leading to the vaginal region. Considering the amount of blood found in the vaginal region, the many red spotted areas in the crotch section of JonBenet's underwear is easily explained. Moving on, the internal findings are equally important to the case. Again referring back to the autopsy report, the lungs, heart, body cavities, spleen, kidneys, liver, pancreas, bladder, gallbladder, and lymphatic system all were all described as either unremarkable or having no concerning abnormalities. However, the stomach and skull were considerably more affected. Regarding the stomach, a small amount of mucous material was found and identified. "The proximal portion of the small intestine contains fragmented pieces of yellow to light green-tan apparent vegetable fruit material which may represent fragments of pineapple" (Office of the Boulder County Coroner, 1996). Given the pineapple found in her stomach, it may be reasonable to assume the bowl of pineapple found in the breakfast nook was the source. In addition, the right side of the
    • 9 scalp displayed an extreme hemorrhage. It also mentions that the hemorrhage was fresh, which suggests the trauma resulting in hemorrhage was executed shortly before the body was discovered. Along with the hemorrhaging, there was a large fracture in the skull; this included a roughly rectangular shape of the skull that was displaced. Summary The JonBenet Ramsey case is one of the most famous cases of all time. Because it was a high profile case involving a child with heavy media coverage that ended as a mystery, it created much controversy, especially since there was no conviction. Also, due to the weakness of the police investigation, it is difficult to determine the events that actually took place. It is because of the sloppy investigation methods that there were no convictions, making this case as famous as it is today. The demographics of Boulder, Colorado, where the JonBenet Ramsey case took place, along with comparisons of other college towns demonstrate that the murder rate in Boulder is fairly average. The skills and experience of the police force in Boulder also seemed to be average, which was inadequate for such a complex case. The crime scene of the JonBenet Ramsey case takes place predominately in the home of John and Patsy Ramsey on December 26, 1996. The case was first considered a kidnapping due to the note found near the kitchen. The local police force did not follow proper protocol during the investigation, therefore JonBenet's body was not found until hours later. Again, proper procedures were ignored, resulting in contamination of both crime scene and evidence that could have been used to solve the case.
    • 10 The autopsy was conducted on December 27, 1996 by the Office of the Boulder County Coroner. The autopsy report stated the time of death as December 26, 1996 at 1323 or 1:23PM from asphyxia by strangulation with associated craniocerebral trauma. Other findings included abrasions, hemorrhaging, vaginal markings, stomach content and many ligature marks, none of which pointed to the killer.
    • 11 Chapter 2: The Investigation The JonBenet Ramsey case is perhaps most notable for the lack of training and professional investigation, making the case very difficult, if not impossible to solve. During the first contact between the family and local law enforcement, mistaken assumptions were made, causing procedural errors all along the way. By the time the police knew what they were dealing with, the majority of the evidence had been contaminated beyond its ability to be useful. Not only was the appropriate protocol for a kidnapping investigation ignored, but the protocol for a murder investigation as well. Basic investigative training and common sense were absent in much of the investigation, such as the questioning of all parties involved and a thorough search of the premises. Once officials realized the circumstances of the case, they attempted to recover from their previous errors, but the damage was done and vital evidence was lost. This chapter will detail the investigation and security, or lack thereof, used by the police to preserve the crime scene. Also examined will be the evidence collected and that which could not be collected due to contamination, as well the primary and secondary crime scenes and why they were important. Kidnapping Protocol and Response After the call was made to the police about the kidnapping of JonBenet Ramsey, the police performed a seriously flawed investigation. According to the National Guide of Missing and Abducted Children (2011), the officers from the Boulder police department did not follow protocol in many instances. One way in which they failed to follow modus
    • 12 operandi was in identifying and separately interviewing everyone at the scene. Although it can be assumed that the parents took part, Burke was instructed to leave the house when awakened. He should have been questioned and required to remain at the scene. Also, the Boulder police failed miserably at maintaining the integrity of the crime scene. Instead of sealing off only JonBenet’s bedroom, the officers should have sealed off the entire home. This would have prevented the loss of evidence due to people walking in and out of the crime scene and the cleaning in the kitchen. Another, and maybe more serious, problem was that the officers neglected to conduct a thorough search of the house. If they had done so, the body would have been found in the basement, which would have potentially triggered more appropriate treatment of the crime scene. Murder Protocol and Response Even once the body of JonBenet was discovered, and the case shifted from a kidnapping to a homicide, the police neglected to manage the situation effectively. When John Ramsey found JonBenet's body in the basement of their home, his initial reaction was to remove the duct tape from her mouth and untie her hands. This action should have been terminated by an officer. It was completely inappropriate for anyone to touch the body at that point. In addition, they did not stop him from carrying her body up the stairs and placing it in the living room. None of this should have occurred until the entire investigation was complete and with the pathologist’s permission. The Boulder police department was negligent throughout the process of investigating the kidnapping/ homicide of JonBenet's case.
    • 13 However, even though the police were careless during much of the investigation, there were some things they did properly. They did search the house immediately with permission, despite the fact they did not search thoroughly. They also sealed off the room belonging to JonBenet so they could better examine her belongings and keep the scene from being contaminated. The Boulder police did have a detective come in and tap phone lines along with maintaining records in case the Ramsey family received any calls from the alleged kidnapper. Once it was confirmed that JonBenet had not been kidnapped and the case had become a homicide, the police then secured the house. This allowed the integrity of the crime scene to be preserved. One other positive element of the investigation was the fact that the police made sure John and Patsy Ramsey did not leave town. As John was talking to his pilot about leaving for Atlanta, the police stopped him and informed him and Patsy that they were required to stay in Boulder. In this case it was evident that the primary location was the Ramsey's home. JonBenet was taken from her bedroom to the basement; hence the police's decision to seal off her bedroom. In addition, the ransom note being found between JonBenet's room on the second floor and the basement indicates that the perpetrator moved freely throughout the house. It might be implied that the basement was the primary scene within the Ramsey house, considering that is the location where her body was found. Since there were no apparent disturbances inside JonBenet's bedroom, it is logical to assume that the basement is the scene of the murder. JonBenet's body, once located in the cellar, was covered with a white blanket, hands bound together, and mouth closed with tape. This situation indicates that the killing took place in the basement as opposed to JonBenet's bedroom.
    • 14 In addition, there are two other locations that could be considered as secondary and tertiary scenes in the JonBenet Ramsey case, the secondary scene being the vacation home of the Ramsey family, located in Charlevoix, Michigan. According to the Chicago Tribune (1997) website, the family spent the past five summers in the Charlevoix community. The only noted rationale for searching the Ramsey's Michigan home was to obtain past writing samples of Patsy Ramsey. The possible tertiary scene of the Ramsey case would be Atlanta, Georgia. In accordance with the Fox News (2006) website, a teacher from Conyers, Georgia, John Mark Karr, confessed to certain elements of the JonBenet murder. Although police concluded Karr had nothing to do with the murder, Atlanta might still be considered a third scene due to JonBenet being born in Atlanta in 1990. Summary After the call was made to the police about the kidnapping of JonBenet Ramsey, the police performed a seriously flawed investigation. They neglected to interview all of the family members and to conduct a thorough search of the premises, which would have confirmed the type of crime and dictated the protocol needed. One circumstance that seems contradictory is John Ramsey's immediate desire to leave Boulder when moments earlier he has discovered his daughter's murdered body in the basement. There seems to be little discussion or questioning of Ramsey regarding his call to a pilot. There is merely a notification by police that he and his family must stay in the area.
    • 15 Chapter 3: The Victim Victimology is the "study of victimization, including the relationships between victims and offenders, victims and the criminal justice system, and victims and other social groups and institutions, such as media, businesses, and social movements" (Victimology Law & Legal Definition, 2012). Victimology is important because it examines the relationships in the life of a victim, possibly with his or her offender. A high percentage of crimes are committed by a victim's family member or personal acquaintance. Understanding the personal dynamics in these relationships many times points the way to an offender by establishing motive and opportunity. This chapter will examine JonBenet Ramsey's birth, personal situation and personal relationships with her family. Also, reviewed will be the activities and relationships of the family members with others in an effort to determine the possibility and probability of their involvement in JonBenet's murder. Who is JonBenet Ramsey? JonBenet Patricia Ramsey was the victim of a murder at six years of age. She was born in Atlanta, Georgia on August 6, 1990 to her parents, John Bennett and Patsy Paugh Ramsey. The family relocated to Boulder, Colorado when JonBenet was a year old and her brother Burke was roughly three years of age. She attended High Peaks Elementary School and was a member of St. John's Episcopal Church of Boulder. On December 25, 1996, the day of JonBenet's murder, she stood four feet and seven inches tall with long
    • 16 blonde hair, and a weight of 45 pounds. Since she was killed at such a young age, it is hard to determine if any prior factors were able to lead to a suspect. It was also known that she spent a significant amount of her life in child beauty contests. She held many titles, including America's Royal Miss, Colorado State All-Star Kids Cover Girl, Little Miss Charlevoix Michigan, Little Miss Colorado, Little Miss Merry Christmas, Little Miss Sunburst, and National Tiny Miss Beauty (JonBenet Ramsey, 1996). The last pageant in which she performed took place on December 17, 1996 and she was crowned Little Miss Christmas. It is reasonable to think that since JonBenet's parents kept her on vigorous pageant schedule, she was noticed by others. Even though it is unlikely the killer had some association with pageants, it could not necessarily be ruled out. In addition JonBenet, at the time of the murder, was known to have a bedwetting problem, which has been associated with sexual abuse. This was taken into consideration when considering whether the parents were involved in the murder of their child. It was never proven that JonBenet was sexually abused by John Ramsey or that she was killed by Patsy due to the problematic issue of bedwetting. Review of Family Members Present in Home Considering JonBenet was killed at such a young age and did not have as much contact with the world as her parents or her brother, Burke, it is logical to think that she may have been killed due to a mistake or mishap with regards to the family. The sole provider and father of JonBenet, John Bennett Ramsey, was born December 7, 1943 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Although not much information can be found about John Ramsey, it
    • 17 is known that at the time of Jonbenet's death he was the manager of Access Graphics and his net worth was estimated at $6.4 million in 1996 (John Ramsey, 1996). It was apparent John Ramsey was a wealthy man with unlimited resources. There is a possibility that since John Ramsey was known to have money, he was targeted for ransom. It is necessary to consider Patsy Ramsey’s background as well. Patricia Ann Ramsey was born on December 29, 1956 in Parkersburg, West Virginia. She graduated from West Virginia University with a B.A. in journalism. It is also noted that she was a former beauty contestant herself (Patsy Ramsey, 1996). At the time of JonBenet's murder in 1996, Patsy Ramsey did not work outside the home. Since she was known to spend the majority of her time with JonBenet and the pageants, it could be assumed that Patsy interacted with a considerable number of people. Depending on the relationship Patsy had with everyone she associated with regularly, there is always the possibility that one of those people was responsible for the death of JonBenet. One other person necessary to consider is JonBenet's older brother, Burke Ramsey. However, due to the fact that at the time of JonBenet's murder, Burke was only nine years of age, it is very difficult to find any information about him. He was born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 27, 1987 (Forums for Justice, 2006). Given that he was so young at the time of the murder, it is difficult to believe that Burke knew anyone capable of causing this type of harm.
    • 18 Summary JonBenet Patricia Ramsey was the victim of a murder at six years of age. She was born in Atlanta, Georgia on August 6, 1990 to her parents, John Bennett and Patsy Paugh Ramsey. She also had a brother three years her senior. JonBenet spent much of her time as a child beauty pageant contestant. It is reasonable to think that since JonBenet's parents kept her on vigorous pageant schedule, she was noticed by others. Even though it is unlikely the killer had some association with pageants, it could not necessarily be ruled out. In addition JonBenet, at the time of the murder, was known to have a bedwetting problem, which has been associated with sexual abuse, although sexual abuse was never proven. In reviewing each member of the family, John, Patsy and Burke, there are no immediately apparent suspects associated with the Ramsey family. The most likely target would be John Ramsey due to his considerable amount of wealth. Regarding Patsy, the only suspects may be among the large number of people she associated with during her pageant work. As for Burke, it would be difficult to believe that someone of that age would be capable of planning or conducting the murder of JonBenet, considering at the time he was only nine years old.
    • 19 Chapter 4: Evidence Review In any crime, evidence is the key to resolution and providing the legal system with the proof needed to mete out justice. Because evidence is vital in the process, law enforcement professionals are supposed to be highly trained in the handling and protection of it. However, law enforcement professionals are also human and prone to error, as can be seen in this chapter. Discussed below are the mistakes made during the investigation, specifically in the handling and loss of evidence. This chapter will also examine the larger pieces of evidence that were vital to the case, including the ransom note, the body, the home, and even some debatable evidence leading to speculation that the crime may have been staged. Review of all Physical Evidence Reviewing the investigation done by the Boulder Police Department and the mistakes they made, it is reasonable to believe that many opportunities to obtain important evidence were missed. Specifically, they did not interview everyone at the scene, they allowed the kitchen to be cleaned and wiped down by the victim's advocates and they did not seal off the entire house from people walking freely throughout. In addition, when JonBenet's body was discovered in the cellar, the police did not stop John Ramsey from touching her or removing her from the basement. They also did not prevent him from taking the duct tape off of her mouth, unbinding her hands, and carrying her upstairs to the living room. Due to the absence of professionalism from the Boulder
    • 20 Police Department, the preservation of any evidence within the Ramsey house was degraded. Even though the Boulder police used poor judgment during the early hours of the investigation, one piece of hard evidence remained throughout the initial belief that JonBenet had been kidnapped. This evidence was the ransom note found near the kitchen. The note clearly stated that she was safe and unharmed; she would be returned to the family once John Ramsey had followed the rules and the 'kidnappers' received their $118,000. When the case was still considered as a kidnapping, the ransom note was the only confirmation. However, once it was established that JonBenet's case was no longer a kidnapping but a homicide, some of the evidence became more important. One such piece of evidence was the 911 call made to the Boulder police. Taking a closer look at the 911 call made the police suspicious regarding the reliability of the parents' statements. As the tape of the call was enhanced, it was said that John, Patsy, and Burke Ramsey could all be heard on the other end of the phone. In accordance with the JonBenet Ramsey Case Encyclopedia (2008), there was some debate whether there were voices heard on the tape that belonged to John and Burke Ramsey. The dialogue spoken by Burke and John, per the encyclopedia, included Burke asking, "Please what do I do?" John then responded with, "We're not speaking to you," and then Burke again asking, "What did you find?" with emphasis on the word 'did.’ If this proved to be true then John and Patsy Ramsey lied during their original statement and Burke was not asleep during the incident. Another piece of evidence was the body of JonBenet Ramsey, itself. Even though much of the evidence was corrupted after John Ramsey removed the tape and binding
    • 21 from JonBenet's body and carried it upstairs, there was still a significant amount of evidence in need of examination. For example, her head and facial injuries, neck, vaginal area, whether she had been moved after death (prior to John Ramsey bringing her upstairs), possible stun gun injuries, her stomach content, the clothing she was wearing on her body and extremities, such as jewelry, the heart drawn in her left hand, and possible black tape on her legs all became important evidence in a murder case. Unfortunately, due to the tampering of evidence of JonBenet's body, the police investigation was able to successfully piece the evidence together to generate a conclusion to the case. One other piece of evidence in the case was the Ramsey's home. Considering the house was the primary scene and location of the murder, it provided many elements of evidence. Referring back to the JonBenet Ramsey Case Encyclopedia (2008), every layer of the house contained evidence, from the third floor to the basement to the exterior. Since the police did not seal the house off correctly in the beginning, there is real possibility the evidence was interfered with throughout the house. There is no way to tell whether a specific item or its placement is relevant to the case, an example being the flashlight found in the kitchen or the bowl of pineapple found in the breakfast nook. There is no way of knowing if this was the original placement of the item at the time of the murder or if the object was moved during the initial hours of the investigation. Other pieces of debatable evidence involved with the case are the possible staging of the crime and the theory of an intruder. The theory of staging the murder of JonBenet focuses more closely on the participation of the Ramsey family. There are multiple elements that could have pointed more directly to the family’s involvement, such as the
    • 22 ransom note, since JonBenet was not actually kidnapped and there was no effort to collect ransom. Also, there are the garrote or wrist ties. JonBenet's hair being tied into a knot behind her neck is difficult and illogical for an intruder to do on a living, resisting child (Evidence of Staging, 2008). In addition, there was no solid evidence of an intruder, which again leads to the possibility of staging. However, that remains debatable since at least seven windows and doors were open without activation of the existing security system. It was never established if any of the entrances were even 'unlocked.' Review of Ransom Note The ransom note found at the scene of JonBenet's murder may be one of the key pieces of evidence presented in this case. Because of the way the note was written, it did not appear that the person who wrote it had planned how to write it or what to write. Examining the note and the numerous peculiar mistakes that were made within gives the impression that person who is to blame for JonBenet's death may have lived in the same home. Looking more closely at the note, it was evident there were many oddities that could not be explained. A few examples are the misspellings in the note, the demand of money, and the wordiness of the note. The misspellings appear peculiar due to there only being two misspellings, which occur in the first paragraph. These words are “business” and “possession,” both fairly common words. What makes these misspellings curious is that they are the only words misspelled and other less common words such as “deviation” and “attaché” were not. Throughout the note there were no other mistakes other than where “a” should have been “an.” This may indicate the mistakes were made
    • 23 purposefully so that the writer appeared uneducated. In addition, the demand for money was unusual. It was evident the Ramsey family was wealthy, which makes the relatively small amount of money demanded peculiar; it seems that a real kidnapper would have asked for much more money rounded off to the nearest hundred or fifty thousand. Also, written in the note is the statement:"You will withdraw $118,000 from your account." Again, this is unusual because anyone who is truly after the money would not care where the money comes from. It is not likely that a kidnapper would say the money had to come from an account. One other part of the note that appeared strange was the length and wordiness of the note; an example being the kidnapper writing "we have your daughter in our possession." A true kidnapper would most likely write the least amount of words possible because they are hurrying to get out of the house. They would be more tempted to write a shorter statement such as "we have your daughter." The wordiness indicates that the writer is purposefully trying to make it look like a kidnapping. Although the misspellings, money demand and wordiness contributed to the peculiarity of the ransom note, there were additional factors as well; they include the note having a feminine touch, the S.B.T.C. signature and the inconsistency of words. Some of the statements used within the note made it seem like a female had written it. In one instance the writer says: "The two men watching over your daughter do not particularly like you so I advise you not to provoke them." Because the language is not aggressive, it seems more likely a female wrote the note; the writer is giving advice, trying to help. These are more feminine qualities. Also, another aspect of the note is the signature; S.B.T.C. What makes the signature peculiar is the period is missing after the letter C. Because the period is missing it appears the writer had more information but withheld it;
    • 24 they had intentionally stopped writing. Since, the meaning of the S.B.T.C. was never discovered, it is difficult to say what the initials actually stand for. In addition, there is an inconsistency in some words. Throughout the note the words "we,” “us” and “our" are used to give the impression that a group was responsible for the kidnapping; they used statements such "We have your daughter" and "We are a group of individuals." However, the writer also uses words that make it seem that just one individual was responsible; using "my" and "I." They make statements like "Any deviation of my instructions" and "I will call you." If it was really a group instead of one person, the language would likely be more consistent. Summary Despite the incompetence of the Boulder Police Department, there was still a substantial amount of evidence examined in this case. To recap, there was the ransom note, the 911 call to the Boulder police, JonBenet's body, the Ramsey's house, the evidence of staging, and the possibility of an intruder. The lack of professionalism in the police and their investigation is a key reason that no conclusion could be reached. As previously mentioned, it is a possibility that since key pieces of evidence had been tampered with; the police were unable to piece together the evidence they did have to generate a plausible conclusion. Using the ransom note, a significant piece of evidence, as an example there was never any confirmation of the author. Analysis of its content leads to the possibility of a female writer and an individual being responsible for the note and kidnapping as opposed to a group, but no solid conclusion.
    • 25 Chapter 5: Implications, Recommendations, and Conclusions The JonBenet Ramsey case continues to be one of the most famous murder cases in recent history due to the circumstances surrounding the case and the extensive media coverage it received. This analysis reviews a number of the case’s aspects, beginning with its background, the average demographics of Boulder, Colorado, where the crime took place, the crime scene at the home and a summary of the autopsy. In reviewing the investigation, itself, it is clear that local law enforcement did not follow the appropriate protocol for either a kidnapping or murder case, causing serious breaches in security for preservation of evidence. There was little control over the number or actions of individuals at the crime scene, causing evidence to be lost or contaminated and a thorough search of the premises was not conducted until hours after the crime was reported. Case victimology details that JonBenet Ramsey was a six-year-old murder victim with two biological parents in the home, along with an older brother. Circumstances regarding the family’s wealth and pageant activities do not indicate that either of these were important aspects of the case. JonBenet’s nine-year-old brother was not considered old enough or strong enough to be a suspect. And finally, although much of the evidence was lost due to police negligence, the pieces that remained were confusing and difficult to analyze. For example, the ransom note, which remained relatively uncorrupted, was three pages long with several apparent inconsistencies. There was very little in this case that allowed officials to draw any solid conclusions.
    • 26 Implications There were many irregularities and errors that occurred throughout the investigation, ultimately affecting the outcome. One in particular was that the police did not follow the proper protocol for either a kidnapping or murder investigation. This includes the lack of a thorough search of the house, the absence of control of the handling of the body and the negligence in securing the crime scene. Because there was no thorough search, the body was not found soon enough for the police to take the proper action to protect valuable evidence. Also, if the police had performed a thorough search, JonBenet would not have been discovered by John Ramsey first, allowing vital evidence from the body to be tampered with. In addition, evidence was lost due to the number of people traveling through the crime scene. As part of protocol, the police should have considered the entire Ramsey home as a crime scene and should have limited the activity going on inside during the investigation. The most serious implication of these circumstances is that there was not enough untampered with evidence to produce an arrest and conviction. Recommendations Because the investigation was so poorly conducted, there are many recommendations for future investigators. The first recommendation would be to assume the highest level of crime and handle evidence accordingly. It appeared the police handled the initial case of the kidnapping less seriously; this could be seen in the lack of a thorough search of the house. They should have been more persistent in following protocol without exception. There is a possibility that the police acted differently because
    • 27 of perceived pressure and intimidation by the Ramsey family. The police were obviously aware John Ramsey was a wealthy man and may have acted differently because of that factor. Another recommendation would be not to invite or allow strangers, such as the victim advocates, in the home to contaminate the crime scene. They are one reason a sufficient amount of evidence was unusable; they wiped down the counters and the rest of kitchen, possibly wiping away fingerprints and other vital pieces of evidence. One last recommendation would be to ensure that law enforcement professionals in low-crime areas have proper training. Since Boulder, Colorado did not deal with many homicide cases at the time of JonBenet's murder, they did not appear to be well educated or prepared on how to handle such cases. Police need the proper training to be able to conduct a quality investigation. Conclusions Throughout the research done on this paper it is evident that a member of the Ramsey family may be a potential suspect. However, there is one person that stands out among the family; Burke may have had a motive of jealousy. JonBenet was the object of much attention through the beauty pageants. She also spent a lot of time with her mother and had access to her father’s money for pageant dresses, makeup and props. Unlike JonBenet, there was no mention of Burke having a hobby, certainly not with the intensity of JonBenet's pageants; it would be very natural for a sibling of that age to become frustrated and angry at the lack of attention. There may be some suspicion regarding Burke since his voice was supposedly heard on the phone when the 911 call was made. This evidence would contradict the
    • 28 statement made by John and Patsy Ramsey, claiming that Burke was asleep the entire time. If they had been lying about whether Burke was awake, it might have been to protect him. Another reason may be the use of a garrote. It was established that John Ramsey was trained on the use of a garrote during his time in the service. He may have casually shared the information with Burke over time. In addition, Burke was never formally interviewed; he was sent over to the neighbor's house so the police never had the chance to speak with him. Also, one other reason for suspicion would be the amount of money demanded in the ransom note. Because $118,000 was such an odd number to demand, it may be possible that Burke saw a check for that amount on John Ramsey's desk and used it or suggested it as the amount for the note. However, even though it is plausible that Burke may be a suspect, it would be necessary for someone else to be involved. Because the DNA on JonBenet's body was not familial DNA, this might suggest that Burke recruited or hired an older and stronger child to help him. Also, due to the presence of blood and DNA on JonBenet's body, it is presumed there was a sexual component to the murder. There was no sign of significant tearing in the vaginal area, which leads us to believe that a younger male committed the assault. This again would fit with the theory that a younger male that was not part of the Ramsey family had some involvement in the murder of JonBenet. Although it does not appear evident that John and Patsy Ramsey were directly involved in the murder of the JonBenet, it cannot necessarily be ruled out that they had no involvement. Patsy seemed to be receiving some kind of emotional satisfaction and maybe even living vicariously through her six-year-old daughter’s pageant career so there would be little to gain from JonBenet’s death. However, the parent's contribution may
    • 29 have been in covering up the murder to save Burke. Due to the grief of losing one child, it would be very natural to do everything in their power to protect their only remaining child. This would explain why Burke was never interviewed and was sent away before being interviewed, as well as John Ramsey’s interest in booking a flight out of town as soon as possible. Summary The JonBenet Ramsey case will not be forgotten any time soon. It seemed to be an example of the perfect storm or combination of events to become a feast for the media. The combination of a child beauty queen murder in a city with a low incidence of murder cases, significant police negligence and confusing and illogical evidence all make for a good story. This analysis examines many of those aspects in more detail, beginning with the background, demographics and overview of the crime scene and autopsy report. Most of the negligence is centered in the mishandling of the crime scene and protection of evidence vital to any kind of conviction. Police officers neglected to conduct a thorough search of the house upon arriving, instead making assumptions based on a ransom note. Had they followed protocol and searched the entire home, they would have found JonBenet’s body immediately and been able to seal off and control the crime scene, preserving evidence critical to the crime. Because much of the evidence was corrupted, investigators were forced to make do with victimology, which was inconclusive, and information gathered from the body
    • 30 itself and the ransom note. Unfortunately, the evidence available from each of those sources was confusing and sometimes contradictory, leaving the case a mystery. The aspects of this case provide some serious implications resulting in lessons and recommendations for future investigators. These include training officers to assume the highest level of crime until otherwise known. This ensures that the crime scene and evidence will be protected from contamination. Following established protocol must take precedence over any of the other circumstances they encounter. Access to the crime scene should be severely limited to essential personnel only. And also, Law enforcement officials in low-crime areas should be well-trained with periodic refresher courses since the skills and protocol required for murders are not used with any frequency or regularity. Finally, this analysis concludes with the possibility that Burke Ramsey may have been far more involved in JonBenet’s murder than reported by investigators. As the sibling of child beauty queen, nine-year-old Burke may well have been jealous of his sister. He was never questioned. And although he may not have been able physically to commit the murder himself, he may have easily recruited or hired a stronger and older adolescent to do it for him. The use of a garrote would make the strangulation easier for an adolescent. The vaginal damage also points to a younger male. Inconsistencies and curiosities in the ransom note, such as the amount of money demanded, would also indicate the killer as a disorganized, and maybe younger, individual trying to fake a request for money. And finally, there is a distinct possibility that his voice was heard in the background during the original call to 9-1-1, meaning his parents lied about his whereabouts during the murder. John Ramsey’s haste to leave town may have been, in part, to take Burke with him for protection.
    • 31 The world may never know who murdered JonBenet Ramsey, but her case has given the field of law enforcement some vital issues to consider as they continue to hone their skills in the field of crime investigation.
    • 32 References Boulder Police Department 2001 Annual Report. (2001). Retrieved February 29, 2012, from http://www.bouldercolorado.gov/files/Police/2001%20Annual%20Report.pdf Crime reported by Auburn Police Dept, Alabama. (2010, March 23). Retrieved February 13, 2012, from UCR: Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics: http://www.ucrdatatool.gov/Search/Crime/Local/RunCrimeJurisbyJuris.cfm Crime reported by Bloomington Police Dept, Indiana. (2010, March 29). Retrieved February 13, 2012, from UCR: Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics: http://www.ucrdatatool.gov/Search/Crime/Local/RunCrimeJurisbyJuris.cfm Crime reported by Boulder Police Dept, Colorado. (2010, March 29). Retrieved February 13, 2012, from UCR: Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics: http://www.ucrdatatool.gov/Search/Crime/Local/RunCrimeJurisbyJuris.cfm Crime reported by Georgetown Police Dept, Texas. (2010, March 29). Retrieved February 13, 2012, from UCR: Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics: http://www.ucrdatatool.gov/Search/Crime/Local/RunCrimeJurisbyJuris.cfm Crime reported by Lansing City Police Dept, Michigan. (2010, March 29). Retrieved February 13, 2012, from UCR: Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics: http://www.ucrdatatool.gov/Search/Crime/Local/RunCrimeJurisbyJuris.cfm Dammann, S. G. (1997, November 6). JonBenet Ramsey Focus Moves to Michigan . Retrieved February 28, 2012, from Chicago Tribune: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1997-11-06/news/9711060222_1_jonbenetramsey-patsy-ramsey-search-warrant Employment & Unemployment: Boulder, CO. (2012). Retrieved February 13, 2012, from Real Estate Center At Texas A&M University: http://recenter.tamu.edu/data/emp/empm/msamt081450.asp Evidence of Staging. (2008). Retrieved March 1, 2012, from PBWorks: http://jonbenetramsey.pbworks.com/w/page/11682470/Evidence%20of%20Stagin g Forums for Justice. (2006). Retrieved March 1, 2012, from http://www.forumsforjustice.org/forums/showthread.php?t=7774 John Ramsey. (1996). Retrieved March 1, 2012, from IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1558224/bio
    • 33 JonBenet Ramsey. (1996). Retrieved March 1, 2012, from IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2338600/bio National Guide of Missing and Abducted Children. (2011). Alexandria, Virginia, United States. Patsy Ramsey. (1996). Retrieved March 1, 2012, from IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2251700/bio Ramsey Case Timeline. (2009). Retrieved February 13, 2012, from https://ufonline.findlay.edu/@@/26D8BB1C43DF07667C5274745EEB8DA9/co urses/1/CJUS440_01_SP2012/content/_833482_1/JonBenet%20Ramsey%20Tim eline%20Facts.pdf Suspect Arrested in JonBenet Ramsey Murder. (2006, August 17). Retrieved February 28, 2012, from Fox News: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,208761,00.html The 911 Call. (2008). Retrieved February 29, 2012, from PBWORKS: http://jonbenetramsey.pbworks.com/w/page/11682474/First%20Floor Victimology Law & Legal Definition. (2012). Retrieved February 13, 2012, from USLegal: http://definitions.uslegal.com/v/victimology/ WFO Denver/Boulder: Denver Monthly Climate Products. (2010, August 31). Retrieved February 13, 2012, from NOAA: National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/bou/include/showClimate.php?month=decf6&year= 1996
    • 34 Appendixes None provided.
    • 35 Appendix A: Title None provided.
    • 36 Appendix B: Title None provided.