Saturday, December 10, 2005

Hard Hearts and Hardened Positions

At 2:45pm, 26 December 1996, Boulder Colorado Detective Division Commander John Eller returned to the “Situation Room” at the Boulder Police Department. JonBenet Ramsey’s body had just been found, turning what had been a kidnapping investigation into a murder investigation. A couple of Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) agents who had been called in to assist in the kidnapping investigation, waited there. The agents had been called into to assist the Boulder Police since by act of congress, kidnapping is a Federal crime. However, since this kidnapping was actually a murder, the Agents prepared to leave, but wanted a word before they departed. “’This is now a homicide,’ said one. ‘It [JonBenet Ramsey’s murder]’s local, so it’s not our case.’ Agent Ron Walker added, ‘Look at the parents. No bullshit, that is where you need to be.’” (Thomas, p36)

“Look at the parents.” These words seem incomprehensible in their monstrosity. The FBI agent asserted that the lead suspects in the case of a sexually assaulted and murdered little girl were her own parents. For the average person who otherwise has never encounter such a brutal crime, and in that group of average people are included the Boulder City Detectives, the idea of a parent doing something so horrendous is hard to contemplate. Yet the FBI agent spoke from studied experience. “Only about 6 percent of all child murders are committed by complete strangers, while an overwhelming 54 percent are committed by family members.” (Thomas, p35)

Ron Walker’s instincts have been proven correct in other cases. In another Colorado case, this time in Grand Junction, local detectives puzzled over the disappearance and murder of a young girl, Abby Blagg, and her mother, Jennifer Blagg. The then-retired Special Agent Walker consulted with Grand Junction detectives, and quickly put them on the trail of the father. Walker’s analysis of the crime calls to mind elements of the Ramsey murder:

Walker said he believed the removal of Jennifer's body indicated an intimate relationship between her and the killer, and that Jennifer was the target of the crime and Abby was most likely an additional victim. He said the execution, the crime scene clean-up and removal of the bodies took time, and that the killer had a high level of comfort in the home.

The Ramsey murder case seemed very clear to the detective working it. Agent Walker’s instincts put the Boulder Police on the trail of the Ramsey’s and the Ramsey’s own behavior and what physical evidence there was seemingly reinforced Walker’s initial suspicions. For the next seven years, the police doggedly attempted to validate their suspicions with the evidence. However, this attempt fell to ruins as a Federal Judge threw out a related case against the Ramsey’s for lack of evidence. New, advanced science examining the DNA evidence left on JonBenet Ramsey’s body exonerated every suspect, except an as yet unidentified assailant.

How is it possible that earnest investigators working long hours, literally for years, spending millions of taxpayers’ dollars, could all be so wrong? John Ramsey, the father of JonBenet, and one of the prime suspects in the murder of his daughter, himself blames an enraged public which pressured police to quickly find the killer. Ramsey cites a combination of massive bungling in the police work involved in the investigation, and “massive media attention and interference” in the case which obscured the identity of the killer. In Ramsey’s mind this media and public pressure made politicians feel as though they were forced to act and to name suspects lest the politicians lose favor and be voted out of office. “However, the media’s lynch-mob urgency to hang us seemed to be building on Romer (Governor of Colorado) and the very public and angry resignation of Steve Thomas from the Boulder Police force (one of the most confident proponents of the theory that Patsy is the killer) probably brought matters to a head.” (Ramsey, pg 399) The “matters” Ramsey is talking about is the decision to convene a grand jury which ultimately “no-billed” the Ramseys.

Since the evidence collected failed to prove the guilt of the Ramseys, why did the investigators persist in accusing the Ramseys? Clues to this question can be found in Richards J. Heuer’s chapter on “Why Can't We See What Is There To Be Seen?” in his book Psychology of Intelligence Analysis. Heuer enumerates what he calls “a process of inference in which people construct their own version of reality on the basis of information provided through the five senses.” Heuer articulated the components of this process as follows:

1) We tend to perceive what we expect to perceive.
2) Mind-sets tend to be quick to form but resistant to change.
3) New information is assimilated to existing images.
4) Initial exposure to blurred or ambiguous stimuli interferes with accurate perception even after more and better information becomes available. (Heuer, chapter 2)

These categories serve as useful signposts to highlight the mistaken assumptions and tangents taken by the investigators and for that matter, other commentators and interested parties who looked into the JonBenet Ramsey murder. Each of these categories will be amplified later in the paper.

Before this paper examines the mistakes made by police, it is necessary to bolster the assertion that the Ramseys did not in fact kill their daughter, JonBenet. While we might all wish for metaphysical certitude in determining the killer of JonBenet, sometimes the best we can hope for is for a finder of fact to render a decision one way or another, or for some physical evidence to point one way or the other. In the case of the Ramseys, we have both. On page 329, of the hardcover edition of their book quoted above, (a passage removed from the subsequent paperback), John Ramsey wrote about Chris Wolf, a Boulder reporter:

By March 1, 1999, we had reported more information on Chris
Wolf to the authorities. One person had seen Wolf go into
an angry tirade aimed at me after he read an article about
our company printed in the Boulder Daily Camera in
early1996. Apparently Wolf accused the company I worked
for, Lockheed Martin, of selling arms to South American
countries. (Wolf v Ramsey Complaint, para 23)

Paragraph 24 quotes another passage in Death of Innocence from page 205 in the hardcover and 215 in paperback: “Whatever the police's intentions, Wolf went on our suspect list. He represented too many unanswered questions.” (Wolf v Ramsey Complaint, para 24)

Chris Wolf saw these statements as defamatory, and sued in Federal Court in Atlanta for libel and defamation in pursuit of $20 million in damages. Wolf’s argument was that John Ramsey knowingly defamed him because John Ramsey and Patsy Ramsey were in fact the guilty parties in the murder.

The defendant John Ramsey, in an attempt to help his wife Patsy Ramsey cover up her brutal murder and her sexual assault of his daughter, JonBenet Ramsey, willfully, intentionally and maliciously, and with a reckless disregard for the truth, made and continues to make statements to the Boulder, Colorado police, district attorney, and to the public at large, through the reports of private investigators, news conferences, press releases, magazine and television interviews, and a book which he co-authored titled The Death of Innocence, intended to create a deliberate, cumulative and false impression that the plaintiff Chris Wolf brutally murdered his six-year-old daughter, JonBenet Ramsey, after the plaintiff sexually assaulted her. (Wolf v Ramsey Complaint, para 31)

Federal District Judge Julie Carnes reviewed the evidence that Wolf had to prove his contention that Patsy murdered JonBenet and John Ramsey covered up the crime and concluded that the entire case hinged on whether the “ransom note” was indeed written by Patsy Ramsey. While there was other evidence in the case none was conclusive or definitive. Judge Carnes ruled that the evidence that Patsy wrote the note was equivocal and therefore: “In sum, plaintiff has failed to prove that Mrs. Ramsey wrote the Ransom Note and has thereby necessarily failed to prove that she murdered her daughter. Moreover, the weight of the evidence is more consistent with a theory that an intruder murdered JonBenet than it is with a theory that Mrs. Ramsey did so.” (Wolf v Ramsey Order, pg 90)

There is a finding of fact in a court of law that the Ramseys did not kill JonBenet, and there is also recent scientific evidence that supports the theory that an unknown intruder killed the little girl. An investigator in the Denver police laboratory says that new DNA techniques have allowed the laboratory to create a complete DNA profile of the killer, one that rules out anyone in the Ramsey family. “The crime lab has two spots of JonBenet's blood found on the underwear she was wearing the night of the murder. Mixed in with that blood is the DNA of an unknown person. It has taken years to isolate, but forensic scientists in Colorado now have a complete DNA profile of the killer. They know the killer is a male. What they don't know is his name.” (CBS) It turns out that the parents were telling the truth all along when they maintained that they did not kill their little girl. So why is it that investigators missed or ignored exculpatory clues to continue the pursuit of the Ramseys?

Return to Heuer’s observations. Number one is “we tend to perceive what we expect to perceive.” In the case of the kidnapping of a small child, inexperienced observers, of whom the Boulder police are included, would expect grieving parents to flood police with all the information they could, and would be waiting frantically by the phone for word, any word. When observers do not see what they expect, they begin to suspect the worst and ironically, begin to look for details that confirm their new suspicions. This very dynamic was at work in the immediate response by police to the Ramsey’s desperate calls for help.

During the initial 911 call that Patsy made to the police at 5:52am on 26 December 1996, Patsy hysterically screamed that her daughter had been kidnapped. Rick French, the patrolman who initially responded to the 911 call, looked around and noted that there did not seem to be signs of forced entry or a struggle. He also noted that the parents, particularly Patsy Ramsey, were acting strangely. French called his observations to another patrolman still outside the house and asked that patrolmen to pass the word to the detectives when they arrived. When the two detectives, Linda Arndt and Fred Patterson, arrived, the patrolman outside the house passed to them French’s belief that “something doesn’t seem right.” (Gentile, pg 14)

Soon after she entered the house, Detective Arndt began to notice many things about the Ramsey’s and the crime scene that she considered odd and which bolstered French’s report that had been forwarded to her. John Ramsey did not comfort his wife Patsy, leaving her instead in the care of friends and victim’s rights advocates who soon arrive. Neither John nor Patsy Ramsey seemed to recognize nor care that one of the deadlines set by the kidnappers, 10am, passes without a call. John Ramsey often got up and wandered around the house, out of eyesight for minutes at a time. The ransom note was so overly detailed to seem quite out of the ordinary and suspicious. (Schiller, pg 12-14)

Another Boulder detective assigned to the case, Steve Thomas, saw parent’s actions as those of individuals guilty of murder. In fact, Thomas describes their accounts and their actions as “erratic, suspicious and inconsistent.” (Thomas, back cover) Thomas, as early as the night of the 25th of December, based only on radio accounts of the murder, believed “something did not sound right. Why would a kidnapper who wanted ransom money leave the body at the crime scene? Even dead, the body was valuable collateral because the family, unaware of the death, might still pay the money.” (Thomas, pg 44) Detective Thomas, predisposed to believe the kidnapping was a ruse, directed his suspicions at the parents. In Detective Thomas’ mind, the Ramsey’s looked even more as if they were trying to hide something by hiring attorneys. The Ramsey’s had contacted lawyers and by the time Thomas joined the case, were now forwarding their communications through the lawyers, to the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office and to the Police Department. In Thomas’ words “That could only mean trouble for the police” (Thomas, pg 52)

Since Detective Thomas saw the entire crime as puzzling and the development of hiring lawyers as suspicious, he resolved to watch every move of the Ramsey’s and to listen closely to every utterance. Thomas wrote, “It had been my experience in thirteen years as a police officer that victims tend to act like victims, so I expected to find a grief-stricken family demanding investigative results. Instead, [at the “non-testimonial evidence collection”] they were flanked by a squadron of attorneys and private investigators, and saying absolutely nothing to police.” Detective Thomas intended to perceive what he expected to perceive. That is simple human nature. Since what he saw was in variance to his anticipated perception, he was deeply suspicious. So when the traumatized mother Patsy Ramsey, seeing how suspicious the assembled detective were, she blurted out: “I didn’t kill my baby.” Detective Thomas wrote disingenuously: “No one suggested that she had.” However, his own words and the perception of the mother point out, even if Thomas won’t admit it, perhaps even to himself, that he had hardened his perception of Patsy Ramsey.

The Ramsey’s offered a more benign interpretation of their suspicious actions. Patsy Ramsey made the 911 call because John was still in his underwear, and went to get dressed for when the police were to arrive. Patsy was hysterical as any mother would be, but John Ramsey, who had lost another daughter in a traffic accident and remembered his helplessness then, was determined this time to stay resolute, and do everything in his power to bring back JonBenet. Officer French picked up on these two divergent responses to the kidnapping and since he did not know the back story, thought it strange. John Ramsey’s resolve to be proactive in searching for his daughter compelled him to leave his wife in the care of others in the house, and look out windows for strange cars and to search the house for his daughter, both of which actions so disconcerted Detective Arndt.

Further, John Ramsey offers the opinion that since the Boulder Police Department themselves ignored the instruction on the note not to call the police, and traipsed about in uniforms and marked cars, then he trusted their judgment and experience. John Ramsey further opines that there was nothing particularly guilty about his and his wife’s actions, rather, their actions only appear suspicious to an inexperienced and incompetent police department who had compromised the investigation and were casting about for a scapegoat.

“Somewhere in there, Detectives Linda Arndt and Fred Patterson came in. By this time, I think the officers have looked around the house a little. I don’t realize it at the time, but the first action the police should take in a missing child situation is to thoroughly search the entire house in case the child has fallen asleep - or is playing or hiding - in some unusual place. Unfortunately, the police do not conduct an extensive search of our home.” Later, John Ramsey writes; “We don’t want the kidnapper to think we have called the police, since he said [in the note] he was watching the house. Yet the police officers do not seem to be using much discretion: the cars are marked, the police are wearing uniforms.” (Ramsey, pg 14-15)

The reversal of perception by the police of the “Ramseys as victims” to the “Ramseys as killers” was quick to form and resistant to change. Detective Thomas makes it clear that from the initial stages of the investigation, the Boulder Police pursued the “Ramseys as killers” based on their impression of the Ramseys and the Ramseys seemingly odd behavior. Yet there was another dynamic at work, which helped solidify this impression, The police rank and file’s held antagonism towards the Boulder County District Attorney’s office. Thomas catalogued the animosity. The DA refused to try cases, citing “lack of evidence” and/or the juries’ reluctance to convict. The DA’s office was pre-disposed to plea bargain. Thomas asserted; “I believed they were so weakened in trial experience after decades of plea bargaining that they were afraid to take their chances in court.” (Thomas, pg 116) In a later passage, Thomas wrote that the DA’s office featured a “culture of cowardice and tradition of timidity that were [its] hallmarks.” In Thomas’ view, this yellow streak allowed the DA to get rolled by the Ramsey’s “Dream Team” of lawyers. The DA had come down on the side of the “unknown intruder” theory to explain the murder of JonBenet which put the DA at odds with the detectives, further hardening positions on both sides.

In an attempt to bridge the gap, and soften the positions of the two law enforcement agencies looking into the case, the legal advisor for the Boulder Police convened a meeting of the police detectives and members of the DA’s office. For six hours, the Boulder Police laid out their suspicions about the Ramseys and their belief that there was no evidence to support the “unknown intruder” theory. The DA argued that there was nothing in the presentation that would prove there was guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and that he would not convene a grand jury to compel more testimony from the Ramseys. One of the District Attorneys characterized the police presentation in this way: ”So you’ve got a guy who acts a little weird and won’t talk to you. So what? Doesn’t mean he is a killer.” This meeting, which was intended to bring the disparate points of view, ended up driving the sides even farther apart.

New evidence continued to come into the teams working the case, yet virtually every piece was seen by the police as confirmation of their theory that the Ramseys killed their daughter, yet at the same time, seen by the Ramseys’ legal team as exculpatory. The new evidence was being assimilated to existing images. Three specific pieces of evidence illustrate this point. One was whether Burke, the nine year old brother was awake or asleep at the time of the 911 call, another was whether or not Patsy stepped on the ransom note which had been left on the stairs; and whether JonBenet ate pineapple before her death. In each of these cases, the detectives had evidence that was in variance to the statements made by one or both of the Ramsey adults. Detective Thomas saw these inconsistencies as damning proof of guilt. However, when these seeming contradictions are viewed dispassionately, a more benign interpretation can be given them.

First, examine the 911 call. Listening to the tape, and reading the transcript, the call seems like exactly what you would expect from a confused and hysterical mother, who, early in the morning has just discovered a kidnapper’s note and finds her daughter missing. During the call, Patsy Ramsey begs for help, makes disjointed comments, loses her train of thought, and wails in grief. These are all behaviors that you would expect from a mother frightened for her six year old little girl.

From the transcript:
Patsy Ramsey: We have a kidnapping, hurry please!
Patsy Ramsey: There we have a…There’s a note left and my daughter’s gone.
Dispatcher: Does it say who took her?
Patsy Ramsey: No…I don’t know it’s there…there’s a ransom note here.
Patsy Ramsey: No I don’t. Please, we just got up and she’s not here. Oh my go please. (Thomas, pg 13-14)

This transcript reads and the audio reproduction of the call sound exactly as one would expect a frightened mother to sound in the morning of a kidnapping. But after Patsy seemingly hung up the phone at the conclusion of the call, the line stayed open. Police theorize that the handset did not fully seat in the cradle and captured 15 additional seconds of audio. Listening to the tape, the unaided ear cannot make out anything but static and some tones in this part of the tape. (Boulder County Police Department) Boulder police submitted the tape to defense contractors who had high-speed software which allowed them to isolate the sounds on the tail-end of the recording. Police assert that there are three voices and a short conversation at the end. According to police the final words on the 911 call are as follows:

Patsy Ramsey: Help me Jesus. Help me Jesus.
John Ramsey: We’re not talking to you.
Burke Ramsey: What did you find? (Thomas, pg 15)

The Boulder Police did not reveal the contents of this final part of the call, and quizzed the Ramseys closely about Burke’s movements the morning of the murder. Tom Trujillo, Boulder Police Department Detective (TT) questioned Patsy Ramsey (PR) during their first interview.

(TT) When did you check on Burke during all this? You talked about John going to check on Burke.
(PR) Yeah, I think I ran in to check on him when I was up there, up um, you know, it just all happened so fast. I said, “Oh my God, what about Burke?” And I think he ran in and checked him while I was running back downstairs or something. But I remember he, you know, I think he ran and checked on him and, he told me he was okay or whatever.
(TT) Okay. John talked about that will all the commotion and you guys yelling and stuff, did that wake up Burke at all?
(PR) No, it didn’t.
(TT) Okay.
(PR) He didn’t get up for a while.
(TT) Cause we talked, John went up later on, and, and woke up Burke.
(PR) Yeah, brought him down.
(TT) Okay.
(PR) Got him dressed. (Gentile, pg 69-70)

The Boulder Detectives saw this as crucial testimony establishing the Ramseys as liars. “The Ramseys would repeatedly tell us that their son did not wake up throughout the night of the crime. We knew differently.” (Thomas, pg 15) The police theorized alternately that Patsy killed JonBenet in a rage over some slight, or our of jealously or that Burke accidentally killed JonBenet while playing a game. While these are certainly theories that might fit the facts, and the lies about Burke might bolster the theories, as mentioned above, Judge Carnes looked at the evidence and ruled it inconclusive at best.

There is another explanation for the confusion about Burke’s whereabouts at that moment, and that is faulty memory for details. Patsy Ramsey made her statements to detective Trujillo months after the events of the day. Although one would assume that minor details about so traumatic a morning would be burned into Patsy’s memory, our own experiences show how fallacious this assumption is. Think back to times when you have related a story that is solid in your memory, only to have someone add a detail that you had forgotten, but which changes key elements of the story. Patsy was running around frantically looking for her daughter, screaming into the phone early in the morning. John was running up and down stairs. Is it possible Burke came out to see what was going on? Is it possible that Patsy and John forgot this fact because they attached so little import to it? For most observers, the answer is yes. For the detectives of Boulder saw this new evidence fitting conclusively into their framework of the Ramseys as killers and liars.

Another piece of evidence that the investigators deemed crucial was the idea that Patsy could not have possible stepped over the ransom note that was left on the spiral staircase without losing her balance and falling over. In her interrogation by Detective Trujillo, Patsy Ramsey addressed the matter.

(TT) Un, ok. At that point in time, do you have to step on the note, or step over it when you come down.
(PR) I probably stepped over it.
(TT) Okay.
(PR) Cause we sometimes lay papers and stuff there to go up, and if you step on it you might slip, I don’t, don’t think I stepped on it. (Gentile, pg 47)

Detective Thomas attempted to recreate coming down the stairs and could not step over the stair where Patsy claimed she saw the note without losing his balance. Thomas asserted that it is much more likely she would have stepped on the note or that the note was never there at all. Thomas’ theory supported by Dr. Hodges conjecture, is that Patsy drafted the note herself to cover her murder. The “Patsy Two Step” seemed to be clear evidence to the detectives that Patty was lying and that the note was never where she said it was.

Again, common sense argues that there may be a simple reason why Patsy could step over the note while Detective Thomas could not. Patsy was 5’6” and probably barefoot and in her own home when she performed the maneuver she described, one she had performed many times before. She was also a graceful and lithe. Detective Thomas was 6’1”, in shoes, and in unfamiliar surroundings. His re-enactment would not necessarily prove anything except that he himself could not do the maneuver as Patsy described it. However, this new evidence fed into the assumption already made that Patsy was lying about her actions on the stairs and probably about everything else as well.

Finally, it is time to examine the ransom note itself. Judge Carnes says this is the most conclusive evidence in the case, outside the DNA profile. The entire case hinges on who actually wrote this note. The killer is the only one with a motive for writing the note, to afford him or herself a chance to flee, or at least establish some sort of alibi while the police and family members inadvertently trash the crime scene. Such a tactic would be either diabolically clever, or incredibly lucky, but either way, it worked. With little intact, uncompromised physical evidence, the best chance investigators had was to tie the ransom note to some one.

The note itself would seemingly offer a wealth of clues. The note is three lined pages in length, handwritten, full of misspellings, obscure references, threats, nonsense, and an acronym. There is so much there, that detectives and journalists have pored over the contents of the note and come to at least three different conclusions, that Patsy wrote it (Thomas, Hodges), that John wrote it (Singular), and that some unknown outside assailant wrote it (Ramsey). The note was puzzling to the first person known to have read it, Patsy, and subsequently has been “blurred stimuli” for everyone else who has picked it up.

An analysis done for the National Enquirer shows that once someone is looking for something, there is plenty of evidence to bolster their theory inside the note. Examine the example below of the ransom note on the left, and a sample of Patsy Ramsey’s left handed writing on the right:

(Picture missing)

The circled words are intended for the reader to link the two documents together, and to blame Patsy Ramsey. The four words chosen certainly look similar, but to the dispassionate observer, what does it prove? To Judge Carnes, it proved nothing, to Dr Hodges and to the National Enquirer, it was enough to call Patsy a murderer.

As was mentioned above, a cunning and diabolical killer could not have constructed better note with more red herrings and obscurities. Running down the leads in the note consumed years of police time and resulted in many accusations of people not at all involved. Two particular parts of the note stand out. From page one, the author of the note wrote: “You will withdraw $118,000 from your account. $100,000 will be in $100 bills and the remaining $18,000 in $20 bills. Make sure that you bring an adequate size attaché to the bank.” The note concludes with this puzzling sequence: “Use that good, southern common sense of yours. It's up to you now, John! Victory! S.B.T.C” (Schiller, pg 8-9)

The reference to “$118,000” has been described at the exact size of the bonus John Ramsey received from his company. Dr Hodges describes it this way: “For the first time Patsy boldly reveals some personal information: $118,000 was precisely the amount of John’s bonus. John may have made the suggestion to give this number since he probably would be much more familiar with the exact amount of his bonus, but Patsy, for her own reasons, probably liked and used his suggestion.” (Hodges, pg 18) Others saw the number referring to Psalm 118. The key passage of that Psalm is verse 28, “God is the LORD, which hath shewed us light: bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.” In the words of a profiler:
“My assessment of this verse and it's possible relevance to this case is as follows: The person using this verse would be from a conservative Christian background, i.e. Southern Baptist, Presbyterian, etc. They would see themselves as having committed a grievous sin that requires more than a prayer of forgiveness. Their disgust for their sin would lead to anger towards themselves and towards the person that they felt they had wronged in this case the girl. By killing the child they believed that they where taking the child from a dark world or a dark existence and sending the child to a better place. This blood sacrifice would in their mind bring them redemption for their sin and rid them of their guilt as it related to the child.” (Yeager)

This assessment seems quite well reasoned, except that the killer asked for “$118,000” and did not actually mention the psalms or the bible. It is coincidental that JonBenet was found bound with cords as if in sacrifice but then it would be further coincidence that her father got a bonus of that amount in dollars. Which coincidence is relevant, and which not? That answer is lost amongst the other blurred stimuli of the note.

One of the other puzzles of the note are the initials “S.B.T.C.” at the end. Chris Wolf’s girlfriend thought that he had a shirt with those initials on it and they stood for Santa Barbara Tennis Club. The profilers brought in by the Boulder PD thought that it stands for “Saved by the Cross.” Still others thought it referred to John Ramsey’s time at the Subic Bay Training Center in the Philippines. Which is correct, which not? More blurred stimuli.

Several forces came together in the JonBenet Ramsey case to thwart the police trying to investigate the crime. Some of these forces were completely outside their control. The killer or killers were depraved and diabolical. If we are to take the words of the ransom note at face value, the killers demanded the relatively paltry sum of $118,000 to spare the life of a beloved six year old girl, then killed her, and ran off without ever trying to contact the Ramsey’s for ransom. If we believe the profilers, the murders had some kind of mental defect that compelled them to sexually assault and then murder a little girl, but yet possessed the cunning to draft a red herring of a ransom note to cover their get-away. Or, one parent or both murdered the child and then callously hid behind lawyers and threw money at the justice system until the parents exhausted an overmatched district attorney and an inexperienced police force. Whatever happened, the evidence and theories collected to date are insufficient. Resolution of this case awaits better techniques to evaluate the evidence collected.

There is reason to hope that such techniques will eventually arrive. There is a DNA profile that has been established of the killer based on evidence collect from the JonBenet’s body yet sadly, that profile does not match that of anyone who’s DNA has been collected. However, it is foreseen that new techniques that would allow for partial matches of DNA in the database will direct investigators to relatives of the killer, then eventually back to the killer himself, even if he or she is diseased. Justice can only sit by patiently and wait for the killers of this little girl to be captured by the few milliliters of evidence they left behind.

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