9

February 29, 2000
 
 
Odd twists and turns in the Ramsey case:
A selection of some of the many sub-plots and spin-offs.
 
JonBenét Ramsey

Child Beauty Pageants Influenced by Murder

JonBenét's murder cast a spotlight on the child beauty pageant world, even though investigators have made no public connection between the murder and the little girl's show biz lifestyle. 

Controversy over the appropriateness of little girls participating in beauty pageants has raged ever since the first videos of JonBenét strutting across the stage in risqué costumes began appearing as a regular part of the nightly news. 

There are conflicting reports as to how the publicity surrounding JonBenét's death has affected pageant participation: some reports say participation in child beauty pageants has plunged since her death, while others claim it has increased.

Nevertheless, JonBenét has come to symbolize inappropriate sexuality in children. She has become the 90's version of Lolita.

 
Brett Sawyer and Shawn Smith

Stolen Crime Scene Photos Published in The Globe

The Globe, a supermarket tabloid, published stolen crime scene photos in January 1997, resulting in a boycott of the tabloid by many stores in Boulder and nationwide. Lawrence Shawn Smith, a technician at the photo processing lab which processed the photos for the coroner's office and Brett Sawyer, a private investigator and former employee of the sheriff's department, were arrested and charged with stealing the photos.

Smith and Sawyer pleaded guilty to obstruction of government operations and were sentenced to three days in jail, 64 hours of community service, $138 in court costs and to write letters of apology to the Ramseys. The Globe reached a settlement with Boulder County and was never charged with any wrongdoing. It returned some of the photos.

 

Author of Anonymous Letter Mailed From Shreveport
Sought by Boulder Police Department

On February 7, 1997 it was learned that an anonymous letter mailed to Boulder detectives might contain potentially significant information about the JonBenét Ramsey case. Police pleaded for the author to come forward.
                  
The handwritten letter was mailed from Shreveport, La., and postmarked January 27. As far as it is known, the author has never been identified.

 
'Pasta Jay' Elowsky

"Pasta" Jay Elowsky Arrested for Threatening Men With Baseball Bat

Jay Elowsky, owner of Pasta Jay's restaurant and friend and business associate of John Ramsey, was arrested February 10, 1997 on charges he threatened three men with a baseball bat and pulled a gun on one of them. He reportedly thought the men were journalists stalking Patsy and John Ramsey, who were his house guests for six weeks following the murder.

Elowsky's targets were freelance newsman Lee Frank, working for NBC, and two others: Warren Schmelzer and Ira Haimann.

Elowsky pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor menacing July 1, 1997 in Boulder County Court. He was sentenced to two consecutive weekends in the custody of the Boulder County Sheriff's Department on work detail beginning 7:30 a.m. July 19. The weekend program requires offenders to remain in the custody of the sheriff overnight.

On May 16, 1998, while Elowsky was still on probation, he was arrested for suspicion of DUI. However, he was not charged with violating his probation. Authorities said Elowsky inadvertently slipped through the system.

 

Louisiana Man Associated With Child Pageants Arrested

In mid-February 1997, the father of a child beauty pageant contestant was arrested in Louisiana on suspicion of indecent behavior with children, but authorities say there's nothing to link him to the murder of Little Miss Colorado JonBenét Ramsey. David Haynes, 42, was charged with indecent behavior with teenage boys in West Monroe, a city of 18,000, about 100 miles from Shreveport. 

Police found nothing to suggest a connection between Haynes and the mysterious letter mailed from Shreveport in late January to the BPD. The BPD has said the anonymous letter may contain important clues to the Ramsey case and have been fruitlessly searching for its author. 

In February 1998, Haynes filed lawsuits against West Monroe police and broadcasters for linking him to the JonBenét Ramsey murder case. The outcome of these suits is not known.

 
Enquirer Cover

National Enquirer Reporter Found Dead in Boulder Hotel Room

A tabloid reporter covering JonBenét Ramsey's murder was found dead in his Boulder hotel room February 26, 1997. Although conspiracy theorists have attributed sinister causes to Duffy's death, an autopsy performed by the coroner showed that David Duffy, 58, of Boca Raton, Fla., died of pneumonia. Duffy was on assignment with the National Enquirer and had been staying at the Regal Harvest House for about 10 days.

Duffy's body was found by a maid about 10:30 a.m. February 26 in his fourth-floor tower room at the 28th Street hotel. Duffy, a native of Manchester, England, was an Enquirer reporter for 21 years, senior editor Charlie Montgomery said. Duffy had high blood pressure and had been feeling ill. He was supposed to see a doctor the day he was found dead, Montgomery said.

 
McReynolds

Odd Parallels to Ramsey Case Prompted
Renewed Interest in Santa and Mrs. Santa

Boulder police re-interviewed Bill and Janet McReynolds, AKA Santa and Mrs. Santa, in late February 1997. They also collected hair and handwriting samples from each of them. Two parallels to the Ramsey slaying in the lives of the McReynolds' was given as the reason for the renewed interest.

One is the fact that the McReynolds' daughter, then 9, was abducted along with a friend in Longmont and witnessed the sexual molestation of her friend. The incident occurred on Dec. 26, 1974. No suspects were ever arrested. JonBenét was found murdered in the basement of her parents' luxurious Boulder home 22 years later. An autopsy showed that JonBenét may have been sexually assaulted.

Another parallel is an award-winning play written by Janet McReynolds in 1976. The play, "Hey Rube," is about the sexual assault, torture and murder of a girl whose body was found in a basement. Janet McReynolds went with her husband to the Ramsey house on the night of Dec. 23, when he portrayed Santa at a Christmas party for the third consecutive year. Bill McReynolds was given a tour of the Ramsey's 6,866-square-foot home in 1995.

The McReynolds attended a Christmas party at the Ramsey home two days before the murder, portraying Santa and Mrs. Santa. They have not remained under the umbrella of suspicion. Bill McReynolds is a former journalism professor at the University of Colorado and Janet McReynolds is a writer and former movie reviewer.

Globe JBR Bedroom

The Globe Struck Again With Photos of the Ramsey Home

In the March 18, 1997 issue of the Globe, a series of eight photographs reveal the path a killer might have taken and depict the interior of the Ramseys' Boulder home after police completed their crime scene investigation, according to the tabloid. Three of the pictures show 6-year-old JonBenét's bedroom.

An investigation determined in late May 1997 that the photos were obtained by someone rooting through the dumpster behind a Denver photo store where Ramsey investigators had the photographs developed. An extra set was made as a color test, and discarded. And because trash is legally considered abandoned property, no criminal charges were filed.

 

JonBenét Mural at University of Colorado Sparked Furor

A 10-foot-by-25-foot mural presenting three beauty pageant portraits of JonBenét Ramsey beneath the words "Daddy's Little Hooker" sparked anger and controversy at the University of Colorado beginning March 12, 1997. The display was created by University of Colorado fine arts major Paul Hidalgo, a senior from Littleton. The mural was ripped down twice by protesters, but Hidalgo replaced it both times.

Hidalgo voluntarily removed the display a few days later, but only in response to a complaint by a Newsweek photographer who had taken the original photographs and brought up questions of copyright infringement.

 

Boulder Police Looked at Charlotte, North Carolina Man as Possible Suspect

Two Boulder police detectives in the JonBenét Ramsey case traveled to Charlotte, N.C. April 7, 1997 to investigate a man charged with kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 2-year-old girl.

Police arrested John Brewer Eustace, 31, of North Carolina, in Charlotte after he said he entered a local home through a bedroom window, abducted and raped the toddler in late March, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said. Boulder police detectives quickly eliminated Eustace as a suspect in the Ramsey murder.

 

Posters Accusing John Ramsey Appeared in Boulder

On May 2, 1997 pranksters hung posters in the Pearl Street Mall area that claimed John Ramsey murdered his daughter, JonBenét. The fliers were patterned after a reward advertisement the Ramseys placed in the Daily Camera 4 months after the killing.

 
JT Colfax

"Shock Artist" Stole Morgue Log Pages

The morgue at Boulder Community Hospital reported to police May 8, 1997 that two pages of the morgue's log book covering the period of late December and early January were ripped out. One of the pages included the entry when JonBenét's body was brought to the morgue, and when the body was released and to whom.

On May 21 Boulder police arrested James Michael Thompson of Denver on charges of theft under $100 and criminal mischief for stealing the pages. Thompson, an artist who uses the pseudonym J.T. Colfax, said he was drunk when he took the pages from the Boulder Community Hospital morgue on April 29. Thompson gained access to the morgue by working for a Denver company that contracts with coroners and morticians to transport bodies from one location to another. Dean Newton of M&M Transport said Thompson did indeed transport a body from Boulder for the company that morning.

Thompson, 33, also faces five counts of abuse of a corpse in connection with the photographs of corpses adorned with party noisemakers and signs reading "Happy Halloween," "Getting Fired Isn't the End of the World" and "Yee Haw." Police said Thompson told them the photos were "shock art".

See related story about Thompson's attempted arson of the Ramsey home below.

Possibility of "War Room" Computer File Theft Investigated

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation began an inquiry into the possible theft of computer documents about the JonBenét Ramsey homicide from the Boulder County District Attorney's "war room." The war room is an office in the Boulder Justice Center shared by police detectives and district attorney's staff working on the Ramsey case.

Someone gained access to a computer in the room containing Ramsey case information about 1 a.m. June 7, 1997. Two days later, detectives discovered an anomaly in the computer and suspected a theft. They did not find any sign of forced entry into the war room. The Boulder Police Department asked CBI to investigate.

The CBI concluded June 26 that a short-circuit in a battery, not human intervention, was responsible for the loss of power that led police investigators to suspect someone tampered with a computer containing the JonBenét Ramsey murder case files.

John Eller

Boulder Police Sergeant Filed Complaint

On June 9, 1997, Boulder police sergeant Larry Mason, who was removed from the JonBenét Ramsey homicide investigation, filed an internal affairs complaint in addition to a notice of intent to sue the detective managing the case, Commander John Eller (pictured at left).

Mason contended Eller caused him significant "reputational injuries." The 18-year Boulder Police Department veteran and his wife Cecilia each planned to seek $150,000 damages, the notice stated.

Shortly after John Ramsey and a friend found the 6-year-old strangled in her home on Dec. 26, 1996, Mason and several other detectives traveled to Atlanta to investigate the homicide. On Jan. 5, officials placed Mason on administrative leave for allegedly leaking information about the case to the media. An internal investigation later cleared Mason of the charges. Mason claimed that Eller knowingly falsely accused him of revealing details concerning the case.

On December 2, 1997 the city of Boulder agreed to pay $10,000 to Mason and his wife. The agreement stipulated that the Masons agree never to sue the city or Cmdr. John Eller, former head of the Ramsey investigation, over the alleged leak.

JT Colfax

Man Who Stole Morgue Log Tried to Burn Ramsey Home

Police arrested James Michael Thompson, a Denver-area artist also known as "J.T. Colfax," on suspicion of first-degree arson and third-degree criminal trespass on June 19, 1997. He was charged with first-degree arson June 25 and sentenced to 2 years in jail after a plea bargain on January 19, 1998.

Thompson shoved burning papers, which reportedly included newspaper clippings about the Ramsey case, through the mail slot of the family's house at 755 15th St. The fire caused very minor damage, burning a small area on a baseboard. Ramsey representatives taking care of the house apparently discovered the arson attempt, but tampered with the evidence and failed to report it to police. Thompson turned himself in to police some hours later.

Thompson, AKA J.T. Colfax, has become an online personality of sorts since the fall of 1998. Lance Matthews, a former Boulder inmate who receives correspondence and phone calls from Colfax, created a web site of Colfax's art work, case documents, and correspondence. Matthews also serves as his messenger, advocate and mouthpiece on several Ramsey case discussion forums. Colfax is due to be released from the Boulder County Jail in July 1999.

Colfax, who has been cleared of any involvement in the murder of JonBenét, reported on the forums that a fellow inmate, Dean Cole, who was a workman in the Ramsey home the month prior to the murder was never investigated. Subsequently, a Boulder detective has investigated Cole.

Social Services Computer Files Relating to
Burke Ramsey Interview Reported Stolen

Confidential computer files potentially related to the JonBenét Ramsey homicide were reported to have been stolen from the Boulder County Department of Social Services in early June 1997.

Technicians discovered the possible unauthorized access during routine maintenance of a computer within the department. Department officials asked the Boulder Police Department to investigate the potential theft June 26, 1997. Social services workers questioned JonBenét's brother, Burke, after the girl's death. Two sources said the theft may have included documents related to those interviews.

Ramsey Family Rejected JonBenét Paper-dolls

A local artist planning a JonBenét Ramsey paper-doll book was denied permission by the Ramsey family, it was reported July 2, 1997. Connie Marshall had approached the Ramsey family for permission to publish a 16-page cutout book featuring JonBenét modeling 30 paper-doll costumes, said attorney William Gray, who has been retained by the Ramseys.

All the costumes were to be reproductions of outfits the kindergartner wore for the beauty pageants at which she competed. The book was to be titled Tribute to JonBonét, with the murdered child's household-famous name misspelled.

Shawn Smith

Photo Technician Arrested for Indecent Exposure

A photo technician fired for stealing and selling autopsy photos of JonBenét Ramsey published in the Globe tabloid was back in jail July 19, 1997 after being arrested in connection with indecent exposure in front of two teenage girls.

According to police reports, Lawrence Shawn Smith exposed himself near his Boulder home to a juvenile girl while she was jogging. When she was running by, the girl saw him lying on the roadside naked and masturbating. He later exposed himself to another juvenile girl, the report states.

Texas Man Investigated For Possible Fraud For
Raising Funds in JonBenét's Name

Consumer fraud investigators asked sharp questions of a Round Rock, Texas man soliciting donations for what he said would be memorials to JonBenét Ramsey. Ricardo Gracia's announced plan is to erect memorial parks in Texas and three other states to honor the slain child beauty queen and other children who have died violently.

The parks, called "Santa's Children Memorial Parks," would be in Round Rock; Boulder; Kenosha, Wisconsin; and Marietta, Georgia, he said. "The amount of money it's going to take, you can pretty much picture it close to a million dollars," he told Austin television station KTBC for a story aired July 21, 1997.

Gracia was selling inscribed bricks and soliciting cash contributions outside central Texas stores. He also created an Internet Web page to ask for donations of land, building materials and cash contributions ranging from $50 to $1,000. KTBC reported that Gracia removed the Ramsey child's picture from his Web site and fund-raising literature after Ramsey family objected.

There have been no follow-up stories about Gracia.

Investigators Pursued Ramsey Neighbor With 32-year-old Record

Lou Smit, a retired Colorado Springs homicide detective working for the prosecutor, called authorities in California the second week of October 1997 for information about a 54-year-old man arrested 32 years ago in Oceanside in connection with a crime against a child.

The man, arrested March 15, 1965, and eventually convicted of misdemeanor indecent exposure, reportedly lived six blocks from the Ramseys Boulder home and disappeared shortly after the murder. There have been no updates about this potential suspect.

Darnay Hoffman

New York Attorney Darnay Hoffman Sued Alex Hunter

Darnay Hoffman sued Boulder County District Attorney Alex Hunter on November 19, 1997 in District Court in an attempt to force Hunter to file charges in the Ramsey case.

Hoffman based his lawsuit on a state statute that can be invoked by "unjustified refusal of the prosecuting attorney to prosecute any person for the crime." Under the law, a judge can order the prosecutor to explain his actions. If the judge finds the prosecutor`s reasons to be "arbitrary and capricious" and without reasonable excuse, the judge can order the prosecutor to move forward on the case.

Hoffman said he had accumulated evidence from four handwriting experts who concluded that Patsy Ramsey wrote the ransom note. Hunter filed a motion December 9 to dismiss Hoffman`s complaint, arguing that it is groundless and he is seeking publicity.

A Boulder district court judge dismissed the lawsuit January 20, 1998, saying it was based in part on "innuendo, rumor, opinion and speculation." Hoffman continues to speak out about the case.

Hoffman, who is married to the "Mayflower Madam" and has been frequently quoted in the National Enquirer, said he's spending his own money on the case. He was the defense lawyer for subway gunman Bernhard Goetz in a New York civil trial. It is unusual for a non-relative of a crime victim to invoke this statute.

Boulder Camera Accused Ramsey Case Reporter of Theft

The Boulder Camera filed charges against former reporter, Alli Krupski, after discovering numerous Ramsey case files were missing. Krupski, the Camera's main Ramsey case reporter, resigned December 11, 1997, after being out sick for several weeks. The Camera was granted a restraining order against her the following week to prevent her from destroying, selling, or using  the files, which the Camera valued at $15,000.

Krupski later said she had destroyed some of the documents to protect confidential sources, and had deleted some computer files related to the case. She turned over the remaining documents to her attorney.

On January 9, 1998 a judge ruled that Krupski did not commit theft and could keep the documents, but must provide copies to the Daily Camera. Although the Camera moved to drop the case after Krupski filed counter-claims, a judge denied the request in April 1998. Krupski stated her reputation had been damaged by the lawsuit and the Camera's coverage of the legal proceedings.

The case was scheduled to be heard in early December 1998, but was postponed when the Camera requested a delay to receive and review documents.

Suspected Ohio Pornographer Had JonBenét's Photo

In early January 1998, authorities found a photograph of JonBenét Ramsey in the Ohio home of a suspected pornographer who is under scrutiny in the disappearance of another Colorado girl. The picture of the slain 6-year-old beauty queen turned up in the Columbus home of 35-year-old James Partin, who was arrested in December 1997 for investigation of distributing child pornography on the Internet.

Detectives working on that case discovered a newspaper clipping about the 1983 disappearance of Beth Miller and a map of the Idaho Springs area marked with three Xs in Partin's house. Miller was 14 when she disappeared after going for a jog near her Idaho Springs home. Partin lived in Idaho Springs around that time.

Boulder detectives concluded Partin had no involvement in the Ramsey slaying.

Photographer / Neighbor Sued John Ramsey For Defamation

Boulder photographer Stephen Miles filed a lawsuit against John Ramsey for slander and libel February 3, 1998, claiming that Ramsey falsely implicated him in the murder of his daughter, JonBenét. The suit also named the tabloid National Enquirer and two of its writers as additional defendants.

The suit cited the Oct. 21 and Nov. 11 1997 issues of the Enquirer, which rely on information and quotes from an unnamed "close source" who says that Ramsey told police that he believed Miles was JonBenét's killer. The tabloid also reported that Miles is a drug addict and and a sex offender.  Ramsey has denied the charges.

U.S. district judge Clarence Brimmer ruled December 17, 1998 that Miles could only pursue his lawsuit against the Enquirer, stating that there was no proof John Ramsey had defamed Miles. On January 29, 1999 Judge Brimmer also dismissed Miles' suit against the Enquirer, citing absence of malice on the Enquirer's part.

Linda Arndt

Ramsey Case Detective Filed Suit Against Chief Koby

Boulder detective Linda Arndt, angered at being blamed for bungling the JonBenét Ramsey murder investigation, announced her intent on February 4, 1998 to sue Boulder Police Chief Tom Koby (pictured at left) for not defending her reputation. She formerly filed suit against Koby in late May 1998.

On September 23, 1998, a federal judge put Arndt's lawsuit on hold for 90 days because of the ongoing JonBenét Ramsey murder investigation; the grand jury was convened a little over a week prior to his decision. The judge indicated that he would review his decision again after the 90 days are up, which would be in late December 1998. The lawsuit is still in abeyance, awaiting the outcome of the Ramsey grand jury.

Steve Thomas

BPD Detective Resigned, Attacked District Attorney

In a scathing letter attacking the district attorney's handling of the JonBenét Ramsey murder investigation, Detective Steve Thomas, assigned to the case since the beginning, resigned August 6, 1998, saying he had remained silent for too long. August 6th would have been JonBenét's eighth birthday. 

"It is my belief the district attorney's office has effectively crippled this case," Thomas wrote in his letter to Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner. "The time for intervention is now." Thomas asked that an independent prosecutor be appointed to take over the case.

Thomas' allegations included the following:

The district attorney dismissed evidence collected by detectives, as well as opinions offered by national experts, including the FBI.
Search warrants were denied for "elementary investigative efforts," such as attempts to obtain telephone and credit card records. 
Prosecutors shared physical evidence and reports with lawyers for John and Patsy Ramsey, the parents of the slain girl.
Evidence remained in a laboratory untested as detectives and prosecutors grappled with how to proceed in the case. 
The district attorney's office did not clear innocent people, but pursued them with "shameless tactics."

District Attorney Alex Hunter denied the allegations. In response to Thomas' letter, Governor Roy Romer met with four metro-area prosecutors to evaluate whether appointment of a special prosecutor was warranted. On August 12 Romer announced that while he would not appoint a special prosecutor, he would appoint special deputies to assist with the case.

On February 12, 1999, it was announced that Thomas had signed a six figure book deal with St. Martin's Press.

Fleet and Priscilla White

Ex-Ramsey Friends Urged Governor to Appoint Special Prosecutor

Fleet and Priscilla White, former friends of the Ramseys, released a 14-page letter addressed to the people of Colorado on August 19, 1998, asking that they demand that Governor Romer appoint a special prosecutor in the Ramsey investigation. Fleet accompanied John Ramsey to the basement on December 26, 1996, when Ramsey found JonBenét's body.

In December 1997, the Whites asked Romer to appoint a special prosecutor. He declined. In January 1998, the Whites wrote a letter to the Boulder Camera repeating the request. The first two requests received little publicity.

The Whites' August 19 letter to the people of Colorado, which was publicized nationally, followed Governor Romer's refusal to appoint a special prosecutor in response to ex-detective Steve Thomas' letter of August 6.

The letter accused the district attorney and others associated with the case of purposely delaying the grand jury in the Ramsey investigation in order to dead-end the issue. The letter also focused on what the Whites claimed to be questionable political connections and conflicts of interest between and among many of the players in the Ramsey investigation.

The Whites wrote a fourth letter on August 24 which raised questions about Lt. Governor Gail Shoettler's relationship with the Ramsey. Her husband, Donald Stevens, is a long-time friend and fraternity brother of John Ramsey from Michigan State University. Stevens made several phone calls to the Ramseys following the murder.

Judith Phillips, a former photographer for the Ramsey family, also wrote a letter to Romer  praising the actions of Thomas and the Whites and asking that the district attorney be removed from the case.

Romer repeatedly declined to act.

Kelvin McNeill

Former Boulder City Spokesman Kelvin McNeill
Died Following Amsterdam Car Accident

Former Boulder city spokesman Kelvin McNeill died August 18, 1998 in an Amsterdam hospital from injuries suffered in an accident with a taxi on August 7.

McNeill, 28, was a city spokesman in Boulder for seven years until he left in April 1997 to become director of communications and community outreach for the Gill Foundation, a Colorado Springs-based organization that gives grants and gifts to primarily gay and lesbian causes across the country. McNeill gained national prominence when he adroitly fielded questions about the JonBenét Ramsey case in the first few months after the murder.

Denver Post

"Cybersleuths" Converged on Boulder

About 30 of a significantly larger number of people who closely follow the JonBenét Ramsey case on the Internet met in Boulder for the weekend of September 19, 1998. After communicating with each other electronically for many months, they were able to meet in person for the first time and to see the city of Boulder first-hand.

They were also able to get to know many of those involved with the case locally, such as Peter Boyles of WHOW radio, Chuck Green of the Denver Post, DA Hunter's spokesperson Suzanne Laurion, and frequent media legal analyst Craig Silverman.

Lou Smit

DA Investigator Resigned, Saying Ramseys Are Innocent

A veteran homicide investigator who quit the JonBenét Ramsey case September 20, 1998 did so because he believed authorities were focusing too heavily on the slain girl's parents, according to the resignation letter.

In Smit's letter, which was released several days after his resignation, he wrote that he believes he "knew this case better than anyone else. ...(and) I find that I cannot in good conscience be part of the persecution of innocent people."

"The case tells me there is substantial, credible evidence of an intruder and lack of evidence that the parents are involved," wrote Smit, a retired Colorado Springs and El Paso County homicide detective hired last year as the district attorney's special investigator.

He said he intends to continue searching for JonBenét's killer, and then, in apparent reference to his religious beliefs, says: "I have a great 'partner' who I'm sure will lead the way."

Hunter released a statement declining to comment on Smit's resignation, although the district attorney did express faith that his former investigator won't divulge details surrounding the December 26, 1996, slaying.

Randy Simons

JonBenét Photographer Found Walking Nude,
Proclaiming Innocence in Her Murder

Randy Simons, hired by the Ramsey family in June 1996 to take glamour shots of JonBenét, was arrested for indecent exposure on October 16, 1998, for allegedly walking nude down a residential street in the small town of Genoa, Colorado. Simons told the arresting deputy, supposedly with no provocation, "I didn't kill JonBenét." October 16 was his 46th birthday.

In January 1997 Simons sold his portfolio of JonBenét pictures to the Sygma Photo Agency for $7,500. At the time, he acknowledged his career might be irreparably damaged. He is apparently not considered a suspect in the murder, and was hospitalized for psychiatric evaluation after the incident.

Teddy Bear

DA Hunter Asked Public to Help Identify Teddy Bear

On January 28, 1999 DA Alex Hunter issued a press release, launching a nationwide search for the origins of a stuffed white bear in a Santa suit. He asked for the public's help "in identifying the manufacturer of, and/or retail outlets that sold, in 1996 or earlier, a toy teddy bear dressed in a rather unusual Santa Claus suit."

Hunter would not say why this information was needed. The whereabouts of the bear are unknown. Family members say the bear, pictured in a BPD crime scene photo, did not belong to JonBenét Ramsey.

There were over 10,000 responses to Hunters plea within the first 24 hours, and it was reported that a similar bear had been turned in to the DA's office by a Denver woman.

Craig Lewis

Two indicted in alleged bribery attempt to buy copy of the Ramsey ransom note for $30,000.

A Jefferson County, Colorado grand jury brought indictments against retired Boulder attorney, and former journalist and private investigator Thomas C. Miller, 48 and Globe tabloid news editor Craig A. Lewis, 44, on charges of commercial bribery and criminal extortion in the April 1, 1997, attempt to purchase a copy of the Ramsey ransom note for $30,000.

The charge against Miller stems from an investigation by the Jefferson County grand jury into information brokering -- the buying and selling of confidential information for illegal or improper uses. Miller was indicted in August 1999 and accused of trying to broker a deal between Lewis and J. Donald Vacca, a document examiner retained by the Ramseys' attorneys after the Christmas 1996 slaying of 6-year-old JonBenét. At the time of the alleged bribery attempt, the note had not been released to the public and remained the subject of considerable speculation.

Miller met Don Vacca, a handwriting expert and former Denver police officer, on April 1, 1997, in the lower level of Vacca's Jefferson County home. Miller was accompanied by another man - believed to be Lewis - who was introduced as a "representative of a large corporation." That person offered Vacca $30,000 for the note and showed a large, stuffed manila envelope. Vacca had received the note from the Ramsey family, who had obtained a copy from Boulder investigators. Vacca declined and asked the men to leave. The unidentified man called Vacca three days later and left a message. On April 8, 1997, the unidentified man returned to Vacca's home and asked again to purchase a copy of the note. "He offered more money and asked that if money wasn't of interest to Mr. Vacca, what would be?" the affidavit states. The man was told to leave and as he drove off, Vacca wrote down the car's license plate number.

Vacca notified the district attorney's office, which traced the license plate to the Hertz rental-car office at Denver International Airport. Investigators determined Lewis rented the car April 4-9, 1997, the affidavit said. In interviews with the CBI both before and after Miller's indictment, Miller's estranged wife, Michelle Austin, told investigators about Miller's daily diary. Austin, who separated from Miller in April 1996, told investigators that he "wrote in his diaries on a daily basis," the affidavit said.

If convicted, Miller could be sentenced to one to three years in prison.

Investigators seized Miller's diary in November 1999 from his Boulder home, hoping it would link Lewis to the attempt to buy the ransom note, found the morning JonBenét was reported missing.

The case against Lewis was stalled for months while attorneys for Florida-based Globe Communications Corp. petitioned state and federal courts to block the indictment, which originally was expected in late summer, because they contended the laws used against him were unconstitutionally broad and would have a chilling effect on reporters' First Amendment rights. District Judge Henry E. Nieto ruled December 14, 1999 that Colorado's extortion and bribery statutes are constitutional and he refused to halt the investigation.

Lewis also faces an extortion charge over allegations he sent former Boulder police Detective Steve Thomas pictures of his (Thomas') deceased mother in August 1998, along with a request for an interview.

Daily Camera Headline

California woman's story of widespread 'sex ring' conspiracy
draws Boulder DA's attention.

On February 25, 2000 Boulder, Colorado newspaper The Daily Camera broke the story of a 37 year old woman from the San Luis Obispo area of California having contacted Boulder attorney Lee Hill after seeing him interviewed on Fox News Channel about a deposition he had taken on October 20, 1998 of John Ramsey in the Stephen Miles lawsuit against a supermarket tabloid. (see story above)

It was reported that the woman claimed she was assaulted as a child by adults who used a rope or garrote to partially suffocate her. The woman reportedly has information that a widespread 'sex ring' could have been behind the strangulation and bludgeon death of JonBenét Ramsey. The woman said she knew the Ramsey's through the Fleet White family. She said her mother's godfather is 86 year old Fleet R. White, Sr. , father of Fleet R. White, Jr. who was a close friend of John Ramsey until shortly after the murder, and who was with John Ramsey within seconds of his finding JonBenét's body in the basement. Fleet White, Jr. was cleared as a suspect in April 1997.

The woman has been in therapy for years as a result of the abuse and her therapist is also cooperating with the investigator's checking the woman's story.

Sheriff's officials in San Luis Obispo County said the woman has a history of making false reports. One deputy was quoted as saying that "the woman is considered a 'fruit loop' by officers". Attorney Hill said his client acknowledges making reports to local authorities that have not been followed up but that the woman denies that her reports were false.

Boulder DA Alex Hunter at first, found the woman believable and arranged for the woman to be interviewed by both the Boulder Police and the FBI. Within days, Hunter was quoted as saying "Opinions about believability are premature before a full investigation is complete."

Hill said his client is prepared to name people that she thought might have witnessed what was done to JonBenét, and said he was outraged that Boulder police didn't seem to take her claims seriously. "They treated her like a suspect," Hill said.

 
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