DENVER — The first detective on the scene of the JonBenet Ramsey murder has said she determined John Ramsey had killed his daughter only seconds after he found the child’s body but admitted she had no evidence to support her opinion.
Former Boulder Detective Linda Arndt made the revelation in a deposition for her lawsuit against the Boulder Police Department, which now appears ready to go to trial on May 29.
U.S. District Judge William Downes on Monday denied a motion by Boulder’s attorneys to dismiss the case, but dismissed the part of the suit that claims the department violated Colorado law.
The ruling left intact Arndt’s complaint that the department and its last two chiefs violated her free-speech rights by not allowing her to defend herself against claims that she botched the crime scene investigation on Dec. 26, 1996.
In Arndt’s deposition, which was taken over a year ago and placed in the court file this month, she said she became convinced that John Ramsey killed his daughter as soon as he came up the basement steps with JonBenet’s body.
In that same deposition, Arndt also admitted she formed that opinion with “nothing else to go on” but her own feelings.
John Ramsey and his wife, Patsy, are the only named suspects in the case. They have long accused Boulder police of assuming their guilt from the beginning and failing to investigate other leads.
Arndt, in a 1999 appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” told an interviewer she knew who killed the 6-year-old beauty queen, but at that time would not name the suspect.
Arndt said John Ramsey ’s demeanor in part caused her to believe he committed the murder, but said it was “the totality of everything I had” that caused her to believe he was guilty.
She said the manner in which Ramsey carried the girl’s body up the stairs alarmed her.
“He had his arms around her upper legs. He carried her kind of up and away from his body,” she said.
“It was clear that John had killed JonBenet,” she alleged, adding that she did not view him as a suspect — and saw the case as a kidnapping — up until the moment he brought the body from the basement of the family home.
Arndt also accused the girl’s mother, Patsy Ramsey , of being involved in the crime.
Arndt said she came to the conclusion that “John actually killed his daughter, but Patsy was involved in presenting the murder as something other than a murder.”
The deposition also says Arndt felt she and the other people in the house were in danger when John Ramsey brought JonBenet’s body upstairs.
Arndt said the look in John Ramsey ’s eyes made her believe she was in danger but said he never said anything that would make her believe she was in danger. She said she came to her conclusions based on “using what happened that day with the information about behaviors and facts before Dec. 26.”
Arndt also feared for her life after that day, she said in the deposition. She said she felt threatened by people both inside and outside the police department and drew up a will “in case something happened to me.”
She also claimed she believes Ramsey -family friend Barb Fernie “stalked her” until 1999 and said Fernie called her several times after she left the police force.
The Ramseys have steadfastly denied involvement in the murder. Retired Detective Lou Smit, who worked on the case for a year at the request of the district attorney’s office, has also maintained JonBenet was killed by an intruder.
B.J. Plasket can be reached at 303-776-2244, Ext. 451, or by e-mail at email@example.com.