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9/7/2002

Ramsey’s ‘Santa’ dies

The Associated Press

BOULDER — A man labeled by John and Patsy Ramsey as a possible suspect in their daughter’s slaying has died.

Bill McReynolds, who had been hired to play Santa Claus at the Ramsey home, was found dead of a heart attack Monday at his home in Mashpee, Mass, his wife said. He was 72.

Police sources said they never considered the former University of Colorado journalism professor as a serious suspect.

McReynolds was investigated because he played Santa Claus at the Ramsey home for three years in a row. His last appearance came two days before JonBenet was found slain in 1996.

JonBenet’s death also resembled the plot of a play his wife had written before the slaying. Authorities collected hair and handwriting samples from the couple in the first few months following the killing.

The Ramseys called McReynolds a suspect in their book “Death of Innocence.”

Janet McReynolds said her husband’s involvement in the infamous case scarred him and forced the couple to move to the small town in Cape Cod.