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9/29/2002

Ramsey videotapes will be aired on TV

Associated Press

BOULDER— Police did not leak videotapes in which authorities interrogated John and Patsy Ramsey about the 1996 slaying of their daughter, police chief Mark Beckner said.

Excerpts of the tapes are scheduled to air on national television Friday. CBS’ “48 Hours Investigates” will feature them in a report called “Searching for a Killer,” the Boulder Daily Camera newspaper reported Saturday.

The former Boulder couple and parents of the slain child beauty queen met with investigators three times: once in Boulder in April 1997, three days in June 1998 in Broomfield and in August 2000 in Atlanta. It was unclear which videotape would be featured on the program.

Beckner said his office gave the Ramseys copies of each videotaped interview. He said police did not give copies of the tapes to CBS and refused to speculate how the network acquired them.

Neither Ramsey attorney L. Lin Wood of Atlanta nor Beck-ner returned phone messages left at their houses Saturday by The Associated Press.

Wood has complained in the past of police leaks and has threatened a lawsuit to stop them. Beckner has denied any information coming from his department.

Portions of the videotape contain sensitive information never before released that could be damaging to the nearly 6-year-old investigation, Beck-ner said.

“It all depends on what they show,” he said.

District Attorney Mary Keenan, who observed the June 1998 interviews, said it’s been so long that she doesn’t recall details from the meeting. A great deal of information already has been leaked to the media, she said.

The Ramseys have maintained their innocence since JonBenet Ramsey was found strangled and beaten in the basement of their home on Dec. 26, 1996. In their book, “The Death of Innocence,” the couple said an intruder killed their daughter.

Police have said the Ramseys are under the “umbrella of suspicion.”

Lou Smit, a retired El Paso County homicide investigator who helped in the investigation, thinks the tapes will show investigators “interrogating” Patsy Ramsey.

“It was pretty heavy-duty,” Smit said of Patsy’s June 1998 session. He was in a separate room at the time questioning John Ramsey.

Smit resigned from the investigation in September 1998 just as a grand jury began its probe of the case. It concluded 13 months later without issuing any indictments.