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1/2/1997

CNN interviews John and Patricia Ramsey about the death of their daughter JonBenet

By Jill Tucker
Daily Times-Call with Associated Press reports

BOULDER -- A team of investigators headed to Atlanta Wednesday, leaving behind little information and a wide array of speculation surrounding the murder of JonBenet Ramsey .

At least four Boulder police officers flew to Georgia, where JonBenet's family continued to mourn the 6-year-old's death. They carried boxes onto the plane, but would not say what was inside.

The team included Boulder chief investigator Larry Mason and detectives Jane Harmer, Ron Gosage and Steve Thomas. Officials did not confirm a fifth investigator.

More than a week after JonBenet's death, police continued to remain tight-lipped about the details surrounding the girl's death. They refused to say why the team was traveling to Atlanta.

The girl was found dead in her basement eight hours after her family reported that she had been kidnapped the day after Christmas.

Meanwhile, police were not responding to a CNN interview given by John and Patricia ``Patsy'' Ramsey on New Year's Day in Atlanta.

Leslie Aaholm, Boulder's director of communication, said police only wanted to address the comment that Patsy Ramsey made claiming there is a killer on the loose.

``Boulder should not be any more concerned today than they were a week ago or two weeks ago,'' she said, adding that residents should always be cautious, lock doors and not leave children unattended.

During the CNN interview, the girl's father, John Ramsey , said a ransom note left at the scene asked for $118,000.

``We had the money available in an hour,'' John Ramsey said, and the three-page kidnapping note, found on some little-used back stairs in their expensive Boulder home, said they would get a telephone call with further instructions.

No one called.

And later, a Boulder police detective suggested a thorough search of the home.

``One of the detectives asked me and one of my friends who was there to go through every inch of the house and see if there was anything that was unusual or out of place,'' John Ramsey said.

``I think he was asking us to do that more to give us something to do to occupy our minds, so we started in the basement.

``We had one room in the basement that when I opened the door -- there were no windows in the room -- and I turned the light on and ... it was her,'' he said. ``I hoped that she was still OK but I could tell that she probably wasn't. I screamed and carried her upstairs.''

The Ramseys said their family is a close God-fearing family, and they don't find it possible that the assailant was a family member or friend. That means, ``There's someone out there,'' Patsy Ramsey said.

``There is a killer on the loose. I don't know who it is. I don't know if it's a he or a she. But if I were a resident of Boulder, I would tell my friends to keep your babies close to you. There's someone out there,'' she whispered, her voice cracking.

The parents said during the interview that the family will hire attorneys for counsel, private investigators to help police, and will offer anything else that would help find the killer, including a $50,000 reward.

``Whatever they want. Whatever anyone wants, we will cooperate,'' Patsy Ramsey said. They've already given samples of their hair, handwriting and blood to Boulder investigators, and aren't offended by the immediate suspicion that falls on the family. The parents could do little but shake their heads in bafflement when asked if they had any idea why their daughter would be targeted.

``It makes no sense,'' John Ramsey said. ``I don't know if it was an attack on me, on my company...'' He is president of Access Graphics, a branch of Lockheed Martin, and has been given leave at this time, company officials said.

But they agreed their family members, as suspects, isn't believable.

``Our family is a loving family, a gentle family,'' John Ramsey said.

``We are a Christian God-fearing family. We love our children. We would do anything for our children,'' Patsy Ramsey said.

She also described finding the handwritten note, its three pages placed across one of the steps in the home.

``It was addressed to John. It said `Mr. Ramsey ' and it said `We have your daughter' and it just wasn't registering...''

``I don't know if I got any further and I ran upstairs,'' she said.

John Ramsey said the note warned them not to call police, but after they checked their daughter's room and their son's room, they did.

``We were just frantic and I dialed the police 911 and she was trying to calm me down and I said my child had been kidnapped and she was trying to ask questions methodically and I'm just screaming ``Send help! Send help!'' Patsy Ramsey said.

The Ramseys confirmed duct tape was used on their daughter, but offered no details.

They said they decided to grant the interview, following six days of not commenting on the tragedy, to get along with the case.

``For our grief to resolve itself we now have to find out why this happened. We are ready now to address that,'' he said.

``With God's help,'' Patsy Ramsey added.

The parents also have retained attorneys, they confirmed.

``We were fortunate almost from the moment we found the note to be surrounded by friends ... and we relied on their guidance,'' John Ramsey said. ``My friends suggest that it would be foolish not to have knowledgeable counsel to help both us and with the investigation.''

As for his plans to hire investigators. ``I want the best minds this country has to offer to help us resolve this,'' he said.

``This doesn't come from anger, it comes from knowing that the only way my family can move on now is to resolve why this happened,'' he said.

John Ramsey has retained prominent Denver criminal defense attorney Bryan Morgan to represent him. Patsy Ramsey has hired Boulder attorney Patrick J. Burke.

JonBenet was laid to rest in Georgia on Tuesday. The family had moved from Atlanta to Boulder in 1991. Funeral services were held in the Atlanta church where JonBenet was baptized and where her parents were married.

The former Little Miss Colorado was buried wearing her beauty crown.

The Ramseys said they would return to Colorado soon.