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1/6/1997

Still no questioning of family by police

by Pam Regensberg
Daily Times-Call

BOULDER -- John and Patricia ``Patsy'' Ramsey -- the parents of the slain 6-year-old beauty queen, JonBenet Ramsey -- have yet to make themselves available to police 12 days after the murder -- but grieved before reporters and photographers outside their church Sunday in what became a staged media event.

Reporters and photographers lined the sidewalk outside St. John's Episcopal Church in downtown Boulder to catch of glimpse of the now famous family being greeted by Episcopal Bishop Jerry Winterrowd.

The media was alerted to the church by the Ramseys ' media consultant, Pat Kortin of Washington, D.C.

It was the Ramseys first public appearance in Boulder since JonBenet's murder .

Dozens of congregants stood shoulder-to-shoulder to shield the Ramseys from news cameras as the couple left the church even though Kortin set up the event.

Kortin called several television stations and Cable News Network to ask if they were planning to be outside the church, where the Ramseys have been congregants since 1991 and Patsy Ramsey once taught Sunday school.

When TV officials said they'd be there, Kortin made arrangements that turned the Ramseys ' walk from the church to the parish hall, where coffee and tea are regularly offered following services, into a pre-arranged photo opportunity.

Their procession took them along the most indirect of several available routes -- and one giving them maximum possible exposure to news cameras. Church members more often use a side door, which would have afforded the Ramseys less scrutiny from media, gawkers or passersby.

Meanwhile, the Ramseys ' attorneys have reportedly asked authorities to submit written questions to the family, a method some agencies find unconventional. Yet a Boulder County sheriff's detective refused to question the Boulder Police Department's actions.

``Every case is different,'' said sheriff's Detective Catherine Reiss. ``I absolutely will not second guess what an organization does.''

However, the district attorney's office has some suggestions for police.

``We're just advising that anything that has to do with the events of that night has to be in a face-to-face interview,'' said Assistant District Attorney Bill Wise.

However, city spokeswoman Leslie Aaholm said she was not aware that Boulder police had submitted the questions. She added that police are still in the process of trying to set up an interview with John and Patsy Ramsey , but no date has been set.

Boulder police who were questioning the Ramseys ' family, friends and co-workers in the Atlanta area returned to Boulder Sunday, Aaholm said. The family was reportedly cooperative, but has criticized the media for its coverage of the murder .

The murder of JonBenet has captured national media attention. Shortly after John Ramsey found his little girl in the family's basement on Dec. 26, couch detectives have come up with their own scenarios about JonBenet's last hours.

JonBenet was sexually assaulted and strangled. John Ramsey found his daughter's body with a cord around her neck and duct tape over her mouth. A source close to the investigation reportedly said the girl's skull was fractured.

Hoping for some break in the case, reporters with Cable News Network, Dateline, USAToday, the National Enquirer and the major television networks are camped out in front of the Boulder police station, city hall and in front of the Ramseys ' 15-room Tudor home near the University of Colorado.

Authorities have scheduled a news briefing for Tuesday morning.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.