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1/7/1997

Judges keep search warrants sealed

Pam Regensberg
Daily Times-Call

BOULDER -- A Boulder County judge this morning sealed documents that contained information about the investigation into the murder of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey of Boulder.

Boulder County District Court Judge Diane McDonald denied KMGH Channel 7's request to release search warrant information about what Boulder police removed from John and Patricia ``Patsy'' Ramsey 's 15-room Tudor home near Chautauqua Park.

The documents will be sealed for 30 days at which time McDonald may review the case again. A Michigan judge also sealed the search warrant that police obtained to examine the Ramsey summer home in the small resort town of Charlevoix, Mich.

Authorities said the warrant contained information that only the suspect and the police know and therefore would not release it to the public.

The murder investigation has now spanned three states and involves more than two dozen officers.

Investigators have compiled a profile of the slain girl's family by interviewing friends in Georgia and Michigan. Despite that, police spokeswoman Leslie Aaholm told dozens of reporters and photographers this morning that the Ramseys are not considered suspects in the slaying. However, no one has been ruled in or out, she added.

JonBenet was found in the basement of her Boulder home Dec. 26. Sources said the little girl had been sexually abused and had a fractured skull. The Boulder County coroner's office said the girl was strangled.

In the nearly two weeks since the child was found dead, police still have not interviewed JonBenet's parents even though the Ramseys could be considered material witnesses to the crime.

Police said the Ramseys are cooperating, though they have hired two attorneys, a publicist and a private investigator.

``We have no legal reason to detain them,'' Aaholm said about the Ramseys .

Aaholm said information contained in lab tests conducted by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and 911 tapes will not be released to the public at this time. Any information relevant to the investigation will not be released at all.

She added, however, that Boulder residents should not be afraid that a killer is running loose on the streets. But added that people need to assume regular safety precautions.

Aaholm would not confirm or deny that Boulder police are questioning a known pedophile who lives in the area. ``Boulder is a town of 96,000 people.'' Aaholm said people should take precautions.

Boulder police chief Tom Koby is expected to address the public and media later this week. Meanwhile, Aaholm said police have submitted written questions to the Ramseys but she did not know if the answers had been returned to authorities.