Back to LongmontFYI
















Back to 1997 Headlines



Autopsy confirms JonB

by Pam Regensberg
Daily Times-Call

BOULDER -- JonBenet Ramsey died a horrible death.

An edited version of the girl's autopsy report released late Friday confirmed what the media has been reporting for nearly two months, and offered some new information into the slaying of the 6-year-old beauty queen.

Boulder County District Judge Carol Glowinsky ruled Friday that the edited version of the autopsy report should be made public, scoring a partial victory for the media that petitioned the court to release the document.

The full document will remain sealed for 90 days or until a suspect is arrested, Glowinsky ruled.

The 13-page, edited report revealed that JonBenet did not die of strangulation alone. She also suffered a severe blow to the head, which had been reported -- but previously unconfirmed -- in the media.

The blow contributed to her death, the report said.

In addition, the autopsy report confirmed that JonBenet was strangled with a ligature-type device.

JonBenet also may have suffered prior sexual assaults, according to one forensic expert's interpretation of the report.

The report said there was ``chronic inflammation'' of the vaginal region. Dr. Charles G. Wilber, the retired director of the Forensic Science Laboratory at Colorado State University, said Friday that finding indicates ``it is not a one-shot thing.''

The report also shows the child's hymen was torn and there was evidence of fresh blood there, indicating a recent assault. It likely means something was inserted into her vagina, Wilber added. ``It could have been a male organ getting in there or a finger,'' he said.

JonBenet also suffered bruises on her neck, scalp and the temple-area of her head. The child also suffered abrasions on her right cheek, left lower back and left lower leg.

The autopsy report leaves many unanswered questions, such as the time of death and evidence of body fluids.

Boulder police, the coroner's office and District Attorney Alex Hunter asked the court to seal the document until a suspect is arrested, saying the release of some information could damage their investigation. Officials, however, are satisfied with the edited version.

``I think the courts really protected the investigation,'' Hunter said Friday night.

The information excluded from the public record contains details officials considered to be most damaging to the case if released.

``In fact, the very details that we were most concerned about were included in the redacted material,'' Boulder County Coroner John Meyer said in a prepared statement.

JonBenet's body was found in the basement of her family's home Dec. 26.

Under Colorado law, autopsy reports are public documents but they can be kept secret to protect the public interest.

Madeline Mason, an assistant Boulder County attorney, asked the judge to seal the autopsy results until an arrest is made. Police have not identified any suspects and say no arrests are pending.

Thomas Kelley, a lawyer representing Daily Times-Call and several other media outlets, had argued Wednesday that releasing the report could jar memories and lead to an arrest.

``The public has a right to know if there is a serial murderer out there,'' he told reporters.