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2/27/1997

Boulder's Ramsey inve

by Pam Regensberg
Daily Times-Call

BOULDER -- Boulder police have now expanded their investigation into the murder of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey to seven states, authorities said this morning.

Two Boulder detectives returned last week from a 10-day mission that took them to West Virginia, Arizona, Illinois, Ohio and Georgia, officials said during the weekly media briefing. Boulder police have previously visited Michigan and Louisiana.

City spokeswoman Leslie Aaholm refused to elaborate on what cities police visited, what they were looking for or who they questioned.

Some connections are obvious. JonBenet's mother, Patsy, grew up in West Virginia and was the former Miss West Virginia. The Ramseys also lived in the/j

Atlanta area before moving to Boulder in 1990. They still have family there. And JonBenet's half sister, Elizabeth, was killed in a car accident in Illinois.

``I don't think anything needs to be read into that,'' Aaholm said. ``Police are going wherever they need to continue their investigation.''

With the investigation now in its ninth week, police have still not named a suspect in the Christmastime slaying.

John Ramsey found his daughter in the basement of the family's 15-room Boulder home Dec. 26. She had been strangled, beaten and sexually assaulted.

A handwritten ransom note demanding $118,000 for the safe return of the child was also found in the house.

John and Patsy Ramsey have provided police with two handwriting samples, but police have asked Patsy Ramsey for a third sample, Aaholm confirmed.

The Ramseys remain in seclusion and have not been formally interviewed by police.

Meanwhile, authorities are still looking into the alibi of John Andrew Ramsey , John Ramsey 's 20-year-old son from a previous marriage. John Andrew's mother has maintained her son was in Georgia when JonBenet was murdered .

Though the investigation is now dragging into its fourth month, District Attorney Alex Hunter asserted this morning that the case is not at a standstill.

``A tremendous amount of work is going on,'' he stressed. ``I don't feel it is stalled at all. We're right on track.''

Hunter said new and substantial leads come into his office every day, but an arrest is not likely until lab work is complete.

Evidence collected from the Ramseys ' home will be sent next week to Cellmark Laboratories in Maryland for enhanced tests. Work there could take up to six weeks, but should help police narrow their list of suspects.

Hunter added that he remains in contact with Connecticut criminologist Dr. Henry Lee, who testified for the defense in the O.J. Simpson murder trial.