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3/13/1997

Boulder police hire h

by Pam Regensberg
Daily Times-Call

BOULDER -- Boulder authorities have hired a retired Colorado Springs detective to assist them in the now 11-week old JonBenet Ramsey murder investigation.

Andrew Louis ``Lou'' Smit, 61, will begin work the Boulder District Attorney's Office Monday, officials announced this morning during the weekly media briefings.

``He has an impeccable reputation,'' Boulder city spokesman Kelvin McNeill said.

Smit was most recently the captain of detectives with the El Paso County Sheriff's Department. Prior to that, he was an investigator with the Colorado Springs district attorney's office from 1990 to 1995.

He also worked 18 years as a homicide detective with the Colorado Springs Police Department and six years as an officer there.

McNeill said Smit has investigated more than 150 homicides during his career.

He has even been involved in high-profile investigations, including the abduction and murder of 13-year-old Heather Church in 1991. He also worked on the 1975 murder case in which five people were killed, including Karen Grammer, the sister of television actor Kelsey Grammer.

Smit is expected to act as a liaison between the Boulder police and the district attorney's office.

Smit is the latest addition to District Attorney Alex Hunter's expert prosecution task force that already includes four metro-area district attorneys, criminologist Dr. Henry Lee, DNA expert and criminal defense attorney Barry Scheck. Both Lee and Scheck testified during the O.J. Simpson murder trial.

In relaying a message from Boulder Police Chief Tom Koby, McNeill said Koby is looking forward to working with Smit.

Smit is expected to receive $5,000 a month for his services.

In other developments, McNeill said Lee's weekend visit to Boulder was ``extremely helpful, extremely insightful,'' but refused to elaborate on what that meant.

Also, authorities have not received the analysis from the Colorado Bureau of Investigations of a third handwriting sample submitted by JonBenet's mother, Patsy Ramsey .

Patsy Ramsey found the ransom note demanding $118,000 for the safe return of their 6-year-old daughter.

John and Patsy Ramsey still have not submitted to a formal police interview and remain in seclusion.

Meanwhile, University of Colorado officials defended Wednesday a 21-year-old art student's First Amendment right to paint a mural attacking the Ramseys . Paul Hidalgo's mural in the fine arts building calls JonBenet ``Daddy's Little Hooker.''

The student has since come under a great deal of fire and this morning told police he was being threatened. Boulder officers who went to Hidalgo's home to take a report said he had left. No report was taken.