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Back to 1998 Headlines

1/16/1998

No talk without evidence

by Amy Bounds
Daily Times-Call

BOULDER -- John and Patsy Ramsey have declined a second round of police interviews in connection with their daughter's murder unless police let them review the evidence in the case.

Police, however, say that condition is unacceptable.

``I am disappointed in the position they have taken,'' said police Cmdr. Mark Beckner, the officer in charge of the investigation in the murder of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey .

``I expected the Ramseys to agree to another interview because I believed their public and private statements about their desire to do whatever was necessary to help resolve this case.''

Beckner in December said the Ramsey 's remain ``under the umbrella of suspicion'' in the investigation.

And, he said he was confident the Ramseys would agree to the interview.

JonBenet Ramsey was found slain in the basement of her Boulder home more than a year ago. She had been sexually assaulted, strangled and struck on the head with a hard object. The blow was hard enough to split her skull.

``While this development will certainly hinder our investigation, we continue to make progress and will not give up in our efforts to find JonBenet's killer,'' Beckner said.

The attorneys representing the Ramseys declined to comment.

Boulder Police Chief Tom Koby said the Ramseys ' refusal will not delay the investigation.

``It just means we go on without them,'' he said. ``It continues to be disappointing that they led us to believe they would be more than willing to talk to us. A lot of information continues to need clarification.''

Police learned of the Ramseys refusal in a letter from their attorneys. The Ramseys , who have since moved to Atlanta, have proclaimed their innocence.

The letter said police would have to show ``good faith'' by allowing the Ramseys to see the evidence in the case if they want further cooperation from JonBenet's parents.

``To allow such disclosure could severely hamper the effectiveness of the investigation and damage the reliability of information provided by witnesses or potential suspects,'' said police spokeswoman Leslie Aaholm.

``To do so would also be contrary to accepted investigation protocols and something the police have not done for any other witness or suspect in this case.''

The Ramseys ' attorneys added the stipulation that the Ramseys would only answer written questions.

``This is also unacceptable to police investigators and well beyond reasonable investigative processes,'' Aaholm said.

The District Attorney's Office declined to comment on the development.

Police requested the interviews in November. They also asked the Ramseys for clothing items and a decision on whether they can talk with the Ramseys ' 10-year-old son, Burke.

Aaholm would not say what items of clothing the police are interested in, but said police are still waiting for both the clothing and a final decision on the interview with Burke.

Police conducted formal interviews with John and Patsy Ramsey only once and that was after four months of negotiation between the district attorney's office and the Ramseys ' attorneys.

Police also talked informally with the couple the day JonBenet's body was found and with Burke once through social services in what police called a preliminary interview.

Police also say their working task list in the investigation grew to 78 items, up from 72 in early December. Of those 78 items, 38 have been completed and another nine are near completion.

Another five will be completed after police receive the results of analysis by outside agencies assisting in the investigation.

``Of the remaining 26 items, some are ongoing and long term tasks that the team continues to work on,'' Aaholm said. ``These would include tasks such as re-interviewing significant witnesses and following up new information as it is developed.''

The cost of the investigation now totals $219,555, police said, including overtime, travel and investigative expenses through the end of 1997. The expenditures don't include regular, on-duty pay.