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Ramsey team member cu

by Pam Regensberg
Daily Times-Call

BOULDER -- Retired investigator Lou Smit, who has been working on the JonBenet Ramsey slaying, has returned to his home in Colorado Springs, cutting his workload to 25 hours a week.

Smit reportedly told District Attorney Alex Hunter that he has a family matter that needs his immediate attention, but he will continue to meet weekly to discuss the slaying of 6-year-old JonBenet. Smit has dedicated 15 months to the Ramsey investigation.

The DA's office said it does not know when Smit will return.

Meanwhile, Hunter is looking for an investigator to help to work on the 18-month-old homicide case. Boulder County officials reportedly said they could not provide any manpower to the DA's office.

Sheriff George Epp is on vacation and was unavailable for comment.

``You cannot let something like this slow you down,'' the DA's spokeswoman Suzanne Laurion said this morning about Smit limiting his hours.

Hunter said in a prepared statement that this situation will not influence his decision to convene the grand jury to hear evidence in the murder case.

``The fact that our office is seeking additional investigative help has little to do with the district attorney's decision on whether to convene the grand jury,'' Hunter said. ``It has much more to do with areas of the investigation, some old and some new, that we want to look into further.''

Hunter went on to say the investigation is not over.

In addition to Smit cutting his hours, Denver District Attorney's investigator Tom Haney returned to his Denver office after last week's interviews with John and Patsy Ramsey .

However, Hunter said he feels comfortable asking for Haney's help in the future.

Broomfield Detective Dan Schuler remains on loan and is focusing his efforts on the case.

Before being called out of retirement to work on the Ramsey case, Smit was the captain of detectives with the El Paso County Sheriff's Department.

Before 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.

Smit 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.