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Cybersleuths come to

by Pam Regensberg
Daily Times-Call

BOULDER -- In keeping with the bizarre twists and turns of the JonBenet Ramsey murder investigation, a group of Internet sleuths gathered here Friday to seek justice for the slain 6-year-old girl.

They all have different reasons from traveling great distances to see the home where JonBenet's battered body was found the day after Christmas 1996, to set foot on the Boulder County Justice Center lawn and to visit other Ramsey -related sites.

Mostly middle-aged white women, the approximately 30 JonBenet advocates said they want to carry the torch for the little beauty queen and show their support for the grand jury empaneled to hear testimony in the 21-month-old investigation.

They came from as far away as Saskatchewan and as near as Denver. They are mothers, grandmothers, business professionals and retirees. They can be just about anybody.

``Who knows who we all are?'' said a Colorado woman whose on-line name is ``Reporter.''

They have spent countless hours on the Internet, chatting and exchanging theories about who killed JonBenet.

At a private, invitation-only dinner party at Dolan's Restaurant in Boulder Friday night, they continued the debate.

In keeping with the same cloak of secrecy that has surrounded the case, guests were given the password ``Subtract 413'' to gain entry to the dinner party.

``We didn't want the kooks here -- that's why we were so secretive,'' said Tinky, who is actually Terri McCord from Kansas. She dabbles in writing mystery novels and said the JonBenet story would not make a good book because all the evidence points to the parents.

And though they've chatted via electronic mail for the past 21 months, Friday was the first time many of them met face to face.

During those months, while authorities here searched for clues, the group formed a community, friendships, a bond and a common goal: justice for JonBenet.

``I know these people better than I know my neighbors,'' said ``CatNip,'' a thirtysomething public relations professional from Lansing, Mich.

They talk about some of the key players in the case -- District Attorney Alex Hunter, Boulder police Chief Mark Beckner and prosecutor Michael Kane -- as if they were longtime friends.

``I've wanted to throw them up against a wall at times,'' said Kathy Harris, a 38-year-old daycare provider from Redwood City, Calif.

Harris went on-line on Jan. 1, 1997, moments after John and Patsy Ramsey appeared on CNN. To Harris, the Ramseys ' body language spoke volumes.

``They looked like a divorced couple,'' Harris said, who goes by the on-line moniker ``Jan,'' for the middle daughter of ``Mrs. Brady,'' who manages one of the premier Internet destinations on JonBenet information.

If the body language wasn't enough, the Ramseys ' actions in the weeks following the murder solidified Harris' belief.

``They did it -- the writing's on the wall,'' she said.

Others in the group are of the same opinion that the parents killed their daughter.

``Give it up and come forward,'' Harris stressed.

Unlike Harris, it took some time before Wheeler became interested in the case. Her fascination was sparked when Boulder detectives began snooping around Charlevoix, a Michigan town not far from her home.

Now Wheeler serves as the webmistress for and spends about four hours a day on-line. Most admit they devote hours to the Internet to get the most up-to-date information on the case and to discuss their findings.

So what will they do when this case is resolved?

``My hope is that everybody sticks together and finds another cause,'' Wheeler said.

And for those who are fed up with JonBenet talk on the Internet, Wheeler has a suggestion.

``If you don't like it, scroll.''