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Meeting is first in 4

by B.J.Plasket
Daily Times-Call

BOULDER Camp Ramsey is here.

Apparently, so are the Ramseys .

While the grand jury investigating the slaying of JonBenet Ramsey met Thursday for the first time in four months, dozens of reporters spent the first day of fall camped out at the Boulder County Justice Center.

Sources also told the Daily Times-Call that John and Patsy Ramsey , the parents of JonBenet and the main suspects in the case, are "in the state."

It is unknown if the Ramseys are in Boulder or if they will be called as witnesses before the grand jury. Published reports have said neither of the parents has appeared before the grand jury, although their 12-year-old son Burke reportedly testified on May 19.

The grand jury's term ends on Oct. 20. The panel is also expected to meet again today.

The sources said they did not know why the Ramseys are in Colorado, but they are believed to have met with their lawyers this week.

The media crush began early Thursday, with satellite trucks and video-camera tripods sprouting all over the grounds and the parking lots of the Justice Center.

Inside the building, reporters lined the hall and watched District Attorney Alex Hunter, grand jury specialist Michael Kane and other lawyers walk into a grand jury area guarded by police.

Lawrence Schiller, the author of the Ramsey -related book "Perfect Murder , Perfect Town," told other reporters about the upcoming TV mini-series based on his book. Others touched up their makeup for midday broadcasts or made lunch plans.

Local newspapers and radio and TV stations were on hand, as were several national networks and Europe's Reuters news service.

Suzanne Laurion, Hunter's media liaison, remained by her office phone but did not come out to meet with reporters.

"Today is a blur," she said when reached by telephone.

Earlier Laurion confirmed that Hunter and Kane met for most of the night Tuesday with Dr. Henry Lee, the famed forensic pathologist who has been serving as a consultant on the case.

Hunter and Laurion have refused to divulge the nature of that conversation.

Lee, according to the Associated Press, has called for more forensic tests in the case. That could mean the investigation will extend beyond the Oct. 20 statutory deadline of the grand jury.

Lee, in a conversation with Fox News, called the investigation "a very difficult case."

If the investigation goes past October, Hunter may be forced to ask the county government for additional funds, especially if Kane and Laurion remain on board.

Two county commissioners, however, said they will take a more critical look at such funding from now on.

Commissioner Paul Danish said prosecutors will have to give him "compelling reasons" to continue funding the probe, while Commissioner Ron Stewart said he, too, wants the case wrapped up.

City and county taxpayers have so far spent nearly $2 million on the probe.

JonBenet Ramsey 's body was found in the basement of the family home near 15th and Baseline on Dec. 26, 1996.

The grand jury has been meeting off and on for a year.