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Back to 1996 Headlines


12/30/1996

JonBenet to be buried in Ga.

By Jill Tucker
The Daily Times-Call

BOULDER -- Hair, blood and handwriting samples have been collected from family members and friends, but there are still no named suspects in the murder of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey .

On Sunday, however, police once again said everyone -- but no one in particular -- is a suspect.

``They haven't ruled anybody in or out,'' said Leslie Aaholm, Boulder's director of communications.

JonBenet was found strangled to death in the basement of her home the day after Christmas, several hours after her mother reported the child missing. Police said a ransom note was left at the scene, but have declined comment on reports that the note demanded a ransom of $118,000.

The body of the 1995 Little Miss Colorado was released to the family over the weekend. Authorities did not say if JonBenet's 10-year-old brother and 20-year-old stepbrother, who were among those from whom hair and blood samples were taken, were among the dozen people who left with the body on a private plane from the Jefferson County Airport on Sunday.

In a Sunday afternoon press conference, Aaholm said the family had taken JonBenet's body to Atlanta Sunday for a Tuesday burial in Marietta, Ga.

JonBenet was born in Atlanta and the family apparently lived there prior to moving to Boulder in 1991.

While those connected to the Ramsey family have given lengthy interviews and provided evidence to investigators, JonBenet's parents, John and Patricia ``Patsy'' Ramsey , have not yet been interviewed at length.

``They have been in no condition to be interviewed at this point,'' Aaholm said.

John Ramsey is the president of the billion-dollar software company Access Graphics and Patsy Ramsey is a former Miss West Virginia.

The parents, however are continuing to cooperate with the investigation and will be interviewed, she added.

About 30 Boulder police and county Sheriff's Department officers are participating in the investigation, with help from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

With many officers on vacation, most of the Boulder County Sheriff's Department investigators were assisting the Boulder police, but even to those officers much of the information surrounding the investigation was undisclosed.

``There's as much speculation among the cops as there is the media,'' said Sheriff's Sgt. Larry Stern. ``I think there's a handful of people that really know what's been going on.''

Stern added that the case is ``really strange.''

``You know that (the investigators) are doing a lot and they're covering every base they can,'' he said. ``This is one you don't want to overlook anything.''

Officers were working around the clock to collect evidence from the family's 15-room home, Aaholm said. They were expected to finish investigating the upscale University Hill home today.

Aaholm added the size of the home and the type of case contributed to the need for so many investigators.

``This is probably one of the largest contingencies of officers working on a case at least in the last four to five years,'' she said. ``We don't see many ( murders ) in Boulder.''

The homicide is the first murder in the city of Boulder this year.

Police have released almost no details surrounding JonBenet's death, the autopsy or the investigation, and Aaholm defended the officials silence.

``They are not in any position to release any details on the investigation,'' Aaholm said. ``They (investigators) want to be very careful about not tainting the evidence, about not providing evidence to the public that would be used inappropriately. When they do interviews they want them to be as pure as possible.''

About 200 family members and friends gathered Sunday at St. John's Episcopal Church in Boulder to mourn the girl's death.

John Ramsey spoke at the service. He wore a piece of jewelry suspended from a piece of cloth that JonBenet made as a Christmas gift, friends said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.