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Back to 1996 Headlines


12/31/1996

JonBenet mourned in Ga.

By Jonathan Shikes and Jill Tucker
Daily Times-Call with Associated Press

BOULDER -- A white teddy bear sat propped next to the casket of a 6-year-old girl found strangled in her Boulder basement as friends and relatives mourned her death today.

They wept at the funeral of JonBenet Ramsey as they sang the hymn, ``Jesus Loves Me.''

``When a child is lost, one feels that a part of a future promise is gone,'' the Rev. W. Frank Harrington said at the funeral at Peachtree Presbyterian Church in Atlanta. ``All of us who are parents fully expect that our children will live long after we are gone.

``It seems unreasonable. It does not fit and the hurt is very real,'' Harrington told about 100 mourners.

The body of JonBenet, last year's Little Miss Colorado, was found Thursday in her family home.

The family moved from Atlanta to Boulder in 1991.

As family and friends mourned the little girl's death, Boulder police are still refusing to release other details about the bizarre slaying.

On Monday, Boulder police spokeswoman Leslie Aaholm dodged questions on their investigation into the slaying, but tried to reassure the public it's in no danger from a killer on the loose. Aaholm said there are police in the area and ``there's no need for concern.''

Pressed further by reporters, she said, ``I'm not going to confirm or deny whether anyone is still out there.'' Police said they have not detained anyone in the slaying, nor have they identified any suspects.

Meanwhile, the Rocky Mountain News reported today that JonBenet's father, John Ramsey , has hired Denver criminal defense lawyer Bryan Morgan and has declined to talk with officials any further.

Morgan was unavailable for comment today.

In a statement released Monday night, the family said, ``The Ramsey family is currently grieving over the loss of their beloved child JonBenet.

``There will be a response from the family after an appropriate and respectful period of time. Until that time, there will be no further comment.''

Much of the investigation has been kept under tight control. Few details regarding the investigation, autopsy or circumstances of the death have been released.

Police have refused to say who was home when the girl was reported missing, what was in a ransom note found in the home, whether the girl was sexually assaulted or who found JonBenet's body.

Aaholm would not say Monday why it took police so long to find the body, why the parents weren't questioned immediately after the body was found, why police refused to release a police report, and why a search warrant and the coroner's report are being kept secret.

Police earlier said the ransom note ``was a typical -- if there is such a thing -- kidnapping ransom note, the kind you'd find in any movie.''

The ransom note demanded money and indicated there would be further instructions. Police said they were attempting to comply with the note's instructions when the girl's body was found.

Meanwhile, Ramsey has been temporarily removed from his job as president of Access Graphics, a billion-dollar Boulder company and a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin.

Lockheed spokesman Evan McCollum said the company made the move because it did not want to bother Ramsey with business decisions while he grieves.

``This is a terrible time,'' McCollum said.

Before leaving for Atlanta, friends and family, including John Ramsey ; JonBenet's 20-year-old half brother, John Jr.; and 9-year-old brother Burke submitted blood, hair and handwriting samples to Boulder police as part of the homicide investigation, Aaholm said.

John Jr., who attends the University of Colorado, and two other half-siblings were reportedly out of town at the time of the murder . JonBenet's mother, Patricia ``Patsy'' Ramsey was too distraught to submit to the evidence collection, authorities said.

The evidence, along with other items collected from the Ramsey home, will be processed by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Aaholm said.