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8/19/2006

JonBenet’s mother was asked to meet with suspect John Karr

Deborah Hastings
The Associated Press

BOULDER — Only weeks before she died, police asked JonBenet Ramsey’s mother if she would meet with the man now suspected in her daughter’s slaying — a schoolteacher whose worshipful notes described an obsession with a 6-year-old beauty queen he called “my love, my life.”

Patsy Ramsey was willing to meet with John Mark Karr but she died from ovarian cancer in June before investigators went any further, family attorney Lin Wood said Friday. And she never saw the words Karr believed she was reading because his messages were secretly being intercepted by authorities.

“He thought that he was corresponding with Patsy, but he wasn’t,” Wood told The Associated Press. Police in Roswell, Ga., where Ramsey spent the last days of her life, declined to say if they conducted the correspondence ruse.

Karr, 41, is in a Thailand jail awaiting deportation to face charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping and child sexual assault. He told reporters he was with JonBenet when she died in the basement of her Boulder home on Dec. 26, 1996, but that her death was an accident.

He told The Associated Press this week that he thought Patsy Ramsey had read his letters in which he “conveyed to her many things, among them that I am so very sorry for what happened to JonBenet.”

Friday, a Thai official backed off other details he gave of Karr’s story — details that raised suspicions about whether Karr was really involved or just a wannabe trying to insert himself into a high-profile case.

Lt. Gen. Suwat Tumrongsiskul of the Thai immigration police initially quoted Karr as saying he had sexually assaulted the girl and given her drugs, even though the autopsy showed no drugs in the girl’s body. He also told reporters before a news conference that Karr had claimed to have picked up JonBenet at her school, though her death came during the holiday break.

On Friday, Suwat confirmed to the AP his account of the sexual assault. But asked if Karr gave the girl drugs, Suwat said the suspect described the encounter with JonBenet Ramsey as “a blur.”

Suwat also said his statement about the girl being picked up from school was based on a documentary he had seen and not the interrogation.