Back to LongmontFYI
















Back to 2006 Headlines


Ramsey expense: $1.87M, Records review shows local taxpayers paid that much for 10-year probe

By Brad Turner
The Daily Times-Call

BOULDER — The 10-year probe into JonBenet Ramsey’s murder cost taxpayers more than $1.87 million to date, a review of local law enforcement expenditures showed.

The Boulder Police Department spent $1.85 million in employee pay, travel expenses and other investigative costs after the 6-year-old’s murder on Dec. 26, 1996, according to records.

Police spent more than $21,377 probing the murder in the final six days of 1996, records show. That total jumped to $531,475 in 1997 and $630,956 in 1998, after which Boulder police spent less money on the probe. Boulder officers logged nearly 5,000 hours of overtime working the case in 1997 and 1998.

The department did not give a detailed breakdown of the expenditures Tuesday.

The Boulder County District Attorney’s Office spent another $25,030 since it took over the investigation in 2002. The actual tab may be much higher because, unlike the Boulder Police Department, District Attorney Mary Lacy’s figures do not include pay for salaried staff members who worked on the case, county spokeswoman Barb Halpin said.

That figure includes $1,406 in travel expenses earlier this month, though the office did not indicate whether that included the cost of suspect John Mark Karr’s extradition flight from Thailand to Los Angeles.

It’s difficult to guess the average cost of a homicide investigation, Boulder County Sheriff’s Cmdr. Phil West said Tuesday.

“It could run the gamut from a pretty clear and quick domestic violence case to something like Jane Doe” — a 52-year-old cold case surrounding an unidentified woman murdered in Boulder Canyon — “that we’ve worked on from 1954,” West said. The cost of the Jane Doe investigation has never approached the cost of the Ramsey homicide, he said.

Sheriff’s office expenditures from the last week, including security for Lacy’s news conference Thursday, are still being compiled, West said.

Brad Turner can be reached at 720-494-5420, or by e-mail at

What’s the cost?

Local law enforcement expenditures

$1,849,898: Boulder Police Department’s investigation of the 1996 JonBenet Ramsey murder.

$25,030: Boulder County District Attorney’s Office investigation of the case, which does not include pay for salaried employees who worked on the probe.

$102,000: Cost of outfitting the entire Boulder County’s Sheriff’s Office with new bulletproof vests.

$1.35 million: Projected 2007 budget for Boulder County’s proposed drug court, which would monitor convicted addicts through regular hearings with a judge.

$2 million: Construction of 32 new cells, which house 64 inmates, at the Boulder County Jail in 2005.