- Genesis 1: 18 - ". . .to govern the day and the night, and to
separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good."
- Psalms 118: 27 - "The Lord is God, and he has made his light shine
upon us. With boughs in hand, bind the festal sacrifice with ropes to
the horns of the altar."
- The Revelation of St. John 1: 18 - "I am the Living one. I was
dead and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death
- On Christmas Night, 1996, in an upper class neighborhood
of quintessentially yuppie Boulder, Colorado, six year old beauty queen
JonBenet Ramsey was murdered in her own home. The crime was made to look
like a botched kidnapping, and the fumbling of the local police created
an unsolvable problem. Over three years after the murder, after endless
investigations by police, the district attorney's office and a grand jury,
it looks as if there will never be enough physical evidence to make an
- And so the Ramseys, John and Patsy, have decided at long
last to tell their own version of the story in their new book, The Death
of Innocence, due out Friday, March 17. To promote the book, John and Patsy
will also appear on ABC-TV that night in a supposedly no-holds barred taped
interview with Barbara Walters.
- Things had been quiet on the JonBenet murder story since
the dismissal last fall of the Boulder County grand jury without handing
down an indictment, but last month's television ratings period saw a revival
of interest in the case. Two made for TV movies, one a two-nighter based
on the best-selling Perfect Murder, Perfect Town by Lawrence Schiller,
aired in the last week of the ratings month to better than average audiences.
- This new wave of interest in the case, some of it sympathetic
or at least non-judgmental to the Ramseys, will undoubtedly help the sales
of the Ramseys' new book. In that book, according to Boulder's Daily Camera,
the Ramseys supply a list of possible suspects as they present their version
of the intruder theory. Perhaps most interesting of all is a peek at the
new book in the Star tabloid for the week of March 7 - 14 which reveals
that Patsy had two strange premonitions of disaster in the days before
Christmas. The first involved the lookalike doll that Patsy gave JonBenet
as a Christmas present. Seeing it in its wrapping carton suggested, to
Patsy, JonBenet in her coffin.
- The second premonition was more subtle but goes directly
to the heart of the case. Patsy claimed that she liked the purple of the
Easter vestments and chose to use purple as her Christmas tree colors that
year. In the book, Patsy reveals that she realizes now she had unconsciously
introduced death into the Christmas celebration by using the color that
signifies Christ's sacrifice, rather than his birth.
- A quote given to the Star by Richard Ressler, former
FBI profiler, addresses the meaning of these premonitions. "It is
strange," Ressler commented, "that Mrs. Ramsey would have one
premonition of an impending murder but to have two is highly suspicious.
From a psychological standpoint, one has to ask, did these things really
happen or is she now just trying to convince herself? Could it all be a
smokescreen to avoid tougher questions when she goes on TV to discuss her
- However, just as the apparently orchestrated media blitz
leading up to the publication of the Ramseys' book was taking shape, a
story appeared in Boulder's Daily Camera that had the potential to break
the stalemated case wide open. Headlined "Huge Breakthrough In JonBenet
Ramsey Murder Case?" the February 25 story, by Daily Camera editorial
writer Barrie Hartman, opened with a bold lead sentence.
- "District Attorney Alex Hunter has turned over new
information to Boulder police and the FBI that he says could provide a
major breakthrough in solving the 3-year-old JonBenét Ramsey murder
case." Hartman continues, writing that "the information is from
testimony and documents provided voluntarily by a 37-year-old California
woman who was brought forward by Boulder attorney Lee Hill. The woman said
she has suffered a lifetime of sexual and physical abuse, beginning at
age 3. Her story, if true, could mean the Ramsey case is tangled in sexual
abuse and involves more people than originally thought. Hunter said he
finds the woman to be 'very believable.' Boulder police detectives, however,
aren't so sure. 'Even if only 15 percent of what she says is true,' Hunter
said, 'this case warrants investigation. And if Boulder cops don't want
to do it, I will take the case to the US. Attorney.' "
- And now, two weeks later, after Boulder detectives have
questioned the informant and her therapist in California, long time Boulder
County District Attorney Alex Hunter has decided to not run again for relection
ending a 28 year career. On March 9, he issued a short and terse statement
to the effect that he was ending his reign as District Attroney. No reason
was given, certainly none related to the on-going investigation of child
sexual abuse and JonBenet's death. Did the breakthrough in the case break
- Trying to get a handle on the JonBenet Ramsey murder
is like attempting to catch a rattlesnake blindfolded and with one hand
tied behind your back, without getting bit. It's not easy, but it can be
done. District Attorney Hunter has been trying to grab the rattlesnake
longer than any official currently involved in the investigation. It comes
as no surprise then that the rattlesnake got him first. In dealing with
rattlesnakes, hesitation and uncertainty can be fatal.
- Unfortunately, confusion and uncertainty are the only
certainties to be found, three years later, amid the ruins of the case.
Every crime scene, especially a murder, has a signature, an individual
identity, imposed upon it by the criminal. In this case however, someone
attempted to obscure that identity and the mistakes made by the police
in the early hours of the investigation served to compound the problem.
Therefore, before we make a grab at the rattlesnake, let's listen carefully
for its rattle.
- When we look at the evidence, and most of it has been
published in one form or another and is available on the internet, we find
that we forced to make an immediate choice of assumptions. Either the Ramseys
are complicit in some way, or they are completely innocent. The mere choice
of an assumption forces on us certain conclusions. And so we go looking
for evidence to support that conclusion.
- For instance, let us suppose that, as implausible as
it sounds on the face of it, the Ramseys are telling the absolute truth.
They went to bed a happy family exhausted from a busy Christmas Day and
looking forward to the trip to their vacation house the next morning. Patsy
got up first to prepare for the trip and discovered a ransom note on the
back stairway. She called 911 and the story proceeded from there.
- If we make that assumption, we must go looking for traces
of the Intruder. Someone entered the Ramsey home, without a trace of forced
entry, wrote a ransom note on paper found there, abducted JonBenet from
her room, took her to the basement to an obscure corner where she was sexually
assaulted, killed and then cleaned, dressed and wrapped in a blanket. The
Intruder then left, leaving the ligature in place around her neck, while
taking with him the leftover cord and duct tape. But he does not take a
weapon possibly used in the assault, the flashlight.
- Now, this is a truly unusual signature for an intruder
sexual assault kidnapping. In fact, it is unique. Intruder assaults and
kidnappings do happen, although their frequency is so low as to make them
the rarest of all molestations and assaults on children. We can search
the annals of such cases going back to the 19th century without finding
anything remotely resembling the Ramsey case.
- Intruders, particularly strangers, do not make unforced
entries. At the very least, this suggests an intruder who had some access
to the house. Kidnappers do not linger to write long ransom notes, and
sexual predators do not assault their prey in the house where the abduction
takes place; screams could bring unwanted attention. Most of all, vicious
sex killers do not carefully bathe, dress and wrap their victims. They
are more likely to leave them displayed as a message than to hide them
in the deepest corner of the basement.
- However, if we have made this assumption, then we must
somehow find facts to fit the profile. So the Ramseys have suggested that
it was someone close to them who entered the house while they were at the
Christmas party. This person then entertained themselves by writing an
extensive ransom note as they waited for the family to return. After everyone
had gone to bed, this familiar person -- "She would have gone with
Santa Claus," Patsy tells us -- lures her down to the basement where
they sexually assault and kill her. Filled with remorse, this familiar
person then cleans, dresses and wraps the dead child and leaves, forgetting
all about the ransom note. Of course, that also leaves open the question
of why the note was written in the first place. If the motive was sexual
assault, why leave the note? If the motive was kidnapping, why the sexual
assault in the house?
- In the end, the Intruder theory leads only to more complications
and the sort of academic stretching of a point that allowed the Scholastics
of the Renaissance to argue with the round earth theory even after Columbus
and Magellan proved it. At some point, we must apply Occam's razor to the
endless knotted string of "Yes, but. . ." speculation. Like the
Emperor's new clothes, and the flat earth, the Intruder theory exists only
in the mind of those who believe. One look at the evidence, and the Intruder
- So who's left? Only those in the house that night.
- Statistically, the vast majority, over 98 percent, of
child murders in the home are committed by a family member, usually a parent.
John Ramsey's two older children by his first wife were cleared by alibi
and absence. In the house that night were only John, Patsy and their 9
year old son Burke. If we reject the Intruder theory, then the murderer
must be one of these three.
- In the last three years, the tabloids and the rest of
the media have endlessly rehashed the scenarios involving these three suspects.
Unfortunately, none of these scenarios answer all the issues raised by
the signature of the crime.
- If John Ramsey did it, perhaps accidentally as part of
a sex game, and then tried to concoct an abduction scheme to fool his wife
and the authorities, then we must ask why he didn't dispose of the body
to help support the kidnapping claim? He would have had plenty of time
before his wife awoke and discovered the note.
- Similarly, if Patsy or Burke had killed JonBenet, either
accidentally or as part of a punishment that got out of hand, then why
stage the elaborate and ineffective abduction attempt? Let us say that
Burke and JonBenet were up after their parents went to bed and that Burke
hit JonBenet over the head with the flashlight for instance, severely injuring
her. Why then would John and Patsy finish the job by strangulation and
then fake the abduction? Even if we assume that Burke not only hit his
sister with the flashlight but choked her to death as well, why would his
parents cover it up with a fake abduction?
- Or suppose that Patsy, arising early for the trip, discovered
that JonBenet had wet the bed again and in a rage killed her. To save herself,
Patsy concocts the Intruder theory, writes the ransom note, throttles and
sexually assaults JonBenet and hides her in the basement. She then calls
911 and brazens it out from there. In many ways, this is the most satisfying
- And yet it does not explain many of the bizarre points
of the crime, such as the complexities of the note and JonBenet's death
by strangulation. In addition, it presupposes serious mental conditions
on Patsy's part. Psychosis, sociopathy and a deep disassociative disorder
are all indicated by Patsy's supposed behavior in this scenario. If we
grant the existence of these disorders in Patsy's psyche, then we must
speculate on how she got that way.
- But, before we do that, one last scenario remains to
be examined. As horrific as it is, this last scenario covers the facts
better than any other yet presented, and has a key piece of so-far unexplained
physical evidence to support it. The perpetrator in this view is JonBenet's
brother Burke, not as an accidental event covered-up by his parents, but
as a full scale, premeditated sex crime.
- In the three years since JonBenet's death, many things
have happened, including two years of school shootings, culminating in
the recent shooting death of a classmate by a six-year old in Michigan.
With that in mind, it is no longer so easy to dismiss the possibility that
9 year-old Burke planned and executed the perfect murder.
- Perhaps the attention being shown to JonBenet in her
new role as Patsy's beauty queen surrogate made her a prime target. Burke,
fed on a diet of action movies and comic books, spends months planning
out the scenario just so, to match some distorted fictionalized image of
a kidnapping and sexual assault. He plants his seeds by telling JonBenet
that Santa Claus will visit them special on Christmas night. He lures her
quietly downstairs where they wait, eating pineapple, for Santa's appearance.
Burke slugs JonBenet with the flashlight and then drags or carries her
to the basement where he sexually assaults her with a paint brush and then
strangles her to death. He hides the body with care, plants the note and
goes back to bed. Patsy awakens early for the trip, and the story goes
on from there.
- Except for one thing. Burke, waiting for the sound of
pandemonium, gets up and joins in as Patsy calls 911. On the enhanced tape,
Burke's voice is clearly heard in the background, as is John's voice telling
him to be quiet. Burke was sent back to bed, and by 7 o'clock had been
dispatched to the Whites, where he remained all day. The Ramseys have insisted
under oath that Burke slept through the whole thing. They have done everything
possible to keep Burke and any question of Burke's role out of the official
record, including a credibility stretching insistence on the Intruder theory.
- So, do we have the world's youngest psychopathic sex
killer? Not quite. It is very unlikely, as we will see below, that he could
have written the note. We might imagine a precocious and deranged nine
year old killing his sister, but the psycho-sexual component of the crime
forces us into special pleading. Violent sexual activity in prepubescent
children almost always stems from the desire to act out the abuse perpetrated
on them. Therefore, if young Burke is sick enough to commit the crime on
his own, then, as with his mother Patsy, we must ask how he got that way.
Finally we must deal with the fact that Burke attended his school for an
entire semester following the murder. It is almost impossible to believe
that he didn't confide in anyone about his nefarious act. Furthermore,
if John and Patsy were covering up for Burke it is doubtful that they would
have insisted on sending him to school for a half a year.
- As we look through our spread of scenarios, one key make-it-or-break-it
point has been the ransom note. First of all its length, not so much a
note as a letter, argues against its being written by an intruder. Secondly,
there is a tone of barely suppressed rage against John Ramsey that permeates
the entire letter. This strongly suggests a personal connection and motive.
However, there is a certain degree of confusion in the note -- John is
not from the South -- which suggests that the author confused John Ramsey
and Patsy's father, Don Paugh, who is from the South. As we will see, this
just might be the single most significant clue in the whole ransom note.
- An analysis of the ransom note and a psychological profile
done by SERAPH Inc., a private profiling agency run by Dale Yeager and
Denise Knoke, and delivered to the Boulder Police on May 25, 1998, suggests
that the case is one of "a child's murder with ritualistic overtones.
Mrs. Ramsey's motives and post incident actions cannot be understood with
rational thought. This crime was committed by a delusional individual who
has convinced herself of her own innocence. Sociopaths always view their
violent actions as justified. When a divine intervention is added to this
justification pathology, you have a highly volatile individual."
- The report continues: "We believe that Patsy Ramsey
is a delusional sociopath. Based on our experience with religious sociopaths,
we believe that she saw JonBenet's death as a sacrifice for sins she had
committed." Essentially, Yeager and Knoke had cracked the case back
in 1998. The only thing lacking was some justification for Patsy's sense
of sin and the need to atone by sacrificing her daughter. Therefore, the
real story remained elusive.
- That is, until two weeks ago when news began to surface
about a child sex abuse ring and their involvement in the case. Suddenly,
a motive for Patsy's deeply held sense of sin and need for atonement was
at hand. Finally, after three years, a coherent picture of the case began
to emerge, one that explains everything from Patsy's premonitions and the
ransom note to the inability of the local authorities to make an arrest.
If we have the courage to look at the unthinkable, the real story of JonBenet's
death appears with the sudden clarity of those 3D images hidden within
apparent computer generated chaos. It all depends on your focus.
- Then let's focus our attention on the ransom note. From
the very first line problems emerge. Addressed to Mr. Ramsey, it reads:
"Listen carefully! We are a group of individuals that represent a
small foreign faction." Of course, a real "foreign faction"
would never refer to themselves as such. The whole line eerily echoes the
movie Nick of Time which aired at 7:30 on Christmas night on a local Boulder
cable station. The movie concerns the kidnapping of a six year old girl
by an unnamed political faction and in the film the victim is told to "Listen
to me very carefully!" Bill Cox, a guest that night of the Ramseys'
friends the Whites, remembered watching it.
- "We respect your bussiness (sic) but not the country
it serves," the note continues. "At this time we have your daughter
in our possession. She is safe and unharmed and if you want her to see
1997, you must follow our instructions to the letter." This is a rather
straight forward, if stiff and somewhat formal, attempt to support the
faction kidnapping idea.
- The next line however provides an important clue, one
that must be examined in some depth. "You will withdraw $118,000.00
from your account." The use of such a specific amount is unusual.
Terrorists, or even a normal kidnapper, would have asked for more money.
The fact that this amount is almost exactly the bonus John received that
year from Access Graphics is significant, giving us our first indication
that the kidnapping is a personal attack on John Ramsey.
- The number 118 has suggested to some investigators the
biblical reference of Psalm 118. The police discovered during their initial
search on December 26, 1996, that the Ramsey family Bible was open to Psalm
118 on John Ramsey's desk. Others confirm that during Patsy's bout with
ovarian cancer, she used Psalm 118 as a source of spiritual strength.
- In the analysis of the ransom note by Yeager and Knoke
referred to above, this reference becomes an important clue. "Psalm
118 is a biblical chapter that is used quite often in the Charismatic/Pentecostal
movement," they write in their 1998 report to the Boulder Police Department
"This subculture of the Christian Religion has many unwritten fundamentals
that they adhere to. One area in which they divert from main stream Christian
theology is in the area of biblical interpretation. Because of their extreme
emphasis on spiritual gifts, they tend to have a more flexible view of
interpretation compared to the more scholarly approach taken by their fellow
Christians in main steam denominations. "
- Yeager and Knoke continue, pointing out that "rather
than believing the scriptures to be the general will of God being presented
to all believers, they take a more mystical approach by viewing the scriptures
as a prophetic tool used by God to speak to individual believers. This
flexible attitude leads to extraordinarily diverse views theologically.
We believe that Patsy Ramsey took this approach from the Osteen, Hickey
and Barnhill books that she was introduced to during her illness."
- However, Psalm 118, and particularly the verse quoted
at the head of this article, verse 27, is more than just a fundamentalist
text on the glory of God. As Yeager and Knoke point out, it is also suggestive
of the power of sacrifice. "Based on my experience," Yeager wrote
in his earlier 1997 report, "this second section of verse 27 has been
used by several white supremacy groups such as the Christian Identity movement
and the Aryan Nation to justify their killing of blacks, Jews and other
minorities. In their non-orthodox view, the verse is speaking of offering
a person as a sacrifice to God and God is accepting their sacrifice on
his altar as atonement. "
- Yeager's 1997 report to the Boulder Police goes on to
mention that "the Hebrews where required to offer a blood sacrifice
to God to atone for their sins as a nation. A lamb or sheep would be placed
on the altar and tied to the four extended horns of the altar with thick
cords. The animal was then cut and bled until it was dead. The blood was
then used in ceremony for the 'washing away by the blood, the sins of the
people.' " This idea is still found in the fundamentalist belief in
the redemptive power of Christ's blood, shed as it was as part of the final
sacrificial atonement. "Washed in the blood of the lamb" is a
common motif in fundamentalist hymns.
- Even more interesting is Yeager's reference to a similar
case which "involved a woman with a very conservative Christian background,
who strangled her daughter and used this verse as a justification for the
killing. Her belief was that the child would be better off in 'heaven with
God' and that the daughter would be a redemptive sacrifice to God for her
[the mother's] sins." It is unknown whether the Boulder Police followed
Yeager's advice and asked the FBI for details on the case. If they had,
they would have been astounded by the similarities.
- An extensive search of the ritual abuse literature turned
up the facts in the case. In 1979, a Silver Springs, Maryland, woman took
her five year old daughter to church and there strangled her to death.
When questioned by Linda Stone for an article in David Sakheim and Susan
Devine's 1992 book Out of Darkness: Exploring Satanism and Ritual Abuse,
the woman confirmed Yeager's comments. She felt that she was saving her
child from the same lifetime of sin that she herself had endured. The sin
of course was ritualistic sexual abuse and pedophilia.
- In commenting on the case, author Stone remarks that
"the inability of a parent to protect his or her child while witnessing
the ongoing symptomatic behavior that the child is exhibiting as a consequence
of the ritual abuse is probably one of the most stressful circumstances
that a person can endure." In the case of the Maryland woman, such
stress and the twisted nature of the Christian cult in which she was caught
combined to produce the mercy murder of her own daughter. "God required
a sacrifice," the woman told Stone, "and at least she [her daughter]
died before they could corrupt her."
- While considering the meaning of the $118,000 ransom
request, we should also look at the other two verses from the Bible quoted
at the head of this article. Genesis 1:18 suggests that God approves of
separating the light from the darkness while Revelation 1:18 points to
the resurrection motif of ever-lasting life in the faith. Both of these
could be used in the same way as verse 27 of Psalm 118 to justify a sacrificial
murder in the name of salvation.
- Returning to the note, the next sentence dealt with the
money: "$100,000 in $100 bills and the remaining $18,000 in $20 bills."
This is straightforward, and attempts to suggest a savvy kidnapper collecting
his ransom in small bills. When we consider the request more closely however,
it is clear that this is an arbitrary division, perhaps designed to emphasize
the one and the eighteen of the Bible references. In which case the text
of Revelation 1:18 becomes even more important: "I am the Living one.
I was dead and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys
of death and hell."
- And then comes a curious sentence: "Make sure that
you bring an adequate size attache to the bank." This sounds more
like a wife instructing her husband in some household matter, than a kidnapper
giving instructions. It also suggests that the writer is educated enough
to spell attaché and use it correctly.
- "When you get home you will put the money in a brown
paper bag," the note continues in the same nagging tone. "I will
call you between 8 and 10 am tomorrow to instruct you on delivery. The
delivery will be exhausting so I advise you to be rested." The brown
paper bag is another odd note. Why not keep the money in the attaché?
The advice to rest seems to be taken from the movie Dirty Harry, which
aired on November 29 on TBS in Boulder.
- "If we monitor you getting the money early, we might
call you to arrange an earlier delivery of the money and hence the earlier
delivery [crossed out and replaced by] pick-up of your daughter."
The author of the note has used the word delivery four times in the space
of a few sentences, then corrected the last usage to pick-up. This and
the use of the word "hence" suggests an educated person, or the
attempt to appear so.
- "Any deviation from my instructions will result
in the immediate execution of your daughter. You will also be denied her
remains for proper burial. The two gentlemen watching over your daughter
do not particularly like you so I advise you not to provoke them. Speaking
to anyone about your situation, such as Police, F.B.I., etc., will result
in your daughter being beheaded. If we catch you talking to a stray dog,
she dies. If you alert bank authorities, she dies. If the money is in any
way marked or tampered with, she dies. You will be scanned for electronic
devices and if any are found, she dies. You can try to deceive us but be
forewarned that we are familiar with law enforcement countermeasures and
tactics. You stand a 99% chance of killing your daughter if you try to
outsmart us. Follow our instructions and you stand a 100% chance of getting
her back. You and your family are under constant scrutiny as well as the
authorities. Don't try to grow a brain John. You are not the only fat cat
so don't think that killing will be difficult. Don't underestimate us
John. Use that good southern common sense of yours. It is up to you now
John! Victory! S.B.T.C." (Italics not in original.)
- At this point, the temptation is to see this as the War
and Peace of ransom notes. It is as if the author became involved in their
own creation and spun it out as far as it would. go This section is filled
with references to movies, Dirty Harry again as well as Speed, and fairly
drips with venom toward John Ramsey and/or Don Paugh. Clues also abound,
as marked in italics in the above section of the note. We will look at
these clues individually and then try to determine their pattern.
- The word execution tells us that the author of the note
felt that JonBenet was executed. The threat of no body to bury suggests
the reason why the killer did not dispose of the body. The two gentlemen
is very curious, suggesting that the author felt that two men were to blame.
Certainly one of those men could be John Ramsey, and the other could be
his father-in-law. The beheading reference seems to be an extra piece of
nastiness, hiding perhaps a deep seated desire to castrate male authority.
Stray dog echoes a line from Dirty Harry and has the added connotation
of describing the author's view of his or her self as isolated and degraded
like a stray dog. Scanned is a word that has different connotations depending
on how it is used. Here it is used in the sense of supermarket scanner,
rather than a computer image scanner. The phrase law enforcement countermeasures
has an oddly formal and made-up quality to it, as if the author was uncertain
how to say it. Grow a brain comes from the movie Speed, with Dennis Hopper.
Constant scrutiny is another indicator of the author's state of mind. Obviously,
since the idea is present throughout the note, the feeling of being watched
constantly is a powerful component of the author's psyche. Fat cat seems
to be a reference to Don Paugh, who, according to Access Graphics employees,
used the words cat in its slang sense all the time. The confusion between
John and Don continues with the good southern common sense phrase. It is
also possible that this is another slap at John because he doesn't have
any, as he isn't from the south.
- The last two key words are the most important. In their
1998 profile, Yeager and Knoke found them to be very revealing. "In
the Charismatic subculture, acronyms are quite common and used quite frequently
as teaching tools and on banners [In church icons]. S.B.T.C. is a well-used
acronym that represents the words "saved by the cross". In our
extensive database of terroristic groups, we find no use of this phrase
with White Supremacy or International Organizations. The author of the
ransom note uses this acronym along with the word "victory".
The word "victory" is used in the Charismatic subculture as a
verb. It is seen as the result of actions taken by believers to bind and
overcome Satan's power primarily in the areas of physical health."
- What a strange way to end a ransom note! It is almost
as if the author is trying to convey a very precise message, one that implies
a victory of some kind over the forces of evil. Saved By The Cross becomes
even more important when we remember Patsy's supposed premonition over
using Easter colors at Christmas. The closing actually forces us to the
conclusion that Patsy is the author.
- When we look at the totality of the clues and hints in
the ransom note, we are struck first of all by its theatricality. The note
was staged to convey a message, one that had nothing to do with any real
kidnapping. When we look closely at that message, we come face to face
with a Christian sacrificial victory, an innocent saved by the cross, even
unto death. The similarities to the Maryland case cited above are only
- In the note, the author places the blame on two "gentlemen,"
who might be John and her father Don Paugh. The good southern common sense
phrase, whether we interpret it as a dig at John or a confusion with Don
Paugh in the manner of a Freudian slip, could only have come from Patsy.
Add to this the amount of the bonus, the ransom request and the Biblical
connections, including the open Bible on John's desk, and Patsy is the
only possible author. "Victory" and "S.B.T.C." clinches
the identification, and announces that the deed is done, the innocent is
saved and beyond their reach.
- The note was an attempt to tell those she felt were truly
responsible that the sacrifice had been made, and at the same time to point
the finger at the perpetrators of the true evil. Patsy made it as obvious
as she could, and in the first hours after JonBenet's body was discovered
it is possible that Patsy wanted to be caught. Perhaps, she really wanted
to tell her story, at least unconsciously. The note suggests that she did.
But the opportunity was lost, and the "justification pathology"
- Everything detailed above was known to the Boulder Police
as early as the summer of 1997. It was generally agreed that this evidence
made Patsy the prime suspect, but no conclusive motive could be demonstrated
that would be horrific enough to justify, even in Patsy's mind, the murder
of her daughter. In other words, what could be so bad that a mother would
think that death was preferable? If the Boulder Police followed up on the
Maryland case cited in the Yeager analysis, then they had an idea of what
would drive a mother to such a deed.
- But until Boulder Attorney Lee Hill showed up with his
California informant, such a motive was pure speculation. Suddenly, it
looked as if there might be something solid to the idea of sexual abuse.
Patsy might have had a motive after all.
- Barrie Hartman, in his February 25 story in the Boulder
Daily Camera reported the details. "The woman has described to police
years of sexual and physical abuse in California homes at the hands of
adults who stayed at holiday and other parties after other guests had left
for the evening. Then, she said, another "party," one of sexual
abuse for the gratification of a select group of adults, would begin. In
talking to detectives, the woman draws parallels between sexual techniques
used at these sessions and the physical evidence of garroting that investigators
found on the body of JonBenét Ramsey."
- California ranks number one in both pedophilia and ritualistic
sexual abuse. In a study of 57 ritual abuse cases done by "Margaret
Smith," herself an abuse survivor, 37% of the cases occurred in California.
She also found that 98% percent of perpetrators fell into four large occupational
categories; 35% were professionals, either doctors or lawyers, 25% were
teachers, 22% priests and ministers, and 15% were police officers. Given
these statistics, the victim's fears of authority are well justified .
"The woman told detectives she believes JonBenét was killed
accidentally when an asphyxiation technique used to stimulate an orgasmic
response during a child sex and porno "party" went too far,"
Hartman's story continued. "The woman told police she knows firsthand
about asphyxiation (choking) to produce a sexual response because it had
been done to her when she was a child. The woman said in her experience
little girls were dressed provocatively and trained to say provocative
things, such as, "It's a pleasure to please you." She told police
that when girls did not perform as expected, they were struck on the head.
That was because their hair covered the wound. A big night for such "parties"
was Christmas night, she said. Over the years, she said, many parties were
held then because a large number of cars around a house did not arouse
suspicion in the neighborhood and the children had a full week to heal
from their wounds before returning to school."
- And then the story turns to the crucial element, a connection
to the Ramsey case. "The woman said she knows the Ramseys through
the Fleet White family. She said the godfather to her mother is Fleet White
Sr., 86, of California. Fleet White Jr. of Boulder and John Ramsey were
close friends until the death of JonBenét. White Jr. was with John
Ramsey when JonBenét's body was found in the basement of the Ramsey's
Boulder home." What is curiously not mentioned is that the Ramseys
actually attended a Christmas party at the Whites on Christmas Night. Fleet
White Jr. was cleared by police in April of 1997, but this information
casts new light on many of the strange elements of the case.
- As Alex Hunter, Boulder District Attorney, said earlier
in the same story, even if only 15% of the story is true, then it deserves
to be investigated. Whether that investigation will go the way of all the
rest remains to be seen.
- However, this new information, combined with an analysis
of the ransom note, allows us to piece together a scenario of the crime
that fits the peculiarities of its signature. Whether this is the truth
or not, only Patsy knows.
- Patsy Paugh Ramsey fits the classic profile of an abuse
survivor. Emotional and physical abuse are most likely, but sexual abuse
can not be ruled out. Much of this trauma seems to be associated with her
father, whom she recreated by marrying the older John Ramsey. We have no
way of knowing how deeply the abuse went in her own family, but the symptoms
- Soon after the Ramseys moved to Boulder, they met the
Fleet Whites, the family implicated by the California informant. Whether
this was the beginning of the problem, or merely another step along the
way is uncertain. All we can tell is that it marks a turning point.
- Perhaps John was recruited by Fleet and began to receive
child pornography in the "brown paper bag" that Patsy chides
him with in the ransom note. Perhaps it was at first a social thing that
grew slowly into something more. We may never know.
- Patsy's illness marks another turning point. She emerged
from it with a strong fundamentalist Christian belief, one that curiously
enough either allowed her to participate in her daughter's pedophilic involvement
or blinded her to it. A quote from "Margaret Smith," who was
a member of a Christian cult not unlike the one the Maryland mother who
killed her daughter was involved in, shows how confusing the message can
be. "In our belief system, the ultimate deity is God manifested through
the actions of Jesus. . . We believed that Jesus' teachings should not
be dictated by some church. . . We believe that through Jesus radiated
the perfect emanation of Heavenly Light. . . The heavenly light is also.
. . Lucifer, the Light Bearer. . ."
- What starts out as Christianity has subtly shifted to
a worship of Lucifer. "We most certainly would not consider ourselves
to be Satan worshipers," Ms. Smith goes on. "We believe that
Satan is a term used by the church to separate the world into good and
evil through the eyes of the God of the Old Testament." The emphasis
in the cult was on Jesus as Light Bearer, and awaiting a Luciferian return.
"We believe we have to create the perfect race: a race of warriors
to prepare for his second coming."
- From the outside, it is hard to determine what the group
around the Ramseys truly believed and whether the child abuse ring had
cultic or ritualistic overtones. All we can be sure of, as Yeager's report
reminds us, is that is was "a child's murder with ritualistic overtones."
- The beauty pageant frenzy in the last year of JonBenet's
life seems to have been part of her preparation for entry into the group.
As the California informant said, the children were required to act adult
and provocative at these gatherings. Several other beauty pageant mothers
who knew JonBenet have commented on the inappropriateness of her routines.
Her pageant coach claims that these moves did not come from her. Apparently,
Patsy herself taught her daughter how to do her very adult bumps and grinds.
- Christmas Night at the Whites has an atmosphere of an
initiation, an audition to see if all the hard work had paid off. JonBenet
apparently passed the test, and may even have been scheduled as the main
attraction at the next major event. The California informant, as reported
by her attorney Lee Hill, has suggested that JonBenet was killed at the
party. This raises some interesting questions. If she had been killed at
the party, which must occasionally happen given the nature of the goings-on,
then her death would have been handled in a more direct manner. Certainly,
no one on the inside of the group would have concocted something like the
- The most likely scenario is that all went relatively
well at the audition. It is possible that JonBenet was not sexually violated,
although sex play, including asphyxiation probably did occur. However,
it just may be that Patsy did not fully grasp what was about to happen
to her little angel. Patsy's own abuse and sexualization at the hands of
her father, Don Paugh, would allow her not to see the sexual objectification
of her routines as anything out of the ordinary. The group itself may have
appealed to her Christian and mystical side. Who knows exactly what, in
her mind, Patsy was training the child to become?
- However, after the Christmas party, something snapped
in Patsy. In the early morning hours of the 26th, Patsy sat up at the kitchen
table pondering what to do. She wrote the ransom note to carefully send
a message to John, and subliminally to her father. She goes upstairs, gets
the sleeping JonBenet out of bed, and carries her to the basement.
- Patsy probably prayed, thinking of Abraham and Isaac,
and the great sin for which she must atone. Just as in the letter, her
intent in the murder was to leave clues, point a finger, at what she felt
was the true evil, the true perpetrators, John and her father, or John
and Fleet White. Praying, she slugged JonBenet with the flashlight.
- The child awoke from the blow and screamed, once. Patsy
stopped her scream with the garrote and strangled her to death. To make
the point even more clear, she sexually assaulted her with the same paint
brush used to fashion the garrote. Then, without removing the garrote,
she dresses her and wraps her in a blanket in the far corner of the basement.
- When everything is staged to her satisfaction, she goes
upstairs, and puts the flashlight on the kitchen counter. Perhaps she sits
for a while in the dark brooding, perhaps she does a load of laundry, and
when it is time to get up, still in the clothes she wore to the party the
night before, she goes downstairs to find the note.
- John of course is confused. Burke is up and running around
screaming. Patsy is on the phone to 911. But as John reads the note, it
becomes clear that this no ordinary kidnapping. How soon John suspected
Patsy is unknown, but it must have been soon. At no time does John show
the least regard for the instructions in the note, which warn him that
if talks to anyone, JonBenet will be killed.
- John gets on the phone and calls the Whites and the others.
By 7 o'clock that morning, there were nine people, not including the Boulder
Police, wandering through the Ramsey house. By the time the body was found
at 1 o'clock that afternoon, no such thing as a crime scene existed. John's
immediate reaction was to call his pilot and tell him to stand by in the
company jet. Patsy of course was hysterical, making a variety of bizarre
comments, such as publicly begging their priest to bring her back to life.
- Soon however, Patsy was tranquilized, becoming by the
end of the day totally incoherent. In the meanwhile, the word spread, reaching
perhaps many other people in the Boulder community, as Alex Hunter speculated.
The pedophiles needed damage control.
- And so, two and a half weeks after the story broke, and
five days after Alex Hunter decided to quit his job, the JonBenet Ramsey
murder case remains in limbo. The real story almost emerged, but where
formally there was a media rush, now the quiet is deafening. The Daily
Camera's stories have been picked up by few other media outlets. And now,
with Alex Hunter soon to be gone, we face the possibility that the story
will never be told.
- In closing, we would like to encourage the California
woman and her therapist, Ms. Mary Bienkowski, to go public with their information
if the Boulder authorities failed to follow up on it. We think it is important
that the Ramseys don't get the last word.
- March 13, 2000 Vincent Bridges and Jay Weidner
- SIGHTINGS HOMEPAGE
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