Subj: Ex-FBI Profiler Gives JonBenet Take
Date: 98-04-19 12:12:29 EDT
From: AOL News
Gives JonBenet Take
.c The Associated Press
By JENNIFER MEARS
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) - The key to solving JonBenet Ramsey's slaying may be contained in 430 words of small, sometimes shaky script that two experts suggest were written to throw investigators off the killer's track.As the investigation winds down and heads toward a grand jury, the 2 1/2-page ransom note looms large as one uncontaminated piece of evidence in the 15-month-old case.
Yet the note initially caused trouble: Police, accepting it as proof of a kidnapping and assuming the missing child had been whisked away, allowed friends and family to wander unescorted through the house and taint the crime scene.
No officer was with John Ramsey, for instance, when he went to a basement storage room and returned carrying his daughter's beaten and strangled body.
``The note was totally ridiculous from the standpoint of having any credibility as a kidnap note,'' former FBI profiler Robert Ressler told The Associated Press. Police ``wasted effectively eight hours of crucial time in buying this kidnap note.''
But, said Ressler, ``get the person that wrote that note and that person may not have killed JonBenet, but they certainly know what happened.''
For that reason, he said, ``It's probably the best piece of evidence they have.''
Police Cmdr. Mark Beckner, who took over the investigation in October, called the note important but would not say what conclusions authorities have drawn from it.
``Listen Carefully!'' the note begins. ``We are a group of individuals that represent a small foreign faction. We respect your business but not the country that it serves. At this time we have your daughter in our possession.''
Ressler has assisted with hundreds of investigations, including those of multiple murderers Charles Manson, Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer and John Wayne Gacy. Now a private consultant in forensic behavioral science and based in Virginia, Ressler said the evidence, including the autopsy, suggests JonBenet was killed accidentally and ``an elaborate cover-up was done to divert police away from the crime.''
He believes, for instance, that the child was garroted to divert police from what he believes is the true cause of her death: a blow to the head. The writing of the note, he said, was part of the overall effort to send police astray.
If police had not fallen for the ploy, he said bluntly, the case would now be solved. ``They should have immediately started the investigation at another level,'' he said.
Patsy Ramsey said she found the note at 5:30 a.m. Dec. 26, 1996, as she walked down the backstairs toward the kitchen to make coffee.
Gregg McCrary, another former FBI profiler now doing private criminal consulting in Virginia, said placement of the note - on the backstairs of the sprawling $1.5 million home - is significant.
``That's not a prominent place to leave a note - unless you know that they come downstairs in the morning to make coffee,'' McCrary said. ``That shows me a knowledge of the house and of the activities of the people in the house.''
``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 or FBI will result in your daughter being beheaded. ... Use that good, southern common sense of yours.''
Ressler said this passage and others that provide information about the kidnappers show the writer has no criminal experience.
``Kidnap notes do not give information,'' Ressler said. ``They don't tell you how many people are in the organization, they don't tell you they are going to behead your daughter and they don't tell you the kind of container to use to get the money.''
In addition, he said, the note ``reflects a person whose knowledge of kidnapping comes from movies and books.'' One line, in particular - ``Don't try to grow a brain, John'' - echoes a line spoken by actor Dennis Hopper in the movie ``Speed.''
The ransom note was written with a black felt-tip pen on lined paper reportedly from a tablet in the home. Containing directives and contingencies, it is overall a sophisticated letter written by an educated person, said Bethany Dumas, a University of Tennessee English linguistics professor who has testified several times as an expert witness.
``You can try to deceive us, but be warned we are familiar with law enforcement counter-measures and tactics.''
That passage, Dumas said, is ``very formal, very educated.''
The $118,000 demand is interesting to McCrary, who notes most ransom demands are for ``a huge fat sum.'' When Exxon executive Sidney J. Reso was abducted in 1992, the ransom demanded was $18.5 million.
Also, McCrary said, the Ramsey note is unnecessarily wordy.
``Like the comment, `We respect your business.' It's not important to get the job done, but somebody felt it was important to say,'' McCrary said. ``Usually, it's `We've got your daughter and if you want to see her alive pay us.'''
``Make sure that you bring an adequate size attache to the bank. When you get home you will put the money in a brown paper bag. I will call you between 8 and 10 a.m. tomorrow to instruct you on delivery. The delivery will be exhausting so I advise you to be rested.''
``This business of getting a good night's rest because the next days are going to be trying, all these things are just above and beyond a kidnapper,'' Ressler said.
The language has a caretaker quality and sounds like it comes from a ``college-educated mature female. But I'm not saying that it is Mrs. Ramsey,'' he said.
Ressler said the writing points to a woman because ``men aren't that caring. They really don't care.''
A huge turnout of reporters and photographers is expected in Boulder on Wednesday, when selection for the next Boulder County grand jury begins, although District Attorney Alex Hunter has not yet indicated whether he will send the Ramsey case to the new grand jury.
Copyright 1997 The Associated Press.