JonBenet Ramsey Wiki – Bio
“Smit’s daughter, Cindy Marra, knew that her time was limited … when she fell ill with cancer, and so she spoke with others during this time about not letting this case die,” he said. “It was really important to him.”
Van der Woerd and Smit’s other grandson, Lexi Marra, created the podcast “The Victim’s Shoes”, where they discuss the details of the case as part of their promise to keep the case alive.
Smit was removed from retirement to aid the investigation, three months after JonBenét was found dead in the basement of his family’s home in Colorado, Colorado, on the morning of December 26, 1996. The child beauty queen died the night before, but was not found until the hours passed.
JonBenet Ramsey kidnapped Investigation Reports & Family
According to his grandson Jessa van der Woerd, the Colorado detective who died of cancer in 2010 has investigated more than 200 cases throughout his career and each received a conviction. She is now tasked with solving her final case as part of Smit’s dying wish – 6-year-old JonBenét Ramsey, with other members of her family.
JonBenét’s family initially thought he was kidnapped at night. In a 911 call just before 6 am, his mother Patsy Ramsey could not be comforted when she told the officer that her daughter was missing and that she found a ransom note under her stairs.
In a long three-page note, he partially said that JonBenét’s parents would die and ask for $ 118,000 if they called the authorities. It was also stated that JonBenét’s parents would receive a call between 8 and 10 am from the supposed kidnapper.
“It was horrible,” John Ramsey told ABC News’s Barbara Walters in 2000. “First of all, we didn’t know that the kidnapper would call that day because the note,, I’ll call you tomorrow. Get plenty of rest. “I was deadly afraid that tomorrow would actually be 27.”
In 2000, Patsy Ramsey, you lose all sense of time and space.
The police arrived shortly after the 911 call and began investigating the crime scene for clues about the kidnapper. However, when friends of the Ramseys came for moral support, they too moved around the house, contaminating the scene.
“The police did a terrible, horrible job to secure that scene … and you won’t get good evidence if you don’t secure the scene,” said Diane Dimond, the investigative reporter involved in the incident. People were flowing through that house. They were in the kitchen, in the living room. Patsy had some friends who helped clean the kitchen. There could be fingerprints there. ”
After a few hours, the police began to leave Ramsey from the house. JonBenét’s parents waited anxiously for the so-called kidnapper’s call, with only one detective there: Linda Arndt.
However, 10 am passed and when there was still no call, Arndt said he had no confirmation from JonBenét’s parents that “the deadline imposed by the author of the ransom note [the ransom note] has come and gone”.
Arndt suggested that John Ramsey look around the house for any signs that his daughter’s belongings were out of place. She found JonBenét in the basement, part of the house the police had neglected to search for.
“I immediately understood what I found. I found my daughter,” John Ramsey told Walters in 2000. “He was lying on a white blanket. The blanket was wrapped around him. His hands were tied over his head. He put a tape on his mouth. … I knelt right away, felt his cheek, right through his mouth.” I tried to untie the cord around his arms and could not untie the knot.
John Ramsey said that he took his daughter upstairs and laid her down, hoping that he was alive. Arndt confirmed to him that the boy was dead.
Arndt said that at that moment he was afraid that JonBenét’s father might have killed his daughters, so he prepared for a possible confrontation.
“When we look at each other, I remember – and I put on a shoulder holster – I remember I squeezed my gun right next to me and consciously counted I had 18 bullets,” Arndt said, “I didn’t.” I don’t know if we will all be alive when people show up. ”
The cause of JonBenét’s death was determined, in this case, to be strangled with a temporary garrot, a weapon wrapped with a rope wrapped around one of Patsy Ramsey’s paint brushes. According to Brad Garrett, a former FBI agent and ABC News participant, the boy had sexual abuse with an 8-inch skull fracture, shocks from the stun gun, and a broken brush piece used on the garrot. In JonBenét’s case.
JonBenét’s murder came just after O.J. Simson was tried and quickly gained attention in news organizations around the world. Now in public opinion, the police tried to question JonBenét’s parents.
Garrett said “20/20”. “Especially when you start with children of this age, when they die, it tends to die at the hands of their parents.” Therefore, our focus will naturally be on parents. Now at home, the ransom note is overwritten by Patsy’s notebook. ”
He said police began to suspect that the Ramseys “had harmed their children in some way, then panicked and basically tried to create an abduction scenario.
There were some reasons to suspect this. For example, the three-page ransom note was written on Patsy Ramsey’s notebook with a pen from home. The $ 118,000 figure also seemed suspicious to the authorities.
“Think about this number and how important it is … John Ramsey has received a $ 118,000 bonus from his company,” said Garrett, referring to JonBenét’s father. How many people knew about this? I won’t guess many people, ”Garrett said.
John Andrew Ramsey, brother of John Ramsey’s son, JonBenét, said that the family gave blood and fingerprints to the police as part of the investigation. But as part of an official interrogation at the police station, it was difficult to talk to the parents of JonBenét, who were the main suspects in the case at that point.
“The police… face off against lawyers and wealthy friends. ‘Make room for them in the community. They mourn. What’s wrong with you, ”Dimond said.” The police are thinking, we should talk to these parents and talk to them right before they start putting their stories together. ”
John Ramsey said they asked the police to meet them at their home because Patsy Ramsey was sick in bed with grief and “could barely move.”
“We were extremely willing and willing to talk to the police to find the killer,” he told Walters in 2000. “We had a higher priority at that point, and that was burying our daughter.”
JonBenét was buried on December 31, 1996 in Marietta, Georgia, the Ramseys’ hometown. Then, the next day, his parents went to CNN for an interview in which they begged the public to help them find their daughter’s killer.
Patsy Ramsey said she “didn’t believe it” when they learned that they were the main suspects of her daughter’s death.
“I mean, we suffer the loss of our child … and then for someone to blame you, you wouldn’t believe it would happen,” he told CNN in January 1997.
We were enraged. We were shocked, ”added John Ramsey. How can they think about this? We were a normal family. ”
Despite their denial, the police continued to suspect the parents in JonBenét’s murder. However, Boulder County District Attorney Alex Hunter was unsure of his guilt and wanted to investigate other theories. He added Smit three months after JonBenét’s death. He began to scrutinize the evidence and find potential clues that the police and the public had overlooked or rejected.
“The parents probably looked confused,” Smit said in the video diaries that he started recording while investigating the incident. “I thought it would be a pretty easy case. I thought it would be a dunk and I even remember talking to my daughter. I joked a little with her,” I said, “If someone has entered that house, it must be Santa Claus down the chimney.”
But when Smit began investigating the case, he began to believe that the police should actually be looking for a possible intruder. He pointed to the open window in the basement, but the photos showed spider webs that would likely break if a window snuck in.
The police did not believe it was possible to fit in through the window, and then Smit showed them that it was through the window himself.
“The big question is, could you go through this window – this little window – without disturbing this spider web,” said Garrett. “I think the answer to that is ‘maybe.’ … But the other important point is how soon this photo was taken after JonBenét was killed, because spiders can copy webs very quickly. ”
Police also found a shoe print from a Hi-Tec branded boot near JonBenét’s body – no one in the shoes of this brand’s family – plus two marks on his face and back, a stun gun.
“There is no reason for the Ramseys to use stun guns, and the Ramseys don’t have stun guns,” Smit noted at the time. “If not a stun gun, what is it? That’s the question I always ask.”
Smit pointed out that the writer of the ransom note in the video diaries included a language taken from several movies. In particular, he drew attention to the similarities with the kidnapping drama “Ransom”, which played in Boulder at the time.
In that movie, an industrialist “Fat Cat”, his son was kidnapped. Smit said in the recordings, in this note, even in the note written in that movie, there was a lot of the same word of mouth.
Smit also cited DNA evidence the police found under JonBenét’s nails and in his underwear in the video diaries. He said this evidence was “not something that has been made public for quite some time.” An analysis revealed that it did not suit anyone in the Ramsey family.
After JonBenét’s parents had their first official interrogation in the spring of 1997, four months after his death, it would take about two years for another interrogation with the police. They came back for someone else in June 1998, but this time the investigators recorded it on video.
“Months and months of negotiations, whether they can be videotaped, what will be the questions … If the Boulder police are part of it,” said investigative journalist Carol McKinley. “The Ramseys said, ‘We don’t trust the police. We don’t want them there.”
Eventually, the interrogation took place in a different police department, and Boulder had to monitor inspectors from a separate building. Tom Haney, a detective from the Denver Police Department, interrogated Patsy Ramsey, while Smit interrogated John Ramsey. During both interrogations, JonBenét’s parents strongly denied that one of their families had killed their daughter.
When Haney suggested that there might be evidence linking Patsy Ramsey to her daughter’s murder, Patsy Ramsey said, “This is totally impossible. Test again. “She said she said it was impossible for them to have” physical evidence “that linked her to the crime.
Investigators did not find anything incriminating during the Ramseys’ interrogation. Smit’s daughter, Cindy Marra, said the interviews “reinforced the belief that the Ramseys had nothing to do with JonBenét’s murder.”
“I’m not saying parents don’t kill their children… parents kill their children,” he said on the Smit tapes. “But [the police] are trying to say that Patsy did it. … All of his actions before, during and after [JonBenét’s death] are consistent with innocent people. … They didn’t. ”
Marra said that while the investigation was under way under Smit, she was concerned that the authorities had completely ruled out the possibility of an intruder killing Jon Benet and therefore did not seek evidence of the possibility.
“I thought there was something extremely wrong and that there was a great injustice in this situation,” he said on the tapes. I saw evidence that there was an intruder in the house that night.
With the increasing push of the intruder theory about the JonBenét murder, Smit eventually chose to resign from the case and wrote a letter to the Boulder District Attorney Hunter: “Even if I want to continue to participate in the official investigation and help find it, JonBenet’s murderer, I am conscientiously made to innocent people. I see I can’t be part of the persecution, ”Smit said, referring to JonBenét’s parents. “It would not be very inappropriate and unethical for me to stay here when I believe this very strongly.”
However, even when he moved away from his official role in the case, he continued to demand justice for JonBenét while standing by his parents, Marra said.
They listened to Smit’s intruder theory in 1998 when, two years after JonBenét was murdered, he called a large jury to evaluate the evidence. However, like the police, the jury did not believe that someone might have entered the window without spider webs touching it.
Jonathan Webb, one of the grand jury members, told “20/20” that Smit’s intruder theory didn’t make sense. “It would be extraordinary,” he said, for someone to walk through such a small window and not disturb spider webs.
The grand jury used both John and Patsy Ramsey to “unlawfully, knowingly, recklessly and deliberately permit a child to be unreasonably placed in a situation that threatened harm to the life or health of the child” and “to find and arrest this person for committing a crime,” a person with the intention of preventing, delaying or preventing his capture, prosecution, conviction and punishment. ”
But even though the grand jury believed that one of the parents was guilty and the other helped, they couldn’t tell who did what, and in the end, Hunter announced that they did not have enough evidence to file a criminal complaint against the parents.
In the following years, Smit continued to look at the information he had on the JonBenét case and compiled it all in one database. He believed that the answer to the identity of JonBenét’s murderer lies in the DNA found in his underwear and under his nails.
By 2008, new DNA testing technology called touch DNA was developed, which allowed forensic professionals to test for dead skin cells left behind on objects at crime scenes. Mary Lacy, the Boulder district attorney at the time, decided to use this new test in JonBenét’s pajama leggings, and the results were positive for DNA of at least one unknown man, possibly even two.
After this test, Lacy wrote a letter to John Ramsey stating that his office did not view him, his wife Patsy Ramsey, or any of his close relatives as a person suspected of JonBenét’s death.
JonBenét’s half-brother, John Andrew Ramsey, said that Patsy Ramsey died of ovarian cancer in 2006 and was buried next to JonBenét in Georgia.
Lou Smit is dead, but the search continues
Smit believed that even 13 years later, an unidentified intruder was responsible for the JonBenet murder. But time was running out.
He was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2010. But according to her other daughter, Dawn Miller, she never stopped talking about the JonBenét case, despite dozens of people visiting her every day at the hospital and later in the nursing home to pay her respect.
Marra said that while she was in the hospital before her death, someone asked her to continue investigating the case.
“He just said, ‘I want someone to continue this case.’ Please don’t let him die,” he said. And he asked me to write a name, and I did. I took a pen and paper and gave me a name and said “Start with this name.” ”
Smit died on August 11, 2010.
Marra said after her death her family teamed up with some of Smit’s former murder partners to continue investigating the case.
“What we all have in common is the commitment to fulfill Lou’s dying wish, that the case does not die with him,” said John Anderson, a friend of Smit and former sheriff of El Paso County in Texas. “I think this commitment, this respect, the love for Lou, that’s what keeps our team moving forward.”
The team consulted the database Smit had created to start narrowing down the suspects. Among the names on the list was the homeless Gary Oliva, who went to a church less than two blocks from the Ramsey house and told a friend that he killed a little girl during a phone call right after JonBenét was murdered, McKinley said.
Authorities eventually cleared Oliva as a suspect after failing to link him to the crime scene.
Bill McReynolds, a man disguised as Santa Claus for Christmas parties for three years at the Ramseys’ home, was also investigated, but was eventually cleared when his DNA did not match the one found by the researchers.
Michael Helgoth, who owned a pair of Hi-Tec boots and a stun gun and died of suicide shortly after the JonBenét murder, was also cleared after the team realized that his DNA did not match what was found on the scene.
“We studied people of interest … and found our top 20. Now, focus on collecting and testing DNA from the top 20 that our team did,” Anderson said. “We are not investigators. We are not questioning potential suspects. Any information we encounter will be immediately forwarded to Boulder [the district attorney] and the Boulder Police Department, and they will follow up.”
“We’re just trying to remove people from this list, and if we keep going, I hope we can finally get someone on the list,” Marra said.
Anderson said the team narrowing Smit’s list met with Boulder officials in September 2020 to present the list of the 20 largest suspects in the case. Marra said she does not believe they are “actively investigating this case at this point.”
When reached for comment, the Boulder Police Department said there was still an active and ongoing investigation into the JonBenét murder; however, the department never made public statements about how the case was handled.
Marra believes her daughters, who are Smit’s grandchildren, will make her dying wish even if they can’t.
“My daughters… they will continue this case when we are too old to do this,” Marra said. But we won’t stop researching. We just won’t. ”
John Ramsey lost his job following the murder of his daughter and claimed to have spent millions of dollars on private detectives, lawyers and security.
JonBenét’s half-brother, John Andrew Ramsey, said that his father was remarried and focused on life, and that their struggle for justice on behalf of his half-sister was not over.
“The family has not lost the will to fight and the will to find the killer,” said John Andrew Ramsey. We work on this every day. There is a group of dedicated volunteers working on this every day. ”
“I really think it’s important for people to understand that this case can be resolved,” he said. “There is a story that this is an unsolved murder and we have to take it as a fact, and it is not true. If we use the evidence, we follow the facts, we will find this killer.”