Linda Arndt on GMA
MONDAY 9-13-99
      Gibson: She was the first detective in the Ramsey house on December 26, 1996, the morning Patsy
      Ramsey made that 911 call that someone had kidnapped her daughter, JonBenét. Well, beginning
      today and all this week GMA will bring you Elizabeth Vargus's exclusive, in-depth interview with Linda
      Arndt, the one police officer who can tell you what the Ramseys said and did and how they acted
      when the body was found.
      The murder of six-year-old JonBenét remains unsolved and John and Patsy Ramsey have said they
      had nothing to do with the crime. Still, they remain under an umbrella of suspicion. Linda Arndt is
      about to tell you for the first time some of the reasons why. We begin her story with a phone call at
      home, 6:35am, December 26, 1996.

      Arndt: ...been a kidnapping, it involves a six year old girl. The, um, there was a ransom note, a 2 1/2
      page ransom note.

      (VOICE OVER) The six year old girl was JonBenét Ramsey, daughter of Patsy and John Ramsey,
      founder of a billion dollar Boulder company. According to the ransom note, JonBenét's kidnappers
      would call between 8 and 10 am. Detective Arndt was to wait for the call with the Ramseys. Arndt
      says she arrived at the police station within 1/2 hour where she requested immediate FBI backup and
      a department-wide alert.

      Arndt: And we were told no. And I remember either Det. Paterson or myself, but I know this was
      said, is, well, we don't want, we don't want to be hung out if anything happens later.

      (VO) It was 8:10am when Arndt and another detective, Fred Paterson, arrived at the Ramsey house.
      They were met by two patrol officers who had already searched the house.

      Arndt: ...that were fingerprinting all entrances, all exits, and JonBenét's bedroom area. The balcony
      door on the outside and the bedroom door from the inside. And then I met with John Ramsey.

      Vargus: How did he strike you?
      Arndt: (pause, looks off and replies) Cordial
      Vargus: Cordial?
      Arndt: Uh, huh
      Vargus: Upset?
      Arndt: (smiling/smirk) Cordial
      Vargus: Distraught?
      Arndt: (long pause, looks up to left and right while smiling and replies) Cordial
Vargus: Did it strike you at all that he was, that that was behavior that was unusual for somebody
whose child was just kidnapped?
Arndt: I don't know that there's a usual, or an unusual behavior for any response. I don't put
judgment to it, I'll just, I'll just note it.
(VO) And that's what she said she did all morning; make mental notes of all things curious.
Vargus: Did the two interact? Did John and Patsy comfort each other? Were they in the same room
Arndt: I saw very little interaction between them. And they were in different rooms most of the time.
(VO) Arndt says Patsy Ramsey remained in this green room, in this sun room for most of the day.
With her were the family pastor and friends Fleet and Priscilla White and John and Barbara Fernie.
Det. Arndt waited with John Ramsey in the den off the kitchen; her tape recorder hooked up to the
Arndt: And I had gone over, where were you yesterday? When did you come home? When did
JonBenét go to bed? What was she wearing? Who put her to bed? What time did she go to bed?
When did you to go to bed? When did Patsy go to bed? Any suspicious calls?
Vargus: Had there been any suspicious behavior?
Arndt: No, no.
Vargus: Had there been any strange phone calls?
Arndt: No. Towards the latter half of the morning, um, I said anybody in your wildest dreams,
anybody who might be upset with you; personally or work-wise? And he gave the name of an
(VO) Patsy Ramsey would suggest they look at a housekeeper. The other detective would leave to
follow that trail.
Vargus: What was that like during that two hour period when you're waiting for the phone call?
Arndt: Electric when the phone rang.
(VO) And it did, numerous times. But there would be no call from a kidnapper.
Arndt: Ten o'clock comes and goes and there's no acknowledgment within the house from anyone
that this self-imposed deadline, or the deadline imposed by the author of the ransom note, has come
and gone.
Vargus: Nobody said, 'it's ten o'clock and the kidnappers haven't called?'
Arndt: Nobody said that.
Vargus: Was that something else you took note of?
Arndt: Absolutely
(VO) Arndt also took note that John Ramsey took time out to read his mail.
Vargus: Isn't it possible, maybe, he was opening the mail looking for a clue from the kidnapper?
Arndt: I don't know. And I, and I don't speculate. Um, it's a piece of information that I see...
(VO) Arndt says that by 10:35am every police officer was gone and she was on her own. She says
she looked for ways to manage the escalating tensions. She asked John Ramsey and his friends to
examine the ransom note for clues.
Arndt: I got feedback from most everybody except John Ramsey.
(VO) Arndt says she suggested that John Ramsey and Fleet White search the house; an instruction
for which she would later be strongly criticized. She said she told them to...
Arndt: ...check the house, top to bottom. Look for anything that might belong to JonBenét that is in
a place where you don't, shouldn't, where it shouldn't be. Even if it's a, a box, box of matches,
anything. Leave it and come see me.
Vargus: Don't touch it
Arndt: Right
(VO) It was now 1:01pm
Arndt: I heard a noise, then I heard, I heard (him?) softly run to the phone in the den and he was
crouched and I saw him dial 3 numbers, hang up the phone, yell 'we need an ambulance,' and then
he ran back towards the front of the house. And I see John Ramsey carrying JonBenét up the last
three steps from the basement. And, um, and my mind exploded. I mean it literally, I saw black with
thousands of lights. And everything that I had noted that morning that stuck out, instantly made
sense. (pause, sigh) And JonBenét was clearly dead. And she's been dead for a while. I knelt next to
her and I leaned down to her face. And John leaned down opposite me, and um, his face was just
inches from mine...(pause, breath) and we had, um, a nonverbal exchange that I will never forget.
And he asked if she was dead. And I said yes, she's dead. And I told him to go back to the room and
to dial 911. And as we looked at each other, I remember, and I wore a shoulder holster; tucking my
gun right next to me and consciously counting I've got 18 bullets.
Vargus: Why did you do that?
Arndt: 'Cause I didn't know if we'd all be alive if people showed up.
Vargus: What do you mean?
Arndt: I decided that everything made sense in that instance. And, um, I knew what happened. I
mean that's, I knew what happened to her.
Vargus: Do you think your fear was well-founded?
Arndt: You bet I do. There's no doubt in my mind.
Vargus: To this day?
Arndt: Never wavered
Vargus: Do you think he knew what you suspected?
Arndt: I hope he didn't. I'd hoped he didn't.
Vargus: Why?
Arndt: I needed him not to know what I felt.
Vargus: What you suspected?
Arndt: What I believed.
Gibson: Elizabeth Vargus joins us now. Why hasn't she spoken since? It's been almost
three years.
Vargus: Well, first of all, while she was working for the police department she could not
speak, she was forbidden to speak about the case. She has now quit the police
department and testified before the grand jury about everything she knows. Told her
whole story and has then talked with us. And spoke with us extensively; we have four
hours of video taped interview and countless more hours over the phone with her.
Gibson: Any, any response from the BPD or the Ramseys?
Vargus: The Ramseys did not return repeated phone calls. The BPD cannot comment
right now, or declined to comment, because Linda Arndt does have a lawsuit pending
against the police department and we'll get into that later in the week.
Tuesday, September 14, 1999
Gibson: ...the latest in the JonBenét Ramsey murder investigation. Was the crime scene
compromised? Well, Linda Arndt was there and today in the second part of a five part exclusive
interview with ABC's Elizabeth Vargas, the former Boulder Detective continues with her first-person
account; her own window on the case.
Vargas: When you turned and you saw John Ramsey carrying JonBenét up the basement steps, how
was he carrying her?
Arndt: (pause) Um, away and up from his body
Vargas: Like this?
Arndt: Like this (holding out hands) with her lower body here (holds hand horizontally at her neck
area) and her head above, yes
Vargas: You said it was apparent, even from that distance away, that she was dead
Arndt: There was no doubt.
Vargas: How did you know?
Arndt: She had rigor mortis. Her arms were rigid right above her head with no support.
Vargas: When John Ramsey went to call 911, what did you do?
Arndt: I took JonBenét. I moved her from the hallway to the, um, the living room. I carried her just
with the, the forearms. And I was cognizant that she was my sole responsibility, and the
preservation of her was my responsibility. And was careful how I carried her, out of this pathway of
heavy traffic. And I put her in the living room. She looked like she was sleeping. John Ramsey came
back and he says, "can we please, could you please cover her body?" And as he's saying it, he's
already put the blanket on top of her.
(Voice Over) Det. Arndt would later be criticized for allowing John Ramsey to place a blanket on his
daughter's body, jeopardizing the crime scene. It is a decision we will revisit with her, later.
Arndt: John was next to JonBenét and, he did, uh, I guess his good-bye. And, uh, I heard, a wail,
just a guttural, moan, aching wail from the back area. And, it was, uh, probably one of the most
pitiful things I've heard and anguished. And I saw the rest of the people; Patsy and the pastor and
the four friends, come from the den towards the living room. And, there's just so much, there's so
much pain. (long pause) And tears, and noise.
(VO) Still the only police officer in the house, the Detective waited and asked the pastor to lead the
Ramseys and their friends in prayer.
Arndt: I thought that would be the best way to organize everyone, to keep them distracted, to keep
them from touching JonBenét and to keep them focused.
Vargas: this house had suddenly become a homicide crime scene.
Arndt: Ah, it became hell. It became hell. JonBenét was brought up at about five minutes after 1:00,
and, um, at ten after, nobody had shown up. And I called 911. And I said, I gave them my radio
number. I said the kidnapping has turned into a murder.
Vargas: How long did it take someone to arrive on the scene?
Arndt: Still nobody had shown up 5 minutes after I had made that first 911 call. And I looked out the
window to the street and I saw an ambulance slowly drive by. And I thought I am in the twilight
(VO) At 1:15 pm Detective Arndt was paged and learned that police could not find the house.
Vargas: He went to the wrong address?
Arndt: He was over a block away.
(VO) Ten minutes later backup arrived followed by the FBI and supervisors Det. Arndt says she was
trying to raise all day.
Arndt: They told me about the ransom note and the legal pad that had been obtained from the
house which contained handwriting samples from John and Patsy Ramsey. And how this information
put the focus onto the Ramseys.
Vargas: They suspected the Ramseys were involved?
Arndt: Yes
Vargas: And what was your reaction?
Arndt: Yeah, no kidding. No kidding.
Gibson: Linda Arndt worked on the Ramsey case for the first five months and is no longer with the
police department. The Ramseys, of course, as you know, maintain they had nothing to do with the
crime. And though their attorneys haven't responded to our repeated phone calls, a statement was
released to several Denver television stations yesterday, which reads in part:
"Linda Arndt's bizarre speculations are the latest in a seemingly endless series of attacks
on the Ramsey family by people who seek to justify their own conduct at the Ramsey
Gibson: This morning one of the more controversial chapters of the JonBenét Ramsey murder
investigation - tha autopsy. Former Boulder Colorodo dectective Linda Arndt was there for the
autopsy. And today, in the third part of our exclusive interview with Elizabeth Vargus, she describes
what she saw in her career as a dectective. She said she worked a number of cases which included
sitting in on autopsys. But, she said, nothing prepared her for this one.
Arndt: I hadn't seen saveragy done to a child, or even an adult, until, uh, the doctor peeled back her
scalp and, uh, saw that horrific, uh, fracture to her head. It was the length of her head.
(Voice Over) It was 8 1/2 inches long.
Arndt: The doctor hadn't seen an injury like that. The doctor couldn't believe what was done to her
body. Her, her head, uh, the depth of that ligature around her neck. It was so deep that twice that
cord had been wrapped around her neck, and uh, and it looked like it was only one loose time
around. And, um, she had trauma to her vagina, vagina.
Vargus: What kind of trauma?
Arndt: It would be trauma that would be consistent with injuries seen in sexual assault cases.
Vargus: Recently?
Arndt: What was seen was not a first-time injury.
Vargus: And it wasn't just something that happened the night of the murder?
Arndt: I don't want to speak for the corornor, but not all of her injuries appeared to be recent.
(VO) The coronor, in fact, said the evidence was inconclusive. But ABC news has confirmed that
three medical experts who consulted for the BPD reported injuries consistent with prior sexual abuse.
Vargus: After the autopsy was completed, this was the day after, the 27th, did you go back to talk
with the Ramseys that day?
Arndt: At about 9:30 at night we were told that they were unavailable due to (long pause)
person had been drinking and the other person had been medicated.
(VO) Which brings us to a criticism that Linda Arndt did not take the Ramsey's into the police station
as soon as JonBenét's body was found.
Vargus: It was clear it was a homocide. And you and everybody else on the scene at least
suspected that there might be involvement by the parents. At that point, why weren't the Ramsey's
separated and taken in for questioning at the police station?
Arndt: That's a good question. That wasn't my decision to make. I was relieved of my responsibilities
when the supervisor showed on scene.
Vargus: Some people might be listening to you and think, 'that's classic, sort of pass the buck. I
wasn't in charge, it wasn't my responsibility therefore, it wasn't my fault'
Arndt: It's not passing the buck. I was responsible for the things I was assigned to do. But how is it
that things that were not my decision, not my choice, um, I didn't have the authority to do; I got
blamed for?
Vargus: Wouldn't it have been standard procedure to take them down to the police station to
question them?
Arndt: Uh, I would say that's usually done.
Vargus: Why wasn't it done in this case?
Arndt: I don't know why a lot of things weren't done in this case.
(VO) Arndt also explains that because she carried JonBenét's body, her clothing became evidence.
She was ordered to go home and change. And she is quick to point out that an FBI agent, her
supervisor, and ten other officers remained. And they did not force the Ramseys to go to the police
station, either. In fact, it was not until much later that day that the Ramseys would be asked for a
formal interview.
Vargus: Were you at all surprised that they wouldn't speak to you?
Arndt: It was curious, it was confusing.
Vargus: At that point, were John and Patsy Ramsey suspects?
Arndt: Of course they were suspects.
Gibson: The Ramseys have, of course, denied any involvement in the crime and have also
denied there was evidence of past sexual abuse of JonBenét. For it's part, the Boulder
Police Department had no comment on Linda Arndt's statements because she's filed a law
suit against them.
Vargus: were even called in one account the mark Furhman of the JonBenét Ramsey case.
Why has so much criticism been leveled at you?
Arndt: I think it's not only the criticisms, it's the focus. Whatever people wanted to dump, I was the
person that then became responsible. And how did I end up with, um, the honor or dishonor of being
the person who was the total screw-up and the person who made all these decisions regardless of
the many people involved? that I was a highly competent woman in, uh, in a male-dominated
Vargus: You thing it was sexism?
Arndt: Absolutely
Vargus: Did you ever think at any point during the morning before JonBenét's body was found that
this was anything other than a kidnapping?
Arndt: No
Vargus: Should you have?
Arndt: Well, do you want me to look back at the information I know now, um, with what I knew at
the time, this was a kidnapping
Vargus: But you yourself were noticing things all morning that didn't quite fit.
Arndt: It would have been great to have the luxury to have even a couple seconds to, just sit and
think and assimilate the information that was coming from me, nonstop from many different
directions. But I didn't.
Vargus: When John Ramsey put the blanket on JonBenét's body you had to know that that was going
to contaminate evidence.
Arndt: JonBenét's body was in and of itself a crime scene. Would it be nice if John hadn't found
JonBenét. Absolutely. And would it be nice if he hadn't put a blanket. Yeah it would be great. It
would be nice if there were other people to help control and keep people away. That would have
been wonderful. But that's not the circumstances that I had available that day.
(VOICE OVER) We also asked Arndt about another criticism. That her bonding with Patsy Ramsey
derailed the case.
Arndt: Well I have compassion that I bring to work. And compassion is not the same as empathy.
Just simple courtesy towards people in this case went out the window. Just was gone.
Vargus: Should there be courtesy when people are murder suspects?
Arndt: Absolutely. I should show you respect. Does that mean I'm bonding with you? No. You want
someone to talk with you. You establish trust, you, uh, you show sincerity. And you can't fake it
cause people know when you're, when you're insincere.
Vargus: Did you give the Ramseys a Xerox copy of the ransom note?
Arndt: On January 5th I gave a Xerox copy to Patsy Ramsey's attorney.
Vargus: Why?
Arndt: The attorneys for the Ramseys, respective attorneys, had asked for copies of the ransom
note. And that request I had bumped up to the supervisor making the decisions.
(VO) Arndt adds it did not compromise the case at all. She says the Ramseys already read the note
and had already provided handwriting samples using working from the note.
Vargus: Do you concede you made mistakes?
Arndt: Did I make mistakes in the decisions I made? No. Did I make the mistakes in who I trusted and
the faith I put in? Absolutely. Absolutely I did.
Vargus: You made no mistakes in your handling of this case?
Arndt: The decisions I made, when I made them at the time I made them, they were sound
Vargus: You stand by them even now?
Arndt: I stand by the decisions I made.
Vargus: You have filed a lawsuit against the BPD. Why?
Arndt: I had no other option. I went from a stellar reputation to being seen as the village idiot. All I
ask is, was that you correct the record. You know these things are wrong. Say it or let me say it.
And I was given no other option.
(VOICE OVER) Arndt's lawsuit claims the BPD violated her rights to free speech by preventing her
from defending her reputation. She points to reports like this article that says it was largely Arndt's
responsibility for sending the Ramsey case down the wrong track. And what of criticism that Arndt
stonewalled another detective?
Arndt: This detective came to me in, uh, April, end of April in '98. I told him that, uh, what he
wanted I had given him already and he could refer to my reports. If you've ever been through a
traumatic incident, you suppress so you can survive and go on. And when you talk about it, it is
rarely done and usually done to people that you trust.
Vargus: You didn't trust him (or them)
Arndt: Not at all
(VO) As it turns out the BPD was already split into factions with trust already eroding. Arndt says
much of what she did was misinterpreted, such as rumors of a nervous breakdown. Arndt says she
simply needed to take some time off.
Arndt: Was I tired? Absoluetly. I had committed my whole being to this case. It was exhausting and I
was spent.
(VO) Last April Linda Arndt resigned from the BPD from a job she says she loved for eight years.
Arndt: Oh, I loved the challenge.
Vargus: And you were good at it.
Arndt: I was good
Vargus: You were detective of the year (image shown of plaque from 1994)
Arndt. I was good. I loved it. I loved the work.
(VO) Nearly three years after the death of JonBenét Ramsey the case remains unsolved. But Linda
Arndt says she is sure who the killer is.
Arndt: I know who kill JonBenét. There's no doubt in my mind who killed JonBenét. And until, while
this investigation is still ongoing, I don't think it's appropriate I say the name out loud.
Vargus: Do you think this person will ever be indicted?
Arndt: No. The person who killed JonBenét will not see justice as we would like to see. No, I don't
believe that will happen.

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