Pam and Kristine Griffin
#1
1997-12-21: Legacy of JonBenet - For friends, cops, neighbors, tragedy leaves its scars, life will never be the same
(Photo caption: Patrick Davison/Rocky Mountain News "Kristine Griffin, who was JonBenet's modeling coach, still has nightmares about her young friend, said her mother Pam, right. In her dreams, JonBenet tells Griffin, she saw the shoes of the man who killed her Dec. 26, 1996.")

By Lisa Levitt Ryckman
Rocky Mountain News Staff Writer
December 21, 1997



(SNIP)



"Judith Phillips has spent much of the last year wondering why the Ramseys have cut her off without a word, after 14 years of friendship that began when they all lived in Atlanta and continued after they all moved to Boulder.

"It was devastating,'' Phillips said of being told by another friend of the Ramseys that she no longer was considered their friend. "To this day, I still don't know what I did.''

For Pam Griffin, a friend of Patsy Ramsey's who designed many of JonBenet's pageant costumes, it has been a year of proving herself a true and loyal friend -- but not without a cost.

This has taken from me a vulnerability I had hoped never to lose,'' said Griffin, who has often found herself as Patsy's lone defender on television talk shows.

A person who always greeted others with a hug, Griffin now tends to keep her distance; trust takes time.

"Now I just don't feel comfortable around a lot of people, and I always felt comfortable around everybody,'' she said. "I resent the tabloid media taking from me the right to be vulnerable if that's what I choose to do. That was something I hoped to keep all my life.''

The endless video loop of JonBenet in pageants, decked out in elaborate costumes designed by Griffin, has brought her some new clients, although she lost more than $30,000 in business from customers who disapproved of her Geraldo appearances. But despite the seemingly universal criticism of kiddie pageantry, the Colorado pageant circuit is booming -- thanks in part to JonBenet.

"It's bigger than it's ever been,'' said LaDonna Griego, who runs All Star Kids, a popular, family oriented pageant system in Colorado.

When JonBenet competed in All Star Kids' state pageant in April 1996, there were 12 children entered. This year, there were 50. Advertisements that used to elicit 300 phone calls now bring in twice that many.

"I think a lot of people didn't know pageants existed in Colorado,'' Griego said of the days before JonBenet's death. "When people call, I tell them they need to come and experience it before you look down on it or think it's wrong.

"Most people come and see, and I end up with their kids competing in the next one.''

Griego's 10-year-old daughter, Breanne, passed her Little Miss Colorado title along to JonBenet in May 1996, and she still happily competes. But JonBenet's death has shaken her.

"It scared my daughter very much,'' LaDonna Griego said. "Now she's sleeping in our bedroom. She still looks over her shoulder.''

The constant criticism of pageantry has wounded Breanne, mostly because it is something she loves.

"Having people trash it really bothers her,'' LaDonna Griego said. "My daughter has been known to go to the grocery store and hide all the Globes on the back shelf.''

Kristine Griffin, JonBenet's 19-year-old modeling coach, sometime-babysitter and dear friend, still suffers from the loss of her protege.

"This has been way too painful for her,'' said her mother, Pam Griffin. "JonBenet just adored Kristine, and the feeling was completely mutual.''

In recent weeks, Kristine has cried at the mention of JonBenet's name on television and has had vivid nightmares about her.

"I need to tell you what happened,'' JonBenet says to Kristine in her dreams. "I don't know who he is, but I saw his shoes.''

"If there was a way to communicate,'' Kristine said, "she might try to do it with me, just because we were so close, and she looked up to me. And maybe she would feel I would be the one she'd want to talk to.''

On Dec. 26, people who knew and loved JonBenet or simply want justice for her will show up at 7 p.m. in front of the Ramsey's old house in Boulder for a candlelight vigil organized by Judith Phillips.

"I have children who need closure on this,'' said Phillips, whose 10-year-old daughter, Lindsey, played with Burke and JonBenet. "It's been very difficult for her, very confusing, very scary.

Now questions haunt Lindsey, painful, unanswerable ones.

"Mommy, who would have done this terrible thing? What was JonBenet feeling? What's it like to die?'' she asks Phillips.

"Mommy, why would anyone murder a little girl who was so nice and so sweet?''

December 21, 1997


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