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#11
The following is a continuation from our last post. In the previous post we provided statements from an individual who was friends with the Ramsey family and attended the same church as them. These statements are from a gentleman who served with the Boulder Police Department before and after the murder of JonBenet Ramsey. He too has requested his identity be withheld. The interview was conducted via telephone and below are some of his highlighted statements. The information is presented in the same format as our previous post.

On the Boulder Police: “There is no consensus amongst the Boulder cops about what really what happened. People think the department is dead set on the Ramsey family being guilty but that is not true from what I saw. Everyone has more questions than opinions to offer. I told my friend once over a glass of wine on a Friday evening that if Lou Smit couldn’t crack this case then nobody would. She asked me about the mismanagement of the crime scene and how it could have destroyed evidence. I bowed my head and sighed. “Yeah, there is no coming back from that.” I said. I must have sounded like someone finally admitting something they had always tried their hardest not to.”

On Detective Linda Arndt: “They fucked her. They completely scapegoated her. She was doing her best to control the situation with little to no help. She repeatedly asked for back up but it never came until the seriousness of the situation was discovered. Did she make a mistake by asking John Ramsey and Fleet White to search the house? Yes. But didn’t the first responding officer also make a mistake by not seeing the latch on the door that led to the room where the body was? This was a collective failure on all of our parts. I firmly believe that.”

On Officer Rick French: “He was really torn up. He blamed himself for not finding the body first. He tried to open the door but it was latched shut and he didn’t see the latch. He said the basement lights were on when he first went down there so he immediately suspected that the kidnappers had been there. He said Patsy was on the verge of a nervous breakdown and John seemed to be trying his best to keep it together but he was clearly panicking also. Some news reports later said that he suspected the Ramseys right away but that’s all bullshit.”

On Fleet White: “I don’t know what that guy’s deal is. Always making veiled comments to people, getting in their personal space and raising his voice. We received a non-emergency call from St. John’s Episcopal Church not long after the murder, the caller said White had forced his way into a room where the Ramseys were meeting privately with Father Hoverstock and was screaming. When we got there White had left and so had the Ramseys, Father Hoverstock assured us everything was okay so we didn’t follow up on it but he definitely scared the church members. Steve (Thomas) cultivated a friendship with him and we never understood why. White would make unreasonable demands to the Mayor, the District Attorney, the Police Chief and even to the City Council. He was more adamant about his innocence being publicly declared than the Ramseys were. I remember when he was arrested on a Contempt of Court charge and brought in. He kept jabbering about “government abuse” and “mistreatment.” I just walked out and chuckled. What a character I remember thinking to myself.”

On Commander Trujillo: “Trujillo is a yes man. He did everything he needed to in order to ascend up the ranks. He is politically very savvy. He never went against the narrative or direction that came from higher up. He has a comical attitude towards the case. I don’t think he takes it very seriously. He is a good cop for the most part and a decent person. He has done quite well for himself.”

On John Eller: “He was too old-school for his own good. Too prideful to be effective. He never knew when to ask for help and had disdain for other people in the department who were very passionate about modernizing their skill set and trade craft. He discouraged us from taking courses outside of the department that might have helped us progress our careers. He said we could learn everything from the streets. What fucking streets? I would ask myself. Boulder? Where the most action you got was breaking up fights between drunk college kids?”

On law enforcement career: “I don’t want to give detailed information about when I started working for the Boulder police or when I left. Any specifics will help pinpoint my identity and I have no desire to become a social outcast in my retirement years. I was there when JonBenet was murdered and I can speak on it.”

On Lou Smit: “He was the most respectful, dedicated and intelligent law enforcement professional that I had ever met. I had to run two boxes of case files over to their war room at the Boulder County Justice Center one evening and when I got there he was the only one left. He was taking some files home to review over the weekend and I helped him carry four boxes loaded with binders and stacks of paper to his car. “I definitely don’t envy your current situation.” I said jokingly. He laughed and said “This was all part of God’s plan.” As I drove back the unfairness of the situation dawned on me. Lou was a retired cop who was relentlessly working on the most high-profile case in the region in decades when he should have been spending as much time as possible with his family.”

On Mayor Lesile Durgin’s public announcement: “That fucking confused all of us. Why the hell would she say something like that? Did she know something that we didn’t? The murder had just happened. We almost dispatched a team to interview her on the day she made that statement but the higher ups quashed it. They concluded it that she was just trying to calm the public. It was a very reckless thing for her to do. She apologized it for later but damn was that stupid.”

On Steve Thomas and Lou Smit confrontation: “Yeah, Steve, told us about that. Lou confronted him face to face when they were alone at the Justice Center and asked him if he had a problem with him. Steve said that Lou probably would have swung on him had Lou been the same age as Steve. I watched Perfect Murder, Perfect Town and laughed through the whole thing. The real life Steve Thomas is not some alpha male who had all the right answers. That’s just not accurate. Steve was very alienated when he finally quit. A lot of us privately felt that his theory had little to no evidence to back it but we never told him. I walked by his workspace not long before he quit and he looked absolutely defeated, close to tears.”

On the crime scene: “Getting into that house was not hard. There were multiple windows that were unlocked and large enough for someone to come through. The door on the south side of the house that led to the patio area was unlocked. The door on the north side of the house that provided access to the butler’s kitchen was unlocked. The window below the grate was also unlocked and led right into the basement. The parents were asleep on the third floor so anyone moving around the first and second floor would have felt comfortable. The alley behind the house is pitch black at night. No street lights flood into that area. If you’re standing in that alley you literally can’t see five feet in front of you. I was on guard duty at the house when the coroner, John Meyer, arrived and escorted him in. JonBenet’s body was in the living room. Somebody had placed a blanket over her. Her hands were over her head and loosely tied. Her face was turned to the right. Her fingers were already a shade of blue. “This child has been dead for quiet some time” said Meyer. I couldn’t bare the smell so I went back outside.”

On the suspects: “I never had a prime suspect but my gut tells me that JonBenet was targeted for murder long before that night. She was sexually assaulted so I think the primary motive for the killer is pretty obvious. Walking through that house and knowing that she was found in the basement led me to conclude that perpetrator wanted to be alone with her and have his way with her before killing her. The basement was the quietest, most isolated part of that house. JonBenet’s bedroom and the patio outside of it is observable from the alley behind the house. The killer might have been watching her on multiple nights before finally acting out. The ransom note also told us that the killer was already inside the house when the family came home that night. I think he hid in the basement or the room right next to JonBenet’s. Fibers from the cord used to strangle and bind her were found in her bed so I think she was attacked and subdued in her bedroom. There was a pillow that we found in the kitchen that might have also come from her bedroom.”

On pageant photographs: “There are two photographs that the Boulder Police have in their possession of JonBenet with her instructor. One I think was taken in Texas and the other one was in Colorado. In both of these pictures JonBenet is sitting in her instructor’s lap and in both of these pictures you have the same blonde man standing right behind them. You have to see these photographs to really understand how eerie it is. We never were able to identify this man and nobody that was questioned ever acknowledged knowing him. There was a break in and sexual assault in Boulder after JonBenet’s death where a young female was attacked by an intruder. The mother chased off the man but both the mother and daughter said the man had blonde hair. We talked to pageant moms and they said they didn’t know who the man in the photograph was but they routinely had to ask people to leave pageant shows because they didn’t have a connection to the child performers or made people uncomfortable.”
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#12
part two of the interview with the gentleman who retired from the Boulder Police Department. His period of service predates the murder of JonBenet Ramsey and concluded some time after. If you have not read part one of the interview then we suggest you start there first. The information is presented in the same format as our last two posts. Due to the positive response to our previous posts we have decided to publish more of our interviews as well as investigative essays that will explore different aspects of the crime. It is important to remember that this is still an open investigation and any tips should be forwarded to the Boulder Police Department and not to us. Lastly due to the high-profile nature of this case and the strong public interest in it, all comments on this blog will have to be approved by the moderator.

On Steve Thomas’ book: “I read it when it first came out. I honestly don’t know what to think of it. It seemed like the entire book was Steve basically saying over and over again how he was the guy with all of the right answers and how he was the guy who was always trying to do the right thing but everyone else was acting as an obstacle. I know he had health problems during that time, I think something was wrong with his thyroid, and I wonder if that influenced his judgment at all. When Commander Eller was fired for authorizing Steve and Ron (Gossage) to secretly record Jeff Shapiro, I didn’t understand why Steve and Ron weren’t fired also. The whole thing was obviously an attempt to get Hunter fired so everyone involved should have paid the price. I guess the higher ups decided that two detectives as well as the head of detectives getting fired at the same time would be an unmanageable public relations crisis. There was other stuff in Steve’s book that made me uncomfortable. He talked about JonBenet like he knew her. He wrote that in his opinion she would have eventually rejected the pageant lifestyle. He wrote that most people didn’t really know who the real JonBenet was. That to me is inappropriate for a detective. He was clearly too emotionally invested in the case.”

On criticism of the Boulder PD: “Most of it is justified in my opinion. We made a lot of mistakes early on. I already talked to you about the failure to preserve the crime scene but there were other blunders that contributed to the case never being solved. Our neighborhood canvass was properly not as expansive as it should have been. We should have taken the Ramseys down to the station right after the body was found and interviewed them. We should have accepted the help of outside agencies from the get go. Having seasoned homicide investigators from the start would have been very helpful. Stan Garnett, the former District Attorney, said publicly a while back that the mistakes made early on were probably the reason why this case will never be solved. He said they were pretty much impossible to overcome for any prosecutor. We still might get lucky and get a DNA match with a confession to go along with it but after all this time I just don’t know if we would be that lucky.”

On rift between Boulder PD and Alex Hunter: “The dislike was there long before JonBenet’s murder. Boulder’s elected officials were very selective in the crimes they wanted to take to trial. Drug and sex related offenses were routinely not prosecuted and if they were the end result was effectively a legal slap on the wrist for the perpetrator. The Boulder Police Department had a lot of old school, hard nosed cops. They never felt like the D.A. appreciated them because of the high number of cases that Hunter refused to take to trial. Eller and Hunter always disliked each other. They never got along. Eller always thought Hunter wanted him to kiss his ass and Hunter felt that Eller was too arrogant to be a good cop. Hunter was an elected official so he prioritized having good relations with everyone. Eller only wanted the respect of the cops who worked for him.”

On Hunter speaking to media: “I think the primary motive for Hunter to open up to all of these reporters was his belief that the Boulder Police had developed tunnel vision and were focusing solely on the Ramseys. (Pete) Hoffstrom repeatedly told Hunter and any Boulder cop who would listen that mistakes were being made that might doom the prospects of any future prosecution. He slammed Eller for clearing suspects on the thinnest of alibis. We knew early on that the Police and the D.A. not being on the same page was a recipe for disaster. Hunter, I think saw these reporters and journalists as his own private investigative team. When Commander Eller falsely accused Hunter of breaking into the war room at the Justice Center it became evident that the case was in deep trouble. Here you had the head of detectives accusing the District Attorney of breaking and entering plus tampering with evidence and the public was expecting them to work together to bring the killer of a child to justice.”

On John Mark Karr: “I was disappointed when I learned that his DNA didn’t match. I was hoping this was the guy and finally we could have closure to this case. The one good thing that came of it was that it showed that Boulder’s legal system was capable of going after someone that they deemed to be a legitimate suspect. The FBI and Department of Homeland Security got involved and they were able to get this guy from Thailand and bring him to Colorado. If the real killer comes onto the radar in the future then I hope they go after him with same intensity and dedication that they demonstrated during the Karr saga.”

On Professor Michael Tracey: “He fully immersed himself into the case. That really became his only hobby outside of teaching at the university. He was a staunch supporter of the Ramsey’s innocence. Once the documentaries that he worked on came out people were talking about the murder like it had just happened. It thrust everything back into the spotlight and I think that was his primary objective. Fleet White was furious and in typical fashion wrote to the university and asked for Tracey’s termination. I remember thinking “Well, Boulder is back to normal again.” There were a few weeks of pure nostalgia. The entire city people talking about their favorite theories of the case, media inquires on a daily basis and tips being called in from all over the country.” I ran into him at the Hungry Toad, a popular pub in Boulder, not long after my retirement. I introduced myself and he was delighted to be speaking to an ex-Boulder cop. Once I told him that I also thought the parents were most likely innocent he became noticeably ecstatic. “Finally! One of the good cops!” he exclaimed. I laughed. The man was clearly drunk but here at this pub on a Saturday night all these years later, JonBenet’s murder was still dominating his thoughts.”

On questions that still need to be answered: “People think if the killer is caught tomorrow and put behind bars then we will have all the answers but I don’t subscribe to that idea anymore. There are a lot of things that need to be explained and serious questions need to be answered. There is more to this murder than people realize. Somebody tried to kill Sergeant Bob Whitson, somebody splashed a bucket of blood onto Linda Arndt’s front door, somebody put a dead cat on Steve Thomas’ front lawn. There is other stuff that I want to talk about but I don’t know if I should because some of it is really explosive and has never been publicly revealed. I’ll say this though and try to read between the lines. JonBenet was a kid whose parents knew where she was at all times when she wasn’t at the house. She went to school, she performed in public places, she took dance and piano lessons, participated in multiple pageants and was part of the local Girl Scouts Club. The killer had to have seen her at one of those places. The killer’s knowledge of her obviously came from observing her somewhere, where ever that place may have been. This was most likely not a case of a spontaneous intrusion into a house that was followed by an on-the-spot decision to sexually assault and murder the victim. There was premeditation to this crime. Lastly the killer’s confidence in entering the home, writing a ransom note, removing the victim from her bedroom, killing her and then leaving undetected tells me that this person felt very comfortable inside the home. I think when a crime is committed that is that brazen then we should take a second look at the suspects who were within close proximity to the family. Again, I am not a believer in the Ramseys being guilty but I think there are answers to be discovered that are closer to home.”
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