Mr. Ramsey,I find it significant that the note is addressed specifically to John Ramsey, not to "Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey," as in the fragment known as the "practice note." By referring to John's business, the writer emphasizes that John is his intended reader. As we'll see as we continue, this is a persistent theme.
Listen carefully! We are a group of individuals that represent a small foreign faction. We respect your bussiness but not the country that it serves. At this time we have your daughter in our possession. She is safe and unharmed, and if you want her to see 1997, you must follow our instructions to the letter.
You will withdraw $118,000 from your account. $100,000 will be in $100 bills and the remaining $18,000 in $20 bills. Make sure that you bring an adequate size attaché 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.Only John Ramsey would have been in a position to withdraw over $100,000 from his account. This is significant. Assuming the police had not been called so early, it would have been John's responsibility to raise the ransom, not Patsy's.
As should be clear by now, the plan hidden in the note could only have been devised by John. The note gives Patsy no role at all to play, so if we want to assume she wrote it on her own to stage a phoney kidnapping, and an innocent John forced her to make the call against her will, then how do we understand what it could have done for her? What sort of plan could she have had in mind? I'll be filling in more of the blanks as I proceed.
Note that the call is to come "tomorrow." Some have speculated that the writer was referring to that particular morning, which for him might have been tomorrow, if he'd written the note prior to midnight. This also seems to have been the thinking of the police, since they were clearly expecting a call that morning, between 8 and 10 AM. They were wrong. Obviously the call was to come the following morning. Otherwise, how could John have possibly raised the ransom money and how could he arrange to be "well rested" prior to the call? "Tomorrow," very clearly, meant tomorrow.
If we monitor you getting the money early, we might call you early to arrange an earlier delivery of the money and hence an earlier pickup of your daughter.Very interesting. This would have given John considerably leeway, since there would be no need to wait till the following morning. If he immediately headed for the bank and got the ransom money on the 26th, then the "kidnappers" might call at any time -- any time of his choosing. How could he have faked the call? I think I know. Be patient.
Any deviation of my instructions will result in the immediate execution of your daughter. You will also be denied her remains for proper burial. 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 F.B.I. will result in your daughter being beheaded. If we catch you talking to a stray dog, she dies. If you alert bank authorities, she dies. If the money is in anyway marked or tampered with, she dies. You will be scanned for electronic devices and if any are found, she dies. You can try to deceive us, but be warned we are familiar with law enforcement counter-measures and tactics. You stand a 99 percent chance of killing your daughter if you try to outsmart us. Follow our instructions and you stand a 100 percent chance of getting her back. You and your family are under constant scrutiny, as well as the authorities.This part of the note is intended for Patsy. It's designed to frighten her to the point that she will agree to go along with the "kidnappers" request and not call the police. Why she called them anyhow is anybody's guess. From the sound of her voice on the 911 recording, she was out of her mind with panic and fear and simply wanted help as soon as possible. If she had not made the call, as was obviously the intention of the note writer, everything could have proceeded according to the plan clearly outlined in the note.
Don't try to grow a brain, John. You are not the only fat cat around so don't think that killing will be difficult. Don't underestimate us, John. Use that good, southern common sense of yours. It's up to you now, John! Victory. S.B.T.C.Much has been made of the content of this portion of the note, especially the "grow a brain" bit, taken from a popular Clint Eastwood movie. Since the phrase "good, southern common sense" was often used by Patsy, that's often assumed to be some sort of giveaway that Patsy wrote it. As though she'd be stupid enough to quote herself under such circumstances. Much has been also made of "S.B.T.C." as though this were some sort of game of Clue and the writer was offering us one. This sort of thing sent investigators off on all sorts of tangents, wasting their time when they could have been reconstructing the plan behind the note as a whole.
What this passage tells me is that John was eager to convince his readers (initially Patsy, but also very possibly some of their friends, to whom he was planning to show the note, so they could function as witnesses to its contents) that everything was going to be up to him ("It's up to you now, John"), that responsibility for dealing with the "kidnappers" had to be in his hands and his alone, which would make it easy for him to demand that Patsy and Burke leave with friends, so he could deal with the situation on his own.
Now let me fill in some of the blanks by reproducing a response I just wrote to a perceptive reader who asked the following questions:
If the plan was to move JBs body, and that plan was ruined by PR's 911 call that was not supposed to be made, how do you imagine the body was going to be moved and where would it be dumped.My response:
Also how was the ransom going to be handled? It would look bad if the call never came, yet it would be dangerous to fake the call. JR wouldn't be able to place the call because he'd have to be home at the appointed time for the call.
Good questions. There is always the possibility that John hadn't thought his plan through completely. After all, he must have been in a real panic that night. So maybe there is no good answer for your questions that would correspond to his actual thinking at the time. We can't read his mind.And very obviously, a plan that only John could have carried out. If Patsy hadn't called 911, then John would have been able to implement it, or at least give it a shot. It was by no means perfect and certainly could have failed. On the other hand, the plan implied by the note would have done nothing at all for Patsy and I see nothing in it that could have helped her, assuming she is the one who wrote it. I see no basis for such an assumption. The only one who might have benefited from this note was John Ramsey. Clearly, he is the one who wrote it.
Nevertheless, it IS possible to formulate a plan that could work, and I have a feeling this is what John could have had in mind:
Convince Patsy to take Burke and go to stay with friends, so they would be safe while he dealt with the kidnappers. Then drive the car to the bank to collect the ransom. This would be the trickiest part, because the bank manager could get suspicious. But there would be no harm in informing him about the kidnapping and asking for his cooperation. Police could be called at this time as well, if necessary. He could insist that they NOT go to the house, for fear of alerting the "kidnappers."
He could then find a remote phone booth and call his home from there. This would represent the kidnapper's call. Assuming he had an answering machine, the machine would pick up the call to record the "message." Of course there wouldn't be any, but the call would now be registered in the phone companies records.
He would then return home and move the body from the basement to the trunk of the car. Since the garage is attached to the house no one would see him do this. That night he would dump the body in some remote wooded area, and later claim he was delivering the ransom -- and the note also, as requested by "the kidnappers." He'd tell the police that the kidnappers took the ransom and the note and left without returning JonBenet. Later her dead body would be found in that same area.
Pretty good plan, no?