Newcomers to this blog are advised to begin with the first two posts, Just the Facts, Ma'am and Case Solved, which explain in very general terms why I believe I've solved this case. Some important questions are answered in the following post, Misunderstandings, Misconceptions, Misdirections. After that feel free to browse whatever topics might interest you (see blog archive).

NB: If anyone has trouble posting a comment, email it to doktorgosh (at), and I'll post it for you.

Notice to readers of my Kindle book: I recently noticed that, on certain devices (though not all), the Table of Contents begins with Chapter One and omits the Introduction and Preface. Since the Introduction is especially important, I urge everyone to make sure to begin reading at the very beginning of the book, not the first chapter in the Table of Contents. Thank you.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Making the Case

At first it might seem hopeless to attempt to make a case based on such a complicated state of affairs. First you'd have to prove a negative, i.e., that no intruder could have been present, which seems awfully hard to do, especially given the fact that the Ramseys have already been exonerated on the basis of what some believe to be solid DNA evidence. Second, you'd have to convince the jury that six highly regarded handwriting experts were wrong in ruling John out as writer of the note. Then you'd have to prove that calling 911 was Patsy's idea and not John's, despite the fact that Patsy never seems to have challenged John's claim that he told her to make the call.

That would be just for starters. Then you'd have to convince the jury that John would first have staged a breakin at the basement window, and then, for reasons that would not be easy to explain, unstaged his previous staging. You'd have to explain why Patsy would have wanted to support his claim to having broken the window earlier, while at the same time arguing for her innocence in all other respects. Finally, you'd have to argue that John both molested and murdered his daughter despite the fact that, aside from some shirt fibers, which might or might not mean something, there is no direct evidence to implicate him in either act.

It's not hard to see why no DA has ever wanted to pursue this case. Even if one were to accept my version of what happened, it seems so complicated, with so many nuances, that the defense could very effectively argue for reasonable doubt. Not to mention the very real fear of their lawyer, sue-happy Lin Wood, who'd be lurking in the background ready to strike at the first opportunity.

Nonetheless, I am convinced a case can be made, a clear case that bypasses most of the difficulties noted above. Because despite the difficulties produced by the complicated circumstances of both the case and the investigation, the identity of the guilty party should be crystal clear.

So. How to make a case that a jury will understand?

First, demonstrate that John's story about breaking in earlier is a lie. To do that you need to go over his testimony more or less as I have done, pointing out all the unlikely aspects of the story, all the hedging, failures to recall important details, such as whether it happened the previous summer or the summer before that, the fact that he can't even remember whether he took a cab or not, whether he gave his keys to someone or, as he says in his book, left them inside, why he could not have called ahead to the Barnhills, who lived next door, to arrange for them to leave a key under the mat for him, why he wouldn't have broken in via a ground floor window, how suspicious it would have looked to a neighbor observing him breaking into his own house in his underwear, how utterly preposterous the whole story is.

Especially unbelievable is the testimony of both John and Patsy regarding their inability to recall whether the window had been repaired or not, which is truly incredible, especially when both, after a full year in which they could have looked into it, are still confused on that topic. The clincher, however, would be the testimony of their housekeeper, Linda Hoffmann Pugh, who from the start asserted that she had no knowledge of any broken window. In view of Patsy's testimony that Linda helped her clean up the glass, this is devastating.

Second, when it becomes clear that John lied about breaking in earlier, make the point that the only possible reason for such a lie is to distract from the fact that he himself broke that window the night of the crime, as part of an attempt to stage a phoney kidnapping, consistent with the phoney "ransom note." 

Third, make the point that John's staging tells us that this was an inside job, and that the various intruder theories were manufactured as part of the staging. No intruder tells us that the DNA evidence is irrelevant, meaning the decision to exonerate the Ramseys was a mistake.

Fourth, demonstrate that the note was designed to enable John to take control of the situation, giving him a full day and a night to get rid of the body under pretext of delivering the ransom. Point out that the note doesn't even mention Patsy, and would not have been of any use to her, if the police had not been called and the plan had been carried out.

Fifth, point to the fact that it was Patsy and not John who called 911 so early, with the body still in the house, thus negating the staging written into the note. This tells us, first, that John and Patsy could not have been in on the staging together -- if that had been the case, that call would never have been made. It also strongly suggests that Patsy, who made the call, must be the innocent party, though the possibility would still exist that John might somehow have forced her to make it against her will.

Sixth, review all the many reasons to suspect John rather than Patsy as being the sole perpetrator of this truly horrible crime:

1. If Patsy had done it all on her own, that means she'd have not only delivered the blow but also constructed the "garotte," with its intricate knot. She knew nothing about knots, but John, a navy vet and experienced sailor certainly did. 

2. It was John who took charge of things immediately after the body was  found. He initially attempted to arrange a flight to Atlanta, claiming he had to attend an essential business meeting (implying he'd be traveling on his own, without his family). Very soon after, he hired a legal team and a public relations team, and two handwriting experts, who soon after ruled him out as writer of the note. (Since they had been hired by his lawyer, they would have been silenced by lawyer-client privilege if they had reached any other decision.) On the other hand, Patsy was heavily sedated for days and possibly weeks after the body was found, placing her solely at the mercy of John and his retinue.

3. When asked about taking a polygraph, John replied that he was "insulted," while Patsy offered to take ten if necessary.

4. The examiner's report indicated both acute and chronic damage to the victim's vagina, meaning that she'd been molested both on the night of the crime and previously. In such a situation, the most likely perpetrator by far would be the only adult male living in the house, i.e., John Ramsey.

5. It was John who immediately claimed to have broken the window previously. There is no reason to assume Patsy initially knew anything about this claim.

[Added 9:30 PM: This is in fact the decisive clue. If Patsy killed JonBenet and wrote the note, and John wasn't involved, then why would John have made his way so early to the basement window, why would he have closed the window without telling anyone it had been opened and, most important, why would he, that very morning, have made up the story about breaking the window earlier, which, as we now know, was a lie? Remember, if both were in on it together they wouldn't have called 911 so early, which tells us one of them must be innocent, as I've already explained. The phoney story about breaking the window earlier originated with John, NOT Patsy. Patsy lied about cleaning up the window glass, but that came up much later. (I've already explained how she could have been manipulated into supporting John's version of what happened.) If John were innocent, and the 911 call was made at his request, then why would he have been so eager to lie about breaking that window so soon after the call had been made?]

6. It was John who prevaricated regarding the doors that he initially claimed were locked, not Patsy. It was John, not Patsy, who entered the train room so early, closing the window without telling anyone until months later, and no doubt taking the opportunity to clean up the broken glass.

The only evidence suggesting that Patsy might have written the note is the handwriting evidence, which, as should be clear by now, is inconclusive. It would be essential to call the handwriting "experts" hired by John, and the others who basically rubber stamped their decision, on the carpet, challenging their decision to rule John out as unscientific and unproven.

This would be a simple step by step process with each step logically proceeding from the previous one. Not so complicated after all.


  1. Who called or why is not important as to guilt or innocence. The call had to be made as part of the plan.

    Why did it have to be made? Because she was already dead and her body would be found outside the house (the original plan). Remember, the ransom note said if they called the cops she would die. The call by the "kidnappers" for the ransom would never be made since the "kidnappers" saw the cops at the Ramsey house so she had to die. And anyone asking as to why was the ransom call never made would be answered by their lawyers saying "... she was killed early the morning of the 26 Dec because the Ramsey disobeyed the instructions of the "kidnappers" ". And who would blame the Ramsey`s for the calling the cops? In fact, suspicion would be on the Ramseys if they didn`t call the cops.

    The body did not have to be dumped outside the house the next day, 27, 28, 29 Dec, etc, because the Ramsey`s, who had control of the body, could have dumped it any day when the coast was clear. Jonbenet would have been kept in the downstairs freezer indefinitely and then moved outside the house where it would be found in the cold no one the wiser. The freezer would inhibit the decay, and thus the smell, and would come close to matching the outside temperature in January for Colorado. The house would not be considered a hiding place for Jonbenet because of the "kidnaping" and thus the search for her would be outside the home.

    But something happened the morning of the 26 Dec that scared John Ramsey into changing his plan. Something that John had not accounted for. What happened that caused John to change his plan? Guess docg.

    1. I'm finding it very difficult to get your point. Also I'm wondering what makes you so sure you have all the answers.

      "The call had to be made as part of the plan. . . . Because she was already dead and her body would be found outside the house (the original plan)." This makes no sense at all. The original plan was for her body to be found outside the house? And THAT is why the 911 call had to be made? Sorry, but I'm not getting it. If the plan was to get the body outside the house before making the call, then why didn't they do that? And if the plan was to call first, while the body was still inside the house, then how would they be able to get the body out of the house undetected?

      The whole thing sounds really disconnected and nonsensical to me. It's not at all clear what you are trying to say, sorry.

      Suspicion would NOT be on the Ramseys for not calling the cops, because they could have claimed they were obeying the kidnappers instructions and were afraid JonBenet would be beheaded. That was the point of the note, to buy time to get the body out of the house before calling the police.

      I've already made it clear that John was forced to change his plan because Patsy called 911 so soon. But if you have another theory you'll have to make yourself more clear and stop talking in riddles. If you have another plan in mind, let's hear it.

  2. docg

    I did not state that the plan was to remove the body from the house BEFORE MAKING THE CALL. That is your reasoning. I don`t agree with your theories, doc.

    The plan to remove the body would be carried out after things died down. The kidnappers would not be heard from after 26 Dec. LE would wonder why they never called for the ransom, but that is all they can do. LE would come to the conclusion that JB is dead probably because the Ramseys disobeyed the instructions in the ransom note.

    A search for JB`s body will be conducted in the Boulder area and a nation wide bulletin will be sent out asking for any info regarding the where-abouts of JB. No credible info will come forth because JB`s body is still in the Ramsey home. Eventually her body will be removed from the freezer and found in a cold, remote area near Boulder, in a location opposite where the police are searching WHEN THE COAST IS CLEAR.

    With JB`s body in the freezer, there is no hurry to remove it and dump it somewhere. I would say they have at least 3-4 weeks to wait for things to return to "normal" around the Ramsey home and it becomes safe for them to remove her body from the house.

    There is no riddle with regard to what changed John`s mind about the original plan. On page 21 of Steve`s book, it states that a K-9 unit was placed on stand-by at about 7:30 am on the morning of 26 Dec. At that time, Arndt had not arrived on the scene. She arrived 30 minutes later and apparently she kept a close eye on everyone. Thus John had 30 minutes to sneak down to the basement, remove JB`s body from the freezer, and place it in the wine cellar. John was afraid that the K-9 unit would discover JB in the freezer.

  3. docg

    The ransom note was written to change the crime scene from the house to outside the house. It wasn`t written to give the Ramseys time to remove the body. By changing the crime scene from inside to outside the house, LE would not be hanging around the Ramsey house much and it would return in time to a relatively normal house. With fewer and fewer visits to the house by LE eventually a window of opportunity would present itself and then the body would be removed.

    No one would think to look inside the Ramsey house for JB `s body. Burke could be controlled to the point that he would not be allowed in the basement. The housekeeper probably would not want to return to work after she found out Patsy named her as a potential suspect. If she returned to work, John would fire her. She could not be allowed back in the home. All Ramsey house guests and visitors would not be allowed in the basement. This could easily be arranged. The freezer would be kept locked during the time JB was in it.

    1. OK, thanks for the clarification. Now I understand what you're getting at. And I appreciate the effort to explain why, if the Ramseys were "in it together," they'd have wanted to call 911 while the body was still in the house. The idea of storing the body in the freezer long term, until "the coast was clear," is interesting. But don't you think it would have been incredibly risky? Sooner or later, the police would have decided to search the house. Most likely they'd have searched it that day.

      I seriously doubt the dogs could pick up a scent from a closed freezer unit. So if that was their plan why didn't they stick to it?

      The real problem with this theory is the fact that JonBenet's body was NOT found in the freezer, and there's no evidence it was ever in the freezer. It was wrapped in a blanket so if it was in the freezer, fibers from the blanket would have been found there. Were they?

  4. docg

    If the body is not found in the home, LE would need a search warrant to search the home. Given the holidays it would take 3-4 days to get a judge to sign it. And LE would need a compeling reason for a search warrant. You can bet Ramsey`s lawyers would fight to stop the search. Given past experience, I think his lawyers would have succeeded to a certain extent but the search would have been allowed eventually however it would not have been allowed right away.

    The scent would have led the dogs from JB`s bedroom to the freezer. They would have stayed barking at the freezer because that is where the trail ended. If the body is found in the freezer, John would be in prison today.

    I think the freezer plays a major part in this crime for two reasons. The cold accelerates rigor mortis. JB could have died way after midnight, say around 4:00 am and still her body would stiffen eventhough TOD is less than 12 hours. Under normal conditions, a body stiffens after 12 hours. I believe JB died closer to 5.00 am instead of midnight. The ransom note was written in a hurry, as evidenced by the crossed out word. There apparently was not enough time to write another one.

    I don`t know if the freezer was checked for evidence. I wouldn`t be surprised if it was missed entirely.

  5. The first search warrant was issued on Dec 26, 1996, hours after the body was "found". So the idea that it would take 3-4 days simply doesn't wash. They would still need probable cause, and w/o the body -thus no murder- I'm not sure if they could get over that hurdle or not. But judges are available night and day for warrants.

    The dogs would have stopped at the freezer, either because they could smell her in the freezer, or that's where the scent trail ends. At that point, they will find the body.

    The freezer would retard rigor, not accelerate it.

    1. Two different situations. JB`s body found in the house is a lot different if no body found. The crime scene was the house after JB`s body found in the basement. No delay getting a search warrant.

      But if the body is not found in the house, there would be a delay in getting one. That is my scenario.

    2. The search warrant was just a formality. If the Ramseys had refused to allow the police to search the house without one, that would have looked awfully suspicious, and you can be sure the police would have wasted no time in obtaining their warrant and turning the house upside down, while keeping a careful watch on both of them.

      As I said, the note gave them the perfect excuse to not call the police and was most likely written, at least in part, for that very reason.

    3. Getting items from the suspects is a formality, but how long did it take for the police to receive them? They looked awfully suspicious for not coorporating with LE, so what? John is still scot free.

    4. You can't arrest someone just because they are acting suspicious. But you can certainly get a warrant and search their house.

      John is free because the authorities focused on Patsy and chose to give him a pass.

  6. The police would certainly have suspected an inside job after the kidnapper's phone call failed to materialize. The next step for them would be to search the house. No need for dogs to sniff anything. Everything in that house that could hide a small child would have been searched, including the freezer. The freezer especially. If the Ramseys were in on this together they would certainly have anticipated such a search, so it's hard to see why they'd be so foolish as to store the body anywhere in the house and then call the police.

    On the other hand, there was nothing to prevent them from getting the body out of the house first, before calling the police. The warnings in the note would have given them the perfect excuse not to call the police.

  7. docg

    They called the police. That is the reality. We have to deal with the call. You must find a theory that includes the call, not a theory that does not (then fit your theory around not calling). That is your mistake doc.

    The minute a question is raised by LE re: why no ransom call, the answer, not by John, but by Steve Thomas, would be "... well we should be using unmarked police cars, etc, etc, etc. Steve mentions that very question in his book.

    1. Sure we have to deal with the call. But certainly you realize there was no "they" who called 911. Patsy is the one who made the call. THAT is a fact. John claimed he told her to make it, but that is NOT a fact. Patsy backed up his claim, but that too is NOT a fact. And as we know, she presented a very different version in the A&E documentary, so we have good reason to doubt their official story.

      Once we stray from the facts the case becomes a morass, as we know all too well from 16 years of going around in circles. If you insist on treating both John and Patsy as a unit, which operated in lock step, then you have no choice but to accept the intruder theory. Because there is no way they would have called 911 if both knew the body was lying in that tiny basement room, waiting to be discovered.

      The Susan Smith case was fresh in everyone's mind, so, regardless of the note, the police would certainly have considered the possibility of an inside job. The expected call from the "kidnappers" failed to materialize, so that would have made them even more suspicious. There's no question that the house would have been searched very thoroughly, it was just a matter of time. And the Ramseys would certainly have been under close surveillance from day one.

      If they were in on it together, then the time to get rid of the body would have been BEFORE the police were called, NOT after. That's not "fitting my theory around not calling," it's simple common sense.

  8. docg

    John could have pulled the phone jack off the wall if he really wanted to stop Patsy from calling. If John killed her w/o the help or knowledge of Patsy and his plan was to remove the body don`t you think he would have done everything possible to stop the call? Patsy, assuming she knew nothing, was hysterical unable to think clearly. John had control; he would have stopped her.

    1. We have no way of knowing what the situation was when the call was made. She could have been near the phone when she made that decision and he could have been upstairs checking on Burke. Or on the toilet. Wherever.

      The bottom line is that Patsy called 911, NOT John. I'm sure if he'd been in a position to prevent her he would have. But obviously he wasn't.

      By the same token, if he really wanted that call made he'd have made it himself.

    2. We know that Burke and John`s voice`s were heard as background on the 911 call. John was standing right there next to Patsy or in the same room as she made the call.

    3. It's been reported that an enhanced version of the 911 recording reveals the voices of John and Burke, but that has never been established. I've studied that recording myself, and applied noise reduction software to it, and I've never heard anything like that.

      Regardless, however, the alleged voices are supposedly heard after Patsy thought she'd hung up the phone, and it would certainly have been possible for John to have made his way down to the basement by then. We simply do not know any of the details of what happened between John and Patsy (and Burke) prior to the 911 call, and there is no way to establish for sure who told whom to do what.

      On the other hand, we DO know for sure that Patsy was the one who called 911, NOT John. And it's difficult to understand why John the CEO would not have wanted to take charge of the situation rather than telling his wife to make the call. It's difficult also to understand why he'd tell her to call 911 when anyone in a position of responsibility ought to know enough to call the FBI under such circumstances.

      We also know that Patsy offered a very different version of this story in the A&E documentary. And finally, as should be clear, the person who wrote the note would not have wanted the police called while the body of the victim was still in the house.

      All of the above makes it impossible for me to accept that John told Patsy to make that call.

  9. I'm curious about your statement that "there was nothing to prevent them from getting the body out of the house first, before calling the police." How would they actually have done this? If JR goes out/comes back in a vehicle in the dark, someone might notice. He can't say he was delivering the ransom since no one's called yet, and he can't produce $118K in cash without help. They can't wait too long, because they were up very early for the trip to Atlanta. What scenario do you imagine for this?

    Thanks for your blog - well done! Nailing the lies about the broken window and their implications is brilliant.

    1. You are of course right. If JR had simply tried to dump the body before calling the police that would have been risky. Possible, but risky, because someone might have spotted him. But the very precise directions in the note would have permitted him to dump the body under the pretext of delivering the ransom. For the details, I'll refer you to the blog post titled The Purpose of the Note ( If both John and Patsy were in on it together the same plan could have been implemented. But in that case, they would NOT have called 911 before getting rid of the body.

      As for their trip, that could easily have been postponed due to "illness" or some other pretext.

    2. HI DocG, thanks for your reply.

      You're right; the Ramseys could have cancelled the flight (to Charlevoix, actually. I mistakenly said Atlanta) by claiming illness. My thought was more that the planned trip/early rising on the 26th made it hard to manipulate the timeline. If the Ramseys wanted to remove the body before calling 911, they'd have had to do it by 5:00 AM, risks and all, and make the call within the hour. Saying they got up later than 5:00 despite the travel plans, delaying the call beyond an hour after rising -- either would have raised suspicion.

      But, to your point -- Yes, I see that the pivotal thing was to get rid of the body before calling 911. This also would have meant, I think, delivering the ransom before involving police, to maintain the staging of the ransom note.

      All that said, the way the travel plans locked the timeline on the 26th, or how various plans/scenarios might have played out, is not the main thing I want to comment on. It's this: I think you have made two very valuable contributions to the Ramsey investigation. The first is explaining exactly how we know John Ramsey lied about the broken basement window, and why this rules out an intruder. The second, which I find very exciting, is shifting the focus on the ransom note from its details to its purpose, from What does it say/How does it look? to What does it accomplish?/Who is served by this? This is breakthrough thinking about the case.

    3. Fenton and docg

      The call to Ramsey`s grown siblings and pilot to cancel the trip to Minn could only be made after the ransom note is found. To call before the ransom note was found would mean that the Ramseys were up before 5:00 am, which would negate their alibi that they slept through the "kidnapping". The alibi is most important to the intruder theory.

      The chaos that insued after the 911 call and the police arriving does not lend itself to a call to cancel the trip to Minn. How could it be justified? It means that the trip to Minn was more important than getting their child back. John mentions this very scenario in his book, Death Of Innocence.

      There appears to be no good reason to cancel the trip. They can`t say that JB was sick because she had been "kidnapped". They can`t say that Burke was sick because he slept through the "kidnapping" so how would the Ramseys know of his sickness w/o one or both being up before 5:00 am. Neither John nor Patsy can fake sickness w/o suspicion because just the night before they both were happy enjoying the Christmas party at the neighbors. They can`t fake John being tired because of lack of sleep since that would mean he may have been awake and should have heard something during the night. The alibi that everyone inside the house slept through everything and heard nothing had to be strengthened because it is the cornerstone of the intruder theory.

      But I believe the most important aspect of this case is that they couldn`t call before 5:00 am because JB was still alive, in a coma, shortly before 5:00 am. The parents waited until the last minute hoping JB would come out of her coma. As time slowly ticked toward 5:00 am, they had to act.

    4. I'm sorry, Anonymous, but I find your interpretation very difficult to understand. It seems clear to me that John's original plan would have involved calling the family and the pilot to cancel the Charlevoix trip. This would have taken place after Patsy had read the note and agreed not to call the police. No need to make such a call before she found the note or before 5:00 AM.

      All he'd have to tell them is that someone got sick. The plan would NOT have involved calling the police at that time, but when they finally did call the police the cancellation could easily have been explained by the necessity of dealing with the kidnappers and raising the ransom.

      I'm puzzled as to why you seem to think they might have considered cancelling the trip before 5:00 (assuming they were both involved). If they were both involved, they could have reported finding the note at any time, even in the middle of the night, if they chose.

  10. docg

    I believed as you do that the ransom note gave John the necessary time and motive to remove the body from the house as he drove to pick up the ransom from the bank. Today I don`t. The call was made for two very good reasons. It had to be made since JB was already dead (it gave the fake kidnappers the reason for killing her) and thus the reason for the fake kidnappers not making a call to demand the ransom. The call made when it was made makes sense in that context.

    The ransom note discusses three things:

    1) that JB was kidnapped and that she is alive and safe;

    2) the donomination of the ransom and time of delivery;

    3) if you call the police we will kill her.

    It is verbose but basically it is a standard type ransom note. I don`t read anything else into it.

    They couldn`t discover the ransom note sooner than 5:00 am. She wasn`t dead until close to 5:00 am, according to my theory.

    There is only one scenario IMO where the Ramsey`s could have called their grown children and the pilot to cancel the trip before discovering the ransom note. And that is immediately after 5:00 am. They could tell LE that Patsy called right after the alarm woke them up.

    But it would appear to be awfully suspicious that they 1) cancel their trip, 2) remove JB`s body from the house, 3)collect the ransom from the bank, 4) pay the ransom and 5) then finally call the police. Given 1 through 5 above, it certainly would appear to be an inside job.

  11. Sorry, Anonymous, but it's awfully hard for me to follow your reasoning. Are you saying the police had to be called early in order to explain why JonBenet was killed? Because of the warning in the note that she'd be killed if they contacted the authorities? Many kidnappers end up killing their victims, even after the family has complied with all their demands, so it's hard for me to see why it would be essential for the Ramseys to call the police so early. Also, the body was found IN the house, which tells us no kidnapping took place anyhow.

    If you're concerned about time of death, that's been estimated as around 1 AM, I believe. But there's no reason to assume the kidnapper couldn't have killed her then and taken the dead body out of the house anyhow. So time of death wouldn't be a factor as far as my theory about John's plan is concerned. And according to my theory, a call "from the kidnappers" COULD have been made -- by John, calling his answering machine from a pay phone.

    I have no idea why 5:00 AM is so important to you. Or why you seem to think it's important to me. The 911 call was made around 5:50 as I recall, shortly after they reported waking up.

    "There is only one scenario IMO where the Ramsey`s could have called their grown children and the pilot to cancel the trip before discovering the ransom note. And that is immediately after 5:00 am. They could tell LE that Patsy called right after the alarm woke them up." This really mystifies me. Why 5 AM? If both John and Patsy were in it together, they could easily have cancelled their trip, using illness as an excuse. I'm not sure why you see that as a problem, or why the police would find that suspicious. If they are trying to deal with the kidnapping of their daughter then naturally they would have had to cancel their trip. Am I missing something?

    As far as the police finding their story suspicious, I think that goes without saying. Sure they'd be suspicious. But if the plan had been carried out successfully, there would be NO evidence linking them to the crime. And without evidence there can be no prosecution.

  12. docg

    The call had to be made immediately after the ransom note was found. The call is the reason JB is dead. The Ramseys disobeyed the instructions on the ransom note and thus she was killed. The "kidnappers" do not have to call for the ransom. Later on when LE finds JB`s body in a remote area of Boulder, the only conclusion that can be drawn is that JB was killed because her parents disobeyed the "kidnappers"`s instructions and the "kidnappers" felt a call for the ransom was too risky so they just disappeared w/o making the ransom call.

    John could make a fake ransom call but he must leave the house and I doubt he would be allowed to leave alone, especially during the 26/27 Dec timeframe. It would be at great risk to John if he made a phone call from a payphone faking a call for the ransom. If he wanted to leave a message, he would need special equipment to disguise his voice. But if he called and just clicked, what good would that do as far as LE accepting the click as a call from the "kidnappers"? It`s the same as not calling at all since it`s inconclusive. A fake ransom call by John is much too risky, especially when the nice, neat, risk free solution is the 911 call which resulted in the "kidnappers" killing JB and disappearing from the scene all together w/o needing to call for the ransom.

    TOD is not an exact science. Meyer did not give a TOD for that very reason.

    There were no kidnappers. So only the Ramseys could have removed her body from the house. That was much too risky or John would have carried in out. We must deal with what actually happened. What actually happened is John had control of the body, he moved it from where he had it hidden, her body was found in the house and the perp changed from "kidnappers" to intruder. The original plan had to include removing JB`s body from the home, however we disagree on when the plan allowed for removal. You say she was to be removed on 26/27 Dec, I say 3 days to 3 weeks later.

    To me, 5:00 am is important as that was the latest time they could wait to try to revive JB from her coma. IMO, they had about one hour to stage the body and write the ransom note before they called 911 (i.e. 5:00 am to 5:52 am when they made the call).

    There was evidence to get a conviction, however most of the evidence was circumstancial. But there are people in prison today convicted by circumstancial evidence. Charles Manson comes to mind. It just so happened that the Boulder DA did not want to try the case based mainly on circumstancial evidence.

    1. Thanks for the clarification. But I still can't buy your theory. For one thing, there's no way the Ramseys would assume their house would not be searched. Not with the memory of Susan Smith still fresh in everyone's mind. For another, the body was found, by John, in the house. Why would he decide to find it in the house if he were planning on dumping it days or weeks later? And how could she have been murdered by the "kidnappers" if she'd been in the house the whole time?

      "John could make a fake ransom call but he must leave the house and I doubt he would be allowed to leave alone, especially during the 26/27 Dec timeframe."

      If the police had not been called, he could certainly have persuaded Patsy and Burke to stay with neighbors while he dealt with the "kidnappers." He would then be home alone and could do whatever he pleased with no one to stop him.

      "It would be at great risk to John if he made a phone call from a payphone faking a call for the ransom. If he wanted to leave a message, he would need special equipment to disguise his voice. But if he called and just clicked, what good would that do as far as LE accepting the click as a call from the "kidnappers"?"

      Why would he have wanted to leave a message? All that would be needed was a call to the house, completed automatically by his answering machine. He would have said nothing at all and the machine would have recorded nothing at all. So what? What was needed was a record that a call was made from a phone booth to his house, and lasted for so many minutes. The phone company doesn't record your calls, it just keeps a record of when they were made and for how long. So John could have claimed anything he wanted about that call. He could have told the police the kidnappers called and instructed him to go to a certain place to deliver the ransom, and that's where he went.

      No need to worry about whether the house would be searched or wait days or weeks to dump the body.

  13. docg

    The original plan was a kidnapping. It changed to an intruder when his lawyers and Lou Smit had enough info and time to set up a defense for the Ramseys. You think the intruder theory was John`s idea but that is far from the truth. John and Patsy altered their testimony to be in harmony with Team Ramsey`s intruder theory.

    The plan changed because LE placed a K-9 unit on standby. Apparently they were ready to bring the sniffing dogs over to the Ramsey house and search for JB. That forced John to "wing it" so he moved JB`s body from where he had hidden it to the wine cellar so it could be found in plan sight. His choices at this time were very limited. I believe John expected to be arrested after JB`s body was found. I`m sure he was very surprised LE let him and Patsy go to his friend`s house.

    docg, if John acts alone, i.e., does not allow Patsy to make the 911 call, asks her to go to the neighbors with Burke, he becomes responsible for the death of JB if he makes a mistake and his plan falls apart. John did not want to act alone since he always had the option of blaming Patsy. Remember John gave Patsy`s pad of paper that was used to write the ransom note to LE. IMO, what he was actually doing was setting up Patsy as a prime suspect. Then he would support her, as he did when Steve Thomas accused her of murdering JB, and she would have to support him. The Ramseys would have to work together and that is exactly what they did.

    Thus IMO John wanted Patsy right by his side the entire time of the ordeal. His plan included the 911 call.

    According to John`s original plan, the phonecall by the fake kidnappers for the ransom would never be made. There was no need for it. The fake kidnappers killed her because the parents disobeyed the instructions in the ransom note and disappeared.

    Team Ramsay would never allow the Ramsey house to be searched. They would be insulted.

  14. doc

    This is my theory regarding John`s original plan.

    1. Hide her body in a freezer located in the basement, until it can be moved to an area in or near Boulder. John probably knew the area where he would take her body. My guess is that he would move her at night, preferably a snowy night, to cover his tracks. He would want to place her body in deep snow to be found after the snow melt.

    2. Stage the body to appear that she was tortured and sexually abused by a terrorist gang.

    3. Write a ransom note "blaming" the fake kidnapping on a foreign faction (terrorists) and to change the focus of the search for JB from the Ramsey house to the Boulder area. The hope was for LE to eventually leave the house unguarded so John could move the body.

    4. Make a 911 emergency call as a pretext for the murder of JB. With her death there would be no good reason for the foreign faction to stick around and call for the ransom.

    John`s original plan did not consider the police K-9 unit. LE placed the unit on standby and John had to change his plan.

    Considering the time constraints (they were hurried as evidenced by the crossed-out word in the note) John devised a decent plan. But the best laid plans of mice and men ofter run astray, as per Shakespare. Or, summarizing Murphy`s Law, no matter how much planning is done, if something within the plan has a chance to go wrong, then it probably will go wrong.

    1. docg

      To help you understand my reasoning, I will present my theory of the crime here. I think you are having trouble understanding me for two reasons: my entire theory needs to be read instead of parts of it to pull together the context of the theory, and, my thought process sometimes is betrayed by my writing, i.e., unclear writing style, and that`s my fault for which I apologize.

      1. JB suffered an accident about 11:00 - 12:00 am 25 Dec. I believe John and Patsy Ramsey were present at the time of the accident. The curtains behind the headboard of JB`s bed were found to be pulled down and in disarray. There could be several reasons for this but my belief is that John grabbed the curtains in an attempt to hold himself up as he fell backward onto JB`s body. I think they both fell backward together with JB`s head wedged between a night stand and John`s backside. The weight of John`s body falling downward onto JB`s head caused the head wound. I believe JB`s skull had not reached it`s full potential (because of her age)in strength and this lack of strength was a contributing factor to her head wound.

      Patsy may have reacted to the molestation of JB by John by attacking JB. Patsy`s reaction could have been a result, in part, by the stress of the holidays and the upcoming trip to Disneyland. JB sought protection from her mother by standing behind her father.

      JB fell unconscious in a coma. Her vital signs were faint but she was breathing and alive. Outside a hospital setting it would be near impossible to stabilize her and limit the consequences of her injury. Her head had been crushed and not bludgeoned. If her head had been bludgeoned, the blow would have caused a cut in the scalp and bleeding which would be visible in the hair.

      I believe the parents tried to "wake her up" out of the coma. They may have called their family physician asking for medical advice. They may have called their lawyer asking for legal advice. I think they both came to the conclusion that they would be locked up for physical/sexual abuse of a minor if they took her to a hospital. The thought of leaving Burke alone factored into their decision.

      They may have felt that because JB was their child they could ultimately do what was necessary to put her to sleep forever, similar to euthanasia, w/o incrimination. Basically she was their child and they had the God-given right to determine her fate. The thought process behind the euthanasia was all about allowing the Ramseys to live with themselves and carry on in spite of killing JB.

      Patsy said, while she was at the Furnie residence after the Ramseys left their home never to return, that they did not mean for this to happen. This is a very telling statement. This leads me to believe that an accident occurred that involved JB that Christmas night in the Ramsey home.

      At about 5:00 am, they decided to come up with a plan to stay out of jail. Their plan included staging JB`s body and write a ransom note to fake a kidnapping of JB. They then called 911 at about 5:50 am and the rest is history.

    2. OK, thanks for clarifying your theory and filling in the details. What impresses me most is your recognition of the problem posed by the early 911 call and the need to explain it. Most theories simply ignore this aspect, which imo is a huge mistake.

      Your explanation makes sense as far as it goes. By calling the police they would have signed their daughter's "death warrant" as far as the "kidnappers" were concerned, so they could argue later that this mistake on their part caused their daughter's death.

      My biggest problem with your theory, however, is the assumption that the police would neither search the house nor monitor the activities of the Ramseys. K9 sniffing dogs would not be needed to search a house for a body, so I can't see that as a factor. A search is a search, and one of the first places to look for a body is in a freezer, so it's hard for me to see why they'd consider that a good place to hide the body.

      Nevertheless I must say I'm impressed by this aspect of your thinking because you at least make an attempt to cover all the bases, which hardly anyone else has done. So thanks for sharing your very interesting ideas.

  15. docg

    Thank you for your kind words.

    What I`ve written here hopefully contributes to someday someone coming forth and telling the truth about JB`s death. You certainly have done a remarkable job by your contributions doc.

    With that I`m out of here. Good sleuthing doc.

  16. i believe the 911 call was part of the staging just like the ransom note. the garotte is such a strange device to leave as part of the staging. who ever constructed that device must have been sick.

  17. The window was NOT broken on the night of the murder. Police video clearly shows cobwebs in the broken parts of the glass as well as accross the opening of the window. And this video was made hours after the discovery of the body. This wasn't part of any staging. I go back and forth with my suspicions of who did this, but three of the things that I keep getting stuck on are these....(1 DNA found in at least three differnet locations on the body of an unknown white male.(2 The fact that someone told her he was coming to see her after christmas and that it was "a secret". (3 That damned ransom note!! There are many, many theories out there about this case and most of the ones I've read seem to ignore those first two very important facts. And again, on the point of entry of a possible intruder, the police report stated that were windows that were unlocked and at least one door. So there were numerous ways someone could've gained access to the residence. The only thing I DO know about this case is that I want justice for this little girl!!

    1. What you see on the broken glass in the police video is NOT a cobweb but fragments of a broken cobweb. Spiders do not weave fragmentary webs, but complete ones, like the web in the corner of the window sill. So the fragments you see clinging to the broken glass are fully consistent with the window having been broken the previous night. The web on the corner of the window sill tells us no one went through that window, and I agree. But it has no bearing on the broken pane.

      As I see it, John must have opened the window, leaned over to break the pane from the outside, so the glass would fall inward. In so doing he would have broken a cobweb already attached to the pane. He must have been pressed for time, so never had a chance to complete his staging, which, if Patsy hadn't called 911, he would have had time for during the following day or night.

      There is NO other explanation for that window scene. Moreover, if the police had determined the window had been broken earlier they'd have had no reason to question both John and Patsy about it at such length, and on two different occasions. Imo it would not be difficult to prove John lied about breaking in earlier, and the only reason for such a lie would be as an alibi to point away from his breaking the window the night of the crime. If you are still skeptical, I urge you to read what I've written about this window, beginning with this post:

      As for the DNA and the ransom note, if you check out the blog archive you'll find what I've posted on these matters. The DNA is inconclusive and the ransom note could only have been written by John.

      As far as the open windows and doors are concerned, that story is pure red herring. The police checked the premises very carefully that AM and found NO open doors, no unlocked doors, no windows that showed signs of a breakin.

  18. One other thing I would like to add is that we are not privy to knowledge of ALL of the evidence in this case. So in trying to postulate theories about this, we need to bear that in mind.

    1. James Kolar was the lead investigator on this case and had access to all the evidence. If you read his book, you'll learn what he thinks about the intruder theory. Hint: he thinks it's total bunk.

  19. john knew patsy was going to make the 911 call. when he was asked why he had not made the call himself, he said it was just the way things were done in the family.

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  23. Hey DocG,

    Your theory makes most sense out of all that exist...I have one question, if John intended for the note to serve as a deterrent to buy time, why didn't he make sure to be the first one to handle it before Patsy did? It seems very risky to just assume that by writing what he did that indeed Patsy wouldn't call the police especially since his whole plan hung on her not calling them.

    1. We have no way of knowing what went on prior to the 911 call. For all we know he did handle it before she did. I think he must have felt confident that the warnings in the note would have been enough to frighten her into not calling. He did indeed take a huge risk. But he had no choice. And he was wrong. Amazingly, he got away with it anyhow.

  24. I know this is an old post, but like many others, I have had some renewed interest in this case with all of the specials that have been being aired in the past couple of weeks, and I just stumbled across this post. My biggest problem/question would be this (please don't take this as a criticism of your theory-- I'm genuinely curious what your thoughts on this would be):

    If we are assuming that her death began as an accident that was covered up (whether by J acting alone or J&P acting together), we are acknowledging that he/they were crunched for time in setting up and staging the kidnapper/intruder scenario. I haven't seen any theories that this was a premeditated killing, so that is the assumption that I am sticking with for this question. Why would J's solution for "someone got into the house" have him go through the time and risk of breaking a window, cleaning up the broken glass, and coming up with this insane story about breaking the window a long time ago and never fixing it, knowing that he would have both P and the housekeeper as people who could present problems for that story, rather than simply unlocking one of the many doors to the home and claiming that he had forgotten to double check all of the doors that evening? I feel like the latter story would be a much easier one to sell (We were in a rush trying to get to the Christmas party on time, then when we got home we were trying to get both kids to bed and make sure everything was ready for our early flight in the morning, so it just slipped my mind to go back downstairs to check), whereas as an unfixed broken window for weeks/months at a time in Colorado with all of the precipitation and pests would be something that he would have to know that many people would find hard to believe (especially since we know P was pretty particular about her home). I know that there is no way to get inside of his mind and know what he was thinking, I just find it hard to believe that if his thought was "I have to make this look like someone got in here" and he was in a hurry, he would think through that whole window nonsense rather than unlocking a side or back door.

    A follow-up question, I guess, was if we know whether or not the garbage bins were searched? If he broke the window that night and cleaned up the glass, the glass should have been found somewhere in one of the trash cans. It has always been my understanding that after the body was found and they were all taken to the friends' home, a more thorough search of the house was done. Is that assumption incorrect?

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. You can ignore my follow-up question... in reading some other old posts I saw a small conversation about some ideas about where the glass went in the comments. :)

    3. John's original plan would NOT have included his story about breaking the window earlier. This was originally supposed to look like a fresh break made by the intruder on the night of the crime. He couldn't simply leave a door unlocked because both Patsy and Linda the housekeeper knew those doors were always locked.

      When Patsy called 911, that ruined his plan, because he had never had a chance to complete the staging and had been planning on doing that the following night. What exactly happened prior to and immediately after the arrival of the police is not clear, nor is it clear when John realized his window staging was about to backfire. But when he did realize that, then it was important for him to go down to the basement, clean up the broken glass, close the window, and come up with his story about breaking in earlier. If he had not done that, the staging at the window would have been obvious and he would have been arrested that day.

      As for the glass, my guess is that he quickly collected it in a paper or plastic bag and hid the bag in a corner of that very messy basement. Later, during the period when he went AWOL on Det. Arndt, he could have smashed the glass in the bag with his foot until only the tiniest fragments remained. These could then have been flushed down the toilet.