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.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

White Lies

I'm convinced Patsy Ramsey was innocent of either the murder of her daughter or the staging of a phoney kidnapping. I'm equally convinced, however, that she participated in the later stages of the coverup by lying from time to time in order to support her husband's version of what happened. Along with the outrageous decision to rule out John as writer of the note, Patsy's lies have been a major source of the confusion permeating this case.

Let's start with the opening scene of our drama, Patsy's discovery of the ransom note and the events leading up to her 911 call. Here's how she relates it in their book, Death of Innocence:
John runs down the main stairs and into the back hallway. I grasp my stomach and run after him. By the time I get to him he is down on his hands and knees, staring at the sheets of paper spread out on the floor in front of him. He is examining the ransom note, under the ceiling lights of the back hall. The note reads:

[Here she quotes the note in its entirety.]
"What do I do?"I stammer.
He shouts. "Call the police!"

"Are you sure?"

"Yes. Call them!"

Standing next to the wall phone, I instantly dial 911, and try to make the voice on the other end of the line understand. 
This gibes beautifully with John's original version of what happened, presented to public view for the first time in their Jan. 1, 1997 CNN interview, five days after the murder:
CABELL: John, you subsequently read the note. Was there anything in there that struck you in any sense?
RAMSEY, J: Well, no. I mean, I read it very fast. I was out of my mind. And it said "Don't call the police." You know, that type of thing. And I told Patsy, call the police immediately. And I think I ran through the house a bit. 
Compare the above with the version she presents in the documentary produced for A&E by David Mills and Michael Tracey:
Man: The ransom note said, speaking to anyone about your situation such as the police, FBI etc., will result in your daughter being beheaded. If we catch you talking to a stray dog, she dies.
Patsy - "I said, 'I'm going to call the police and he said OK. And I think he ran to check on Burke.
And  I ran downstairs and, you know, dialed 911."
 These two versions of what happened are totally inconsistent. The first version informs us that calling the police was John's idea. He is on hands and knees reading the note with Patsy beside him. The phone is on the wall next to her when she makes the call at his behest. According to the second version it is Patsy who decides to make the call. She informs John and he agrees. He then runs to check on Burke (in their book this had already been done). The phone is not right beside her. She runs downstairs to make the call.

Clearly Patsy lied. The question is: why. Which version is accurate? Or are they both fabrications? Knowing what we know, that John was the one who wrote the note, and Patsy made the call in all innocence, then why would she lie about its circumstances? The answer is not difficult to find. The version in which he tells her to make the call is the first version made public. She is in no position to challenge him on that, because they are both under suspicion and she has no idea John could be involved.

It would clearly have been important to John to convince the world, and the authorities, that the call was his idea. Because if he was against making the call, that would make him look suspicious, wouldn't it? If Patsy had protested privately to John, he could have said something like:
Look, I'm sorry, that's how I remember what happened. What difference does it make anyhow? But if you now go and tell the police you remember it differently, then they'll get suspicious and assume one of us is lying. We have to present a united front or we'll never get through this thing. They are convinced we did it, so we're in this together.
So for the most part we see, not two individuals, Patsy and John, but "the Ramseys" as the principals in this case, always in lock step, always supporting one another, never contradicting one another. Well, almost never. For some reason, on the documentary, Patsy blurted out a different version of what happened prior to the 911 call, a version that rings true as far as I'm concerned.

As for what really happened, we have no way of knowing for sure. It's possible they both read the note carefully and had a big argument about what to do. It's possible John physically attempted to restrain Patsy from making the call, but she managed to make it anyhow.

It's also possible that Patsy only skimmed over portions of the note, missing the warnings about not calling the police, and then, before John had a chance to talk her out of it, ran downstairs to make the call. Bottom line: if John had wanted the call made, he'd have made it himself and not entrusted it to a frantic, hysterical Patsy, who could barely get her words out.

Patsy very likely lied about some other aspects of what happened that night. It's possible she could have awakened and noticed that John wasn't in bed. She probably would have assumed he was in the bathroom, taking a leak as men frequently do at night, or sitting on the toilet. Or else making a snack for himself. When asked about it later, however, she claimed she was fast asleep all night and didn't notice anything. John could easily have persuaded her not to mention anything about his not being in bed, as, again, this might make the investigators suspicious.

One might assume that over time Patsy might have gotten suspicious and done some investigating on her own. We must remember, however, that John managed to find two handwriting experts who already, by early January, concluded that John could not have written the note. So if she had expressed any suspicions, he could have responded more or less as follows:
Look, the experts ruled me out, so you know I couldn't have written the note. You know very well you didn't write it.  Which means an intruder must have gotten in, murdered JonBenet and written the note. If you bring up any of this stuff with the police all it will do is make us both look more suspicious than we already look. We have to stay on the same page. You have to support my version of what happened, or we are both in trouble.
Since many of the investigators were already convinced Patsy wrote the note, her position would have been especially vulnerable, so she would not have wanted to make waves. She was sure John must be innocent, so what would be the point?

There's one other instance where I feel sure Patsy lied, again to support one of John's lies. I feel sure she did it for the same reason as all the others, to maintain a united front. John had been "ruled out" as writer of the note, meaning that in her eyes the crime could only have been committed by an intruder, so she'd have had no reason to suspect John of anything worse than concocting some white lies to stave off unwarranted and unfair suspicions on the part of the authorities. I'll have more to say about this other lie in a future post (see last section, Why Did Patsy Lie?). It's a doozy!


  1. To me the most jarring lie is the contention that Burke slept throughout the morning's events.

    Even if his voice wasn't audible on the 911 tape, Burke as Rip Van Winkle has always seemed risible to me. IMHO, if either parent actually believed an intruder had been in the house they would've awoken Burke and asked if he'd heard anything pertinent.

    The fact that both Ramseys were lying in the early moments of the investigation has always convinced me that, at barest minimum, they participated in the staging of the crime scene....

    1. Yes, this is almost certainly another lie. To "protect Burke" no doubt. He himself testified he was just pretending to be asleep when they checked in on him. Which means he might well have overheard what went on prior to the 911 call. And he might have overheard or even witnessed some other things as well. So, yes, both Burke and Patsy are no doubt "in on it" to some degree, and this would explain why John and his lawyers went to such lengths to "protect" Burke from probing questions.

      So, yes, imo both of them "participated in the staging" in the sense that they either lied or remained silent about certain things they knew. But this does NOT mean either of them was actually involved in either the murder or the kidnap staging. As I've insisted, there is no such thing as "the Ramseys." We have three individuals, each with his own reason for doing what they did and saying what they said -- or left unsaid.

      As I see it, John (and to some extent also his legal team, which may also have some things to answer for) manipulated both Patsy and Burke into cooperating to "protect the family." Since John had been "ruled out" there would have been no reason for them to suspect him of anything more than trying to protect them from overzealous investigators out to get them all.

    2. On the face of it, it seems most unlikely that neither parent would have awakened Burke and asked him if he knew what happened to his sister, or had seen or heard anything.

      However, considering the highly disturbing contents of the note (your daughter has been kidnapped) their first impulse after not finding JonBenet in her bed, or in Burke's bed, would be to call the police.

      Ordinarily, it would be highly unusual for anyone to sleep through the blind hysterical panic that was undoubtedly Patsy that morning. However, this was the day after Christmas. Burke was only a mere 9 years old and had probably got little more than an hour's sleep over the past couple of days, since most children under 10 experience increasing insomnia as Christmas approaches and very acute insomnia on Christmas Eve. On Christmas morning, they get up at the crack of dawn, are revved up the rest of day, and then crash into a deep sleep on Christmas Night, not waking up until noon the following day.

      - Sig

    3. In the police pictures of Burke's bedroom his bed is made up? Why?

    4. I don't know why Burke's bed is made up. Interesting. Any ideas?

    5. I noticed Burke's bed too. Very strange.

    6. Very unfortunately, friends were called in that morning and immediately got to work, preparing food and helping with other chores. I imagine one of these chores would have been making the beds. If the police had determined Burke hadn't slept in his bed that night, I feel sure we'd have heard about it, as the implications would have been huge.

  2. I'm wondering though... Patsy knew that the experts were saying it could have been her that wrote the note and I guess that over time there were some that said she DID write the note. So if Patsy herself KNEW she didn't write the note, then she would KNOW that the experts were full of crap and could reach a very wrong conclusion. Following so far? So if she knew they could be wrong about her, wouldn't she also know they could be wrong about John? You are placing absolute certainty on the idea that Patsy would have never questioned anything John said or did simply because he had been ruled out as the writer of the note.

    If John had gone to extremes to prevent her from calling 911 that morning, as you suggest he may have, that would resonate with her overtime, imo. She would begin putting 2 and 2 together. Or is Patsy just a total shrinking violet that does everything John tells her to do? And if that's the case, then why was it so difficult for John to prevent her from calling 911 that morning? It just doesn't compute. After all, according to your theory, John's LIFE depended on Patsy not calling the police. I mean, his very life depended on it. According to Schiller's book, John was in the shower when Patsy went downstairs. Is John capable of concocting this elaborate plan that you attribute to him, but stupid enough to be in the shower when she discovers the note!!!

    1. The two "experts" hired by John ruled him out very early on, in early January, 1997. This information was "leaked" to Newsweek and was part of a major news story that came out soon after. A month or so later, their finding was confirmed by 4 additional "experts" representing the investigation team. I am among the very very few who have ever questioned that conclusion, so it's not at all surprising that Patsy would have bought into it. Those same experts found it "unlikely" that Patsy wrote the note, though they could not rule her out.

      It was not until several months later that Darnay Hoffmann enlisted a team of "experts" to claim the note "must have" been written by Patsy. By that time Patsy had already committed herself to the story about John telling her to make the call. It would have been too late to go back on that. Also, it's important to remember that the findings of Darnay's "experts" were extremely controversial and hotly disputed from the start, while the findings of the "experts" who ruled John out have NEVER been disputed by anyone associated with the case, on either side of the fence. If Patsy had disputed that finding, she would have been completely alone and her suspicions would not have been taken seriously.

      You also need to realize that Patsy would have badly wanted to believe John, especially since he and his legal team had become her own chief defenders.

      As far as John being in the shower when Patsy went downstairs, I think he deliberately arranged it that way, in order to distance himself as much as possible from the note. If he had been too eager to be there by her side, or if he had discovered it, that might look suspicious.

      You can tell from the note that the writer went out of his way to frighten Patsy into not calling the police. Imo John was counting on those threats to convince Patsy to fully cooperate with the "kidnappers." So I think he must have been pretty confident that's what she'd do. Realistically, if Patsy really wanted to call the police, there is nothing John could have done to stop her, short of tying her up, which would definitely NOT have been a good idea. There's no way he could have stayed at her side all morning and I'm sure he'd have realized that.

    2. This case, and the way in particular that Patsy behaved, are only explainable to me if John initially told her that Jonbenet's death was accidental. Patsy was then more easily persuaded to cooperate. It was only when her daughters body was bought up that Patsy saw the horrific truth of the way she died! Patsys screams were witnessed by Linda Arndt and this persuaded her of Patsys innocence. I believe Jonbenet suffered long term sexual abuse at the hands of her father and that Patsys father had become aware of this and had phoned the police. Jonbenet herself had become vocal about the abuse at school and at church and her father wanted to shut her up. He did so.