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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Innocent Little Nancy -- OR -- "Moving Finger" Update

Turns out I've been doing some cherry picking of my own. Based on a document sitting dormant on my hard drive for years that I thought could have been penned by John Ramsey. I presented it a while back on a blog post titled The Moving Finger, along with a comparison with the ransom note that revealed some striking similarities. As I stated, I could not be sure this was written by John, and admitted in a comment that it could be a hoax. Nevertheless, I thought it worth looking into, and wrote to Ramsey case maven Jameson, from whom I had obtained this file, to see if she could shed some light on who wrote it and why. She could. And did. Here's the email I received from her this morning:

As I recall, that was a sample written at my request at a local restaurant by a woman who claimed she had written the ransom note under the direction of another woman. She claimed the other woman later masterminded JonBenet's murder and wanted to see the other woman brought to justice. The handwriting sure is similar! I told her story and called her Nancy online though I believe one of the tabloids used her real name when she went to them. In the end, the lead went nowhere. She met with Lou Smit and others and her writing was analyzed with the lead going no where. I heard from the woman not too long ago, she still says we are wrong. But I trusted Lou when he told me she believed it but was wrong. Totally.
So no, this is not a sample of John Ramsey's penmanship.  And yes, like the Chris Wolf story, it is an example of how what should have been an open and shut case evolved into a hopeless morass, with tentacles extending out in a thousand directions, affecting countless numbers of innocent -- and not so innocent -- people. The Nancy Krebs story (which I'd forgotten all about, but now I remember) is a perfect example of how convoluted this case became and how so many "likely" suspects were literally coming out of the woodwork.

Her story is encapsulated on the Ramsey Case Encyclopedia here. In brief, she claimed she had been molested as a child by Fleet White's father, Fleet Sr., and also on occasion by Fleet Jr. and John Ramsey himself. And, as Jameson reports, she claimed to have penned the Ramsey "ransom" note as dictated by another woman. She also claimed she'd been told Fleet White murdered JonBenet. I won't get into her story here, except to agree with Jameson that it was thoroughly investigated and turned out, apparently, to be a hoax. Possibly perpetrated by her lawyer, Lee Hill.

As I see it, if there had been anything to her story implicating Fleet White, both Jameson and Lou Smit would have been all over it. On the other hand, both Jameson and Smit have consistently overvalued the significance of the DNA evidence, which imo has severely limited their ability to assess any of the suspects they've considered. There's more to it, however, and Nancy was interviewed also by BPD investigators with a broader take on the case. Some of her allegations regarding who was where when were checked and proven false, but as far as I can see the very odd circumstances surrounding her case have never been fully examined, and as Jameson indicates above, she is still sticking to her story.

Could Nancy Krebs have penned the ransom note? Here once again is the comparison I made when I thought it likely John penned it:

The similarities are indeed striking. But admittedly I too was cherry picking (which I've never denied), looking only for what matched and ignoring everything else. We need to consider also the very real possibility that if Nancy was perpetrating a hoax, she could have trained herself to write certain words and letters in a style resembling the "ransom" note. My principal reason for doubting her, however, has to do more with the circumstances and logic of the case, which for me are almost always the primary considerations.

If someone needed a ransom note that could not be traced back to them, the most sensible thing to do would be to find an old typewriter and type it -- or print it on a computer printer. The typewriter or printer could then be dumped somewhere, preferably in a body of water. The dumbest thing to do would be to ask some "innocent" young girl to print it for you by hand, since you could never be sure that person might turn on you at some point and reveal your secret.

Also we need to consider the motive of the person who allegedly asked Nancy to pen it. If you're planning on murdering John's daughter out of some old resentment, you have no need for a ransom note. And if you're planning a real kidnapping, you also don't need a note -- you can simply phone the Ramseys the following morning with instructions on what to do and not to do. Finally, if your intention is to use this note to frame John or Patsy, you'd want to forge John or Patsy's hand. You'd have no reason to ask someone else to write it out in her own hand.

So no, I don't think Nancy Krebs had anything to do with the murder or the kidnap staging, either directly or, as she claims, indirectly. Which tells us the rest of her story is probably phoney also. But my own analysis of the above document should be taken seriously -- as yet another  example of what can happen when we (in this case I) "see what we want to see."


  1. Didn't Cherokee claim this was written with the so-called Ramsey font? Or am I confused by all the various writings?

    1. No you are not confused. He said he could tell right away it was printed from that font.

  2. One of the things that I find very interesting is the number of interviews by John himself that seem to be surfacing. I know many years have gone by, but he comes across as genuine. Someone who legitimately has had a hard life losing two daughters and his wife. Now I firmly believe that he, and he alone, is responsible for the death of his daughter, JonBenet. But I'm starting to wonder if this is the reason he was ruled out as the writer of the note. I had posted previously about how his wife was becoming suspicious and he knew that he needed to find a way out. And based on what you have written, since there are so few handwriting experts, they seem to agree with one another's opinion for fear of being criticized. So all he needed was to convince the one that he was innocent. Which makes sense since he may have disguised his handwriting well enough to make himself get ruled out, since he clearly disguised it when writing the note. But I wonder if he suffers from multiple personality or some other type of disorder and that might explain how he is able to brutually murder his daughter and come across as genuine when he talks about all the tragedies in his life. Have any reports surfaced about any possible conditions?

  3. "So all he needed was to convince the one that he was innocent. Which makes sense since he may have disguised his handwriting well enough to make himself get ruled out, since he clearly disguised it when writing the note."

    From day one, John took charge of the case. You have to hand it to him, he must be made of steel. He did what he had to do. He made sure Patsy was sedated, and then made a big deal about her being too distraught to be formally questioned. Which meant that anything she knew that might make him look bad would not become known to the authorities. Ditto for Burke, who was "too young and vulnerable" to be questioned.

    He promptly hired lawyers, who promptly hired two leading handwriting "experts." To understand the significance of that, you need to understand that any "expert" hired by a defense lawyer is covered under lawyer-client privilege. Which means that right off the bat the "expert" cannot divulge anything that might be deemed harmful to the client. So if either of these people decided John (or Patsy) wrote the note they legally could be prevented from so testifying. Thanks to lawyer-client privilege, we have no way of knowing how many such "experts" they hired, because only the ones willing to rule John and Patsy out would have been permitted to make their findings public.

    By placing his very aggressive legal team between him and the investigators, and hiring his own investigation team, John put himself in charge of the case. Since the handwriting "experts" were under his control, he could feed them whatever exemplars he liked and withhold any exemplars (such as the court document, probably written with his left hand) that could give him away. So yes you're right, he could easily have fooled his own "experts" by giving them exemplars written with his right hand, and offering new exemplars also written with his right hand.

    By the time the other, more impartial "experts" got involved, the process described by Gideon Epstein could have taken hold, with John's "experts" influencing the others. No need to actually bribe anyone, which would have been too dangerous in any case. But plenty of opportunity to manipulate the situation to his own advantage.

    What makes John tick is a huge mystery to me. I've thought of multiple personality disorder, but so far there haven't been any obvious signs of that (aside from the murder itself). I think he simply made a decision that, in order to survive, he would need to be very strong and not let his emotions get the better of him. If you've been reading about Lance Armstrong and his refusal for so many years to admit his involvement with doping, then that might give you an idea of the sort of person John Ramsey has become. Like Armstrong, I do think he's managed to convince himself he's done nothing wrong. But also like Armstrong, there's no reason to assume his denials are due to any chronic mental aberration. He's just done something he can't admit he's done, even to himself.

  4. Doc G,

    I have been following your blog for quite some time and fully agree with your theory. I have always believed there was no intruder, but your take on JR has me absolutely convinced. I read where JR had dated Natalie Holloway's mother, or at least was very good friends with her for a short period. I wonder if she sensed all was not right with JR, and thus decided to part ways with him quickly.