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) live.com, and I'll post it for you.

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Saturday, December 1, 2012

Birefringent Material

Just a quick note to clarify an aspect of the case that's often misunderstood. JonBenet's vagina had been penetrated on the night of the crime and the evidence suggested digital, rather than penile, penetration. "Birefringent material" was found in her vagina, which turned out to be consistent with the coating on one of Patsy's paintbrush handles. This led very quickly to yet another piece of Ramsey case folklore: the notion that she'd been penetrated with the tip of a paintbrush handle.

What makes this bit of folklore interesting is what it reveals about the mindset of so many who've convinced themselves they know what happened and who did what. So many tend to focus only on the most obvious associations, rarely taking the trouble to analyze the evidence before jumping to conclusions about it. Thus, if the note was written on Patsy's pad, that somehow tells us she's the one who wrote it. Or if she greeted the police in the same outfit she'd been wearing the previous day, that must mean she was up all night covering up the murder of her daughter.

At the risk of offending some of my readers, I'm sorry, but this sort of thinking would be laughable if it wasn't taken so seriously by so many, including, incredibly enough, some law enforcement professionals. Clearly, if her vagina had been penetrated by a paintbrush handle, the bleeding would have been far more extensive. Also there is no reason to assume such penetration in the first place. If the person who assaulted her had been handling the paintbrush, as was surely the case, since the handle was part of the "garotte," then it stands to reason that some of the birefringent material from the handle could have gotten onto the attacker's fingers. And gotten into the victim's vagina via indirect transfer.

What the birefringent material suggests is the possibility that her vagina was penetrated after she'd been strangled. Aside from that, it probably has no particular significance.

20 comments:

  1. I stumbled upon your blog last night as I was researching facts for my own theory. I have only read a couple of your posts thus far, but your analytical skills and application of sound logic are exemplary. I, too, rejected the intruder theory for all of the reasons you have stated. As such, I was formulating my theories under the assumption that someone in the Ramsey household was responsible.

    Which brings me to the reason I am posting on this particular entry. I was under the assumption that the vaginal injury occurred more than 72 hours before JBR's death, per Cyril Wecht. In light of this entry, there is the possibility that I misunderstood. Dr. Wecht could have been discussing evidence for prior sexual abuse without regard to abuse on the night of her death. Could you please cite your source for this entry?

    Just to provide a little background on my theory, I was postulating that JBR may have been molested by a member of the Ramsey's church. If the 72 hour time table is accurate, that would have placed the injury on Sunday (Christmas 1996 was on a Wednesday). This theory would put more options on the table. For example, I reject that wetting the bed would have been sufficient reason to trigger rage for Patsy Ramsey. However, if JBR told her mother that she was being molested by their pastor, for example, I believe that would be sufficient to trigger such an emotional response. To note, I don't think the evidence is consistent with Patsy acting alone. There are just a few other options on the table if someone outside of the household was sexually assaulting JonBenet so I think it should be considered.

    You obviously have spent a great deal more time reviewing this case than I have. If it is in fact true that JBR was molested on the night she died, then my theory is put to rest. At that point, all signs would point to John, which I had already considered. I guess it is telling that John Ramsey is the only possible suspect that doesn't need an intruder or some type of third party involvement. The only reason I haven't fully accepted the JDI theory is because I am not 100% convinced that all of the evidence is consistent. I am going to start reading more of your entries to see if some my concerns are laid to rest.







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    1. According to the medical examiner's report, JonBenet was sexually assaulted on the night of the murder, yes. The wounds were consistent with digital penetration and were fresh. The ME also found signs consistent with chronic injury, older abrasions of the interior wall of the vagina that occurred prior to the night of the crime. What this told Wecht is that JonBenet had been subject to sexual abuse by someone who had access to her prior to her murder. As a result, Wecht came to suspect John as both her sexual abuser and killer.

      The source information can be found in Wecht's book, "Who Killed JonBenet Ramsey."

      I'm glad you found my blog and hope you'll continue to read here. I'll be happy to answer any additional questions you might have.

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    2. Thank you for the reply and information. In light of this new evidence, I have formulated a revised theory. Given your knowledge of the case and fact-based approach to the evidence, I would like you to review it to see if it is consistent with all of the evidence. I submit that my theory is the only alternative. The only reason an alternative is possible is based on the interpretation of whether or not Patsy had knowledge of the staged kidnapping.

      It is too long to post here, and I'm not sure if you want alternate theories posted here, so I ask: are you willing to review it and is it okay if I email it to you? Please let me know. Thank you in advance.

      On a side note, your dedication and passion to solve this case is evident. I would like to have it closed as well. That is the reason I would like you to review my theory as any possible theories should be considered.

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    3. I have no problem with you posting your theory here, regardless of how long it is. If that's OK with you. If not, then email it to me, and I'll take a look.

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    4. C'mon. Cyril Wecht is trying to sell his book. Her own pediatrician saw her 27 times over a three year period, 5 of those 27 exams were vaginal examinations. He never saw any evidence of any prior sexual abuse. Who would you believe a guy who saw J.B. 27 times in 3 yrs., or Wecht who never once examined J.B. In person or at the actual autopsy? For every expert who claims there was prior sexual abuse there's another who looks at the same evidence and sees something completely opposite of what that expert sees. John Ramsey's other daughter had stated she had never been sexually abused. She was angry anybody would even consider John and abuser. We have absolutely no definitive proof of prior sexual assault or abuse.

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  2. Hope you don't mind me going off on a slight tangent about PR wearing the same clothes. It was mentioned.

    If PR was working alone, as many PDI theorists suppose, then wearing the same clothes -assuming that to be unusual for her- would be a clear tip off the JR that PR did it. Additionally she'd want to wash off any evidence, and throw her clothes in the washer. So certainly had PR been up all night murdering JBR, she'd have showered and changed.

    IF JR/PR were working together (and we know they weren't because of the 911 call) then certainly JR would have suggested a shower and change of clothes for the sake of appearance. After all, several friends were called shortly after finding the RN. Would PR really have called some of the people who were at the party the night before, to see her in the same clothes, if she'd been involved in killing JBR?

    If she took the time to brush her hair and do her makeup, then surely she wasn't out of time to change clothes.

    In short, PR wearing the same clothes seems much more consistent with her innocence than with her guilt.

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    1. I agree. There was plenty of time for her to shower and change if she'd been up all night. They could have called the police at any time and could also have cancelled their trip, so if she'd been up all night staging a kidnapping, assaulting her daughter, strangling her, etc. and writing a long note, she would certainly have taken the time to shower and change, no question. The ONLY reason her actions are seen as suspicious is because so many are already suspicious of her and are actively looking for anything they can think of to support their twisted logic.

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  3. Here's some possible issues with this theory. They mostly can be answered that one is overestimating the criminal mind when one seeks total rationality, but JR is a very intelligent so one wonders ...

    Why did JR place the note so close to the kitchen phone and away from himself so his hysterical wife could easily pick it up and call 911.

    Why write this devil's tomb of a ransom note. Just write - first line - we have your daughter and we KILL her if you seek help. Make sure to impress her with the no 911 imperative. Second line call between 8 and 10. The end.

    Why did JR test Occam's razor by busting a window and then having to flush the glass down the toilet. Why not just unlock a door, and tell police forgot to lock it. Real dangerous. What if the police had inspected the plumbing and found some glass fragments. Dead man.

    Why did it appear to some neigbors that Jon Benet had a good relationship with her father, looking forward to his returning from business trips, etc.

    Even taking this bond between them in a negative light, assuming JBR threatened to expose JR, it would seem that JR would be able to exert enough influnce into manipulating a six year old out of it - instead of engaging in deliberate, willful, premeditated, brutal murder of his daughter.

    Why would an apparently normal guy, not a saint, but a normal guy with his whole life exposed, not show so much as a hint of this supposed devil's personality.

    The proposed theory is very cogent in that it explains a lot, even the dispassionate brutality almost unheard of in intra-family killings.

    Bit why did the "touch" DNA that matched on two pieces of clothing involved in the murder that supposedly transfered indirectly and innocently through some innocent intial contact not show up on any other clothing but these two murder-involved pieces. Henry Lee at first said this was not a DNA case. Then when the DNA was found on the second piece of clothing matching the DNA found on the first, seemed to relunctantly admit he was wrong ... find the person matching the DNA and one finds the killer.

    Pretty sure PR did not kill her daughter. Not for bedwetting or some religious sacrificial motive. They were both Episcopalians, otherwise know as Rich Republican Catholics, very staid and formal. None of this Pentecostal, sacrificial, speaking in tonues, wild, maniacal stuff.

    The BR stuff is ridiculous. He was immediately ruled out for one big reason - he immediately started reattending school unsupervised.

    Intruder? It's not like walking on the moon ... someone could have walked into the house. Key ... unlocked door. Someone could have walked out. Front door supposedly locked automatically when closed after exiting. JR bonus amount published in the local paper. Yes, that intruder(s) would have engaged in a lot of seemingly irrational activity. But the brutality part becomes much more plausible.


    JR ... well, like I said, some irrationality is almost normal. And a lot less irrationality in this scenario EXCEPT the manner of the killing.

    The physical evidence? Too bad JR was allowed to contaminate the crime. His clothing fibers in her clothes .. dead man. But the DNA is highly contraindicative.

    Betweem JR and intruder, don't really have any idea.

    But even if the JR theory is more likely than the intruder theory, would rather give him the benefit of the doubt. If it's not enough for conviction, then someone is supposed be given that benefit, so am biased toward extending it.


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    1. OK, good, these are relevant questions. I'll take one at a time:

      1. "Why did JR place the note so close to the kitchen phone and away from himself so his hysterical wife could easily pick it up and call 911?" I don't think you can interpret every detail of this case as part of a plan. Some things happen by coincidence.

      2. "Why write this devil's tomb of a ransom note. Just write - first line - we have your daughter and we KILL her if you seek help." Exactly. Excellent point. An intruder would have had no need to write all those detailed instructions, especially if he'd been planning to make a followup call. But if John wrote it, then all the details DO make sense, because as I see it, the note was part of a plan. For my analysis of the note, and the plan behind it, see: http://solvingjonbenet.blogspot.com/2012/07/the-purpose-of-note.html

      3. "Why did JR test Occam's razor by busting a window and then having to flush the glass down the toilet. Why not just unlock a door, and tell police forgot to lock it." Good question. I think John wanted something pretty dramatic and convincing looking, and a broken window would fit the bill. It's not unusual for someone staging a phoney "intruder" to break a window or door lock as part of their staging simply because it provides easily identifiable evidence of a break-in. Saying "Hey I guess I forgot to lock all the doors" sounds kind of lame and might look suspicious. If all had gone according to plan, John would have had plenty of time to complete his staging and make it look convincing enough to fool the cops.

      4. "Why did it appear to some neigbors that Jon Benet had a good relationship with her father, looking forward to his returning from business trips, etc." They no doubt did have a close relationship. That's common in many cases of child abuse.

      5. ". . . it would seem that JR would be able to exert enough influnce into manipulating a six year old . . ." Yes, and it probably worked for him -- up to a point. But abusers DO get exposed by their victims and in this case it's certainly possible John had good reason to think JBR was about to expose him. The bottom line is that the evidence of prior abuse strongly suggests motive, regardless of what anyone might think about how probable it is that a daughter would want to accuse her father. So all the talk about John not having a motive falls apart when we consider that evidence. If a jury was convinced that he was abusing her, then I don't think they'd have much of a problem seeing that as a possible motive for murder.

      6. "Why would an apparently normal guy, not a saint, but a normal guy with his whole life exposed, not show so much as a hint of this supposed devil's personality." I have no idea, but that is certainly consistent with a great many criminals, especially serial killers, who are often regarded as pillars of the community. Also we need to realize that of the two, Patsy was the one who lived in a fishbowl, NOT John, who was very often out of town on "business" trips. His whole life was NOT exposed, and there are many things in his life we may know nothing about. We DO know that he systematically lied to his first wife over a period of roughly two years.

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    2. continued from last post:

      7. "Bit why did the "touch" DNA that matched on two pieces of clothing involved in the murder that supposedly transfered indirectly and innocently through some innocent intial contact not show up on any other clothing but these two murder-involved pieces." We don't know that, it's just an assumption. I have no doubt that thorough testing of all the clothing, upholstery, etc. in that house would have turned up tons of "foreign" DNA from a great many different sources, including the so-called "matching DNA." But I seriously doubt any of that was tested. This sort of testing is expensive, so they would have focused only on the victim and her clothing.

      8. "find the person matching the DNA and one finds the killer." Very unlikely. Even if they do find a match, that person could always claim it was due to an innocent transfer, and since there would be no other evidence pointing to that person (since there is no conclusive intruder evidence at all and whatever they think might be relevant can't be linked to any individual) there would be no case to be made against him. The intruder is a myth.

      9. "Intruder? It's not like walking on the moon ... someone could have walked into the house. Key ... unlocked door. Someone could have walked out. Front door supposedly locked automatically when closed after exiting. JR bonus amount published in the local paper. Yes, that intruder(s) would have engaged in a lot of seemingly irrational activity. But the brutality part becomes much more plausible." It's possible the doors locked automatically, it would be interesting to learn if that were the case. Not likely he'd have left via the front door though. But if the killer used the doors, then we still need to account for the very mysterious circumstances surrounding the basement window, the debris found on the floor, and the strange position of the suitcase. Also the fact that John initially failed to report finding it open and seeing the suitcase under it. We also need to consider the fact that John's story about breaking in earlier is obviously not credible. Nor is his professed ignorance of whether or not the window had ever been repaired, which is patently not credible.

      And finally, we need to consider the motive of a kidnapper waiting to write his long ransom note until after entering the house; his decision not to bother kidnapping his victim after all; and his even stranger decision to leave his ransom note anyhow, even though it was hand written and could implicate him. We also need to consider why he'd have wanted to redress his victim, take the trouble to wrap her body neatly in a blanket and hide it in the most remote room in the house.

      As far as "benefit of the doubt" is concerned, I'm sorry, but I do NOT favor giving a murderer the benefit of the doubt when the accumulated weight of evidence against him is so powerful. We know there could not have been an intruder. We know John failed to report important evidence, and lied about key elements in the case. We know it was Patsy and not John who called 911. Looks pretty open and shut to me.

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    3. You state above that: "We DO know that he systematically lied to his first wife over a period of roughly two years." How do you know that? I found this (rather fascinating BTW) blog trying to find info regarding JR's life outside of the murder. Please refer me to this kind of information regarding JR personality. Thanks.

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    4. You can find a summary of what is known about John's affair, much of it in his own words, at the ACandyRose website, here: http://www.acandyrose.com/s-gloria-williams.htm

      He initially referred to her as Gloria Williams, but later used the name Jodi Roberts. Perhaps he had two affairs. He lied to his first wife about this for a long time and when she found out about it, that ended their marriage.

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    5. Thank you - checked it out. I have to say, I have been glued to your blog for the last 24 hours, and being a lawyer, I am finding your argument rather convincing! :)

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  4. Your idea that the birefringent material got inside JB's vaginal canal by transfer from a finger makes more sense to me than the idea that she was penetrated by the brush handle. But if this were the case, does it not then provide proof that the abuser wore gloves? Had this individual not worn gloves, surely DNA would have been deposited along with the birefringent material, correct? It's amazing how the smallest bit of forensic evidence can create so many questions and scenarios.

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    1. You make an excellent point. On the other hand, I'm not sure how easy it would have been to extract traces of DNA from someone's skin. As far as gloves are concerned: if the attacker did NOT wear gloves his DNA would have been all over her body and her clothing and there'd have been lots of it. And if he wore gloves, then as you say, there wouldn't be any.

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  5. John Sr. used the paint brush to try to foil the prior sexual abuse. He killed her because the school was onto the fact that someone was abusing this child. He killed her when he figured out that she would eventually tell on him. The rest of everything else that happened was just Senior John Ramsey trying to make it look like everyone else killed her...the things from John Jr. The suitcase at the broken window. I think he found her urine soaked, in her bed, as her parents had often found her, and it was a chance for him to possibly even make it look like his wife snapped. Here the wife has this perfect child...the perfect projection of herself, as a performer...a model...and she can't get her to stop wetting the bed. John, knew how much this angered Patsy Ramsey. He pointed it at Patsy that way...he also used Patsy's paintbrush...which pointed it at Patsy. Patsy woke up, found the ransom note, called 911, after everything else was done...I imagine John spent the rest of the night convincing Patsy that she would go down too/die if she didn't play along...after all, she was the strict mother who wanted the child to win and compete so much. The mother adored the child...a perfect projection of what she wished she would have been. She wouldn't have killed the child that was everything she had dreamed of. Burke was looked at as possibly the jealous sibling...and John new that so they had him shipped off which also brought on suspicion. Imagine being Patsy. She had just lost her "pride and joy"...JonBenet. Then Burke was shipped away. Then John Sr. was threatening her life too. Losing children wasn't something new to John because he had already lost a daughter in a previous marriage. He knew he could survive losing a child because he already HAD...but he couldn't handle being accused of sexually abusing his daughter. He would have lost everything. His fortune, his family...his name. His freedom. At least with this murder, he had a chance of getting away...and he did. His money kept his freedom. I bet he told Patsy that he would kill her too and nobody would believe her...just like nobody believed he killed JonBenet. She seemed distant and uncaring about her daughters death because she was in shock and feared that she too might be killed. People can perform a beautiful show when their life is at stake. I'm not done researching...but I can almost hear John Ramsey trying to reason with JonBenet, in my intuitive mind...he probably tried to convince her that it was ok about him having sex with her...but the nurses, at school, showed her that it wasn't right when they made a fuss about it...he couldn't reverse it then. He couldn't make it seem ok. Both parents groomed this child...the mother groomed her to follow in her own footsteps...the father groomed her to keep her mouth shut while he had his way with her. Like I said, I am not done researching...I will be back with more as God shows it to me...doesn't anyone find it odd that John Ramsey is with someone who makes clothing/costumes? He is the one infatuated with the whole performing/glamour idea...that's why he kept saying to the child "focus on the talent"...he was embarrassed of his feelings for admiring JonBenet's beauty. He has been keeping up with people's ideas of "who done it" and doing things all a long to throw people off...like the tied up Barbies in the front yard...everything he does is counteracting "the point of view" off of himself. He will mess up though. God doesn't allow this type of person to get by forever...Personally, I hope he hangs himself and they bury him far, far away from his first daughter that was killed, Patsy, and Jonbenet. He truly should be burned slowly, at the stake, but we are much to passive on barbaric people. Everyone that has killed, and allowed the killers to get away with murder, for money, are going to face the hardest wrath of God. It is written. I am signing this : I only work for Jesus Christ

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    1. I agree that John must have felt really vulnerable to exposure, which would have been the trigger for murdering his daughter. And I agree with much of the rest that you say, because this was truly a horrendous act. But I seriously doubt he'd have ever confessed his guilt to Patsy and I also doubt that she'd have passively gone along with him if he did, no matter what the threats. At the very least, she would have left him. I just think he is a master manipulator who managed to manipulate her into lying to support his version of what happened on two different occasions: the 911 call and the supposed window breakin. Once he'd been "ruled out" as note writer he became invulnerable to suspicion.

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    2. Doc, he is around young girls in constumes again, with his current designer wife...does anyone track him or just let him wreak more havoc?

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    3. Yes, I think a lot of eyebrows were raised when he married that costume designer. God knows what he's been up to since.

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  6. This intruder stuff is such BS. Who sticks around the home to molest a child in the basement knowing full well that if one of the parents walks down the stairs in the middle of the night, they would see the ransom note and call the police.

    If the intent were to kidnap JBR and molest her elsewhere, then why did the person do it in the home in the first place?

    When did this supposed intruder leave the ransom note? Before or after she died? Either is a huge risk and makes no sense whatsoever. Presumably, the "intruder" had some form of transportation to kidnap her in so if it's a kidnap gone wrong, the logical thing to do would be to get away from the scene of the crime asap.

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