Paula Woodward has finally released her long-promised book. Current title: We Have Your Daughter: The Unsolved Murder of JonBenet Ramsey Twenty Years Later. She's been a long-time Ramsey supporter (more accurately: apologist) practically from day one, so I more or less knew what was coming and was reluctant to shell out hard cash to read more of same. On the other hand, she did claim to have new information and also some access to images and files that have never before been released. So, what the Hell, I decided to get it anyhow.
And yes, the book contains some useful information, so for those of us totally hooked on this case, I'd suggest getting a copy. It's an e-book, available via the Kindle store. Actually the e-book aspect makes it especially useful, as you can easily do a search on any term or phrase. And you can copy and paste. Which is what I'll be doing here. She also has a related website with some additional material on it.
I don't have a lot of free time at the moment, so I'll just be getting started now. But stay tuned as I'll be adding more to this post as I get more time and do more reading. Right now I'm roughly 2/3 of the way through.
Especially interesting, for me at least, is a photo of a snippet taken from John's left hand sample, an item I've been curious about for many years -- it's on location 3331. Tragically I don't see any way to copy and paste it here, but hopefully it will become available online soon. What I notice right off is that this is the first sample of John's writing I've seen that is mostly right slanted rather than left-slanted or, as in the case of the A&E tidbits, which may or may not be his, upright. To me it doesn't resemble the ransom note any more (or less) than Patsy's left hand sample.
The book, as I've read it so far, is more or less as expected. She makes no pretense to objectivity. Much of it resembles a legal brief, in support of the standard Ramsey version of what happened, not very different, I would think, from what a lawyer would present. (Note to my British readers: "from," NOT "than," an important distinction that seems to have been lost in your fog bound islands.) :-)
The book can get very tiresome at times, since she insists on ticking off all sorts of things that supposedly support her position (but not really). For example, she goes on and on endlessly, describing in some detail several cases where pedophiles or other psychopaths have done horrible things to children. Of course, there isn't one single case where the monster in question took the time to write a 2 1/2 page ransom note on paper from a notepad in the house, supposedly to relieve boredom while waiting for his victim to arrive.
Some things she writes are simply inaccurate. One glaring example:
The coroner also clipped JonBenét’s fingernails to look for DNA under them that might belong to her killer. Later tests would find the same foreign DNA in three places: under fingernails from each hand and mixed with blood in her panties. (Kindle Locations 1731-1732).It's hard to imagine how she could have got that so wrong, as so much information on the DNA evidence has been available for so long. No skin cells were found under her fingernails. The DNA found there was ultimately attributed to a contaminated nail clipper. While there may be some grounds for dispute on that, none of the DNA found under her nails matched any other DNA found anywhere else on her body or her clothing. The three places where matching DNA was found were on both sides of her pullups and in a blood stain on her panties. Since this has been so widely reported, this glaring error castes serious doubt on her credibility as a reporter.
There are also many misleading allegations. Regarding John's discovery of an open window in the basement,
He knew something was very wrong. A Boulder police report added more information: “( sometime before 1000 hours) [10: 00 a.m.] John Ramsey went down into the basement to the train room and he found the train room window open so he closed it.” (BPD Report #5-2473.) (Location 426)When first asked about this incident, in the police interview of 1997, John said he could not explain why he closed that window. And when asked whether he reported the open window, he said he couldn't recall -- and then offered a lame excuse that it didn't seem all that unusual to him, as the window was often left open to let in fresh air -- ignoring the fact that it wasn't necessary to open a broken window to let fresh air in. Fresh air, and in fact freezing cold air, would already be coming in through that break.
Years later, when interviewed by Katie Couric, he claimed he did in fact report his discovery to Linda Arndt, implying that she ignored him. Well we now have a copy of Arndt's very detailed report on what she observed that morning, thanks to Woodward's very useful appendix, titled Additional Resources. And try as I might, I could find no reference to any such statement by John anywhere in that report. Woodward's reference to BPD Report #5-2473 is undated, and the source she's referenced is, as far as I can tell, unavailable to the general public. Nothing from that particular source is presented in her book, as far as I can tell, and a Google search turns up empty. I have no doubt there is somewhere in the BPD files a thick volume of numbered police reports, and maybe some day we'll have access to them. Since Arndt doesn't mention any open window, my guess is that the BPD Report in question concerns John's testimony during his police interview, not what he reported on Dec. 26th. Woodward never addresses this issue and the police report is (misleadingly) offered as though it referred to something John said on that day.
to be continued . . .
OK, it's late Thursday night and I'm back. The most interesting thing I've come across in Woodward's book so far is her claim that what was found in JonBenet's intestine was more than just pineapple:
According to previously unreleased BPD reports, laboratory testing revealed that JonBenét also ate cherries and grapes as well as pineapple. Remnants of cherries were found in the stomach/ proximal area of her small intestine. “Another item besides pineapple was cherries.” (BPD Report #1-1348.) In that same report: “Another item besides pineapple was grapes.” (BPD Report #1-1348.) Another report expands on the grapes, saying “grapes including skin and pulp.” (BPD Report #1-349.) The food described resembles what is included in most cans of fruit cocktail. (Kindle Locations 1856-1859)A friend of mine did a little digging and found this recipe:
Libby's Fruit Cocktail: Ingredients: Diced Peaches, Diced Pears, Water, Corn Syrup, Grapes, Pineapple Segments, Halved Cherries Artificially Colored Red, Sugar.Very interesting. Since Woodward can be so unreliable we need to take this info with a grain of salt. I've never heard anything about her eating fruit cocktail before now, and since I'd assume Lin Wood would have jumped all over it by now, I'm not sure what to believe. If in fact she had some fruit cocktail, then the bowl of pineapple means nothing.
So far I've found several outright errors and/or misleading statements in Woodward's book, in addition to what I mentioned earlier. Here's a partial list:
1. She brings up the nonsense about the "open Butler door," years after it had been determined that the door had been opened by a police technician. (See my post, The Lou Smit Show)
2. She reiterates the similar nonsense about all the "open doors and windows" in the Ramsey home, despite very clear police reports indicating that any door or window that could have served as a point of entry or exit was checked and "no sign of forced entry" was found.
3. She misleadingly plays down the evidence of previous abuse: "The Boulder Police Department initially suspected John of incest, but there was no prior evidence for that, according to JonBenét’s pediatrician, the coroner and the specialist he brought in from Children’s Hospital in Denver, and the director of the Kempe Child Abuse Center." (Kindle Locations 3615-3616) See CC's Guest Post on this blog for a list of the many pediatric experts who found clear evidence for such abuse.
4. She discusses the scene at the broken basement window at great length, striving mightily to resuscitate Lou Smit's old claim that the intruder must have entered and exited that way. In the process, she brings up an issue that's long been settled:
To further complicate issues related to the southwest window well, green foliage that had grown at the edge of the window well’s grate was found folded over and underneath that grate. The folded foliage was still fresh when it was examined in the days after December 26, indicating the grate had recently been lifted and closed, according to Detective Lou Smit. (Kindle Locations 3651-3654)Here's what Smit himself had to say about that foliage, while interrogating John:
LOU SMIT: And I don't want to mislead you. Because, obviously all of us have seen that. And at first we didn't know exactly why that was. But we think a perhaps an officer may have moved that grate. So I just wanted you to know that. Because it's very easy to make the conclusion that it was done. But we have had some real discussion on this and did find out that an officer had moved that grate. I usually don't tell you whether we know about that. But otherwise that's misleading. (See my post, The Lou Smit Show.)For a thorough refutation of Smit's basement window theory see the same post as above: The Lou Smit Show
5. There's a long and confusing discussion of the well known police report of no footprints in the snow or frost that morning. Lou Smit claimed to have refuted that report by showing photos of the house the following morning, with only fragmentary patches of snow. But the policeman had also reported a light coating of frost that would not have shown up on those photos, and would in any case have melted by that time. Woodward notes that no snow was seen on any of the paved areas around the house. But again, a layer of frost may well have melted by the time those observations were made. What can't be disputed is the lack of any prints or any other disturbance in the ground near the grate leading to the basement window. For more, see once again my post on the Lou Smit Show.
Some additional items of interest:
A neighbor who lived a few homes away from the Ramseys found a latex glove in her trashcan in the alley. (BPD Report #1-1924.) She didn’t know how it had gotten there. (Latex gloves are used by law enforcement officials to avoid contaminating evidence with their fingerprints.) The glove, if part of the case, could have been used by an intruder. Or it could have been discarded there by a BPD officer. (BPD Report #2-37.) (Kindle Locations 3988-3991)Or discarded by John Ramsey when he went AWOL? Apparently the glove was never tested for DNA.
The Ramsey housekeeper did not remember anything about the broken glass in the train room, the scuff mark on the wall or cleaning up glass underneath the broken window. (BPD Report #1-1068.) (BPD Reports #1-101, #1-90 re: scuff mark on the wall.) The housekeeper’s husband “supposedly washed the windows at Thanksgiving time and supposedly went down in the basement and washed the basement windows.” (BPD Report #5-29.) “Last time [housekeeper’s husband] was there was around Thanksgiving. Cleaned all of the windows inside and out.” (BPD Report #5-607.) (Kindle Location 4048)Time for bed. More tomorrow.