What strikes Kolar as suspicious is John's failure to report the condition of the window and the position of the suitcase, along with some other observations he claimed to have made, at the time he initially made them, but only months later. If he were really intent on determining how the intruder got in, why wouldn't he have promptly reported these observations so they could be investigated?
Kolar sees this, and some other significant omissions, as suspicious, and I would agree. What he fails to do is ask himself why John might not have wanted to report such findings at first, and why he would have wanted to only later on.
As I see it, this basement window is the key to cracking the case -- but in order to understand why, some serious sleuthing is required. The first thing we need to pay attention to is John's claim to having broken that window earlier, possibly the previous summer, when he forgot his key and needed to break into the house. Here's what he says about it in The Death of Innocence:
Sometime that morning, I remember a day back in the summer when I had left my keys inside and was locked out of the house. To get in, I broke one of the panes in a basement window; then I reached in and released the latch, so I could climb inside. I think about the basement now, I jump up and hurry down there.In the book, John fails to mention that he closed that window -- without telling anyone at the time about its being open or about the suitcase he found so suspicious.
That entry place needs to be looked at, I tell myself. I move down the basement hall and find the window. The pane is still broken and the window is open, with a large old Samsonite suitcase sitting right under it. Odd, I think. This doesn't look right. This suitcase is not normally kept here.
Maybe this is how the kidnapper got in and out of our house. (p. 20)
Since I've already written at length about this window and what it means, I'll be drawing on some of this old material, dating from 2005 (as posted in Jameson's Webbsleuths forum), though with some cuts, revisions and updates, as appropriate. Here goes:
Very strange. If he's looking for a point of entry and/or exit and thinks maybe he's found it, why wouldn't he have informed the police about that right away? And why on Earth would he CLOSE the window????
Here's an excerpt from his 1998 police interview:
7 JOHN RAMSEY: I came down the stairs. I went in this room here. This door was kind of blocked. We had a bunch of junk down here and there was a chair that was in front of the door. . . . I moved the chair, went into this room, went back in here. This window was open, maybe that far.
LOU SMIT: Okay. You said -- or how far were you? An inch?
JOHN RAMSEY: An inch, maybe, or less. It was cracked open.
LOU SMIT: Which window?
JOHN RAMSEY: I think it was the little one. There's three windows across here, as I recall. I think it was the middle one. It was that was broken. There was pane [of g]lass broken out of it, which I attributed to breaking myself. . .
JOHN RAMSEY: But it was open and there was a suitcase under it. This hard Samsonite suitcase.
LOU SMIT: Describe how the suitcase was positioned?
JOHN RAMSEY: It was against the wall. I think the handle was on top. It was directly under the window, as I recall. And I closed the window, I don't know why, but I closed it.
LOU SMIT: When you closed it, did you lock it or close it?He accounts for the window being broken by claiming he's the one who broke it months before.
JOHN RAMSEY: I latched it. There's a little latch on it.
LOU SMIT: And you're sure of that?
JOHN RAMSEY: Pretty sure, yeah. Yeah, I am sure. I don't think I looked anywhere else. . .
SMIT: Did you tell anybody about that?
JOHN RAMSEY: I don't really remember. I mean, part of what is going on you're in such a state of disbelief this can even happen. And the, you know, the window had been broken out. And you say hah, that's it. But it was a window that I had used to get into the house before.
It was cracked and open a little bit. It wasn't terribly unusual for me. Sometimes it would get opened to let cool air in because that basement could get real hot in winter.Now he accounts for the window being open by claiming he'd kept it open anyhow in the past. Pretty lame! So what if it wasn't that unusual, that's still no reason for secretly closing it! And what about the suitcase, shouldn't he have reported THAT at least?
ST: OK. When you had previously broken that basement window to gain entry to the home when you had been locked out, can you approximate what month that was?In my original post I interrupted the above dialogue from time to time with some sarcastic comments. What bothered me, as it should anyone reading here, is how much John can't recall, how vague he is about so much in his story. He's not sure if it was last summer or not. He's not sure how he got in the well, how he broke the pane, not sure when he replaced the grate. But worst of all, he's not sure whether or not the window was ever repaired. As I wrote at the time,
JR: Well, I think it was last summer. Because Patsy was up at Lake (inaudible) all summer, and it would have been July or August probably, somewhere in that time frame.
ST: Did you remove that grate and get down into the window well?
ST: And what did you use to break the pane?
JR: Ah, I don’t remember. Might have been my foot, I don’t know.
ST: OK. You reach in, I’m assuming, unlatched it and gain entry through that small window.
ST: Did you then replace the grate onto that window well?
JR: Oh I probably would have done it that night. I’m sure I didn’t the next morning or, you know, or thereafter.
ST: Did you remove that whole grate off onto the, off the well, to jump down there and get in?
JR: Ah, probably. I don’t remember.
ST: Is there any reason that window went unrepaired?
JR: No. I mean it’s, Patsy usually took care of those things, and I just rarely went to the basement, so it just, I guess, got overlooked. Although she did think that she asked the cleaning lady’s husband to fix it over Thanksgiving when they were doing some repair work there, but I don’t know if that’s ever been confirmed whether he fixed it or not.
How can you not know whether or not that window had been repaired? You have a whole team of investigators working for you. If the window HAD been repaired, then the break must have been done by the intruder, no? Wouldn't that be one of the most important things you'd want to determine?
(to be continued . . . )