Atlanta — Expressing confidence that they had aided the investigation of their daughter's murder, John and Patsy Ramsey said they nonetheless doubted that two days of questioning had lifted the "umbrella of suspicion" shrouding the couple since JonBenet was found dead nearly four years ago.
"I think they still have doubt," Patsy Ramsey said Tuesday of police investigators from the couple's former hometown of Boulder. Colo. "They've been down this road so long. I don't think one of two mornings talking with them will make them do an abrupt about-face."
According to Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner, the Ramseys have been under suspicion since Dec. 26, 1996, when JonBenet's body was found in the basement of the family's home. The 6-year-old had been beaten and strangled. No suspects have been named.
The Ramseys, who now live in Atlanta with JonBenet's older brother Burke, 13, agreed to two days of questioning in their attorney's office in what they called an effort to help solve the case.
"I want to find out who did this to my daughter," Patsy Ramsey said at a news conference. "I want her to be proud of us that we are persisting in finding out who did this."
Then, in a pointed comment directed to Beckner, Patsy Ramsey added: "Whatever obstacles are in your way that make you think I killed my child, I want to help you get over that."
L. Lin Wood, the couple's attorney, called on police to exonerate the Ramseys publicly. "The evidence is not there," he said.
The murder of the blond, blue-eyed beauty queen has become one of the most celebrated unsolved mysteries of modern times, a staple of TV talk shows and the tabloid press, and the subject of several books. One of those books, "The Death of Innocence," was written by the Ramseys, and provided the basis for some of the questions asked of the couple by Beckner and special prosecutor Michael Kane.
After Monday's session, in which Patsy Ramsey was questioned for seven hours separately from her husband, Wood charged that Kane had turned the interview into a "fishing expedition." The attorney threatened to walk out with his clients if investigators continued to ask about fiber evidence and security precautions for Burke.
But Patsy Ramsey said she thought the meetings -- running more than 10 hours over two days -- were productive. "I believe they're asking pertinent questions, so I'm happy to be there," she told reporters Monday during a break.
Wood said the Ramseys provided police with two leads, generated either by publication of their book or by the full-time investigator they have employed. The attorney did not elaborate.
But Beckner issued a statement saying he and other members of the seven-person team questioning the Ramseys were stymied at times by restrictions imposed by Wood.
"We were not able to go into everything we had hoped to in this setting," Beckner said, "and in that respect it was less than we had hoped for."
The Ramseys have been questioned twice before, first in April 1997, four months after the slaying. They answered questions again in June 1998. But they did not appear before a grand jury, which was convened in 1998. The panel disbanded 13 months later without an indictment.