Archive for Saturday, August 19, 2006

Suspect’s writings under scrutiny

Police wanted JonBenet’s mother to meet with Karr

August 19, 2006

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— Only weeks before her death, police asked JonBenet Ramsey's mother if she would meet with the man now suspected in her daughter's slaying - a schoolteacher whose worshipful notes described an obsession with a 6-year-old beauty queen he called "my love, my life."

Patsy Ramsey was willing to meet with John Mark Karr, but she died from ovarian cancer in June before investigators went any further, family attorney Lin Wood said Friday. And she never saw the words Karr believed she was reading because his messages secretly were being intercepted by authorities.

"He thought that he was corresponding with Patsy, but he wasn't," Wood said.

Police in Roswell, Ga., where Ramsey spent the last days of her life, declined to say if they conducted the correspondence ruse.

Karr, 41, is in a Thailand jail awaiting deportation to face charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping and child sexual assault. He told reporters he was with JonBenet when she died in the basement of her Boulder home on Dec. 26, 1996, but that her death was an accident.

He said this week that he thought Patsy Ramsey had read his letters in which he "conveyed to her many things, among them that I am so very sorry for what happened to JonBenet."

Shifting statements

On Friday, a Thai official backed off other details he gave of Karr's story - details that raised suspicions whether Karr was really involved or just a wannabe trying to insert himself into a high-profile case.

Law enforcement authorities asked Patsy Ramsey, left, in late May - a month before she died of cancer - whether she would be willing to meet with the man who claims he killed her 6-year-old daughter. The meeting never took place. Patsy and John Ramsey are pictured during the election for Michigan's 105th District in August 2004.

Law enforcement authorities asked Patsy Ramsey, left, in late May - a month before she died of cancer - whether she would be willing to meet with the man who claims he killed her 6-year-old daughter. The meeting never took place. Patsy and John Ramsey are pictured during the election for Michigan's 105th District in August 2004.

Lt. Gen. Suwat Tumrongsiskul of the Thai immigration police initially quoted Karr as saying he had sexually assaulted the girl and given her drugs, even though the autopsy showed no drugs in the girl's body. He also said Karr had claimed to have picked up JonBenet at school, though her death came during the holiday break.

On Friday, Suwat confirmed his account of the sexual assault. But asked if Karr gave the girl drugs, Suwat said the suspect described the encounter with JonBenet Ramsey as "a blur."

"It may have been drugs, or it may have been something else because (Karr said) it was a blur, blur," Suwat said.

Suwat also said his statement about the girl being picked from school was based on a documentary he had seen and not the interrogation.

More of Karr's writings also drew scrutiny Friday.

Prison guards searched the death row cell of Polly Klaas' killer after learning he may have corresponded with the suspect. No letters were found.

The Rocky Mountain News reported that Boulder prosecutors were in contact with a former classmate of Karr's because a yearbook signed by him more than 20 years ago may reveal why the ransom note left for the Ramseys was signed "S.B.T.C."

In the 1982 yearbook, Karr ended his missive with the line, "Though, deep in the future, maybe I shall be the conqueror and live in multiple peace," raising the question of whether S.B.T.C means "shall be the conqueror."

The newspaper also published excerpts of e-mails that Karr sent to University of Colorado journalism professor Michael Tracey, who had produced several documentaries on the Ramsey case.

"JonBenet, my love, my life. I love you and shall forever love you," according to an e-mail Karr sent on Dec. 23, 2005, just before the anniversary of her death. "I pray that you can hear my voice calling out to you from my darkness - this darkness that now separates us."

The e-mail asked Tracey to visit Ramsey's former home in Boulder and read aloud the ode he called "JonBenet, My Love."

"Sometimes little girls are closer to me than with their parents or any other person in their lives. When I refer to myself as JonBenet's Closest, maybe now you understand," he wrote in an another message.

No links to Colorado

Karr, a divorced father of three who was once detained on charges of possessing child pornography, had also once lived in the Atlanta suburbs where the Ramsey family lived before moving to Boulder.

There is no known piece of evidence tying Karr to Colorado. Eric Yoder, an investigator for the Colorado Department of Education, said Karr was never licensed to teach in the state and there is no record of him applying for a teaching job.

The correspondence between Karr and Tracey was voluminous. In other e-mails, Karr said he was under federal investigation for "child murder and child molestation" in four states.

In another e-mail, the newspaper reported, Karr said he sympathized with Michael Jackson, who has been accused of molesting young boys.

"I will tell you that I can understand people like Michael Jackson and feel sympathy when he suffers as he has," Karr wrote.

Tracey refused to discuss the e-mails with reporters Thursday and declined comment for the newspaper story. Wood, the Ramsey family attorney, suggested that authorities may have something more against Karr.

"There have been e-mail confessions in the case before," Wood said.

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