The following is from the best selling book, "Perfect Murder, Perfect Town"
by Lawrence Schiller (Pages 198 through 202)
Linda Hoffman-Pugh Story
I was born in Lyons, Kansas, and my dad was a poor wheat farmer. I had three brothers and one sister. I'm the youngest, and one of my brothers is twenty-three years older than me. He's a welder, with his own construction business in Fort Morgan, Colorado.
When I was thirteen we moved to Fort Morgan because my dad wasn't doing well. He went to work for my brother as a ditch digger. My dad was an alcoholic. He died in 1986. My mother was forty-one when she had me. I have six living kids. Ten grandchildren. And a paper route.
I have my ladies, the women I work for. I have a doctor's wife in Greeley, and a lawyer. I was working for a bonded agency called Merry Maids when I met Patsy. I started with her one day a week. I was dumbfounded, the place was so huge. It was too much for one person. Soon we had four people, once a week.
Patsy was warm and kind. Just a sweet person. But she had a hard time keeping up the laundry. She was doing lots of charity work and was involved with her children's schooling.
Then I went to work for her three days a week, $72 a day. Monday, Wednesday, Friday. I'd get there at 9:00 in the morning and be gone by 3:00. That's when my daughter Ariana gets out of school. Sometimes I worked for Patsy on Saturdays and holidays. She gave me a $300 bonus at the end of my first year. That was October 27, 1996
Patsy was afraid she wasn't going to live, that her cancer would come back and she'd never live to see the children grow up. She read a lot about illness and healing. Every three months she had a checkup. She believed if she prayed, everything would be all right. Patsy admired John. He accomplished a lot. She told me that when they started out they had nothing, and they worked themselves up to where they were now.
I first met JonBenet when she was in preschool. She was home, like, half a day. Patsy called her Jonnie B. I spent half my time picking up after her. She and her brother would just leave everything on the floor-their socks, their shoes, toys, books, just everything. They were never trained to put things away properly.
I always came in the side door, and I'd walk right into the kitchen and not know where to start. Dishes all over. If they had Ovaltine, the jar would still be open. I always had to wipe the peanut butter off the counter. "I think we ought to get a hamper," I told Patsy.
"Yeah, that sounds good," she answered. But we never got one.
"Linda is not here to pick up," Patsy's mother would say.
"She's here to clean. How do you expect her to do a good job if she's picking up?"
"OK, Mom, I'll work it out."
Patsy's clothes went into the laundry chute. I never had to pick up after John. Maybe once- a pair of shoes. Patsy changed purses once a week. She'd lay her purse ON THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE and I'd clean it out and put it in the closet. She had maybe forty of them , and even more pairs of shoes. I think the problem with the children was they didn't have any responsibility. They were spoiled.
Burke had this red Scout knife and always whittled. He'd never use a BAG or paper to catch the shavings. He'd whittle all over the place. I asked Patsy to have a talk with him. She answered, "Well I don't know what to do other than take the knife away from him." After Thanksgiving I took that knife away from him and hid it in the cupboard just outside JonBenet's room. That's how that problem was solved.
These weren't naughty children. They dressed themselves, and Patsy did JonBenet's hair. All her daughter's clothes were organized in drawers. Turtlenecks in one drawer, pants in another, nighties and panties in one, socks in another. Dates on all their underclothes.
"Just go away and leave me alone," JonBenet said when I tried to help her with her boots. Sometimes she acted like A SPOILED BRAT.
"No, don't you answer the door," she'd say when someone went to open it at a luncheon Patsy gave. "I'm answering the door."
JonBenet spent a lot of her time sitting on her bed watching Shirley Temple movies on her VCR. She loved them all.
She also loved being in pageants. If she didn't want to go, Patsy didn't make her. Nedra used to bring lots of things for JonBenet to wear. Nedra did most of the pageant planning. JonBenet would have to practice singing and dancing. Nedra and Patsy's sister, Pam would decorate JonBenet's shoes, her gloves, put sequins on her hats. Some dresses were made from scratch, but they had fun altering most things. They prepared differently for each pageant. Sometimes it would take a month. They were always reworking something.
JonBenet played a lot with Daphne, the White's little girl. They were real close. And Burke had his friends, the Walker and Stine children. When the Ramseys traveled, I started taking the children's dog, Jacques home with me. It would always yip, yip, yip, and I couldn't take it. Joe Barnhill, the elderly neighbor from across the street started watching Jacques, and they got attached to each other. before long the dog was always running across the street to the Barnhill's house. Jacques started staying over there, and when JonBenet wanted to see her dog, she went over and played with him.
In the summer of "96, JonBenet started wearing those diaper-type underpants-Pull-Ups. She even wore them to bed. There was always a wet one in the trash. By the end of the summer, Patsy was trying to get her to do without them. Then JonBenet started wetting the bed again. Almost every day I was there, there was a wet bed. Patsy said she wasn't going to use Pull-Ups again. She just put a plastic cover on the bed. No big deal to her. By the time I'd come in the morning, Patsy would have all the sheets off the bed and in the laundry. JonBenet's white blanket would already be in the dryer. The Ramseys had two washer-dryers-one in the basement and a stackable unit in a closet just outside JonBenet's room.
Patsy started taking a painting class, and JonBenet drew a lot with crayons and MARKERS. People and flowers. They had a big easel, but most of the time JonBenet painted on a card table in the butler's kitchen. Patsy had her paints and brushes in a white paint tote. Sometimes she asked me to take her paints down to the basement. "I don't want to see it." On the day of the Ramseys' Christmas party, I took the paint tote downstairs.
Evenings were for the family. They did homework and had dinner together. Patsy worked on school projects with the kids. She was always doing something for the children on her computer. She read to them at bedtime. Sometimes she asked me to baby-sit if she couldn't find a sitter. Patsy spent a lot of time ALONE in the house while John was away on business. She never kept a baseball bat under the bed, or Mace. Never even set the alarm. She didn't like it, because it went off accidently and it drove the police crazy.
The last month I was there, NOTHING WAS DIFFERENT. Patsy went to New York with her family and some friends. JonBenet even ice skated at Rockefeller Center. When they came back, they got ready for another pageant. Patsy was always putting things off until the last minute.
On December 23, JonBenet was playing with makeup.
"JonBenet, you are not going anywhere with all that on," Patsy told her. "You take some of it off." JonBenet did.
At one o'clock she went to play with some friends and was back by four o'clock. Late that afternoon she didn't want to wear a dress for their Christmas party. Patsy got a little agitated. Finally, JonBenet put on a velvet one with short sleeves.
I stuck around with my daughter Ariana to see Santa. We hadn't planned to stay, so Ariana wasn't dressed up. Patsy gave my daughter a Christmas sweater and a vest. Even lent her a pair of her shoes. At the last minute, Patsy wrote a little verse about Ariana for Santa to read.
At 5:30 P.M. Santa showed up. By then the Barnhills, the Fernies, the Stines, Pinky Barber, and the Whites, who came with Priscilla's parents, had all arrived. maybe eight couples and their children. Most of the men gathered by the spiral staircase. John made drinks for everybody from the butler's kitchen. The kids played in the livng room by the big christmas tree. That's where Santa read his litle verses about everyone. This year, Mrs. Claus was there too, Santa looked kind of sick.
I was supposed to come back the next day, December 24, and clean up. I called Patsy and said I couldn't. I told her I had a fight with my sister and needed some money to pay the rent. I asked Patsy for a $2,000 loan. I told her I would pay it back $50 each week. She didn't hesitate. "Sure." Said she'd leave it for me on the kitchen counter for my next regular visit on December 27.
The more I think about it, JonBenet could not have been killed by a stranger. I didn't even know THAT ROOM was there. How could a stranger know to go there? How in the world did this happen?
-Linda Hoffman Pugh