"Bob Wise - helped Ramseys write book"
Posted by jameson on Apr-04-00 at 10:02 PM (EST)
LAST EDITED ON Apr-05-00 AT 08:11 AM (EST)
THE SUNDAY OKLAHOMAN
April 02, 2000, Sunday CITY EDITION
SECTION: DESTINATIONS; Pg. 9
LENGTH: 934 words
HEADLINE: Priest writes for JonBenet's parents
BYLINE: Dennie Hall, Book Page Editor
AN Oklahoma City Episcopal priest heard John and Patsy Ramsey pour out their anguish over six weeks then wrote a book, "The Death of Innocence," which bears the Ramseys' names.
The Rt.Rev.Robert L. Wise, rector of Church of the Redeemer, 6009 NW Expressway, wrote the book on commission from Thomas Nelson Publishers of Nashville, Tenn. He was paid a fee at the beginning and will not share in the book price of $24.99.
"I'm convinced the Ramseys didn't kill their 6-year-old daughter," Wise said in an interview last week with The Oklahoman.
His career as a clergyman may have helped him judge human character.
Some rumors claim the Ramseys may have killed their daughter, JonBenet, in 1996 because she wet the bed. Wise discounts this.
"I have four grown children, one of whom wet the bed, and I know I never had such a thought," Wise said.
As indicated in the book's subtitle - "The Untold Story of JonBenet's Murder and How Its Exploitation Compromised the Pursuit of Truth"- this is the first time the Ramseys have told their story.
Wise said he was contacted by his editor at Thomas Nelson, Janet Hoover Thoma, and asked to write the book. Thomas Nelson has published some of Wise's other 23 books on various subjects.
After Wise went to the Ramsey home in Atlanta to talk with the couple, he decided to take the writing project. He spent Monday through Friday for six weeks hearing the Ramseys' story.
Nearby is JonBenet's grave, under a tree on which visitors have tied miniature angels. Sometimes graffiti is found on the grave marker.
Many days, Wise said, the couple just talked in an easy manner. "Sometimes they broke down, depending on the day and the subject," he said.
These interviews took place in fall soon after a grand jury, after 13 months of deliberation, chose not to indict the couple. However, they are still victims of public scrutiny and stories in the tabloid press.
Law enforcement authorities in Boulder, Colo., where the Ramseys lived at time of the slaying, also have indicated they suspect the couple.
"The Ramseys are hopeful the killer will be found and then the suspicion will be gone," Wise said. "They are patient people and live a quiet, secluded life."
Some tabloids have tried to cast suspicion on the Ramseys' son, Burke, who was 10 when JonBenet was slain. The parents find it absurd that anyone would suspect him, Wise said.
"They have suffered a terrible tragedy and have paid a big price," he said.
The Ramseys said proceeds from the book's sales will go toward legal fees and to the Jon Benet Ramsey Children's Foundation, which was established in her memory. The foundation will help fund investigations when children are kidnapped or killed, the Ramseys have said.
The Ramseys view JonBenet's slaying the night of Dec. 25 as a kidnapping that turned to murder. Whether the killing occurred before or after midnight is not known, but John Ramsey decided to put Dec. 25 on the grave marker.
Wise said the couple believe the killer must be someone who knew the family. JonBenet's body was found in a basement storage room hours after a kidnapping note was discovered. The family was gathering money to pay a ransom when the body was found.
The book, which hit store shelves March 17, accuses police of mishandling the investigation. It also discusses the family's activities the night before the the morning the ransom note was found, how the media frenzy started and why it continues, observations of people close to the Ramseys and the Ramseys' realization that they unofficially were prime suspects.
The Ramseys said they were stung by criticism that they rushed to get a lawyer and a public relations company. Appearing on CNN's "Larry King Live" recently, Ramsey said a lawyer was contacted after a friend told him family members often are suspects in a child's death.
"We didn't hire a public relations firm; that is false," he said.
The rumor apparently surfaced because the law firm representing the Ramseys hired someone to answer the barrage of media inquiries.
The Ramseys, described in stories as wealthy, said they have spent most of their money on investigators and attorneys.
Wise, whose part in writing the book is acknowledged inside, said all the information given to him was checked out by the publishing company. His role was to hear the Ramseys' story and be the ghostwriter. He used a tape recorder in the interviews then put the results on a computer. The Ramseys would respond to the materials Wise produced.
The clergyman not only leads his church, which is part of the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches, but also is a bishop in that church and a principal lecturer for the Adult Christian Foundation in Madison, Wis. He has spoken throughout the Western Hemisphere, in Europe, Russia and the Far East.
Wise has ministered and worked ecumenically in the United Methodist Church and the Reformed Church in America. During his tenure as the highest elected officer in the Reformed Church in America, he worked as a bishop behind the Iron Curtain in Eastern Europe.
He holds a master of divinity degree from Phillips Graduate Seminary. During doctoral studies, he focused on correlating spiritual insight with emotional needs as a means of bringing renewal to the church.
Wise was instrumental in founding Our Lord's Community Church in Oklahoma City, which began with five people and grew in a decade to a congregation of 2,000 with more than $ 5.6 million in facilities.
He is a frequent contributor to numerous magazines.
"The Death of Innocence" has attracted so much media attention that sales are expected to be brisk. It is a gripping account of a slaying that will be discussed for decades.