Fleet Russell White, Jr. & Priscilla Brown White
April 6, 1998
University of Colorado
Campus Box 35
Boulder, CO 80309
Dear Mr. Buechner:
My wife, Priscilla, and I were friends and neighbors of John and Patsy Ramsey. Our son and daughter were close friends of the Ramsey children. Our families celebrated Christmas dinner together on December 25, 1996. At 6:00 AM the next morning, Patsy called us to help them. JonBenet had been kidnapped. I was with John when the body of JonBenet was found in the basement of their home. Early last year the Boulder Police Department informed us that the wife of the family that the Ramseys were living with had contacted Tom Koby. She informed him that we should be considered prime suspects in the murder. Over the last fifteen months we have been involved in the police investigation as key witnesses and have, of necessity, been close observers of not only the investigation but also the news media attention to the case. Recently it has come to our attention that a University of Colorado professor named Michael Tracey is working on a television program concerning the investigation. Enclosed is copy of a column appearing in the March 29 issue of the Denver Post concerning Mr. Tracey.
On April 2 we received a call from Mr. Tracey soliciting our cooperation and an interview for his "documentary of the media coverage of the JonBenet Ramsey case" During our telephone conversation, Mr. Tracey related that he hoped to interview a wide range of people involved in the case. He indicated that as of that date he had only interviewed John and Patsy Ramsey, members of their family, and John Ramseys attorney and business partner, Mike Bynum. We declined his request as we have done uniformly to all such requests.
The most recent development in the JonBenet Ramsey case is the referral of the case by the Boulder Police Department to the Boulder County District Attorney along with a request that the District Attorney present the case to a grand Jury. There is speculation that the grand jury may begin hearing evidence in early May. It is our strong suspicion that the "documentary" to be produced by Mr. Tracey is actually the product of a collaboration with Ramsey defense strategists who intend to illustrate how the news media has unjustly treated the Ramseys and worked to deprive them of a presumption of innocence. Clearly and best vehicle for establishing the credibility of the program and the message it conveys would be to use an "objective" faculty member of the University of Colorado.
It is our strong recommendation that the University of Colorado give serious consideration of the consequences that this program may have. First, the program, it it airs, will likely receive international media attention inviting widespread criticism of the University for its role in its production and its perceived endorsement. Second, it will probably be highly critical of the Boulder Police Department, impeaching its credibility and the reputations of its officers. Third, it will criticize the police murder investigation and serve to further undermine the ability of police and prosecutors to do their job. Fourth, it will cause needless injury to our community which can now ill afford any further criticism of its government that is not genuinely constructive.
Lastly, this represents nothing less than the cynical and selfish exploitation of the University and our community. The people behind this program know that the University will be placed at risk without any possibility of an offsetting benefit.
John and Patsy Ramsey have deprived themselves from the presumption of innocence that they now claim has been taken from them. They have refused to cooperate with police. They have moved away from Boulder. Their public statements and appearances have been carefully orchestrated. Now their strategy is to impeach our law enforcement agencies and, in doing so, our community. They will be making desperate attempts to do this. The University of Colorado should have no part of it.
Priscilla and I are available at any time to meet with you or with those that you feel are appropriate. Time is of the essence in this matter.
Fleet Russell White, Jr.