Friday, March 24, 2000

Today Show - Part 5


NBC News Transcripts, March 24, 2000

KATIE COURIC reporting:

All week we've been talking with the parents of JonBenet Ramsey. Since her death three years ago, John and Patsy Ramsey have been the prime suspects in the case, though they've never been charged with a crime. Today, in our final interview, they turn the tables and give us their theory about who killed JonBenet. Do you still have your own investigative team?

Mr. JOHN RAMSEY: We've got a number of experts who've volunteered their time. We have seasoned homicide investigators. But we don't want to tell the killer how we're pursuing him. But I can tell you we are.

COURIC: How many people are on the case?

Mr. RAMSEY: It varies, because some of them are volunteer, some of them are available as needed.

COURIC: Who's on it permanently, could you tell me that?

Mr. RAMSEY: I--I--I...

COURIC: Or--or how many? Or sort of...

Mr. RAMSEY: I--it--I--it doesn't serve our purpose. I'll tell you this, that at some point I will tell you all we've done. But now is not the time to do it.

COURIC: Who do you think did this? What is your working theory?

Mr. RAMSEY: We're looking for a male. A pedophile. A pedophile that prefers female children. Someone who owned a stun gun or had access to a stun gun. Someone who knew how to us a garrote and to tie the complicated knot that made that garrote up that was used to strangle my daughter.

COURIC: How did this profile come about?

Mr. RAMSEY: Came about not from me, but from listening to a lot of people, a number of people that are--that are experts in this field.

Ms. PATSY RAMSEY: Professionals.

COURIC: Those experts have looked to JonBenet herself to provide clues in the way she was killed, strangled by a cord tied to a stick, a contraption known as a garrote. She appeared to have been sexually abused in the course of the murder. The theory of whether a stun gun was used to silence her is controversial, but it could explain unusual marks found on JonBenet's body. Do you think this person was a stranger?

Mr. RAMSEY: I've been told that this person was either very angry with me or very jealous of me, and that--that was a heavy burden to hear. I don't know that I knew this person. We were in a small town, we had a fairly lar--were a large employer in a small town.

COURIC: You pepper the book with fleeting references to some other people that you seemed to question. You talk about Bill McReynolds, who played Santa at your Christmas party. You also mention his wife, who in a strange twist wrote a play years before about a girl murdered in a basement.

Mr. RAMSEY: Mm-hmm. The point in the book was to clarify from our viewpoint why these people have been mentioned a lot in the media. And also to point out that there are legitimate leads that need to be followed.

COURIC: Apparently, this Santa Claus was investigated, and basically was dropped as a potential suspect?

Mr. RAMSEY: And--and--and that's--if that's true, then--then that's great. All I'm asking the police to do is investigate all of the leads that we have.

COURIC: You also mention Chris Wolf, a total stranger, whose girlfriend reported that he disappeared on Christmas night and was very agitated when he watched the news of the murder on TV.

Mr. RAMSEY: Mm-hmm.

COURIC: Why do you mention him?

Mr. RAMSEY: Because he'd been widely mentioned in the news, and we wanted to clarify the facts that we knew. I can tell you, when--when we first started looking at--at one particular lead early on, my reaction was, this is it. This is the killer. And our investigator said, 'Whoa, whoa, whoa,' said, 'Don't do a Boulder police on me. Don't rush to conclusions.'

COURIC: You also mention Jeff Marrick, a former employee of yours, John, who was very angry...

Mr. RAMSEY: Mm-hmm.

COURIC: ...with you because he was fired?

Mr. RAMSEY: I had no reason to suspect Jeff. But it was in response to the--a question the police asked, can you think of anybody that was angry with you?

COURIC: You also mention Glen Myer, who was a boarder at your neighbor's house. He stopped by at your Christmas party...

Mr. RAMSEY: Mm-hmm.

COURIC: ...just a few days before.

Mr. RAMSEY: I mention him because he's been mentioned, also, publicly. We didn't know Glen Myer lived across the street from us until after JonBenet was murdered.

COURIC: In fairness to the people we've just mentioned, we just want to say the Boulder police have told us that none of them are under suspicion at this time.

Mr. RAMSEY: All I ask the Boulder police to do is to look at every lead as objectively and as hard as they've--as they've looked at us.

Ms. RAMSEY: Mm-hmm.

COURIC: When we come back, what the Ramseys think happened that night. That's right after this. ***

COURIC: John and Patsy Ramsey have told us the type of person they think killed their daughter. Now they tell us how they think it happened.

Mr. RAMSEY: We have a theory that's not complete that we believe the killer was in the house while we were gone. Was there when we came home. Waited till we were asleep. Silenced JonBenet with a stun gun while she slept. Took her to the basement, and she died of strangulation.

COURIC: Do you think the intent was to kidnap her and it went awry, or was it always to kill her?

Mr. RAMSEY: We've been told by experienced investigators that this is what it seems to be. It was a kidnapping that went terribly wrong.

COURIC: You believe the ransom note was genuine. Let me tell you some of the reasons people think the--the note was bogus, some of the reasons that have been sort of floated. A kidnapper wouldn't spend all this time in a house writing a three-page ransom note, using a pad of paper that was in the house and a pen that was in the house. I mean, just for time's sake...

Mr. RAMSEY: The killer had hours. He had literally from 4:00 in the afternoon when we left to go to the White's until 5:30 the next morning when we woke up.

COURIC: A hundred and eighteen thousand dollars, what a weird number.

Ms. PATSY RAMSEY: That's what I said. I said, if it's someone that has to do--that has something against the company, they would have asked for much more, you know, a million dollars or something.

Mr. RAMSEY: That's--it's a significant clue.

Ms. RAMSEY: Yeah, that's...

Mr. RAMSEY: Somebody will know...

Ms. RAMSEY: ...what that means.

Mr. RAMSEY: That 118 means something to somebody.

COURIC: Patsy's handwriting could not be ruled out as the author of that ransom note.

Ms. RAMSEY: When we find the killer, the killer's is going to match much closer than Patsy Ramsey's. There are lots of pieces of handwriting that we have of other suspects that match much more closely than mine does.

Mr. RAMSEY: This wasn't a random kidnapping. This was a thought-out, premeditated crime that was based, I believe, more on hate than it was money.

COURIC: So you believe you know this person?

Mr. RAMSEY: I can't imagine that I know this person. This person, I'm told, knows me.

COURIC: For every clue, a new question, like the autopsy finding that JonBenet ate pineapple just hours before she died. None was served at dinner that night, so when did JonBenet eat it? Let's address the mystery of the pineapple. That's been a source of a lot of speculation about what she did when you all got home from that Christmas party. Did she really go straight to bed? Did she eat pineapple...

Mr. RAMSEY: Let's...

COURIC: ...before she went to bed?

Mr. RAMSEY: Let's deal with the facts that I know. The facts are that JonBenet was asleep when we brought her home, we put her to bed, and neither Patsy or I fed her anything, because she was asleep. Those are the facts.

COURIC: As puzzling as those facts are, the motives are even more mysterious. Was something sinister going on in the Ramsey home? Experts disagree on whether JonBenet's body showed signs of prior sexual abuse. And though there have been reports that JonBenet had a problem with bedwetting, it's unclear whether that fact is relevant to the case. Much of the speculation has focused on you, Patsy, that you were somehow involved in it, perhaps John helped cover it up. One theory, you felt competitive with JonBenet.

Ms. RAMSEY: I've survived stage IV ovarian cancer. Life is a very precious commodity to someone who has stared death head-on. I was not competitive with my children. I love my children.

COURIC: Another scenario, Patsy, that you flew into a rage over JonBenet's bedwetting.

Ms. RAMSEY: There, again. You know, what are your priorities? JonBenet would have an occasional accident. It was nothing to be alarmed at. I didn't care one way or the other. I would not have ever--it's just--it's just ludicrous. You can't even--you can't even answer it.

COURIC: John, there's disagreement, I guess there--there are people who believe JonBenet was sexually abused prior to her murder, and experts who believe she was not.

Mr. RAMSEY: I can tell you as her father that if I even had a minute suspicion that anybody was harming my daughter, I would have been horrified.

COURIC: Do you think it's possible, even though you had no knowledge, that she might have been?


Ms. RAMSEY: Absolutely not.

Mr. RAMSEY: We were very close. Jon...

Ms. RAMSEY: Absolutely not.

Mr. RAMSEY: I mean, JonBenet was also a talker. She loved to talk. And, no, there's--there's no way.

COURIC: Do you, in your hearts, believe that this crime will one day be solved?

Ms. RAMSEY: Yes, I do.

Mr. RAMSEY: I do.

Ms. RAMSEY: We've been told that we can find the killer. That's what we're living for.

COURIC: And to all those people out there who might remain unconvinced that you had nothing to do with this murder?

Mr. RAMSEY: I'm not going to try to persuade people that I'm innocent. That's not important here. I want people to--to be objective and listen and think, because that's how this crime's going to be solved.

COURIC: But isn't part of this about salvaging your reputations? I mean, you...

Mr. RAMSEY: It's salvaging our family name for the sake of our children, because our children are going to have to live with this a lot longer than we are.

COURIC: So it important that people...

Ms. RAMSEY: But once...

COURIC: ...believe that you did not commit this crime?

Ms. RAMSEY: Once we find the killer, then--then all that will go away.

COURIC: And if you never do?

Mr. RAMSEY: It--it probably is a cloud we'll deal with for the rest of our lives and the rest of our children's lives.

COURIC: John and Patsy Ramsey. Again, their new book is called "The Death of Innocence." And you can read much more about this on our Web site at We'll be right back.