Larry King Live - December 28, 1998

Will JonBenet Ramsey's Killer Ever Be Brought to Justice?
Aired December 28, 1998 - 9:00 p.m. ET

LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight the murder of a six year old girl. Two years have gone by, no arrest. Will JonBenet Ramsey's killer ever be brought to justice? We'll update the case with a great panel of guests.

In Atlanta, Pam Paugh, the sister of JonBenet's mother Patsy Ramsey. Her connection we'll find out. Famed forensic scientist Dr. Henry Lee. He has been in this from all the early get-go, been a part of the special task force too assembled by Boulder D.A. Alexander Hunter. In Denver, another member of that task force, the Denver District Attorney Bill Ritter. Also in Denver is "Newsweek"'s special correspondent Dan Glick and Lisa Ryckman, correspondent for the Denver "Rocky Mountain News."

They're all next on LARRY KING LIVE"

Good evening.

It has been over two years now, still no arrests, suspects bandied around, the fascinating case of JonBenet Ramsey, the Christmas murder of 1996.

Let's start with Dan Glick and Lisa.

Dan, bring us up today. Maybe we'll begin the story from the beginning. Someone just landed here from another planet. They sit down; they turn on set. What happened?

DAN GLICK, "NEWSWEEK": Well, sometime between about 9:30 p.m. on December 25th, 1996 and about 5:59 in the morning when the first police arrived at the scene in Boulder, Colorado, a young girl was found missing and later on that day, she was found dead. Since that time, we have had -- well, I guess, massive investigation that has to date yielded no indictment, no arrest, and a whole lot of people speculating about what happened in that house that night. And so far nobody knows. We have got a grand jury convened in Boulder County and 12 good citizens of that county are mulling over the evidence being presented to them to see if there's enough evidence to bring somebody to trial for the horrible murder of this young girl.

KING: Lisa, back a step. What happened between the missing and the finding of the body?

LISA RYCKMAN, "DENVER ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS": Well, we had -- between the missing and the finding, there were police coming and going. There were friends and neighbors coming and going. In that seven-hour period or so, Larry, there were a lot of people on the crime scene. It was not secured, and that was one of the early and perhaps most grievous mistakes that the Boulder police made.

KING: All right, so it was first being a suspected kidnapping- child missing case and then it became child found-murder case?


KING: And the child was definitely moved from where she was killed? Do we know that as fact?

RYCKMAN: Well, that's -- I think that's a matter of speculation. She was found in a basement room by her father. When he was asked -- John Ramsey -- when he was asked to search the house by one of the police officers, he went down and went into a room -- a little used room in the basement. The door was stuck and he forced it open and there was JonBenet lying on the floor of this room covered with a blanket. And -- and her mouth was taped. He -- he went to her. He tore the tape off her mouth. He picked her up. He brought her upstairs, and in the course of this, all kinds of evidence was destroyed or disturbed?

KING: So the police did not instruct him not to touch anything?

RYCKMAN: No, in fact, the -- he was -- he was told to go look for something he might have missed and that's what happened. He went and found JonBenet then, and I think now what we have is the police trying over a period of months and now years to make up for the mistakes they have made in the early going and that of course may be impossible.

KING: Dr. Lee, what was the cause of her death?

DR. HENRY LEE, FORENSIC SCIENTIST: Well, the cause of death, it's basically, it's a combination of ligature, strangulation of a blunt object -- injury of a blunt trauma...

KING: She was hit with something.

LEE: Right.

KING: Was she sexually abused?

LEE: Well, it's up today -- still this is an area of -- still have a different school of thought.

KING: What is your school of thought?

LEE: Well, the manner of the death, of course, you know, can be homicidal; could be an accidental, subsequently a staged scene. And I agree, you know, the initial responsible action of a security of the crime scene wasn't do properly. Subsequently, action sort of make the whole case more difficult.

KING: Now, you are director for public safety for the state of Connecticut. You're a world-famous forensic scientist. Who are you working for here? What is your role in this saga-mystery?

LEE: OK, in this JonBenet Ramsey case? Alexander -- he's the first one to contact me. Subsequently I work with Boulder Police Department and Boulder State Attorney's Office -- have a very -- I have to say, very smooth working relationship with them. Of course, you know, we don't have the original scene to work on. We don't have the original evidence to work on -- make it difficult. If you want to help, it becomes a little bit difficult to help.

KING: If charges are ever brought, do you expect to be a witness?

LEE: More likely.

KING: Pam Paugh, where were you that Christmas day?

PAM PAUGH, PATSY RAMSEY'S SISTER: That Christmas day, I was here in Atlanta with the rest of my family members, excluding Patsy, John, Burke and JonBenet.

KING: How did you hear about your niece's death?

PAUGH: Well, on the morning of the 26th which was the morning after Christmas, I was summoned to my parents' home by my mother, as I have said previously. And it was later that evening when John called to tell us that JonBenet had been found and that she had been murdered.

KING: Your mother already knew?

PAUGH: My mother already knew -- no, my mother learned it at the same time that I did.

KING: Obviously, great shock. Did you go out to see them right away? Did you head to Boulder?

PAUGH: Yes my younger sister and her husband and I were immediately dispatched on a plane and we went immediately to Boulder to Patsy and John and Burke's side.

KING: We'll take a break and come right back. Bill Ritter will get in. Our full hour devoted to this tonight. Still no word, but a grand jury is convened.

KING: All right. Now, Bill Ritter, Denver district attorney who's part of this, how were you brought in? The case did not occur in your area?

BILL RITTER, DENVER DISTRICT ATTORNEY: That's correct. It's in a neighboring jurisdiction, Boulder, but in early February of 1997, Alex Hunter contacted me and contacted three other district attorneys from the metro area, asked us to be part of a task force that would advise him.

That was about the same time, actually, that Henry Lee was contacted, Barry Scheck was contacted. We were all part of a team of people who have been giving advice to Alex Hunter since February of 1997.

I have actually been sworn into the grand jury in Boulder so that I can be privy to testimony taken in the grand jury. One of my chief deputies is now involved on the prosecution team and, actually, the person who leads the grand jury investigation at this stage, Mike Kane, is a former colleague of mine when we were both chief deputies in the Denver D.A.'s office.

KING: Now, can -- usually when a grand jury convenes and they're looking at something, the prosecutor usually has a suspect in mind and is presenting to the grand jury information related to that subject. Is that the case here?

RITTER: That is often the case, that a person -- a prosecutor has a suspect or suspects in mind. I think what has always been said about this case is that there is an umbrella of suspicion still that surrounds the parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, but there's been a great deal of media interest in an intruder theory, and all of those things are things that are still being investigated by this Boulder grand jury...

KING: So...

RITTER: ... without saying anything that's happened inside.

KING: Who, then, Bill, is the prosecutor prosecuting? Who is he saying to this jury: Wait until you hear this, guy. This will be self-evident.

RITTER: I have to be really careful, Larry, not to run afoul of the secrecy laws that protect grand juries in the state of Colorado. I can tell you and I can tell your listeners, your viewers, that prosecutors don't always have a suspect. They go in and they present a case to a grand jury and essentially ask the grand jury what direction they want to head. Ultimately, it's the grand jury that is the decision maker. It relieves the prosecutor of making the decision about who it is that should be charged, and a grand jury is very much an investigative body to get to the place to decide who it is that should be charged.

KING: Dan Glick, that is not the norm, though, is it? You decide?

GLICK: Well, it's not. And ultimately, the district attorney will have the ultimate power to decide whether or not to take the recommendation of the grand jury if the grand jury's decision is to indict somebody.

But I think Bill's point is well taken. We were told very early on in this discussion about whether or not a grand jury would be useful to help unravel this case, that there were things that the police couldn't get: testimony from people, documents that couldn't be subpoenaed under a normal investigative process, that only the grand jury could get. I think that the secrecy of the Colorado grand jury is much greater than what the country is becoming accustomed to with the Starr investigation. And quite frankly, we don't really know that much about what the grand jury is or is not investigating.

KING: Nor do we know how far along they are, right?

GLICK: We don't. We know they took about a month break for the Christmas holidays. They've been meeting about two times a week for. I guess, about two-and-a-half months now. I'm not exactly sure of the time they started and whether they had some breaks, but there's no indication that they're going to come back on January 1 with an indictment.

KING: We'll get to current -- or new evidence in a moment.

Lisa Ryckman, I know how puzzling this must be to cover for you. And it seems endless, this -- this concept. What's the biggest it -- is there any major advancement been made in two years in your opinion?

RYCKMAN: Well, you know, Larry, as you say, this is -- this is an amazing case to cover. There certainly in my career hasn't been anything like it, and I've covered crime stories for over 20 years. The interest that this has, that it has generated, it's got legs of its own, as people say. This is certainly in terms of new information, there are new things that happen all the time. There have been leaks by the police. There have been leaks by the district attorney's office. Things come out and there are things to report.

There's never any -- there hasn't been any -- any big breakthrough, obviously. We have -- we had a point at which the police were saying -- and this was -- they asked for the grand jury because they said: We do not have a provable case. And they wanted the powers of the grand jury to try and jump-start what appeared to be something that was stalled and may always be.

KING: When we come back, we'll ask Pam her reaction to the fact that her sister and brother-in-law still remain suspects, although there's a growing body of disbelief that they had something to do with this.

More on the incredible story of JonBenet Ramsey's murder after this.


JOHN RAMSEY, JONBENET'S FATHER: We began to realize, well, OK, we're suspects. And I was OK with that, because I assumed it was a broad investigation.



J. RAMSEY: The American public has been led to believe that while we went to bed that night after a wonderful Christmas brutally beat JonBenet, sexually molested her; strangled her; went to sleep; got up the next morning; wrote a three-page ransom note, called the police, sat around the house for four hours; then I went downstairs and discovered found her body; and was able to act distraught. Patsy was able to throw up that morning because of gut-wrenching anxiety. She faked it. Help me understand that. Where is our common sense as a society, as a race of people?


KING: All right, Pam Paugh, Patsy Ramsey's sister, what's your reaction to the fact that Bill Ritter just mentioned that your sister and brother-in-law are still suspects in all of this?

PAUGH: Well, of course, I am still...

KING: Not objective.

PAUGH: Pardon me.

KING: You're not objective.

PAUGH: No, I wouldn't say that. I would say that in the final analysis, you and your listeners and everyone else is going to find out that what I claimed from the beginning of this whole fiasco is going to be the truth and that is that this murder was planned and the motives were very definitely non-parental. They were from an envious and a greed standpoint. And it was not so much a crime against JonBenet, though she was the ultimate victim, as it was a crime against Patsy and John. And it was set up in such a way as to cause or to try point to Patsy and John being under the umbrella of suspicion. But make no doubt here that if the police had anything to go on in the past two years, I am confident that as incompetent as they were in their investigative skills they would have taken action on that. They would have been able to give Alexander Hunter something to take action on. That clearly hasn't happened here.

KING: Is this a guess on your -- a summation since you know your sister and brother-in-law didn't do it -- that it had to have been a rival. Is this a guess (UNINTELLIGIBLE) motive?


KING: Some rival of your brother-in-law's who wanted to do him ill.

PAUGH: I wouldn't say it was a rival and of course, I think the world by knows that I pretty much know in my heart and in my mind who has done this terrible thing.

KING: But you won't name it, right?

PAUGH: No. KING: Do the police know this name? Have you discussed it with them.

PAUGH: Name names, yes.

KING: Is this name being discussed at the grand jury to your knowledge?

PAUGH: I do not know that. I do know that the best the police had the offer as a detective at the time was an ex-narcotics investigator, and that -- narcotics on the street and murder seem to have a very different set of issues to deal with. And if that's the best they had to offer, I think that they needed to stop at this point and say, let's get somebody in here to unravel this.

KING: Do you guess why the person having this hatred for one or both of the parents would kill a child.


KING: That's impossible to guess, right?

PAUGH: For me it's impossible to guess. I would never hurt anyone's child. But...

KING: Take it out on them.

PAUGH: I think there are people out there who are twisted enough mentally to do these kinds of things. And of course, my great fear is that once a killer, always a killer. And I fear that they will kill again.

KING: Is this person -- or is it a person or persons?

PAUGH: Persons.

KING: Persons. Are they in Boulder?

PAUGH: I can't speak to that.

KING: OK. Dr. Lee, when they move the body -- when the father picked up the body and moved it, what was lost in that movement to make the police inquiry a bigger problem?

LEE: This case all depends on the trace evidence case: hair fibers, mineral particles, polymers. Once the body moved, you're going to have secondary transfer from the father to the victim at the same time or regional deposit, has been contaminated and compromised. Sometimes those trace evidence lost in between, make it difficult. Another point I just want to make, grand jury -- I participated in quite a few grand jury hearing, not always have to indict somebody. Sometimes just a fact finding -- trying to find more fact.

The whole case is to build on fact, on scientific fact -- that's one issue. Of course, the witness statement can maybe shed some light into the case. This crime scene, of course, as we all know, only one shot. The first day you have to do correctly. Now it's too late to go back -- say, don't move the body, already moved. And what we have to do is look at whatever remain -- what can we put the case together?

KING: When we come back, we'll talk about some new DNA evidence and get the thoughts of Mr. Ritter and the rest of the panel. This is LARRY KING LIVE. It's been over two years now since this murder occurred.

KING: Is it true, Bill Ritter, district attorney of Denver, that there is additional DNA evidence that shows commingling of DNA that is not the father, not the mother and not JonBenet?

RITTER: It's been reported and at this juncture, all I'm willing to say about that, Larry -- and I hate to be such a terrible guest; kind of a lousy guest for you, Larry, because there's so little I'm willing to say in order not to undermine what's going on in terms of the investigation, of the grand jury investigation -- but it's been reported that there's commingled DNA. There is still testing that's been conducted relating to the DNA that that is commingled.

KING: Can I ask you a hypothetic?

RITTER: You can ask me hypotheticals, but I -- I'm very careful, Larry.

KING: If this is true, does this branch this out completely?

RITTER: No. You have to understand that DNA is one form, or can be one form, of trace evidence, and -- and the -- any kind of trace evidence, whether it's hair evidence, blood evidence or -- or, you know, more specific than blood evidence, DNA evidence, the strength of that evidence depends upon the number of people who could be involved in contributing that trace evidence, what the other explanations might be apart from criminal activity. And those are all things that prosecutors and ultimately grand juries as well have to weigh.

There can be a lot of trace evidence found at a crime scene. If there are other reasonable explanations for it, its evidentiary value is very low.

KING: I see.

RITTER: If there's no other reasonable explanation for its location and its presence at this crime scene, that increases its evidentiary value. I think Dr. Lee would agree with me about that, and so you have to look and see what the evidence is -- the trace evidence and then ask yourselves from a common sense perspective are the explanations for its presence there.

KING: In other words, there could be some Pam Paugh DNA around JonBenet Ramsey that occurred two weeks prior, right?

RITTER: Well...

LEE: There could be.

RITTER: There absolutely could be.

KING: Right, Dr. Lee? Is that correct?

LEE: Yes, it could be two days or two weeks prior, and it could be a secondary transfer, it could be a tertiary transfer. Somehow...

KING: Right, but we know it wasn't her. She wasn't in the same city.

LEE: Right.

KING: Pam, have you been asked about this?

PAUGH: Oh, absolutely. And I have to appreciate Mr. Ritter's point, respectfully, on not being able to discuss it. I will, however, discuss it as fully as I have been briefed on the issue and that is by GBI officials.

KING: That's Georgia Bureau of Investigation?

PAUGH: Correct. They did come last week and collect mouth swabbings, fingerprint, palm print, side angle -- what they call the knife blade of the palm and...

KING: Of you?

PAUGH: Of myself, of my parents, of my younger sister and of her husband.

KING: But you were in Georgia. Why you?

PAUGH: Well, that's a good question. However -- of course we were visiting in the home a lot, and so, yes, my DNA could be on -- I don't know how long DNA lives, and maybe Dr. Lee can answer that, but for instance, I could have a piece of hair fiber, maybe, on the nightstand or something, because I would often sleep in the other twin bed in JonBenet's room.

But let me say this: The commingling DNA that does exist has been separated. One of the DNA strands does belong to JonBenet. The other has only been tested, I'm told, against Patsy, John and Burke, of which there is, unequivocally, no match. So, if you then go back and say: How does that play? Well, let's look at where the DNA was found. I am told that it was found on the inside of JonBenet's panties. That, to me, does blow this whole thing wide open, Larry, because we know that it doesn't match Patsy, John, or Burke, and we know that it does include JonBenet's, and it's commingled, meaning some kind of physical contact, not necessarily just caught it in the washing machine or something.

KING: Bill... PAUGH: So, whose is it? I am betting my money on the fact that it matches her killer, and that is what we need professional investigators -- Dr. Henry lee, perhaps, to go back and try to say: Who now has motive? And who should be tested against this DNA?

KING: We'll take a break and try to find out why it took so long to find this and more. We're only halfway through. Don't go away.


QUESTION: Did you have anything to do with the death of jonbenet?

J. RAMSEY: I would have given my life for JonBenet, and I regret and I will regret for the rest of my life that I wasn't able to that night. No. To answer the question, no, we did not.

PATSY RAMSEY, MOTHER OF JONBENET: Absolutely not. I mean, I don't know how -- you can't even -- how do you say no anymore clearly than no?

KING: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE and our examination of the JonBenet Ramsey case two years after her murder.

Our guests are, in Atlanta, Pam Paugh, sister of JonBenet's mother, Patsy; in Hartford, Connecticut, the noted forensic scientist Dr. Henry Lee -- he was part of a special task force put together by the Boulder D.A., Alex Hunter. In Denver, another member of that task force is Denver District Attorney Bill Ritter. Dan Glick is special correspondent for "Newsweek" Magazine, and the Denver "Rocky Mountain News" correspondent Lisa Ryckman.

Are there complaints, Dan, that this -- why was this DNA recently discovered?

GLICK: I don't believe it was recently discovered. What happened was that recently, as Pam Paugh said, her family was asked to give samples. Patsy's father, Don Paugh, was asked to give a sample -- what they call nontestimonial evidence -- for the second time.

I think for those of us on the outside looking for as many clues as we can without being privy to all the information, I think we can fairly accurately deduce that there was DNA found on the girl's body -- I believe under her fingernails and this co-mingled DNA in her underwear -- that has not yet been matched to another human being.

They have tried, obviously. They have taken samples from a number of people. About a year ago, we know with some degree of accuracy that the police were going around looking -- taking swabs, mouth swabs, to get DNA samples from many of JonBenet's playmates, assuming that perhaps, if she scratched somebody while playing, it would be a natural and innocuous deposit of DNA.

I think we can make a deduction. I don't think it's fact. But we can make a pretty safe guess that they have not matched the DNA, which is why they want to.

And it was found in, I think what you would say, a not innocuous place, obviously.

So they're looking for a match for the DNA. Whether or not it's going to be the murderer or a playmate or any one of a number of possibilities, as Bill said, we can't make a final guess on what this means until we know what it is. But it certainly could be something very critical to the case.

KING: Lisa Ryckman, were there footprints in the snow?

RYCKMAN: You know, that is something that has been discussed, speculated on over and over again. Certainly, there have been reports that there was not very much snow around the house. And it doesn't -- and in other cases, other people have said, yes, there was still some snow left there in the yard, that there were hundreds of footprints, in fact.

You know, you -- I think that that is, in terms of being significant, it seems like that particular bit of information has -- has -- is not as significant as some others.

We have a footprint -- apparently some kind of boot, SAS or high- tech boot -- which was found inside the house and in fact inside the room where JonBenet's body was found. And that has not been matched yet. That perhaps is far more significant, Larry.

KING: Bill Ritter, with what we know up to now, have the media been too rough on the parents?

RITTER: Oh, that's a tough question to ask a prosecutor who believes that cases are best served in the pretrial stages to not have media interest at all -- really, in pretrial -- and that the media interest should come during the trial when it's supposed to be a public hashing of the evidence and the facts.

RITTER: Well, does it hurt you in any way one way or the other when someone is singled out, they're in the tabloids every week and polls show that most people think they or one of them did it?

KING: Well, because a lot of it is based upon speculation of things that are not, in fact, correct or are downright inaccurate, it does hurt, because people then assume those facts to be true, and they kind of, assuming those facts to be true, develop theories. And those theories over time grow legs, and then pretty soon people start beating up on the prosecution...

KING: So there's no plus in this for you?

RITTER: Yes. In my mind, there is not.

Let me just say one other thing. There has been a fair amount of criticism of the Boulder Police Department. And I think people talked about mistakes that were made early on. And they didn't have a lot of experience investigating homicides.

But I sat through the presentation that they made in early June of 1998. And I can tell you it was a professional presentation. They had amassed a great deal of evidence. And I think they were doing their level best to amass the evidence in such a fashion that they could take it then to a grand jury. So...

KING: With a suspect?

RITTER: Well, no. Not with a particular -- not with a particular target, as we call it in the prosecution business. But with the evidence that they had amassed at that point and asking 12 citizens to do whatever they can to get further evidence that might be out there that we don't have the subpoena power to get, and then to go forward to see if there was some point and time where they could charge a suspect.

KING: Dr. Lee, does every forensic scientist approach everything openly, or do you approach with a thought of this person did it, I'll try to find out how?

LEE: We -- the first scene, we have to approach scene openly. I don't even know -- have to know who is a potential suspect, just look at the scientific fact.

DNA, of course, Larry, just (UNINTELLIGIBLE) made a correct assessment. DNA, first sort of thing -- I cannot directly comment on this case. When we have a DNA result, we have to know the source. Is that from blood, tissue, bone, hair or semen?

Each one can be different, different interpretation. We have to know the source, and what type of a location, how it distributes -- how much there.

If I look at somebody's body, I probably can find a lot of other foreign DNA -- the clothing on the -- (UNINTELLIGIBLE) secondary or tertiary contact. So we have to approach the case with an open mind. Don't develop tunnel vision.

KING: I got you. We'll be right back with more of our panel on LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.


P. RAMSEY: Well, she had accidents, but children do. It is so minuscule in the big -- does someone actually think I would kill my child because she wets the bed? I mean, I have lived through stage- four cancer. In the grand scheme of things, bed wetting is not important.



NARRATOR: It was when she had cancer that Patsy Ramsey made a fateful decision. She renewed her interest in beauty pageants and began entering JonBenet in children's competitions.


KING: Dan Glickman -- Dan Glick rather it was called initially a ten-minute Columbo. It looked open and shut. What happened?

GLICK: Well, I think what happened is a combination some of the things we have been talking about on this show. The -- we'll never know what we lost in the way of forensic evidence in those first hours when there were -- there was a period of about two-and-a-half hours where there was one detective and about 11 civilians in that house. So the crime scene was not protected. They did think it was a kidnapping in progress. I don't think anybody would suggest that was proper management of the crime scene. So we started off like that and then there were people that had hits on what they thought happened and they started gathering evidence. Again, all I can go on is that we're two years into this and we don't have an indictment yet.

So, I think, again, the only thing you can deduce from that this is not an iron-clad case. It's a very difficult case. It's going to be made up -- when and if it's finally made, it's going to be made up of a lot of different pieces and my best guess of what's happened is you don't have four or five pieces that you can lay out in a straight line because you're always derailed by some piece of evidence that doesn't fit.

KING: Lisa, is this to this point -- for want of a better term -- the old cliche, is this a perfect murder?

RYCKMAN: Oh, I -- it's possible, Larry. I hate to think that. I think that everyone who was involved in this wants nothing more than to see some end to this. They want some conclusion. And I think that the farther away that we get from the actual crime, the less likely that may be. In the past six months, Larry, we have had two key investigators resign from this case. Steve Thomas who was a Boulder Police detective who was on this from the very beginning.

KING: He said he was obstructed.

RYCKMAN: That's right. He claimed that the district attorney's office was obstructionist in various ways. And then we had Lou Smit who was a retired homicide investigator from Colorado Springs who was brought in by D.A. Hunter to help him. He resigned for exactly the opposite reason. He said that the police had an agenda, that they were trying to make the evidence fit a theory and that he didn't believe that John and Patsy had anything to do with it and he felt innocent people were being persecuted.

KING: Did you ever talk to him Pam?

PAUGH: No, I have never spoken to Mr. Smit -- not at all.

KING: But certainly you were happy to hear what he said?

PAUGH: Well I was confident that he was not out just out there placating someone, that he was speaking from years -- 32 years of experience. If that's the case and that's what he honestly believes, then I am all for it.

KING: Dan, do we watch the grand jury offices every day to see if people are going in who have -- we don't know about or have not been questioned before? We're not allowed in, but you can stand outside.

PAUGH: Well you can stand outside, but at this point you won't see anything because they have been spiriting witnesses in and out through underground tunnels and the like -- backdoors. So at the beginning when some of the Boulder law enforcement officials were coming in -- we could see them coming and going. At this point, I think people have realized that this truly is a secret grand jury proceeding and there's not a lot of information getting out. We know that the grand jurors did go and visit the house and have some time to walk through it, but after that, we don't know. If you'll permit me, Larry, I would like to ask Bill Ritter...

KING: Sure.

PAUGH: ... if he feels that -- sorry, Bill -- Steve Thomas's allegations that District Attorney Hunter had really impeded this investigation, if he has any reason to believe that was true?

RITTER: No, I didn't believe it was true. I read Steve Thomas's letter. I met with Alexander Hunter. There were certainly some serious allegations made in that. And it was at that point in time that the group of us advising Alexander Hunter suggested that he put on prosecutor's -- from our offices to conduct -- help conduct a grand jury investigation along with Mike Kane, so at least there wasn't an appearance of things happening that Steve Thomas suggested were happening. But two prosecutors were removed. That was a courageous thing for Alexander Hunter to do. They were two career prosecutors and very good men, but he removed them and put on two other prosecutors to try and at least give the public the sense that, listen, everything was being done to investigate this and ultimately to solve it.


P. RAMSEY: I mean all the children there had this same pension for performance. It was just the kind of venue for that. All the parents knew each other.

J. RAMSEY: The audience were parents.

P. RAMSEY: Just parents and grandparent. I mean -- it was fun. She looked forward to it and we just had a really fun time.


KING: Bill Ritter, without giving away anything, when do you expect this grand jury to conclude?

RITTER: Well, by statute, it concludes in April, except for the possibility that the D.A. goes in and requests a six-month extension. That means at the very latest, October of 1999 is when the grand jury must conclude their work by our Colorado statute.

KING: Do you, in your heart or in your logic or both, expect an arrest?

RITTER: I'm just not going to comment on that, Larry.

KING: Whether you can expect an arrest or not?

RITTER: Even -- even -- yes, because saying "yes" heightens expectations, and there will be a flurry of activity and questions asked that don't need to be asked. We're conducting a grand jury investigation. We have the veil of secrecy and probably the best stage of this grand jury investigation has been since the grand jury has been impaneled and the least amount of media attention paid to the case.

KING: Pam, since you're sure you think you know who did it, why not name them? All you'd face is a lawsuit, and they'd have to be deposed. You would be deposed. If they sued you, they've got -- they could be asked every question in the book by your lawyers, so why not name them?

PAUGH: I will name them when I'm called to the grand jury. I'll not only name them, but I'll put together a time lime. I will put together instances, things that had been said and some factual things to back up my suspicions.

KING: When are you going before the grand jury?

PAUGH: Well, I haven't been called yet, but let me say a couple of things: First of all, I think it's important to state that the credibility of the case since Alex Hunter has taken over has quadrupled in my opinion. As was just mentioned, there are no links. There are no more gamesmanship, one-upsmanship that's going on, and I think that's a testament to Alex Hunter and the panel that he has empowered to help him with this case. And so to him I say thank you. I knew that he was going to act in that light.

And secondly, to the media: The media, as I have said from the beginning of this, should be involved in talking about factual things that are necessary to involve the public in, but they should not be involved in this he-said-she-said speculation, making a mountain out of a mole hill type thing.

When the public finds out things in the aftermath of this case, such as a tabloid paying someone a hundred thousand dollars to make up -- to fabricate a story and then it gets put out there, that is ridiculous. Now, on the other side of the coin, I have a book that we have written about Patsy, and it's called "JonBenet's Mother: the Tragedy and the Truth." The public doesn't seem to want to read good things, but they should. And these are people -- the difference is, when a tabloid story is printed, very rarely do you see people's names being stated as "they said this about Patsy Ramsey" or "They said this"...

KING: It's always a "friend."

PAUGH: It's always "a source," "someone close to," "an insider." To me, that's bogus. These are people who have come forward and who have put their name on their words.

KING: Doctor -- Doctor Lee, do you have a lot of unsolved cases that go back years?

LEE: Yes.

KING: You do?

LEE: Many, many. Eight hundred.

KING: How many?

LEE: Right now I'm working about 800 unsolved cases sent to me from all over the world, a lot of other state and many from in-state. I am working on those cases.

KING: That might go back how far?

LEE: These go back some 20, 30 years old. Some are a hundred years old. And solving cases, it's a teamwork, like in putting puzzle together. I have to say Alex Hunter and the police, Boulder police, everybody tried -- want to solve this case. Nobody intentionally tries to slow down the case. We all want this case to solve. However, you're like putting puzzle together. You only have few pieces. You don't see the whole picture yet. We have to hope for the grand jury can bring more pieces together so you can start reconstruct, to put in the case together.

KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments and some thoughts from each of the panelists after this.


KING: Let's go around the horn. Dan Glick, do you think you'll be covering this the day you get your first Social Security check?

GLICK: Well, considering that may not be until I am about 85, I think there's a pretty safe bet I am going to be off it by then.

KING: Do you think there's going to be an arrest?

GLICK: You know, I -- I'm just like everybody else. I have no idea.

I think this case is like a Rorschach test. And people look at it and they see pretty much what they want.

There's no better example than what Lisa was talking about, about Lou Smit, who says the parents are innocent, and Steve Thomas, who says he didn't say the parents are guilty, but he said the process has been derailed and off the case.

KING: Lisa, are we going to keep asking this every -- are we going to have an arrest in '99?

RYCKMAN: Well, I think that that would be something that could be hoped for, absolutely. And hopefully, if there were an arrest, it would be based on evidence, based on facts.

I hope, Larry -- that we don't know all the facts. I hope that in this case somewhere there are pieces of evidence that the public has not heard about, that we as journalists don't know about. I sincerely hope that because...

KING: We do know, Lisa, that somebody knows.

RYCKMAN: Yes. Absolutely, somebody knows.

But we have -- two years now have gone by, and -- and people tend -- in -- in -- in the speculation and -- and craziness and bizarreness of this case, I think that JonBenet herself tends to get lost. There is a little girl who was murdered, and hopefully, we'll have justice for her.

KING: Bill Ritter, can you give a -- do you expect '99 -- let me ask it this way -- to be productive year?

RITTER: Well, again, like I said, the grand jury will have to conclude its work by statute, but we have all sorts of cases where we have taken them out of one grand jury and put them into the next grand jury, let the next grand jury read transcripts and continue to work.

So it's not that it has to end in October of 1999. It's just this grand jury's work would have to end.

Will it be productive? I think there are still a lot of things that can be done in terms of the grand jury subpoenaing things that are already not part of this investigation, and so it's hopeful.

KING: Dr. Lee, are you pessimistic or optimistic?

LEE: Well, I guess it depends on what type of evidence comes out, and we'll have to sit down (UNINTELLIGIBLE), try to see how many pieces we've got. Can we look through those pieces, have a whole picture, or do we need additional pieces?

KING: Pam Paugh, do you think your case will be concluded? Do you think you'll be proven right, if not as to the suspect you think, certainly the clearing of your sister- and brother-in-law?

PAUGH: I hate it that you call it "my case," Larry, but it seems that it's become the world's case at this point.

I am confident that the grand jury will, after its fact-finding mission -- whether that ends in October of '99 or whether it ends in January of '99 -- will come back and say, these are things that need to be explored. These are areas that need to be looked at further. These are people who need to be questioned and DNA that needs to be tested.

Once that is done, I am confident that we will find our killer or killers, and at that point, justice will be brought. The media can finally stop this onslaught of my family, and we as a family can get on to some of the more appropriate matters of healing, and JonBenet's legacy then can flourish in its own right.

KING: Thank you all very much. Pam Paugh, Dr. Henry Lee, Dan Glick and Lisa Ryckman, happy holidays to you all.

I am Larry King. Thanks for joining us. Good-night.