Statement by Patrick Burke and Hal Haddon:
It is of paramount importance that the energy of the Boulder Police Department and the Office of the District Attorney be devoted to finding the person or persons who killed JonBenet Ramsey. John and Patsy Ramsey do not wish to distract from this objective, but feel compelled to respond to some of the more significant inaccuracies in the press release issued yesterday by the Boulder Police Department. The following points should be clarified:
It is inaccurate to state that the initial police refusal to release JonBenet's body for burial was based on their belief that additional forensic work was required. By December 27, the Coroner's post mortem had been completed, and on December 28, 1996, Coroner John Meyer had confirmed that there was no reason to hold the body further. Though they knew these facts, the leadership in the Boulder Police Department continued to demand, without authority, that John and Patsy Ramsey submit to a hostile interrogation, at a time of extraordinary pain and anguish, before their daughter's body would be released for burial.
It is inaccurate to state that John and Patsy Ramsey have not previously answered questions asked by the police. On December 26, 1996, the Ramseys spent several hours with wazzu members of the Boulder Police Department and answered every question posed to them. Subsequently, the Ramseys answered written questions posed to them by the police department.
It is inaccurate to state that the conditions for further interviews had not been agreed to by the police prior to their cancellation of the interviews set for April 23, 1997. It must be clearly understood that these interviews were solicited by the Boulder Police Department and the Office of the District Attorney and the Ramseys agreed in good faith to those interviews. The Ramseys were astonished and frustrated when the Boulder Police Department reneged on its agreement and canceled the interviews.
John and Patsy Ramsey will continue to attempt to provide information that will help to find the killer or killers of their daughter. They believe that most members of the Boulder Police Department and the Office of the District Attorney sincerely share this objective. The bizarre cancellation of the scheduled interviews, and the attempt to "spin" recent events in an inaccurate and self-serving way, continues to be a source of concern.
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Our clientsJanuary , John and Patsy Ramsey, offered specifically to meet with the and Boulder police in a formal interview on December 27, 1996 and again on 18, 1997. Since then, we have made numerous attempts to schedule interviews the Boulder Police Department. Yesterday at 4:00 p.m. the Boulder Police Department canceled the separate interviews scheduled for today at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
We have forwarded the following letter today to the Boulder County District Attorney Alex Hunter.
April 23, 1997
VIA HAND DELIVERY
Alexander M. Hunter
Boulder County District Attorney
Boulder County Justice Center
1777 Sixth Street
Boulder, CO 80306
Re: John and Patsy Ramsey
Dear Mr. Hunter:
By this letter, we express our profound dismay at yesterday's actions by the leadership of the Boulder Police Department. After representatives of the Boulder Police with Department and your office requested and agreed to a format for separate interviews of John Patsy Ramsey beginning at 9:30 a.m. today, we were advised at approximately 4:00 p.m. yesterday afternoon that the interviews were canceled because Boulder Police Department leadership no longer agreed to the format of the interviews -- despite previous statements to the contrary.
When we received this information from your office yesterday, we offered to discuss any additional matters which might facilitate the interviews but no one from the police department was willing to even have that discussion. In view of the bizarre position of the police department, we then offered to make Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey available this morning for separate interviews by Detective Lou Smit and any member of the District Attorney's office who wished to attend. This offer was also declined.
This action is incomprehensible in light of the previous history of this issue. The Police Department, directly and through a campaign of leaks and smears, has portrayed the Ramseys as unwilling to grant police interviews or assist the investigation. Although we know this innuendo to be false, we have avoided criticizing the police because we believed that it would only fuel a media war which would be counterproductive to the overarching goal -- finding and prosecuting the killer of JonBenet Ramsey. Yesterday's actions make further silence untenable.
HISTORY OF DISCUSSIONS WITH THE RAMSEYS REGARDING TODAY'S INTERVIEWS
On Friday, April 11, 1997, John and Patsy Ramsey, with their attorneys, met with Peter Hofstrom of your office and Tom Wickman of the Boulder Police Department. This meeting was held at Mr. Hofstrom's request. The Ramseys were told at that meeting that they had been treated unfairly in the past and that authorities wanted to put the investigation on a new track. They were told that "we need your help to solve this crime." The Ramseys were asked to give interviews and continue their previous cooperation. No conditions were placed on the manner in which the interviews would be conducted and, in fact, we were invited to propose any conditions we considered reasonable. At that meeting, John Ramsey immediately said that he would gladly meet with your representatives if it would help the effort to find his daughter's killer.
The day after that meeting, Patsy Ramsey voluntarily provided a fourth handwriting sample. The Ramseys also agreed to let authorities search their house again without a warrant; agreed to destructive testing of materials located at their home; agreed to identify Patsy Ramsey's prior writings; and agreed to make themselves available for separate interviews on Wednesday, April 23, 1997, beginning at 9:30 a.m. The Ramseys agreed to answer any questions put to them by any investigator chosen by your office or the Police Department. We requested that these interviews be of two hour durations, respectively, but we were certainly flexible on time and your agencies voiced no objection to that time frame.
All the arrangements for these interviews had been made and agreed upon. John and Patsy were anxious to participate, based on Mr. Hofstrom's representations that such interviews would assist in apprehending the killer of their daughter. We cannot describe their anguish and disappointment when we were forced to advise them that the police had reneged on the very interviews you earnestly requested on April 11.
PREVIOUS INTERVIEWS AND OFFERS
This episode is the latest in an inexplicable series of events which appear to be senseless efforts to intimidate and smear the Ramseys without any valid investigative purpose. We can document that both John and Patsy Ramsey were extensively interviewed by Boulder police, including detectives, on December 26, 1996, the day JonBenet's body was discovered. John Ramsey answered more police questions the next day. On doctors' directions, Patsy Ramsey was not interrogated on December 27.
What occurred next was the most insensitive and outrageous action in this case, at least to date: Boulder police refused to release JonBenet's body for burial unless the Ramseys agreed to come to the police station and submit to a hostile interrogation. We had to threaten legal action to obtain her release for burial. This was the first in a series of insensitive and incomprehensible actions by the Boulder Police Department leadership to destroy every sincere attempt to have an open and honest relationship of trust with the Boulder Police Department.
After John and Patsy returned from the funeral, we offered to make them available for a joint interview on January 18, 1997, at 10:00 a.m. We told the police that Patsy Ramsey was too ill to attend the entire session but that John Ramsey would answer all questions put to him. The police declined this offer and stated in writing that such an interview would not "be helpful" because "the time for interviewing John and Patsy as witnesses who could provide critical information that would be helpful in the initial stages of our investigation has passed." The police countered with an offer that the Ramseys come to the police station at 6 p.m. on a Friday night and subject themselves to inquisition for as long as "the nature and quality of the information" warranted. That absurd suggestion was rejected, especially since the police did not believe that the Ramseys possessed any "critical information."
Since that time, law enforcement authorities from several agencies have launched a cowardly smear campaign against John and Patsy, fueled by leaks and smears attributable only to "sources." We will no longer endure these tactics in silence. It is beyond comprehension that law enforcement authorities prefer to leak information rather than interrogate the persons who they characterize as "suspects" in this investigation.
It is apparent that the leadership of the Boulder Police Department lacks the objectivity and judgment necessary to find the killer of JonBenet Ramsey. Mr. Hofstrom told John and Patsy that he wanted their help to solve this crime. They remain willing to meet with Mr. Smit, Mr. Ainsworth or any other members of your office to that end.
Harold A. Haddon