Evidence in JonBenet's slaying appears to discount intruder theory
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — Investigators have concluded that both a palm print and a footprint found in the home of JonBenet Ramsey were actually made by family members, not an intruder as some have suggested, the Rocky Mountain News reported Friday.
Investigators believe the prints found in the basement of the home were not related to the unsolved killing of the 6-year-old beauty queen, whose body was found Dec. 26, 1996.
Investigators have known the answers for some time, the newspaper reported.
A footprint found in mold on the floor of the Ramseys' wine cellar, near where the girl's body was found, was linked by investigators to her then-9-year-old brother, Burke. Burke, now 15, has long since been cleared by authorities.
Investigators also said a long-unidentified palm print on the door leading to the wine cellar is that of Melinda Ramsey, JonBenet's adult half sister, who was in Georgia at the time of the girl's death. The technician who originally ruled her out as the source of the print had made an error, the newspaper said.
"They were certainly some things that had to be answered, one way or the other, and we feel satisfied that they are both answered," the newspaper quoted an unidentified source as saying.
Attorney Lin Wood of Atlanta, who represents JonBenet's parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, said his clients do not dispute the palm-print findings, but he said the family disagrees that the footprint came from Burke.
"Burke Ramsey does not and has never owned a pair of quote, unquote, trademarked Hi-Tec sneakers that the Ramseys are aware of," he said. "I would think they know what shoes he has owned."
He also said the investigators' conclusions regarding the two pieces of evidence do not eliminate the theory that an intruder killed the girl.
"Even if that explanation turns out to be true, but I have serious doubts, it certainly does not outweigh the overwhelming physical evidence and other evidence pointing to an intruder," Wood said.
Wood said the two most important pieces of evidence in the case are unidentified male DNA found in the girl's underwear and the handwritten ransom note, whose author has never been determined.
Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner on Friday declined to confirm or deny the information about the evidence. He said he believed the information did not come from any police department employee.
JonBenet was found strangled about seven hours after her mother reported finding a ransom note demanding $118,000 for her safe return. While no one has been charged, police have said the parents have not been cleared.