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Questions swirl around Karr's admissions

Karr's confession is not the end of the JonBenet Ramsey case, authorities caution.




Bangkok (Thailand)
JonBenet Ramsey

BOULDER, Colorado (CNN) -- Far from laying to rest the mystery of who killed JonBenet Ramsey, the stunning admission Thursday by John Mark Karr in Bangkok, Thailand, only raised fresh questions about the 10-year investigation.

Citing ethical rules and the ongoing investigation, Boulder District Attorney Mary Lacy declined to discuss what evidence, other than Karr's post-arrest admissions, linked him to the 6-year-old girl or the Ramsey family.

"John Karr is presumed innocent," she said, adding that investigators had "much more work" to do and urging people not to rush to judgment. (Watch authorities caution the public against convicting Karr -- 4:30)

Karr's arrest in Bangkok came after University of Colorado professor Michael Tracey contacted authorities in Boulder.

Tracey, who produced a documentary about JonBenet's killing, had been in touch with Karr for at least two years, said university spokesman Barrie Hartman.

The Rocky Mountain News published on its Web site Friday excerpts of what investigators say they believe are e-mails between Karr and Tracey, including one that read:

"JonBenet, my love, my life. I love you and shall forever love you. I pray that you can hear my voice calling out to you from my darkness..." (Read newspaper's account of Karr's alleged e-mailsexternal link)

Karr, 41, is being held at a Bangkok immigration detention center. He faces charges in the United States of first-degree murder, kidnapping and sexual assault on a child, said Ann Hurst, a Department of Homeland Security attache in Bangkok.

In comments before reporters in Bangkok on Thursday, Karr admitted to being involved in Ramsey's death.

"I loved JonBenet, and she died accidentally," he said. Asked if he was an innocent man, Karr replied, "No." (Watch Karr's admission -- 1:15)

Karr asked police what charges he was facing, said a Thai police official, Gen. Suwat Thamrongsrisakul. When police replied first-degree murder, Karr said: "No, it's second-degree -- it wasn't intentional," according to Thamrongsrisakul. (Watch a criminologist explain why people confess -- 2:13)

Ramsey's body was found in the basement of her family's Colorado home on December 26, 1996. Autopsy results showed she received a massive blow to the head and was strangled with a rope that the killer tightened by twisting an attached paintbrush handle. An autopsy did not detect any drugs in her system.

U.S. and Thai officials are working on clearing Karr's return to the United States, although no date for the transfer has been set.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and Thai authorities worked closely on the case for two months before Karr's arrest on Wednesday, Hurst said.

Officials in Bangkok said he had traveled to Thailand -- a country notorious for its child sex trade -- five times in the past two years.

Karr on Tuesday started a new job as a second-grade teacher at a school in Bangkok.

Brother, ex-wife refute Ramsey connection

Karr's brother, Nate, told Atlanta Fox affiliate WAGA that his family will provide information Friday to prove the allegation that Karr killed Ramsey is "just ridiculous."

Karr's ex-wife, Lara Karr, said she also doubted his admission that he killed Ramsey, saying the couple were together in Alabama that entire Christmas season.

Lara Karr filed for a protective order in October 2001 to keep him away from her and their three sons, citing his child pornography arrest that April. In court documents she said that in 1996 -- months before Ramsey was killed -- an Alabama school district dropped Karr as a substitute teacher over concerns he was "too affectionate" with children.

Bravell Johnson -- the school superintendent in Marion County, Alabama -- confirmed Karr's employment as an elementary school teacher in August and September 1996 and that parental complaints led to Karr's dismissal.

Child porn charge

Police in Sonoma County, California, said Karr was charged with five misdemeanor counts of possessing child pornography in 2001 but failed to appear in court after bailing out of jail. Karr had been working as a teacher and substitute teacher in Petaluma and Napa.

Lara Karr said in the divorce petition that she was 16 when they married and initially did not know about his Internet activities or his propensity for "kiddie porn."

The break came shortly after JonBenet's mother, Patsy Ramsey, died of ovarian cancer at age 49. The arrest likely will dispel the cloud of suspicion that has hung over her parents for nearly a decade.(Watch Jon Ramsey react to the arrest -- 2:17)

CNN's Dan Simon, Kelli Arena, Andy Flick, Randi Kaye, Jeanne Meserve, Ed Lavandera, Narunart Prapanya and Atika Shubert contributed to this report.

Copyright 2006 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

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