Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Did Santa Claus kill JonBenet?
Imagine trying to weed through hundreds, maybe thousands, of leads to figure out who killed JonBenet Ramsey. We've heard about some of the suspects over the years, including the Ramseys and their son, Burke. But I wanted to know who we hadn't heard much about, so I decided to look into who some of the previous suspects were and why they were cleared.

Two days before JonBenet Ramsey died, Bill McReynolds played Santa Claus at her home. After her death, investigators instantly became curious about McReynolds and his wife Janet, who had played Mrs. Claus. Back in 1997, McReynolds told a Colorado television station, "I know I didn't do it." But for investigators, there were too many eerie connections between the McReynolds and the Ramseys to just drop it.

Trip DeMuth, one of the original prosecutors on the case, told me that Santa Bill gave JonBenet a card that read: "You will receive a special gift after Christmas."

"Statements like that led me to have some sort of suspicion: What was going on between Santa Bill and JonBenet? Again, he is an individual who was involved with her, had an interest in her, was seen with her, shortly before the murder," DeMuth said.

Investigators were intrigued by the fact the McReynolds' daughter had been abducted 22 years before JonBenet's death ... to the day. And Janet McReynolds had written a play about a child who was molested in her basement, then murdered. The couple gave hair, handwriting and blood samples, but were eventually cleared thanks to DNA tests. Bill McReynolds died back in 2002.

Another man, Michael Helgoth, was also a prime suspect. He was a Colorado native who died shortly after the murder. But his death left more questions than answers.

It appeared to be a suicide. And what about the stun gun discovered next to his body? Investigators believe a stun gun had been used on JonBenet.

Prosecutor DeMuth told me this about Helgoth: "I remember that he had footwear that was consistent with the footprint evidence, he had a stun gun, he had reportedly made statements to a friend, very similar to the types of statements that we're hearing about today in the press with the arrest of John Karr. "

Even more strange, a baseball cap with the letters s-b-t-c was found near Helgoth's body. Those are the same letters found in the ransom note at the Ramsey home. DeMuth says he believes Helgoth's DNA was tested and didn't match up.

All of this leaves me wondering: Will John Mark Karr finally lead to closure in this case or just add himself to the list of names that never panned out?
Posted By Randi Kaye, CNN Correspondent: 7:15 AM ET
  20 Comments
I can't imagine how horrific this is to the Ramsay family. Knowing facts such as these listed and likely always wondering about the eerie coincidences. With John Mark Karr, people keep saying 'this is his ten minutes of fame', but he did not turn himself in for committing this crime. He obviously had correspondence with Prof. Tracey that led to police investigating him, but if he really wanted the 'fame', would he not have just turned himself in?

I, like many, truly hope that for the sake of the family, there can be some closure to this tragedy. And that JonBenet will rest in peace, together with her mother.
Posted By Anonymous Diana, Windsor, ON, Canada : 7:57 AM ET
Only time will tell who the real killer is. At least Patsy Ramsey now knows and has been reunited with JonBenet.
Posted By Anonymous Cathy, Minneapolis, Minnesota : 9:11 AM ET
With all due respect, enough already... Let's move on... Wasn't it just discussed how printing something that hasn't been proven can ruin someones life forever??? Let's stop this nonsense till we have undisputed fact backed up by a judge and jury...
Posted By Anonymous Sherry Sarasota, Fl : 9:40 AM ET
Randi...

A very interesting piece, albeit incredibly creepy, as is the entire story and the investigation. Maybe after all this is done, what really should be investigated is why there seem to be so many men in this world who are sexually obsessed with little girls. What possesses them, and can there possibly be any end to it? It seems we hear more and more stories about this sickness. That is the creepiest thing of all.
Posted By Anonymous Diane, Long Island, NY : 9:44 AM ET
This is definitely food-for-thought. Although it has been stated that the demented looking Karr knew of details that the public was not aware of, it could just be a coincidence. The finger is being pointed in other directions. Obviously, this little girl's murder has wreaked havoc in many lives. This may be a case that is never truly solved.
Posted By Anonymous Jennifer Wakefield, Stockton, California : 10:02 AM ET
There are too many "what ifs" it seems in this case. I just hope for the sake of John Ramsey that the true killer is found before he dies.
Posted By Anonymous Tracy: Somerville, NJ : 10:22 AM ET
Court TV put together a great show called "The Investigators" which talks about the creepy tie between Michael Helgoth and the crime scene. I don't know why the public isn't more aware of this link, but it's more convincing than John Karr's at this point.
Posted By Anonymous Melissa - Long Island, NY : 10:33 AM ET
I must say - this whole case has me curious. I remember the day it happened and the weeks and weeks following the crime and all the acussations surrounding. I had all but given up hope that they would ever solve this crime. To be honest, Although John Karr gives me the creeps by the way he talks and looks, I think that this is all just a fantsay for him playing out. I think he is sick and all the media and attention he is simply feeding his fantasy. I truly hope I am wrong!
Posted By Anonymous Lennette - Mill Creek, WA : 10:37 AM ET
Is it time to find a new story that doesn't polute the airways with 'experts' and their speculation? Most of this stuff belongs in cyberspace somewhere between Court TV and UFO headlines featured in check-out lanes.
Posted By Anonymous linda, bella vista, ar : 10:56 AM ET
I think it is sick the way people call this suspect "Santa Claus. This guy has a name, use it. Obviously the police turned their focus from him to Karr. Give "Santa" a break.
Posted By Anonymous Jess Paris, KY : 10:59 AM ET
people say "how could he know about the secret basement" but I think an expert at child predation might ask a child "can you take me to a secret place not many know about so I can give you a special gift from Santa?" or something like that and every kid knows where the christmas gifts are hidden whether their parents know it or not... that could be an explanation of how an intruder could have found the secret room.
Janice
Posted By Anonymous janice, fountain Florida : 11:05 AM ET
Randi, Did the investigators ever do a handwriting sample on Michael Helgoth? Even if he was dead, they could pull past records and see if it was a match. What about the stun gun, can't they match up some type of substance on the gun even if it was cleaned? I moved to Boulder in 1998 and of course have followed the case. I have always thought this dude did it. Especially if it was a suicide. The article also said, "he believes Helgoth's DNA was tested"? We have our murderer and they believe he was tested??? I thought I read in one of the books about the case that Mr. Helgoth refused to give DNA and they never got it from him and he skipped town?? Can't they get it now that he is dead? That would rule him out. It just seems like they don't want to find the killer. Poor family!
Posted By Anonymous Tony Dial, Columbus, OH : 11:56 AM ET
Santa Claus, huh. I think it was the Easter Bunny setting up Santa because he is jelouse of Santa's fame. Or maybe it was Bin Laden.... Just a thought.

My point is, why not report on this story once we have more or new evidence like the results of the DNA test. The Boulder DA oviously had enough evidence to arrest him. Lets wait and see what happens and have CNN move on to other important stories.
Posted By Anonymous Rachel-Albuquerque, NM : 1:25 PM ET
Can we please leave this family alone? Can we leave the city of Boulder alone? Someone earlier had mentioned that this case should only involve the families associated with the tragedy that happened a decade ago. Leave it to science. It will lead the way.
Posted By Anonymous Aruna, Minneapolis, MN : 2:10 PM ET
I am very interested in this news. Up to this point, I have a doubt about the DNA test. According to the ransom note, the suspects worked in a group, so we don't know whether the evidence found at the scene belongs to whom. However, it may belong to one of those guys, which we haven't test his or her DNA yet. So we can't be sure that whom we already tested their DNA were not the members of the group. I mean DNA is just a source of information, but don't let it lead the investigation and ignore other possibilities.
Posted By Anonymous Molyaneth Heng, Nagoya, Japan : 2:13 PM ET
The Ramsey home has been empty for quite some time, but the neighborhood is not! Can you imagine how the neighbors feel having so many News vans, huge lights, loud speakers, etc., completely disturbing their peace? I live and work in Boulder, it's bad enough having the news helicopters hovering all over town, and the news media people overtaking the town. Maybe when Karr is brought back to Boulder and put in jail here, (on the edge of town) the Ramsey house neighbors will have a respite! It's a crazy world we live in!
Posted By Anonymous Betty, Bouder CO : 3:04 PM ET
Tony, why would a DNA mismatch rule out Helgoth? Don't get me wrong, DNA evidence is important, but it shouldn't shun everything else in the case. Reminantes of DNA can stay on a person's body for days, especially under the finger nails. (Even after showers) And this was a little girl around Christmas time. I think ruling someone out on the sole fact that the DNA found on JBR didn't match a suspect would be a critical error in a long list of investigative errors by Boulder authorities. In retrospect, Helgoth would have had a better chance of getting the public to believe "a confession" than this guy, Karr.
Posted By Anonymous Mike, Tallahassee, FL : 3:08 PM ET
This is exactly the reaason the media should not be over-covering Karr's arrest. There were other suspects, there are probably still other suspects. We'll all find out whether this man is a child killer or just a sadly deranged soul once the DNA test is performed.

The public certainly still cares about JonBenet's death, but seriously, when is the media going to learn when to back off a little bit and let the legal process take its course.
Posted By Anonymous Virginia, Los Angeles, CA : 4:30 PM ET
Can you guys let us know when you're done covering this story, so those of us that want to see actual news can start watching again? Enough already.
Posted By Anonymous Stacy, St. Louis, MO : 5:41 PM ET
Here here stacy!
Enough already with this story. As if we have world peace, all is good and the only thing we gotta figure out is this 10 year old mystery.
Posted By Anonymous Sue, Toronto,Ontario : 8:57 PM ET
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