Tuesday, August 29, 2006
One fact remains in JonBenet murder
I think I should get my quarter back.

When John Mark Karr burst onto the news as a possible suspect in the nearly decade-old murder of Jonbenet Ramsey, I was floored.

I have covered this case from the beginning, and over the years, time and again, when people have pulled me aside to whisper conspiratorially, "Who really did it?" my answer has always been the same. "Until the courts convict someone of this crime," I have said, "We will not know who the murderer is, but some of those investigating the murder, lacking other suspects, still cling to the possibility the Ramseys were responsible."

I would always take pains to say that this does not mean the parents did it, but that until someone else was convicted, some investigators felt the family could not be utterly cleared either.

So as Boulder authorities started beating the drum on John Mark Karr, I thought a page might finally be turned. Maybe after all this time, all the speculation, and suffering, the Ramseys would finally be proven to be not involved, and the actual killer would be brought to justice.

I felt that way for about 24 hours. Then the story of John Mark Karr started falling apart. You know all the details by now. You've heard about the unanswered questions about his past. The alibis he didn't even ask for, but were offered up by his family. The strange e-mails and apparent obsession with a little girl's death.

I wrote on this blog some days back that I long ago bet a quarter with a colleague about the Ramsey case. I told this co-worker that I thought no one would ever be charged with the murder. John Mark Karr, for a short day, made me believe I'd lost the bet, and I was happy for it.

Now I'm back to where I've been for ten years, writing the same sentence that expresses the one undeniable fact of this terrible case: A 6-year-old girl was murdered in her own home on Christmas night, and no one has ever been charged with the crime.

And once again, I doubt that anyone ever will be.
Posted By Tom Foreman, CNN Correspondent: 10:47 AM ET
  22 Comments
I heard back in '98 a PI solved the case... a guy that committed suicide had boots that matched the boot prints at the scene, with mold consistant with that of the ramsey's basement. Not only that but they found this man dead, of apparent suicide.. now how is that when he was right handed, but shot from the side? I just really think that they could have handled this case alot better. No one just disappears.
Posted By Anonymous Bill D, Erie PA : 11:07 AM ET
My question is always this: Why does the media care so much about this one single individual? I would think it has alot to do with who wealthy the parents were. How many children have gone missing from poor rural families since this girl was killed in her own home? How many children from lower income families have not recieved any help from authorities when thier children go missing. The real story here shouldn't be about a little girl from a rich family being killed, but about all the children from poor families that are ignored not only by the authorities but also by the media.
Posted By Anonymous Brant, Madison, Wisconsin : 11:24 AM ET
Hey Tom, you are right.The only true fact in this case is the little girl viciously killed in her own home on Christmas night. I think that fact is why so many people (myself included) find it so very hard to accept that no one will ever pay for her death. It's so much easier for us to grab on to any little clue that might help us make sense of this horrible crime. Just the idea that a suspect came to light sent us and the media into a frenzy.
I really do not blame the Boulder DA for her actions in this case. After hearing some of the emails and phone conversations I don't think she had a choice, there was obvioudly no other way.
Have we learned anything thing though? Or will we 'rush to judgement ' once again if another suspect ever comes to light.
Posted By Anonymous Bev. Ontario Canada : 11:27 AM ET
I agree Tom, I doubt anyone will ever be charged with this crime.

Another fact this case brought to light is that when it comes to sensational stories the news media is completely incapable of controlling themselves. I saw news reporters doing shots from the cemetary and there were update upon update about what Karr ate on the plane. It was perhaps some of the most ridiculous and exploitive coverage I've ever seen in my life.

It was quite mind boggling in the beginning to watch the media speculate as to whether they had gone too far in 1996 only to watch them unironically do it again in 2006. Something about dead pretty white girls makes journalists lose their minds. I can only pray for the Ramsey family because this second media onslaught must have been horrific.
Posted By Anonymous Stacy, St. Louis, MO : 11:42 AM ET
Hi Tom,
Never say Never..It's just a shame that justice for JonBenet has not come yet. Hopefully the media will now end Mr. Karr's 15 minutes of fame for good..But I wouldn't bet a quarter on that..Take Care
Posted By Anonymous Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif. : 11:42 AM ET
Why didn't they just test Karr's DNA in Thailand and see if it matched up instead of hauling him all the way here on the taxpayer's dime. I had serious doubts as soon as the story hit the news as did many people I talked to. Karr was getting off on the attention and was obviously obsessed with the unsolved case. Hopefully they ship him back to California to face the child porn charges and they can lock him up for awhile to get him off the streets. I hope they catch the killer but after this much time I seriously doubt it.
Posted By Anonymous Mike, Boulder CO : 11:52 AM ET
I've often wondered if a security guard familiar with Mr Ramsey's place of employment might have done it.

How could the killer have known about the house? Well, he could have found out the house's inner rooms by simply looking at the city's building records, which are generally public.

His employment as a security guard where Ramsey worked might account for
the mention of a bonus in the ransom note.

It just looks like a kidnapping gone bad. Mr Ramsey's place of employment in 1996 should be looked at, if it has not already.
Posted By Anonymous Carl W. Goss, Los Angeles, CA : 11:58 AM ET
I agree with you 100%. Karr is not guilty until proven otherwise. Something in this guy tells me he wants to be in the spotlight
Posted By Anonymous Haydee Diaz, Miami - Florida : 12:10 PM ET
You should work on getting that quarter back...

Sadly, I agree with you that we will probably never truly see the end to this case that the familiy so rightly deserves. I think this case has become such a phenomenon that it will continue to draw out those in our society who are craving attention, just as John Mark Karr got his 15-minutes of fame. So many details have been released over the years and so many theories debated, that it is not difficult for someone like Karr to attemp to embed himself in the crime and to truly believe that he played a role in this sensationalized murder.

The simple fact remains - JonBenet should be enjoying high school, learning to drive, and experiencing the adventures of being a teenager. However, that is a luxury that was taken away from her and her family and it is likely that no one will ever pay the price.
Posted By Anonymous Emily, Cincinnati, OH : 12:15 PM ET
So as Boulder authorities started beating the drum on John Mark Karr

oh, so it was the Boulder authorities who were "beating the drum" not the 24-hour news people who thought a ten year old murder of one little girl was the most important story of the week? it was the Boulder authorities who ordered a mob of people to watch everything the man did from the time a warrant was issued for his arrest? they were the ones who had a helicopter circling the LA courthouse for hours before his extradition hearing? it was the "authorities" from CO who interviewed people who were on the same plane with this twisted sad guy to find out what he ate and felt that was news enough to usurp a new war in Lebanon, and two old wars involving 150,000K US troops.

yup, those stupid Boulder authorities, they really should have known what they were dragging the poor defenseless US media into.
Posted By Anonymous Elizabeth S, Watertown, NY : 12:19 PM ET
Why didn't they take a prelim DNA sample from his children. Although not a perfect match, they would contain a profile that could confirm a real probability of guilt.
Posted By Anonymous Bob Lewis Woodland Ca : 12:37 PM ET
I don't believe I'm alone when I make this blanket pejorative statement: who cares?

As a stream of consciousness exercise, I'm going to list as many news items as I can that are exponentially more important to the world at large than the murder of a little girl:

Conflict between Lebanon and Israel
Iran's Nuclear ambitions
Rising cost of energy (and what to do about it)
Rebuilding the Gulf Coast
Hurricane preparedness in general
Africa (anything, just cover it)

Six easy items that demand coverage over a single murder. Frankly, anyone that is continuing to cover the investigation of the Ramsey case should be working for Entertainment Tonight or People magazine.
Posted By Anonymous Matthew Connor, San Antonio, Texas : 12:49 PM ET
Tom-
why, for God's sake didn't the Boulder Colorado DA extradite John Karr and give him a DNA test before releasing the miniscule evidence they had to the media? Last week that story was all over the news everytime I turned on the TV or read the newspaper. The media turned this story into a dramatic shark feeding sensationalizing frenzy. All this for nothing. That poor family. How dissappointing. I wish you had lost your quarter.
Posted By Anonymous Betty Ann Taylor Nacogdoches, Tx : 12:54 PM ET
Tom,
I am so saddened.Number 1 by the fact that this person of ill intentions played the media as he did. That this man who people will now call crazy, will have the right to say that if he's crazy what does that make the media. That this man who apparently has no conscience would bring this horrible incident back to light, when in the end Miss Ramsey's family still would not have closure. JMK is not crazy, but manipulative, self centered, and finds no remorse in hurting others. Lock him up and throw away the key. Personally I think he is now going to try to sue someone for something. And God help us, he may just win.
Posted By Anonymous Janice, Irving, TX : 2:27 PM ET
I agree with you 100% this man Karr needed a ticket back to the United States and this was it.
Posted By Anonymous C Ellis,Baton Rouge, LA : 2:38 PM ET
During all of this, you guys never clarified whether this Karr character ever was a qualified to teach. I emailed each of your outlets, along with the rest of the major U.S. news outlets in the U.S., and asked you all to at least find out if he's a certified teacher or just someone who happens to be a native English speaker who is out there "teaching" English. If we real teachers don't get blamed for enough of the problems in the U.S., now we get a sicko like Karr thrown into the mix. As a long-time teacher on the international circuit ("globetrotter" as you say), I'm disgusted at how little homework you did on this one. I usually like CNN, but this one hit a nerve. Now that he's out of the big picture I hope you move on to more important things. And I hope he's institutionalized for the rest of his sick life.
Posted By Anonymous Gypsy, a real teacher in Mexico : 2:41 PM ET
This case should make the media take a close look at itself. The Ramsey family has been suspect for ten years and in the court of public opinion they have been convicted. All because of the way in which the media has presented this case to the public.
Posted By Anonymous Rob Finch Mt Pleasant SC : 2:49 PM ET
It is very sad that this crime and murder has not been solved. Maybe the Bolder, CO DA really knows who did it but does not have all the evidence to prove it. Some crimes go un-solved for decades, however,whoever did it, and maybe they are already dead, justice will be served.
Posted By Anonymous Roger, Buford GA : 3:19 PM ET
Hi, I guess I just have a short comment. First of all I not only feel for the family for loosing their child but to have to go through "All" of this with no positive results. All on a whim from a person that obviously has some major issues/wants the attention that should be dealt with. So what happens to him now??? He has charges of child pornagraphy in California that he will hopefully be charged with, he has cried wolf in this situation but there's other things that he needs to take responsibility for his actions. It seems like he had to many negative things going on in Thiland and elsewhere,not to mention some mental issues. This was a free ticket back to the United States and get in the lime light for a while. The man has problems but is not a killer, I never thought that he did it anyway.....hello where has he been for the last 10 years.....He should be held accountable for confessing to something he knows he never did, the people he hurt in the process. Then ship him off to California to take care of business there, then send him back to Thiland, let them deal with him and his issues. I'm sure if you look hard enough he probably has problems there to. He just needs to get his life together and get out of his own little world that he lives in and understand and realize the hurt that he has caused everyone. I do hope some day that they will find the killer of JonBenet Ramsey and the whole thing can finally be put to rest if not for her, but for the family.
Posted By Anonymous Julie Stevens, Fredericksburg, Virginia : 3:27 PM ET
How about arresting Karr for fileing a false report to the police and fbi.
How about making him pay money for all the expence of his transportation and first class champane. This guy is a jerk and I have no sympothy for his unhappy childhood or anything else that his defence has to throw at me.
I would like to know what his prank has cost the taxpayers.
Posted By Anonymous Delaney Cassville Mo : 3:30 PM ET
I am so sick of heartless people complaining about the media coverage of this case. I am a parent, and the thought of someone breaking into my home, and raping and murdering my child while I was in the same house, sound asleep, is beyond my worst nightmares. THAT is what makes this case so important, not the Ramsey's race or wealth. Our children are our future, what could be more important than hunting down and locking up the person responsible for this horrific crime? Maybe these people would feel differently if they found their own child's raped body in their basement. Have a little compassion, people.
Posted By Anonymous April Mpls, MN : 4:23 PM ET
I am so mad that soooo much news has been missed on this guy. I wish the best for the Ramseys but come on, it's all over every single outlet in the past 2 weeks. You are the best but please get back to news news.......let's get to Africa, New Orleans, and the rest of really important issues that are really happening....drop JK as quick as you can....he is nuts.
Posted By Anonymous tanya, london, ontario : 4:25 PM ET
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