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Police drop some potential suspects in Ramsey killing

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Sources: ransom demand equaled father's bonus

January 21, 1997
Web posted at: 4:50 p.m. EST

BOULDER, Colorado (CNN) -- Results of some forensic tests conducted in the killing of JonBenet Ramsey have been returned to police, and some potential suspects have been eliminated for now, a city spokeswoman said Tuesday.

The potential suspects dropped from the list "don't appear to have had access" to the strangled 6-year-old former Little Miss Colorado, spokeswoman Leslie Aaholm said, refusing to give details.

Aaholm also refused to disclose the forensic test results, and said police do not expect all the tests to be completed until early February.

Boulder investigators gave a copy of the ransom note to the parents' attorney, Brian Morgan, after family members provided handwriting samples to police, Aaholm said. City officials have never confirmed whether the handwriting samples matched or didn't match someone in the family or anyone else, Aaholm said.

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On a related front, the $118,000 ransom demanded for the return of JonBenet Ramsey matches a bonus check recently received by her father, John Ramsey, from his company, according to CNN sources.

The handwritten note was found December 26, hours before the girl's body was discovered in the basement of the Ramsey home. Police quickly determined the kidnapping was a hoax after JonBenet's body was found in the house.

Ramsey is the president and chief executive officer of Access Graphics, a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin.

Laurie Wagner, a vice president and spokeswoman for Access Graphics, said no year-end bonus for 1996 had been paid or even computed for Ramsey. The CNN sources only said the bonus was recent.

Asked if the $118,000 could have been a bonus deferred from a previous year, Wagner said, "There is the ability to defer a bonus at a given time, but I don't know if he did."

There was no official confirmation about the monetary match with the ransom note. It is not known what significance police or the Ramsey family place on the apparent link between the ransom demand and the company bonus, if any, because neither will comment on it.

But the ransom demand has been a point of curiosity since shortly after the child was found killed, because it specifies $118,000, rather than some round figure such as $120,000 or $200,000.

Police said earlier this month that the ransom note was written on a pad of paper found in the million-dollar Ramsey home, and that a partial practice note, written on the same pad, also was found there.

Boulder authorities have said little about their investigation of the case that has sparked widespread interest.

The Ramseys, who have hired a team of attorneys, investigators and a publicist, are in seclusion in the Boulder area. John Ramsey is expected to return to work soon.

Correspondent Brian Cabell contributed to this report.  
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