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S P E C I A L JonBenet Ramsey Case

Changes made in JonBenet investigative team

JonBenet Ramsey October 10, 1997
Web posted at: 2:30 p.m. EDT (1830 GMT)

In this story:

BOULDER, Colorado (CNN) -- Boulder's police chief said Friday he is bolstering the team investigating the murder of JonBenet Ramsey, and has replaced the lead investigator. Tom Koby also admitted that the early stages of the probe should have been handled differently. icon (272K/24 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)

At a news conference carried live on CNN, he also acknowledged friction between his department and the Boulder district attorney's office, but said that was to be expected because of the adversarial nature of the criminal justice system.

Cmdr. Mark Beckner will take over the 9-month-old investigation from Cmdr. John Eller, who had been running the detective bureau of the Boulder Police Department while overseeing the Ramsey probe. The combined duties were too much to handle, Koby said. He also added three detectives, boosting the number of case investigators to eight.

vxtreme Press conference with Boulder's police chief

Beckner, who had been running the patrol division, will concentrate solely on the beating and strangulation of the 6-year-old beauty queen, whose body was found in the basement of her family's home on December 26.

Koby said investigators met with FBI agents in Quantico, Virginia, to review their work and came away with a clear idea of what still needs to be done. The changes will "better enable us to finish the work we still have to do," he said.

He gave no deadline for finding a suspect, or making an arrest.

'We would do it differently'

JonBenet's parents

Boulder District Attorney Alex Hunter has said that the girl's parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, are a focus of the investigation, but the parents have criticized police for spending too much time investigating them and not trying to find the real killer.

Acknowledging problems in the initial hours of the investigation, Koby said police first thought they were dealing solely with a kidnapping. It wasn't immediately clear "that we were really dealing with a homicide."

"It is accurate to say that if we had it to do all over again, we would do it differently. It is also accurate to say that we responded well to what we were confronted with."

In discussing the relationship between police investigators and prosecutors, Koby announced he is moving the police end of the probe back to police headquarters, away from members of the district attorney's staff.

Members of the prosecution team will advise police, but won't be involved day-to-day, Koby said.

It's not the first reorganization

It was not the first investigative reorganization since JonBenet's death. Detective Linda Arndt, the first detective at the murder scene, was removed from the case. And a sheriff's detective on loan to the district attorney's office since April has returned to his regular duties.

On Thursday, Hunter said he is confident the killer will be found.

"We believe in this case, and believe the work in progress will allow us to get an ending, a solution," the district attorney told county commissioners, who were hearing his request for an extra $145,178 for the investigation.

The prosecutor's office already has spent about $110,000, and the Police Department has spent $186,418.

 
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