JonBenet Ramsey-Labyrinth of Lies Part 5
The Road(s) Not Taken
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
DNA was a relatively new scientific advance in 1996. The future would bring “touch” DNA into the case but that was six or seven years away. Meanwhile, there were skin cells under JonBenet’s nails.
The DNA tests performed and completed within thirty days of her death showed that some of the skin cells were her own (presumably from the scratches that she made to her neck while clawing at the garrote), but also that she had managed to scratch her murderer. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough of the mystery DNA to enter into the national DNA identification database, but there was enough of this mystery DNA to prove that it did not belong to anyone in JonBenet’s family.
Investigators knew within a month following JonBenet’s murder that neither John, Patsy, nor brother Burke had murdered her. Yet they sought indictments and tried this family in the press, ruthlessly and relentlessly leaking innuendos and lies and never issuing public retraction as each allegation proved baseless. Why would any police department engage in such devious and despicable behavior? Why, indeed?
A Rose Is a Rose by Any Other Name
In December 2004, San Jose journalist Gary Webb was found dead having suffered two gunshots to his head. Mr. Webb had done a series of articles exposing the CIA’s involvement in drug smuggling and money laundering at home in the USA.. Under various natural laws governing biological limitations it is not actually possible to fire a gun in to one’s own head twice. However, in coroner newspeak, this was, of course, a suicide.
In 2014, mortgage title company CEO Richard Talley was found dead with no fewer than 8 two and a half inch nails driven in to him by a nail gun. Seven nails were fired into his chest and the eighth into his head. His company was missing two million dollars that had evaporated from escrow accounts.
Mr. Talley and his company were located in Arapahoe County, Colorado, the same county where Denver and Boulder are located. Talley was found sitting in his car, dressed for work with the motor running. Talley’s death was obviously a “suicide”….he had, after all, used “finishing” nails. Now that we are clear on our newspeak definition of the word suicide, we may proceed.
Only One Homicide in Boulder in 1996-JonBenet
Was JonBenet really the only homicide committed in Boulder in 1996? As we have just seen, it depends upon how things are defined.
On the evening of December 4th, 1996, twenty one days before the murder of JonBenet Ramsey, a neighbor of 37 year old Lorraine Florence Lawrence found her sitting on the ice outdoors wearing just a T-shirt and panties. Blood was streaming from one eye and there was a male standing nearby. It was around 11 p.m. The neighbor urged her to go back inside her apartment, and she did.
The next morning, construction workers were startled to find Lorraine, still dressed only in panties and T-shirt, laying face down in a construction ditch which they had securely covered and cordoned off the night before. The site was not far from the apartment complex were Lorraine lived. Her death was ruled “accidental” by the Boulder coroner’s office. She was, after all, epileptic with a history of alcohol abuse. It was decided that she had died of exposure in the cold Colorado December night air. Autopsy revealed that she had no alcohol in her system but cocaine and an anti-convulsant drug were found
The body had been identified by a neighbor who reported that Lorraine’s face had been beaten so brutally that her features were not recognizable. Her teeth were broken and both her eyes were blackened and bloodied. Her front door had been left wide open all night and a trail of blood led from the apartment to the construction site where she was found.
Neighbors had heard a scream and a thud somewhere around 1 a.m. There was a pool of blood in the parking lot not twenty yards away….but she died of exposure…after she broke through a well secured covering of plywood . And voila, there had been only one homicide in Boulder that year, little JonBenet.
As peculiar and suspect as all of that may be, we aren’t done yet because there is one more detail, something truly odd, even creepy. Lorraine’s mother, Geraldine Vodicka, had worked as a housekeeper for the Ramseys several years prior. Mrs. Vodicka was there when Patsy was sick with her first bout of ovarian cancer. Now, what are the odds that the only two people murdered in Boulder in 1996 died within three weeks of each other and, more importantly, were acquainted with one another?
In February 1997, three months after JonBenet’s death, the FBI urged Boulder D.A. Alex Hunter to apply some psychological pressure to the killer. On February 13th, Hunter held a press conference and delivered the following message which the FBI had written for him:
“I want to say something to the person or persons who took this baby from us; the list of suspects narrows. Soon there will be no one on the list but you.” And voila, later that day, Michael Helgoth was “suicided”. But a rose is a rose is a rose.
We must infer from this official ruling that the right handed Helgoth had reached over to his left side, twisted his wrist around, and fired a single shot through a pillow that he had placed there to muffle the noise, .threw the pillow a few feet away, and then died. Of course he did.
Here to the left is the pillow with a bullet hole and gun powder residue. Most people who commit suicide with a gun simply fire it into their head. Most coroners would have ruled this a murder, but not in Boulder. In Boulder, this is a suicide. No small wonder that the murder rate in Boulder is so low.
Helgoth worked in a salvage yard with John Kenady. According to Kenady, Michael was chipper as could be back in November of 1996 telling coworkers that he and a partner had scored a deal and they were each going to make fifty to sixty thousand dollars in the following month. But according to Kenady, Michael was noticeably sour after Christmas had passed. When Kenady read about the ransom note and the demand for $118,000, he immediately suspected Helgoth. Soon after Helgoth died, Kenady attempted to report information to Boulder P.D. He claims to have placed as many as twenty calls to various Boulder detectives but no one ever returned his calls. Kenady is the only known source for this tidbit. It may or may not be true. The fact of the matter is that the mystery DNA under JonBenet’s fingernails did not belong to Helgoth.
Michael was an unusual kind of guy. He owned a stun gun (the one found in his room did not match JonBenet;s wounds) and had a goofy habit of dressing up like a Ninja at night. Boulder had been suffering a rash of peculiar break ins over the months preceding JonBenet’s murder. Nothing was taken and residents were not attacked. These strange break ins stopped abruptly after Helgoth’s death. Why would anyone break in to a home and leave empty handed? Why do this multiple times, always taking nothing, always harming no one? Might it make sense that his specialty was not in removing property, but in adding items to a home, perhaps something to implicate an innocent party… something like a yellow legal size notepad from which a ransom note was torn?
The Ramsey family had stayed at the Charlevoix home from June through mid August and had returned there one more time over the Labor Day weekend of 1996. This was followed by a party at the house and then the visit of John Ramsey’s brother, Jeff. Attempting to hide from the press, John and Patsy returned to the Charlevoix house in 1997.
In September of 1996, the Ramseys had given permission to friends in Michigan to use their summer home for a party. This was the same summer home that the Ramseys were planning to visit for Christmas break. As we know, they never made it there for Christmas vacation.
After the party in September, the friend let Patsy know that a guest had spilled wine on the carpet in the living room. Patsy contacted her cleaning service in Michigan to request that the carpet be cleaned. When the cleaning staff checked the rest of the house, they reported a disturbing find to the Ramseys.
Someone had been staying in JonBenet’s room. There was clear evidence of someone laying on the bed and more chillingly, there was a small, unlocked suitcase left behind at the foot of the bed as well as a pair of cowboy boots which were in very good condition. The clothing items inside the suitcase were neatly folded and clearly belonged to a male. There were nine bedrooms in the house to choose from, including a guestroom downstairs. Why would a man choose to stay in a little girl’s bedroom? Only one thing was clear, this guy had left in a hurry.
The party had been held there on a Saturday, the cleaning people arrived the following Thursday, and John’s brother arrived for a weekend stay two days after that. The items were no longer present by the time the brother arrived, so it would appear that the intruder had been surprised by the cleaning people and had either hidden himself on premises or temporarily fled the Charlevoix summer home. Where might he have gone with his suitcase and his cowboy boots? How did he get in to the house?
The Hitchhiker and the Handicapped Man
After JonBenet’s death, an elderly handicapped man living in Charlevoix told many people in he community about his encounter with a man who flagged him down requesting a ride to the airport . The handicapped man had observed him running down the hill from the Ramsey summer home. According to the handicapped man, the hitchhiker ranted and raved about John Ramsey during the ride saying that he hated John and wanted to “hurt his daughter”. Charlexoix police did take his statement in the summer of 1997 after the man had at last made contact with Patsy Ramsey.
Gas Station Man
An attendant at the Shell station reported to investigators hired by the Ramseys that a man had been there several times in late fall. He was estimated to be in his late thirties-early forties with a beard, shoulder length black hair and a dark complexion. Sometimes he was dressed well, other times shabbily, but he always had a big wad of cash. He had no car and sported finger less gloves. He talked about John Ramsey and claimed to have “unfinished business” in Boulder.
In spite of visiting Charlevoix at least three times, BPD never interviewed the attendant nor did they speak with the housekeepers who had discovered the suitcase and boots in the Ramseys’ Charlevoix home. They never interviewed the handicapped man
But Boulder P.D. did interview “boatman” in Waterford, Michigan. John Andrew Ramsey is John Bennett Ramsey’s eldest son from his first marriage. On February 5th, 1997, the unidentified boatman contacted Star Magazine to make the claim that John Andrew had offered him $10,000 if he would help murder little JonBenet.
The Ramseys typically visited their summer home on long holiday weekends such as Memorial Day and July 4th. The informant alleged that the crime was to take place over the spring/summer of 1996. According to boatman, someone claiming to be John Andrew approached him with a plan to take JonBenet out on the lake in a small dinghy. Boatman was to ram his big boat in to the small boat. John Ramsey was going to jump in to the water just before impact leaving JonBenet to die. Boatman claimed to have nobly refused the offer.
Waterford police interviewed the informant but came to the conclusion that he was not credible due to a history of acting as a drug informant in cases where he had actually planted the drug evidence himself. It was further determined that John Andrew had not been to Michigan that spring and summer. It would seem that somebody was very determined to point a finger at the Ramsey family.
Several weeks after the murder, a female neighbor of the Ramseys called in to the Peter Boyle morning talk show on Denver radio station KHOW-AM to report having seen a man running from the Ramsey home early in the morning of the day of December 26, 1996. The man was tall and thin with short brown hair.
Bus Station Man
In August 2006, the Rocky Mountain News published the story of Daniel Pride who boarded the 1 a.m. bus to Denver at the Boulder Bus Station. The station is a 1.3 mile walk from the Ramsey home. Mr. Pride had a prolonged, peculiar and extremely uncomfortable interaction with another passenger. Pride’s innocent request for a light for one last smoke outside the bus door elicited looks of extreme terror from the other man. As the bus drove along, the man kept glancing back at Pride.
Pride described the man as 5′ 11″ tall dressed in a western style fleece vest. he noted that the vest had a shiny stain over the area of the heart (blood?). Mr. Pride did file a report with Boulder P.D. not long after he became aware of the murder of JonBenet. He contacted Boulder P.D. one more time in August 2006 when he saw news footage of the arrest of John Mark Karr. As far as Pride was concerned, that was the man he had encountered at the bus station between 12:30 and 1 a.m. on December 26, 1996!
Mr. Pride had no idea why his request for a match or a lighter had elicited so much terror from the man at the station. Had no one ever pointed out to him just how much he resembles John Ramsey? To a guilty conscience, it must have been as frightening as seeing JonBenet’s ghost.
“Roads Not Taken” to be continued in Part 6