Public-Relations Shield Protects JonBenet's Family
Richardson, Valerie, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
DENVER - The relationship between Boulder investigators and the parents of JonBenet Ramsey is growing tense as the Ramseys engage in a public-relations offensive aimed at deflecting suspicion from the family in the murder of their daughter.
Four weeks after 6-year-old JonBenet was found strangled in her basement, John and Patricia Ramsey have yet to agree to a formal interview with police. With the Boulder authorities refusing to comment on the probe, however, the Ramseys have begun driving media coverage of the case.
Instead of talking directly with police, the Ramseys are hidden behind a wall of at least nine legal and criminal professionals, which includes two private investigators, two handwriting analysts, a public-relations specialist and three attorneys.
"Clearly at this point, until we're told differently by police, they [the Ramseys] have been considered to be potential suspects," said Patrick Korten, a Washington-based public-relations specialist hired by the family. "And if you're a suspect, you'd better be darn sure you have a good lawyer."
It doesn't hurt to have a top publicist like Mr. Korten, either. His recent statements about the investigation include the following:
* Mr. Ramsey, the president of Access Graphics in Boulder, received a $118,000 bonus last February. The three-page ransom note left by the killer at the Ramsey home asked for $118,000, which Mr. Korten said should be of "special interest" to Boulder police.
* John Andrew Ramsey, Mr. Ramsey's 20-year-old son by a previous marriage, should be ruled out as a suspect. The University of Colorado student was with his mother in Atlanta until Dec. 25, the day before JonBenet's body was found, then spent the next day en route to the family's vacation home in Michigan until he learned of her death.
* JonBenet's medical records show no evidence of previous abuse, contradicting reports this week in two supermarket tabloids that she had suffered previous physical and sexual abuse.
* John Douglas, the ex-FBI agent and criminal "profiler" hired by the Ramseys, has completed his profile of the killer and shared the information with the family and police, but not with the public.
The Rocky Mountain News also reported yesterday that the ransom note contained several apparently deliberate misspellings and referred to Mr. …