Report: JonBenet evidence could point to intruder
January 11, 1998
Web posted at: 6:48 p.m. EST (2348 GMT)
BOULDER, Colorado (CNN) -- DNA found on the body of JonBenet Ramsey does not match that of either of her parents, which could point to an intruder as her killer, according to an article in the latest edition of The New Yorker.
The article, written by investigative journalist Lawrence Schiller, also says that fiber evidence and shoe prints found at the scene where the child beauty queen was slain also point away from the parents as possible suspects in her death.
Schiller quoted Boulder County District Attorney Alex Hunter as saying that with the current evidence, he could not make a case against the parents, John and Patsy Ramsey.
Hunter is also quoted as saying police may not have pursued the idea that an intruder killed JonBenet because "the cops became so convinced that the Ramseys did it that they've never been able to look at the evidence objectively."
Police have said the Ramseys "remain under an umbrella of suspicion" in their daughter's death. The Ramseys have vehemently denied any part in the murder.
Police taking swabs from others to check DNA
The 6-year-old girl was found dead in the basement of the family's Boulder mansion on December 26, 1996. She had been beaten and strangled. Though no charges have ever been brought in the case, and the Ramseys have steadfastly maintained their innocence, the parents have been the primary focus of the investigation into her death.
But after learning that DNA found on the body doesn't match with that of JonBenet's parents, police are now taking swab samples from inside the mouths of others who might have possibly been involved, The New Yorker reported.
"Even though it is a long shot, if a swab sample did provide a DNA match to the DNA taken from JonBenet's body, then police would be able to connect a second person to the murder," Hunter is quoted as saying.
The New Yorker also reported that dark fibers found on the body did not match clothing found in the house, and two types of footprints, including one near the body, did not match any footwear belonging to the parents.
In a telephone interview with CNN, Boulder police spokeswoman Leslie Aaholm refused to confirm or deny any of the details in The New Yorker's report.
Time report: Flashlight turns up among evidence
Meanwhile, Time magazine, in its latest issue, is reporting that a heavy flashlight, with a rubber coating, has mysteriously turned up in a police storage area where evidence from the Ramsey case is being kept.
Police have long felt that such a flashlight could have been used to inflict a head wound on JonBenet, and a similar flashlight was spotted on the kitchen counter of the Ramsey home the morning after JonBenet's body was found, according to Time. But the flashlight then disappeared.
The flashlight that turned up in the storage area does not belong to a police officer, Time said. It has been sent to a Colorado Bureau of Investigation lab for analysis.
DA says he may exhume JonBenet's body
In his New Yorker article, Schiller also shed new light on one of the most curious recent developments in the case -- the theory that a stun gun might have been used on JonBenet prior to her death.
One of Hunter's investigators found marks in autopsy photographs that could have been left by a stun gun. And although the parents have denied ever owning such a weapon, Schiller quotes a police source as saying that an instructional videotape for a stun gun was found in the Ramsey home.
According to The New Yorker, Hunter is considering having JonBenet's body, which is buried in Georgia, exhumed to determine if a stun gun might have been used.
"Every rock must be turned over, and if that means swabbing everyone's mouth or exhuming JonBenet's body, that's what the police will have to do," Hunter is quoted as saying. "I don't want the public to think everything's been done, if in fact, in effect, everything hasn't been done."
Aaholm confirmed that videotapes were taken from the house but did not know if one of them involved instructions on use of a stun gun. She said police have no plans to exhume the body.
Reuters contributed to this report.