JonBenet: Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation

( 42 )

Overview

When six-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey was murdered in her home on December 25, 1996, millions were transfixed by the story. Detective Steve Thomas was at the center of the team that searched for her killer. He chased leads from jail cells to estates; he talked to hundreds of witnesses and conducted extraordinary interviews with the Ramseys. Now he tells how someone got away with murder.

Recounting mistakes made throughout the investigation, Thomas also details his own ...

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JonBenet: Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation

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Overview

When six-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey was murdered in her home on December 25, 1996, millions were transfixed by the story. Detective Steve Thomas was at the center of the team that searched for her killer. He chased leads from jail cells to estates; he talked to hundreds of witnesses and conducted extraordinary interviews with the Ramseys. Now he tells how someone got away with murder.

Recounting mistakes made throughout the investigation, Thomas also details his own work, and readers will draw compelling conclusions. His inside story answers a wide range of important questions about a murder investigation gone awry.

Described as "the detective who knew this case better than anyone," Thomas' resignation from the Boulder, CO, police forced the governor to launch a grand jury that would itself be thwarted, only to leave the killer at bay.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"From my investigation of the Ramsey murder, Steve Thomas was the lead detective on the case from the beginning and may know what happened better than anyone." —Lawrence Schiller, New York Times bestselling author of Perfect Murder, Perfect Town
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781250054791
  • Publisher: St. Martins Press-3pl
  • Publication date: 11/15/2000
  • Pages: 413
  • Sales rank: 348,130
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Steve Thomas received more than a hundred commendations and awards during his thirteen-year police career, including the Award of Excellence and the Medal for Lifesaving, for assignments ranging from recruit training and SWAT to special investigations and undercover narcotics. Prior to the JonBenet case, Thomas worked on a multi-state task force investigating racketeering and organized crime that resulted in numerous grand-jury indictments. Thomas has been a guest lecturer on criminal justice topics and instructed extensively on law-enforcement issues.

Don Davis, an award-winning news correspondent for thirty years, with assignments from Vietnam to the White House, has written a dozen books. His most recent is Last Man on the Moon, published by St. Martin's Press.

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Read an Excerpt

JonBenet

PART ONE

LITTLE MISS CHRISTMAS

PROLOGUE

There was not another little girl in America with her name. JonBenét—a combination of her father's first and middle names, John and Bennett—was more of a title created just for her, similar to those of the four daughters of her mother's best friend who also bore classy Francophile names. At home she was called Johnni-B.

JonBenét Ramsey entered the world on August 6, 1990, in Atlanta's Northside Hospital, weighing six pounds, nine ounces. She was able to fall asleep easily with a bottle and the background noise of a television set, but she also had a grumpy side, and her grandmother would recall that after her second birthday, JonBenét could indeed be a Terrible Two. At three and a half, she still regularly drank her milk from the bottle.

The family moved from Georgia to Colorado, into a huge house at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, after her first birthday. Her lavishly decorated bedroom was originally built for her two much older stepsisters, Beth and Melinda, but a double tragedy made it hers. Beth was killed in an automobile accident, and JonBenét's mother was diagnosed with cancer.

The little girl was moved into the bigger bedroom to be closer to her mother, who, ravaged by chemical treatments, temporarily gave up sleeping in the master bedroom in favor of one more convenient to a bathroom. Mother and daughter were right next door. Her room was so warm that even on the coldest winter night, when the outside temperature would dip below zero, JonBenét would kick off her covers and sleep with only a sheet and blanket.

Her education began with early home schooling and then a church preschool program but did not stop at the classroomdoor. The little girl traveled widely, to New York several times and as far away as Italy. She was a member of Daisy Troop 2349 of the Girl Scouts in Boulder.

Summers were spent at a sprawling white house that had been expensively remodeled in Charlevoix, Michigan, where JonBenét loved to swim on the tire at the bottom of the hill, swim in the lake, go rollerblading and biking, and be a tomboy who didn't care about getting dirt under her fingernails.

Her hair, which would go dishwater dirty during the Colorado winter, would blaze back blond in the Michigan sunshine, with some help from a bottle, and she wore it in a ponytail or a braid. Her favorite foods were macaroni and cheese and fresh fruit, and she loved pineapple.

The entrance of JonBenét into the peculiar and competitive world of children's beauty pageants was destined from the very start. Her mom, Patsy Ramsey, and her aunt, Pam Paugh, had both won the Miss West Virginia crown and competed for Miss America. JonBenét seemed to have what it took to carry on that family tradition. Patsy and her mother, Nedra, were inspired to put JonBenét into pageants during a visit to a Little Miss America contest in 1994, and a career was set.

JonBenét was only four years old, not yet in kindergarten, when she hit the circuit, and the judges immediately knew that the sparkling beginner in the white dress still needed a lot of work, but they said she was a natural. In the summer of 1994 JonBenét was accidentally hit on the left cheek by a golf club swung by her brother, Burke, and her mother rushed the child to see a plastic surgeon, who thought Patsy was overreacting. The doctor apparently didn't understand the importance of an imperfection on a budding beauty queen.

Her first major win came in Michigan. After a thorough "pageant scrub" to clean up dirty knees and elbows, a good hair wash, and a French manicure for those dirty nails, JonBenét performed a patriotic song and tap routine and was crowned Little Miss Charlevoix.

The child radiated star power, but there was a brain inside that pretty head. She listened attentively to adults talk in the evening, nestled on someone's lap in a big chair, and her vocabulary and sense of logic were remarkable. When her auntfound her running barefoot on the Charlevoix dock and asked, "Why don't you put your shoes on?" JonBenét answered, "Aunt Pam, I want to feel the rhythm of the earth under my feet." She was a free spirit.

In October 1995, she became Little Miss Colorado Sunburst and qualified for a national pageant the next year. In the 1995 Boulder Christmas parade, she sang and waved from a float called the Good Ship Lollipop, which was built by her grandfather. "Quite a performer," the judges said, the payoff for the hundred-dollar-per-hour lessons.

She blossomed as a beauty, loving everything about the pageants and making sure to tell her mother, who was leaving for London, to bring her back some hats. The natural prissiness of a little girl came forth as she expressed her strong will, not hesitating to tell an adult doing her hair, "I don't like that, I want it this way."

On many nights, JonBenét would fall asleep watching videotapes of Patsy and Pam in the Miss America pageant. She wanted to stroll that Atlantic City Boardwalk someday, and it was drummed into her that the coveted sash, trophy, and tiara would come only through total dedication. Once, when she balked, her grandmother groused, "JonBenét, you will do it. This is your job. There are no excuses." A family friend recalled JonBenét being chilly in a restaurant after a pageant and her mother not allowing the child to put on a sweater because "You're still on show."

JonBenét did not need a professional trainer with a couple of former Miss West Virginias in the family. They would be her mentors instead of some professional who might turn her into a rigid automaton, with nothing but boring ten- and two o' clock stances, flashing the collar and cuffs, never touching the dress, and perhaps, her grandmother warned, even using the sleazy shoulder shake that homosexuals taught. The strategy was for Johnni-B to go beyond the ordinary and bring her natural friendliness and a touch of class to the shows. In pageants from Rome, Georgia, to Elk Rapids, Michigan, the plan worked.

Daddy had money, a great advantage because the pageant world is not for the miserly. Talent lessons were expensive,and her spectacular handmade costumes cost even more. JonBenét would not go out there in Kmart dresses, and she regularly brought home "Best Wardrobe" titles.

But there were some dark secrets. She had a continuing problem with wetting her bed, regressing in her toilet training in the months before her death. Occasionally she would even defecate in the bed and at one point was wetting or soiling her underpants during the day. She would not wipe adequately after a bowel movement. This would never do for a beauty queen.

Her intelligence kept pace with her almost flawless beauty, and she kept a list on her night table of books that had been read to her. Her father insisted that knowledge and talent were much more important than looking good. She was truly beautiful but still was only a child beginning to read and write, even though her mother created a more impressive résumé on pageant entry forms by claiming that JonBenét played the violin, spoke French, and wanted to be an Olympic ice-skating champion.

Confidence came with experience, and when the family returned from a trip to Mexico, JonBenét made them all do the sinuous macareña dance. "That's not the way you do it," she scolded, then led it herself. "There. That's the way it's done."

Like lots of kids, although she suffered from colds and coughs, her sinus infections were eventually diagnosed as allergic rhinitis, not unlike a problem that had once plagued her father. In 1995 she tripped in a grocery store, landed on her nose, and the doctor treated her with ice and Popsicles. Six months later she fell again, bonking herself over the left eye. In the twenty-four months before her death, she visited the doctor eighteen times.

Her last year was a rainbow ride. In July she won the title of America's Royale Tiny Miss, and the five-year-old took home $500 in prize money. The next month, the Sunburst National Pageant at the Airport Marriott Hotel in Atlanta was a disappointment because she was only second runner-up in the beauty competition, and by now people expected JonBenét to win everything, all the time. They were usually right. Titles were bagged with frequency, and the professional touches ofmakeup, perfect hair, and a portfolio of glamour photographs gave the child a sultry look that was part angel, part Lolita. Best-in-show trophies were just over the horizon.

In two trips to New York, she saw five Broadway shows and ate a $125 lobster dinner in a fancy restaurant. People waiting in line to see the Statue of Liberty asked permission to take her picture. After turning six that August, JonBenét entered private school, and her stage training made oral reports a snap, although her writing skills were minimal. She went to see the school nurse twice in December, both times on a Monday after a weekend.

Before the Christmas break, her mother arranged to have JonBenét perform as a holiday treat for her classmates, and in pageant finery she sang and danced all day while class after class came through to watch. She went home exhausted. Her lesson in school that day was that perfection and celebrity carried a price. On December 17 she picked up still another crown, Colorado's Little Miss Christmas.

Six days later, during a party at her parents' home, a family friend came across a JonBenét who was seldom seen. The child was immaculate in a holiday frock, and her platinum blond hair was done perfectly, but she sat alone on a staircase in the butler's kitchen, crying softly. The friend sat beside her.

"What's wrong, honey?"

Little Miss Christmas sobbed, "I don't feel pretty."

Copyright © 2000 by Steve Thomas and Don Davis.

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Table of Contents

Author's Note ix
Part 1 Little Miss Christmas 1
Part 2 A Gathering Storm 85
Part 3 Rocky Road to Nowhere 157
Part 4 Not So Grand Jury 225
Part 5 Laying Down the Badge 295
Dramatis Personae 354
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 42 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(26)

4 Star

(10)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 43 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 18, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Another disgusting account of how there is a fine line between j

    Another disgusting account of how there is a fine line between justice between the poor and the rich. This is about as close to the truth as anyone is ever going to get with this case. It saddens and shocks and enfuriates me how political gain, money and greed were more important to the Boulder County District Attorney Alex Hunter than solving the murder and getting justice for a 6-year-old innocent little girl who was murdered in her home on Christmas Night. Author and Detective Steve Thomas wasn't out to make money with this book. He wasn't out doing talk shows and interviews. After writing this, he went back into leading a life of privacy and doing construction work. I believe he truly cared about this case, devoting his life 24/7 for years to try to get to the bottom of the mystery, and I believe he did. Truth and justice meant more to him than the DA, which is why he had to lay down his badge to speak the truth instead of remaining silent to the powers that be. It is amazing that there are still some "good guys" out there like Steve Thomas. It's too bad that his career and reputation were smeared by the DA and others for uncovering and speaking out against the extreme corruption in Boulder.

    After reading this book, it is evident that there was MORE THAN ENOUGH probable cause to arrest if not both of the Ramseys at least arrest Patsy Ramsey. Thank you, Steve Thomas, for being honest and exposing the DA for what he is.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2010

    Very Detailed Account of Investigation

    I came into this being open minded, and not making any haste judgments about the illusive who done it theory. I came away from it feeling very frustrated with the justice system, and shocked of how this case was handled by the Boulder District Attorney, Alex Hunter. I think it was clearly evident there was proof beyond a reasonable doubt, who caused the death of this innocent little girl. I commend all of the investigators who tried to do the right thing, even with money and prestige trying to derail their investigation. I highly recommend this book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2003

    Won't disappoint

    This account by Steve Thomas is on the money. It, in my opinion, is the closet we will ever get to the truth. While innocent until proven guilty, the Ramsey's certainly seem like they are hiding something or someone. Read the book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2013

    Very informative!!

    Highly recommended. Lots of facts. Well written and very believable. It was well worth the money. It answered many of my questions. Another great book on the Nook right now is "The Partisan" by William Jarvis. This book is a novel but based on true facts. It is now only 99 cents. Both books are A+++++

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2013

    Highly Recommended

    Very interesting and compelling book...and very convincing as to who killed this child.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2012

    Anonymous

    This was so tragic. I read this book and I enjoyed it. It was so sad how such a young little girl died. I believe it wasn't the Ramseys' who killed her. I believe it was someone the Ramseys' knew.
    R.I.P. Jonbenet Ramsey 1990-1996

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2012

    Mr Steve Thomas truly CARES about the victim in this case. I wor

    Mr Steve Thomas truly CARES about the victim in this case.
    I work in the legal arena and can honestly say the frustrations and VERY hard and diligent work by the Boulder police in this case has been maligned and degraded by the defense side in this case.

    It is a disgrace that cases today (and in 1996, when this started to snowball) are now tried in the media, without ANY regard for the murder victim.
    Kudos to Steve Thomas for wanting justice in this case. The truth will out, as Shakespeare once said. And shame on those who have known the truth but continue to inundate the media with lies. The American public deserves to know the entire truth of this case, and how JonBenet was denied justice.She would be a 22 year old college student if she were alive today.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2014

    Lots of unknown info

    Well written. Such a sad messed up story. That police department should be very embarassed and most of them shouldve been fired

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2014

    Loved

    She is gone but not forgotten...

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 9, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Steve was the lead investigator in the JonBenet case. His accoun

    Steve was the lead investigator in the JonBenet case. His account of the story is a seemingly objective one which examines the direct and circumstantial evidence. Yes, there are some bias that are present in the text, but Thomas does a good job of keeping that to a minimum. Great read. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2006

    very detailed. i learned something new every page

    this book was amazing because it told of the entire investigation through the truthful eyes of a man who investigated it the whole time. it was very sad and i felt horrible for the beautiful jon benet. it was truly sad to hear of how they found her and her sad death that has been plagueing the nation. i definitely recommend it

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2003

    The Best Overview Of This Case Yet!

    I enjoyed reading from Steve Thomas's point of view. He sounds so aware of the case. He breaks the case down so carefully you don't miss a thing. I also like that the author was one of the leading detectives on the case, instead of just a regular person aspect. I am positive this won't be a disapointing read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2002

    Excellent story on a real life story

    I'm a 16 year old high school girl, and I truly enjoyed this book. From the moment I picked it up, I could honestly not drop it. As many people know it, teenagers do not like to read at all, but this book had me very much intrigued. I'm not a book worm or anything,I'm a regular 16 year old girl, and I loved this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2002

    Eye Opening Accounts from someone who Knew What he was Talking About!!

    This was an Excellent Book and i Would HIGHLY Recommend it to Anyone who would want to know the Inside Story!! I Think the Author did a Marvelous job on Writng it and I also Think He should be HIGHLY Commended for Standing up for What he Believed in!! It makes me Sick to Think That There May Never be any Justice for That Poor Little girl!! But I guess we Can ALL Hope and Pray That SOMEDAY, SOMEONE will talk or Finally the ones that did do it will Roast in Hell and I hope there's NOT a day that goes by that it doesn't haunt them in someway!! This was a Very Enlightening book!! Thanks again for a Wonderful Book!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2001

    Finally It Is Told

    This is an excellent book which chronicles the John Benet Ramsey case. The material is based on first hand accounts of the evidence found as well as the goings on between the Boulder Police Department and Boulder D.A. office and the obstacles that answer the question : Why hasn't this case been prosecuted yet ? Author Steve Thomas deserves five gold stars for his fair, frank and informative book. Highly recommended.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2001

    Jonbenet

    I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in this case. The author manages to be detailed yet focused, and to convey his frustration with the case without going off into a diatribe. It illustrates clearly what can happen when leaders become more concerned with posturing and maintaining power than with taking care of business, or making decisions which need to be made. It could not have been an easy task for the author to dredge up all this. The book is brave, riveting and heartbreaking.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2001

    Excellent Book About Beautiful JonnieB

    Very interesting book about the tragic murder of an innocent six year old. I would LOVE to write a book report on it. BRAVO!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2000

    Terrific!!

    Steve Thomas did a wonderful job of telling a story that has been told so many times that one walks away more confused than before. I never paid much attention to the Jon Benet story, but like a song on the radio that is played over and over -- I couldn't help but have the story burned in my memory. Yet I never really heard the facts, at least not until I read Steve Thomas' book. Steve Thomas is a modern day hero. A man that would not give up and would not back down. I saw him on Larry King Live and he looked Patsy Ramsey right in the eye and told her he thinks she did it. It was the first time I saw the always composed, Mrs. Ramsey - Blink!! So - I bought the book - and I could not put it down. For anyone that wants to know the truth -- I highly recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2000

    JonBenet Gets Justice With Steve Thomas

    This was by far one of the best true crime books I have ever read. Mr. Thomas did an excellent job convincing me of Patsy Ramsey's guilt. I applaud Steve Thomas for his seemingly fine job during the investigation of this little girl's murder. JonBenet would be proud. If more people read his book maybe just maybe Patsy would get whats coming to her. This should be required reading for the entire Boulder Police Department as well as 'Team Ramsey'.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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