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This paper explores the book by Steve Thomas written on the basis of Ramsey murder investigation that took place in the year 1996. JonBenet was a lovely 6-year-old girl who was found dead in her parent’s house after what it had first appeared to be a kidnapping case. Prior to discovering her body the family had received a ransom letter that demanded a large sum of money. Unfortunately, ransom money could have not been paid in order to save little girl’s life. She was found tied up in the basement having died from what was later diagnosed as injury to the skull and strangulation. The paper answers cardinal questions concerning the case and elucidates the factors that were involved in the investigation. It aims to study the procedure that was taken by the police during this investigation in order to discover right ways for a successful completion of the case file. It also sheds light on involved persons such as the investigator Lou Smit and brings about a deeper understanding of the case.
This case begins as kidnapping. Are the police considering it as kidnapping? In what ways are they scrutinizing it as kidnapping? In what ways are they not treating it as kidnapping?
Though the case does begin as kidnapping supported by the ransom found by Patsy Benet, JonBenet’s mother, police are reluctant to consider this possibility and, therefore, do not take seriously the kidnap allegations. Even though it was officially stated as kidnapping case, the actions that followed can blame the police for not examining it in a proper way. There are various factors in the case that support this stance and prove that despite handling the case and paying their full attention to it, the police left out a few loopholes that should not have been overlooked in the kidnapping case. The authorities viewed the JonBenet case in the capacity of kidnapping in a number of ways. However, some of these actions include questioning of close family and friends to find out if there was a particular person who held a grudge against Ramseys and was capable of doing such violence for revenge or any other motive. The police ensured that they retrieved all available information in order to help them begin the investigation. They also searched the premises for any signs of forced entry to give them an idea of how the assailant was able to get in and out with Benets’ daughter. However, the police ignored a number of things that should have taken place in the case of kidnapping. One of them is the restriction of movement around the house after the kidnap was reported. The police allowed friends and family to move in and out as they pleased even after they had discovered about the kidnapping. This could have allowed for the tampering of evidence that may have been assisted in the investigation.
Compare the ransom note’s directions with the behavior of the Ramseys themselves. Do they appear to believe the note is genuine? Defend your answer with specific examples of their behavior.
The ransom note found on the kitchen stairway by the victim’s mother was the first piece of evidence employed in the Ramsey investigation. The ransom note was made up of a two-page composition detailing the situation at hand as well as instructions that had been given by the kidnappers on what the parents should do to save their daughter. According to the instructions that were present in the note and compared to the reaction of the parents, it can be considered that the victim’s parents did believe that the note was real and that their daughter could have been in danger. This conclusion can be drawn from a number of actions that were taken by both parents. In the mother’s case, original ode of panic can be reflected in her reactions to the letter. It is difficult to keep calm in such situation which was proven by a distraught mother who called the police and a couple of close friends despite all the threats. Though this can be viewed as an odd action considering the warnings that were given in the letter about contacting the police, it should also be regarded that the first action of a flustered person is to seek help from a reliable source. Patsy Benet suspected that her daughter was in danger, hence the police were the first people she considered calling. It is apparent that many individuals would have acted in the same way. The measures of the father also prove that he genuinely believed in the letter. He arranged to collect needed sum of money as soon as possible. Blackmailers demanded a lot of money and if the person supposed the letter was fake, he would not have taken it that seriously. The arrangement for a friend to pick it up instead of him also shows that he kept in mind what the kidnappers had said. The kidnappers had stated that they would be watching him to see when he would do when they came to conduct the ransom. The actions of a killer are more calm and collected and a state of confusion does not often occur in a premeditated crime.
Boulder Police (BPD) seem anxious to reveal the scene and in one instance appear to believe they can figure it out after exploring the scene for only 90 minutes. How long do they have to elucidate the scene in a legal way? Defend your answer on the grounds of your text or lecture.
Unfortunately, the police do not show a large amount of professionalism in this case and it cannot be stated that the crime scene was investigated thoroughly before its detection. Moreover, there are a number of factors that were overlooked during the investigation of the crime scene such as the tampering of evidence, which was quite possible as the area was not efficiently condoned off from the public during the investigations. Though the police took the allotted time that was required by regulation as they had spent over an hour at the scene, not a lot of evidence was created. Moreover, the area was expansive and could not have been sufficiently covered within the one and a half hour when the police were looking over the place. Sufficient time should always be taken in the analysis of a crime scene.
BPD made a number of errors in the first hours of this case. Pick any two errors and elaborate the cause of their emergence as well as possible solutions. Describe the specific error made and clarify what should have been done to achieve right way.
There were a number of errors that were made during the investigation, especially at the start of it that may have led to a reduction in the chances of a successful completion of the task that the police were responsible for. Hence, they have been criticized for these mistakes and blamed for not taking the case seriously at a crucial stage of the investigation. One of the errors included the failure to seal off the crime scene after their arrival. This was considered as an odd factor in the case as this is one of the first things done in police protocol after their arrival at a crime scene and yet no police tape was used to condone off the area. The police needed to seal the area off so as to ensure that no one would intentionally or unintentionally wander into the vicinity during the examination. Such omissions could have led to the obstruction of justice which had once been successful in tampering with the crime scene, thus allowing any possible scenario such as the collection of evidence. Police officers should have also been stationed around the area as well to assist in keeping the scenee secure. The failure to collect forensic evidence that was present before and even after the discovery of the victim’s body was also a serious error. The need for this evidence was crucial as it may have assisted in gathering more proofs that would have helped in the case. It was very important that the police collected this evidence, but another odd factor showed that they did not bother. Critics claim that the reason behind this was that the police had already strongly suspected the victim’s parents of the crime and thus, did not see the need to collect any evidence. It is always essential to collect forensic evidence no matter the situation in order to have clearer picture of what happened.
What do authorities view as the most important piece of evidence in this case? Describe the analysis of this piece of evidence. What suspect is most closely related to this undeniable proof?
Although the scene of the crime was not successfully sealed off, the police was still able to gather evidence for the case. One of the most important pieces of evidence was found on the body of the dead victim and belonged to the victim’s mother. A paintbrush handle had been broken off and was used for the strangulation of the victim together with a garrote that had been constructed from a cord made out of tweed. This garrote was found on the victim’s body. After a careful search of the premises it could be indicated that the end that contained the bristles of the paintbrush was found dumped among art supplies that belonged to Patsy Benet, the victim’s mother. The investigators also noted that whoever had constructed the garrote, it required a good knowledge of knots in order to make it. Moreover, those knots may be familiar to an individual who is interested in art work. It was this evidence that made many of the investigators suspect mother’s involvement in the crime. However, it should also be noted that a third part of the brush handle was never found, even after a thorough search of the residence and its surrounding areas.
Summarize Lou Smit’s position on the Ramsey’s case and describe (or just list) what evidence he is using for his conclusions. Explain in what way he believes each piece of evidence supports his conclusion.
Lou Smit was an investigator who was called out of retirement to work in order to solve JonBenet’s case. The detective initially suspected her parents for the crime until he rescinded his claim and instead suggested that an outsider is accountable of its conviction. There are a number of factors which he used to support his changed opinion as well as the claim that the discovery of evidence expunged the victim’s family from any wrongdoing. Instead, he argued about a presence of another person in the house who was a stranger likely responsible for the crime. Consequential evidence that he had in support of this was the discovery of a previously overlooked fact in the case, and yet the use of a stun gun against the victim. This was presumably used to subdue the girl and it was argued that this would not have been needed if the perpetrator were someone that JonBenet knew and trusted like her parents. The lack of any other evidence was able to connect the parents to the murder. There was also another reason why Smit claimed that another person must have been involved in the killing as it would have taken a professional criminal to conceal such matters from the police. The broken lock of a basement window and other opened doors that had not been mentioned earlier also proved to be suitable access points through which an intruder was able to enter the premises. It means that it was possible for an individual to intrude into the house.