LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – An arrest has been made in Thailand in the 10-year-old murder of JonBenet Ramsey, a child beauty queen whose grisly death triggered a U.S. media frenzy, a U.S. law enforcement official said on Wednesday.
The official, in Washington, said the U.S. government “facilitated a request” for the arrest of the unidentified suspect who was detained in Bangkok. The suspect faces charges in the western state of Colorado, where the girl had lived.
KUSA-TV in Denver, Colorado, said the suspect confessed to elements of the crime that were unknown to the general public.
Representatives of the Boulder, Colorado, Police Department and Boulder District Attorney’s Office declined to comment.
More at link above. Developing story.
Federal officials familiar with the case, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the man was being held in Bangkok on unrelated sex charges.
The girl was found beaten and strangled in the basement of the family’s home in Boulder, Colo., on Dec. 26, 1996.
Law enforcement officials from Boulder were flying to Bangkok to present Thai authorities with documents in the slaying of the 6-year-old beauty pageant contestant, officials in Washington said. They asked to remain anonymous pending an announcement in Colorado.
Update – Kim: From Carol McKinley at Fox, the suspect’s name is John Karr. He’s in his forties, a schoolteacher, and may have lived in Conyers, Georgia. He has been in Thailand for about 2 years or so and was sending very bizarre and disturbing emails about JonBenet to Patsy for a while before she died.
Update – Lorie: A few thoughts…One of the strangest things in the entire case, in my opinion, was that extremely long ransom note. It will be interesting to see if Karr has anything to say about that note, including whether or not he had any access to knowledge of the $118,000 Ramsey bonus.
Something I heard on one of the cable shows tonight, which I did not know, or did not recall, was that JonBenet was strangled slowly, causing no bruising, and that the blow to the head came after the strangulation. If that is correct, then that information surely must have been learned at the time of the autopsy. Since that piece of information completely destroys speculation that JonBenet was hit by her mother or father or brother, either in anger or by accident, and then had the strangulation staged, I wonder why so many people kept that theory alive for so many years.
What comes out in the details of this new development will be extremely instructive. If the man now arrested did murder JonBenet, and did so alone, I just wonder if he might have been found earlier had the Boulder police not focused so intently on the Ramseys for so long. Did he harm, or even murder, any other children over the past decade? If, as it appears, the Ramseys had no involvement, how on earth did so many authorities and media display such incredibly bad judgment, to the point of accusing a grieving mother of not only murdering her child, but of staging a bizarre gruesome strangulation? The Ramseys were criticized for not cooperating with police early on, and I thought they should have been more forthcoming to police, but now I wonder if they got the impression from police in those first hours that they were going to be the focus no matter what and were reacting to that. Hopefully some of those questions will be answered over the coming days.