-- John Ramsey, on learning of the arrest of John Karr
If only that had happened 10 years ago when his cherished daughter was murdered. Instead, a Boulder detective and the governor of Colorado decided that the parents were guilty, and tunnel-visioned the investigation.
The media assault has been relentless. When Patsy Ramsey died two months ago, the Record-Eagle ran a terse AP obituary reiterating that Boulder police said early on that Patsy and John Ramsey were under an umbrella of suspicion in JonBenets death. The Ramseys said an intruder killed their daughter. Patsy was described as the mother of 6-year-old beauty pageant contestant, JonBenet.
I first met the Ramsey family in 1995. My daughter worked with Patsy on school projects at a Boulder elementary where their children were classmates. We attended a Christmas party at her home. Patsys son, Burke, and my grandson, Woody, became great friends, and they included JonBenet and another grandson who was her age.
Patsy was easy to love, as my husband commented several years later, the least pretentious woman Ive ever met.
My daughter and her family moved to Seattle. The Ramseys owned a home in Charlevoix, and the four kids were able to stay in touch when my grandchildren visited. While the boys were busy building things and flying kites, JonBenet and her mother enjoyed their visits at our Long Lake home. Patsy always included me when we took the grandchildren to Charlevoix. When my grandson developed childhood diabetes and my daughter needed family support, John Ramsey flew them to Traverse City.
How did JonBenet, an intelligent, fun-loving, thoughtful child become a 6-year-old beauty pageant contestant? Is that her legacy? I watched four kids creating plays to perform in the garage for the neighbors, something I remember from my childhood. When my friends trot out their children or grandchildren to sing or dance, I remember JonBenet was not subjected to this, though she might have enjoyed it. JonBenet was a natural born performer, but Patsy kept the lid on.
And how did this warm and generous family become the heinous creatures of tabloids and talk shows? Even some of our friends believed the media image. Nothing could stop the pariahs and the piranhas. My daughter would turn the tabloids around when she took her children through the grocery checkout.
After JonBenets death, it was our turn to give support. Over dinner at our house, Patsy said the only time she could relax was when she was with people like us who knew her before JonBenets death. By then Patsy was battling cancer.
In June, Lin Wood, the Ramseys attorney, eulogized: I think people will remember Patsy as someone who was falsely accused in connection with the death of her daughter, when she should be remembered for being an incredibly loving mother, a wonderful wife and a person who showed great courage in fighting a vicious disease.
Whether John Karr is the killer is immaterial. Its time to give this family the sympathy they so deserve. And perhaps the next time we see or hear media sensationalism, we might remember the Ramseys, and reserve judgment until justice is served.
Shirley Murray is a resident of Traverse City and was a friend of Patsy Ramsey.