By Jay Weidner & Vincent Bridge
In the analysis of the ransom note by Yeager and Knoke referred to above,
this reference becomes an important clue. "Psalm 118 is a biblical chapter that
is used quite often in the Charismatic/Pentecostal movement," they write
in their 1998 report to the Boulder Police Department "This subculture
of the Christian Religion has many unwritten fundamentals that they adhere
area in which they divert from main stream Christian theology is in the
area of biblical interpretation. Because of their extreme emphasis on spiritual
gifts, they tend to have a more flexible view of interpretation compared
to the more
scholarly approach taken by their fellow Christians in main steam denominations. "
Yeager and Knoke continue, pointing out that "rather than believing
the scriptures to be the general will of God being presented to all believers,
they take a more mystical approach by viewing the scriptures as a prophetic
by God to speak to individual believers. This flexible attitude leads to
diverse views theologically. We believe that Patsy Ramsey took this approach
from the Osteen, Hickey and Barnhill books that she was introduced to during
However, Psalm 118, and particularly the verse quoted at the head of this
article, verse 27, is more than just a fundamentalist text on the glory
of God. As Yeager
and Knoke point out, it is also suggestive of the power of sacrifice. "Based
on my experience," Yeager wrote in his earlier 1997 report, "this
second section of verse 27 has been used by several white supremacy groups
such as the
Christian Identity movement and the Aryan Nation to justify their killing
of blacks, Jews and other minorities. In their non-orthodox view, the verse
speaking of offering a person as a sacrifice to God and God is accepting
on his altar as atonement. "
Yeager's 1997 report to the Boulder Police goes on to mention that "the
Hebrews where required to offer a blood sacrifice to God to atone for their sins
as a nation. A lamb or sheep would be placed on the altar and tied to the four
extended horns of the altar with thick cords. The animal was then cut and bled
until it was dead. The blood was then used in ceremony for the 'washing away
by the blood, the sins of the people.' " This idea is still found in the
fundamentalist belief in the redemptive power of Christ's blood, shed as it was
as part of the final sacrificial atonement. "Washed in the blood of the
lamb" is a common motif in fundamentalist hymns.
Even more interesting is Yeager's reference to a similar case which "involved
a woman with a very conservative Christian background, who strangled her daughter
and used this verse as a justification for the killing. Her belief was that the
child would be better off in 'heaven with God' and that the daughter would be
a redemptive sacrifice to God for her [the mother's] sins." It is
unknown whether the Boulder Police followed Yeager's advice and asked the
details on the case. If they had, they would have been astounded by the
An extensive search of the ritual abuse literature turned up the facts in the
case. In 1979, a Silver Springs, Maryland, woman took her five year old daughter
to church and there strangled her to death. When questioned by Linda Stone for
an article in David Sakheim and Susan Devine's 1992 book Out of Darkness: Exploring
Satanism and Ritual Abuse, the woman confirmed Yeager's comments. She felt that
she was saving her child from the same lifetime of sin that she herself had endured.
The sin of course was ritualistic sexual abuse and pedophilia.
In commenting on the case, author Stone remarks that "the inability of a
parent to protect his or her child while witnessing the ongoing symptomatic behavior
that the child is exhibiting as a consequence of the ritual abuse is probably
one of the most stressful circumstances that a person can endure." In the
case of the Maryland woman, such stress and the twisted nature of the Christian
cult in which she was caught combined to produce the mercy murder of her own
daughter. "God required a sacrifice," the woman told Stone, "and
at least she [her daughter] died before they could corrupt her."
While considering the meaning of the $118,000 ransom request, we should also
look at the other two verses from the Bible quoted at the head of this article.
Genesis 1:18 suggests that God approves of separating the light from the darkness
while Revelation 1:18 points to the resurrection motif of ever-lasting life in
the faith. Both of these could be used in the same way as verse 27 of Psalm 118
to justify a sacrificial murder in the name of salvation.
Returning to the note, the next sentence dealt with the money: "$100,000
in $100 bills and the remaining $18,000 in $20 bills." This is straightforward,
and attempts to suggest a savvy kidnapper collecting his ransom in small bills.
When we consider the request more closely however, it is clear that this is an
arbitrary division, perhaps designed to emphasize the one and the eighteen of
the Bible references. In which case the text of Revelation 1:18 becomes even
more important: "I am the Living one. I was dead and behold I am alive
for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and hell."
And then comes a curious sentence: "Make sure that you bring an adequate
size attache to the bank." This sounds more like a wife instructing her
husband in some household matter, than a kidnapper giving instructions. It also
suggests that the writer is educated enough to spell attaché and
use it correctly.
"When you get home you will put the money in a brown paper bag," the
note continues in the same nagging tone. "I will call you between 8 and
10 am tomorrow to instruct you on delivery. The delivery will be exhausting so
you to be rested." The brown paper bag is another odd note. Why not
keep the money in the attaché? The advice to rest seems to be taken
from the movie Dirty Harry, which aired on November 29 on TBS in Boulder.
"If we monitor you getting the money early, we might call you to arrange
an earlier delivery of the money and hence the earlier delivery [crossed
out and replaced
by] pick-up of your daughter." The author of the note has used the
word delivery four times in the space of a few sentences, then corrected
usage to pick-up. This and the use of the word "hence" suggests
an educated person, or the attempt to appear so.
"Any deviation from my instructions will result in the immediate execution
of your daughter. You will also be denied her remains for proper burial.
gentlemen watching over your daughter do not particularly like you so I
advise you not to provoke them. Speaking to anyone about your situation, such
F.B.I., etc., will result in your daughter being beheaded. If we catch
you talking to a stray dog, she dies. If you alert bank authorities, she dies.
is in any way marked or tampered with, she dies. You will be scanned for
electronic devices and if any are found, she dies. You can try to deceive us
but be forewarned
that we are familiar with law enforcement countermeasures and tactics.
You stand a 99% chance of killing your daughter if you try to outsmart us. Follow
and you stand a 100% chance of getting her back. You and your family are
constant scrutiny as well as the authorities. Don't try to grow a brain
John. You are not the only fat cat so don't think that killing will be difficult.
Don't underestimate us John. Use that good southern common sense of yours.
to you now John! Victory! S.B.T.C." (Italics not in original.)
At this point, the temptation is to see this as the War and Peace of ransom notes.
It is as if the author became involved in their own creation and spun it out
as far as it would. go This section is filled with references to movies, Dirty
Harry again as well as Speed, and fairly drips with venom toward John Ramsey
and/or Don Paugh. Clues also abound, as marked in italics in the above section
of the note. We will look at these clues individually and then try to determine
The word execution tells us that the author of the note felt that JonBenet was
executed. The threat of no body to bury suggests the reason why the killer did
not dispose of the body. The two gentlemen is very curious, suggesting that the
author felt that two men were to blame. Certainly one of those men could be John
Ramsey, and the other could be his father-in-law. The beheading reference seems
to be an extra piece of nastiness, hiding perhaps a deep seated desire to castrate
male authority. Stray dog echoes a line from Dirty Harry and has the added connotation
of describing the author's view of his or her self as isolated and degraded like
a stray dog. Scanned is a word that has different connotations depending on how
it is used. Here it is used in the sense of supermarket scanner, rather than
a computer image scanner. The phrase law enforcement countermeasures has an oddly
formal and made-up quality to it, as if the author was uncertain how to say it.
Grow a brain comes from the movie Speed, with Dennis Hopper. Constant scrutiny
is another indicator of the author's state of mind. Obviously, since the idea
is present throughout the note, the feeling of being watched constantly is a
powerful component of the author's psyche. Fat cat seems to be a reference to
Don Paugh, who, according to Access Graphics employees, used the words cat in
its slang sense all the time. The confusion between John and Don continues with
the good southern common sense phrase. It is also possible that this is another
slap at John because he doesn't have any, as he isn't from the south.
The last two key words are the most important. In their 1998 profile, Yeager
and Knoke found them to be very revealing. "In the Charismatic subculture,
acronyms are quite common and used quite frequently as teaching tools and on
banners [In church icons]. S.B.T.C. is a well-used acronym that represents the
words "saved by the cross". In our extensive database of terroristic
groups, we find no use of this phrase with White Supremacy or International Organizations.
The author of the ransom note uses this acronym along with the word "victory".
The word "victory" is used in the Charismatic subculture as a
verb. It is seen as the result of actions taken by believers to bind and
Satan's power primarily in the areas of physical health."
What a strange way to end a ransom note! It is almost as if the author is trying
to convey a very precise message, one that implies a victory of some kind over
the forces of evil. Saved By The Cross becomes even more important when we remember
Patsy's supposed premonition over using Easter colors at Christmas. The closing
actually forces us to the conclusion that Patsy is the author.
When we look at the totality of the clues and hints in the ransom note, we are
struck first of all by its theatricality. The note was staged to convey a message,
one that had nothing to do with any real kidnapping. When we look closely at
that message, we come face to face with a Christian sacrificial victory, an innocent
saved by the cross, even unto death. The similarities to the Maryland case cited
above are only too clear.
In the note, the author places the blame on two "gentlemen," who might
be John and her father Don Paugh. The good southern common sense phrase, whether
we interpret it as a dig at John or a confusion with Don Paugh in the manner
of a Freudian slip, could only have come from Patsy. Add to this the amount of
the bonus, the ransom request and the Biblical connections, including the open
Bible on John's desk, and Patsy is the only possible author. "Victory" and "S.B.T.C." clinches
the identification, and announces that the deed is done, the innocent is
saved and beyond their reach.
The note was an attempt to tell those she felt were truly responsible that
the sacrifice had been made, and at the same time to point the finger at
of the true evil. Patsy made it as obvious as she could, and in the first
hours after JonBenet's body was discovered it is possible that Patsy wanted
caught. Perhaps, she really wanted to tell her story, at least unconsciously.
suggests that she did. But the opportunity was lost, and the "justification
pathology" became fixed.
Everything detailed above was known to the Boulder Police as early as the summer
of 1997. It was generally agreed that this evidence made Patsy the prime suspect,
but no conclusive motive could be demonstrated that would be horrific enough
to justify, even in Patsy's mind, the murder of her daughter. In other words,
what could be so bad that a mother would think that death was preferable? If
the Boulder Police followed up on the Maryland case cited in the Yeager analysis,
then they had an idea of what would drive a mother to such a deed.
But until Boulder Attorney Lee Hill showed up with his California informant,
such a motive was pure speculation. Suddenly, it looked as if there might be
something solid to the idea of sexual abuse. Patsy might have had a motive after
Barrie Hartman, in his February 25 story in the Boulder Daily Camera reported
the details. "The woman has described to police years of sexual and physical
abuse in California homes at the hands of adults who stayed at holiday and other
parties after other guests had left for the evening. Then, she said, another "party," one
of sexual abuse for the gratification of a select group of adults, would begin.
In talking to detectives, the woman draws parallels between sexual techniques
used at these sessions and the physical evidence of garroting that investigators
found on the body of JonBenét Ramsey."
California ranks number one in both pedophilia and ritualistic sexual abuse.
In a study of 57 ritual abuse cases done by "Margaret Smith," herself
an abuse survivor, 37% of the cases occurred in California. She also found that
98% percent of perpetrators fell into four large occupational categories; 35%
were professionals, either doctors or lawyers, 25% were teachers, 22% priests
and ministers, and 15% were police officers. Given these statistics, the victim's
fears of authority are well justified . "The woman told detectives she believes
JonBenét was killed accidentally when an asphyxiation technique used to
stimulate an orgasmic response during a child sex and porno "party" went
too far," Hartman's story continued. "The woman told police she knows
firsthand about asphyxiation (choking) to produce a sexual response because it
had been done to her when she was a child. The woman said in her experience little
girls were dressed provocatively and trained to say provocative things, such
as, "It's a pleasure to please you." She told police that when girls
did not perform as expected, they were struck on the head. That was because their
hair covered the wound. A big night for such "parties" was Christmas
night, she said. Over the years, she said, many parties were held then
because a large number of cars around a house did not arouse suspicion
in the neighborhood
and the children had a full week to heal from their wounds before returning
And then the story turns to the crucial element, a connection to the Ramsey
woman said she knows the Ramseys through the Fleet White family. She said the
godfather to her mother is Fleet White Sr., 86, of California. Fleet White Jr.
of Boulder and John Ramsey were close friends until the death of JonBenét.
White Jr. was with John Ramsey when JonBenét's body was found in the basement
of the Ramsey's Boulder home." What is curiously not mentioned is
that the Ramseys actually attended a Christmas party at the Whites on Christmas
Fleet White Jr. was cleared by police in April of 1997, but this information
casts new light on many of the strange elements of the case.
As Alex Hunter, Boulder District Attorney, said earlier in the same story, even
if only 15% of the story is true, then it deserves to be investigated. Whether
that investigation will go the way of all the rest remains to be seen.
However, this new information, combined with an analysis of the ransom note,
allows us to piece together a scenario of the crime that fits the peculiarities
of its signature. Whether this is the truth or not, only Patsy knows.
Patsy Paugh Ramsey fits the classic profile of an abuse survivor. Emotional and
physical abuse are most likely, but sexual abuse can not be ruled out. Much of
this trauma seems to be associated with her father, whom she recreated by marrying
the older John Ramsey. We have no way of knowing how deeply the abuse went in
her own family, but the symptoms are there.
Soon after the Ramseys moved to Boulder, they met the Fleet Whites, the family
implicated by the California informant. Whether this was the beginning of the
problem, or merely another step along the way is uncertain. All we can tell is
that it marks a turning point.
Perhaps John was recruited by Fleet and began to receive child pornography
in the "brown paper bag" that Patsy chides him with in the ransom
note. Perhaps it was at first a social thing that grew slowly into something
We may never know.
Patsy's illness marks another turning point. She emerged from it with a
strong fundamentalist Christian belief, one that curiously enough either
her to participate in her daughter's pedophilic involvement or blinded
her to it.
A quote from "Margaret Smith," who was a member of a Christian cult
not unlike the one the Maryland mother who killed her daughter was involved in,
shows how confusing the message can be. "In our belief system, the
ultimate deity is God manifested through the actions of Jesus. . . We believed
Jesus' teachings should not be dictated by some church. . . We believe
Jesus radiated the perfect emanation of Heavenly Light. . . The heavenly
light is also. . . Lucifer, the Light Bearer. . ."
What starts out as Christianity has subtly shifted to a worship of Lucifer. "We
most certainly would not consider ourselves to be Satan worshipers," Ms.
Smith goes on. "We believe that Satan is a term used by the church to separate
the world into good and evil through the eyes of the God of the Old Testament." The
emphasis in the cult was on Jesus as Light Bearer, and awaiting a Luciferian
return. "We believe we have to create the perfect race: a race of
warriors to prepare for his second coming."
From the outside, it is hard to determine what the group around the Ramseys
truly believed and whether the child abuse ring had cultic or ritualistic
overtones. All we can be sure of, as Yeager's report reminds us, is that
is was "a
child's murder with ritualistic overtones."
The beauty pageant frenzy in the last year of JonBenet's life seems to have been
part of her preparation for entry into the group. As the California informant
said, the children were required to act adult and provocative at these gatherings.
Several other beauty pageant mothers who knew JonBenet have commented on the
inappropriateness of her routines. Her pageant coach claims that these moves
did not come from her. Apparently, Patsy herself taught her daughter how to do
her very adult bumps and grinds.
Christmas Night at the Whites has an atmosphere of an initiation, an audition
to see if all the hard work had paid off. JonBenet apparently passed the test,
and may even have been scheduled as the main attraction at the next major event.
The California informant, as reported by her attorney Lee Hill, has suggested
that JonBenet was killed at the party. This raises some interesting questions.
If she had been killed at the party, which must occasionally happen given the
nature of the goings-on, then her death would have been handled in a more direct
manner. Certainly, no one on the inside of the group would have concocted something
like the ransom note.
The most likely scenario is that all went relatively well at the audition. It
is possible that JonBenet was not sexually violated, although sex play, including
asphyxiation probably did occur. However, it just may be that Patsy did not fully
grasp what was about to happen to her little angel. Patsy's own abuse and sexualization
at the hands of her father, Don Paugh, would allow her not to see the sexual
objectification of her routines as anything out of the ordinary. The group itself
may have appealed to her Christian and mystical side. Who knows exactly what,
in her mind, Patsy was training the child to become?
However, after the Christmas party, something snapped in Patsy. In the early
morning hours of the 26th, Patsy sat up at the kitchen table pondering what to
do. She wrote the ransom note to carefully send a message to John, and subliminally
to her father. She goes upstairs, gets the sleeping JonBenet out of bed, and
carries her to the basement.
Patsy probably prayed, thinking of Abraham and Isaac, and the great sin for which
she must atone. Just as in the letter, her intent in the murder was to leave
clues, point a finger, at what she felt was the true evil, the true perpetrators,
John and her father, or John and Fleet White. Praying, she slugged JonBenet with
The child awoke from the blow and screamed, once. Patsy stopped her scream with
the garrote and strangled her to death. To make the point even more clear, she
sexually assaulted her with the same paint brush used to fashion the garrote.
Then, without removing the garrote, she dresses her and wraps her in a blanket
in the far corner of the basement.
When everything is staged to her satisfaction, she goes upstairs, and puts the
flashlight on the kitchen counter. Perhaps she sits for a while in the dark brooding,
perhaps she does a load of laundry, and when it is time to get up, still in the
clothes she wore to the party the night before, she goes downstairs to find the
John of course is confused. Burke is up and running around screaming. Patsy is
on the phone to 911. But as John reads the note, it becomes clear that this no
ordinary kidnapping. How soon John suspected Patsy is unknown, but it must have
been soon. At no time does John show the least regard for the instructions in
the note, which warn him that if talks to anyone, JonBenet will be killed.
John gets on the phone and calls the Whites and the others. By 7 o'clock that
morning, there were nine people, not including the Boulder Police, wandering
through the Ramsey house. By the time the body was found at 1 o'clock that afternoon,
no such thing as a crime scene existed. John's immediate reaction was to call
his pilot and tell him to stand by in the company jet. Patsy of course was hysterical,
making a variety of bizarre comments, such as publicly begging their priest to
bring her back to life.
Soon however, Patsy was tranquilized, becoming by the end of the day totally
incoherent. In the meanwhile, the word spread, reaching perhaps many other people
in the Boulder community, as Alex Hunter speculated. The pedophiles needed damage
And so, two and a half weeks after the story broke, and five days after Alex
Hunter decided to quit his job, the JonBenet Ramsey murder case remains in limbo.
The real story almost emerged, but where formally there was a media rush, now
the quiet is deafening. The Daily Camera's stories have been picked up by few
other media outlets. And now, with Alex Hunter soon to be gone, we face the possibility
that the story will never be told.
In closing, we would like to encourage the California woman and her therapist,
Ms. Mary Bienkowski, to go public with their information if the Boulder authorities
failed to follow up on it. We think it is important that the Ramseys don't get
the last word.
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