With PETER BOYLES February 2000
PB: It's been long talked about. The Ramseys have now written a book about their quote"side", which I think is an interesting choice of words, of this murder, the investigation andeverything that happened. Now the book that will be published by a Christian publishinghouse, Thomas Nelson, is now--apparently somebody up at the Boulder Daily Cameradid some great work and got an advance somehow or got a leak or something becausethe Ramseys have said they're going to name suspects.
Well, three people were named. One of them joins us on the line. He's a reporter; I've gotten to know him through this case. I think he's done excellent work. His name is Chris Wolfe. Chris, good morning.
CW: Hi, Peter. How you doin'?
PB: Fine. Thanks for coming on the show. The other two people: Jeff Merrick, who I've gotten to know very, very long who I just think is, I mean, is just beyond reproach. And the other one, of course, it's almost like deservedly so because he weaseled his way into this story, Santa Claus McReynolds. But you three--first of all, thanks for doing this. I think it's good that you're speaking out. But how do you feel after finding out you were named? How did you find out the Ramseys named you?
CW: Well, I saw the story in the Daily Camera yesterday and-- umm, didn't,-- my name was right there on the front page so, you know, it wasn't hard to figure out what was going on. It was surprising but it's been a series of surprises really since this began when Igot pulled over by the cops about three weeks after JonBenet was murdered. They pulled me into the station and I had really no idea what for.
PB: First of all, tell a litttle bit about your background, what you were doing at the time and why they pulled you over.
CW: Well, you know, I'm really not a reporter now but I had been at that time for a longtime, uhh, for about six years at a number of different papers around Boulder County andwell, yeah, they pulled me over and took me in and, you know, it was some sort of
traffic, uhh, they said I was driving with an expired license which they had taken from me the week before, or just a few days before, under some sort of other bogus circumstances so it was sort of a whole, you know, setup but they said we'll fix this traffic problem for you if you'll just help us with this thing and they pushed this paper in front of me with a bunch of phrases like "Mr. Ramsey" and "small foreign faction" and all that kind of stuff.
PB: Yeah, words from the so-called ransom note.
CW:...words from the ransom note. and they said "Would you write this for us?" and I looked at it and I was pretty shocked and stunned for a second and of course I put two and two together pretty quickly and said "Well, you know, I mean, I'm not gonna do that. I'm not gonna write that stuff. You know, why don't you find the guy, talk to the guy who is responsible or who knows something about it?--you know, referring to John Ramsey, really, of course. Cause this was three weeks after the murder and by then everyone had seen this cat and mouse game going on with the cops. The Ramseys saying"Well, we have a scheduling conflict and we can't talk to you" and all that kind of stuff.
PB: It's amazing, isn't it? And the fact that they got away with it, too.
CW: Well, yeah, they did. They really did. And I think that's the whole story really here behind what's going on with this book and their ability to write my name in this book that they're writing and supposedly publishing and ummm it's a story of a vacuum of law enforcement and I think the DA has decided he didn't want to deal with that and, uhh, he didn't want to deal with the Ramseys--he didn't want to take the Ramseys on. I think he's afraid to look them in the eye for one thing and from that, I don't know more than that, I don't know what else transpired but I think that that's probably the one thing that Alex Hunter can do at this point since he's really basically squelched this case and covered it up at this point to a degree it's probably irrevokable. The one thing I think he can do is tell how that all happened--who got to him? That's what I think he can do.
PB: There's so many issues here. You had written, if I recall correctly, you had written astory actually about Access Graphics, had you not?
CW: That's what I've been told. I think that that was, I haven't seen that and...
PB: No, but you, did you write as a reporter, did you do a piece on Access and on John?
CW: Well, I don't really remember it, Peter, but I have been told that I did that and Idon't think I
PB: Why would you say to the audience "You don't really remember."?
CW: Well, I wrote a lot, a lot of stories--hundreds and hundreds of stories over all that time and I wasn't really a full time reporter for the Business Report. I was a freelance writer for the Business Report and I did write a lot of stories. But you know I just called
the sources that they gave me and I'm sure I never talked to John Ramsey, I mean, I would remember that and I would tell you if I had but I know I never talked to John Ramsey personally and I don't think I ever knew his name. I don't think I included his
name in a story. I never heard of these people before this murder, before the murder.
PB: And so, you were--my understanding and my re-remembering of all of this--is you lived not close to the Ramseys but you really weren't that far away that night when the little girl was murdered?
CW: Well, I lived up in Lyons.
PB: Yeah, that's what I'm saying. You didn't live close to the Ramseys but you lived inthe area.
CW: Well, I lived in Lyons; they lived in Boulder.
PB: Fair enough, yeah. And where were you the night of the 25th, the night the little girl was
CW: I was at home. I was at my girlfriend's house who, who had a house in Lyons and I lived there and I was there.
PB: There were witnesses? Everybody knew where you were, it wasn't like you were sitting alone?
CW: Well, she had her family there and, uh, they were sort of -- we had been together the previous day, you know on Christmas and, uhh, that was Christmas night, right—we had partied together, we had hung out together on, eaten together on Christmas eve was our big meal together and then we didn't really do much on Christmas night and she was, well, I think I was out during the early evening but I came home early and I was asleep.
PB: But people knew you were there.
PB: That's my point. There were witnesses to your whereabouts, as the police say.
CW: Well yeah. Not only that, but in the meantime, Peter, I was giving handwriting
PB: I want to take this step by step as we talk about what happened to you.
CW: I've given handwriting, DNA and palm prints--
PB: I know.
CW:--and you know that was almost 2 years ago that I gave all that.
PB: What I'm getting to here is you were cleared.
CW: Oh yeah! I've been cleared; like I said they pulled me over like three weeks after the murder and then like, you know, I was offended, I was mad at them, I was angry, I said "Forget it. I'm not gonna give you this stuff" and they threw me in jail for and they threatened--
PB: All right, let's pick it up--
CW: --they threatened obstruction of a police investigation.
PB: I remember all that. The Ramseys are clearly obstructing and you were going to be charged with it.
PB: When you opened the Boulder Daily Camera yesterday--and to their credit, somehow they got this story--and you saw that you were named by John and Patsy as a killer, how did you react?
CW: Uunh, certainly not good news, is it? I don't know--I guess I'm kind of getting used to it. The Camera did another big story on me. Well, when I first got pulled over and hauled in like I told you way back three weeks after the murder, I went immediately to the Daily Camera with a letter to the editor the following day and, uhh, Barry Hartman read the letter, he's the executive editor there, or some editor of some sort, and he said "Well, we're not going to publish this letter but why don't you talk to a reporter?" So they immediately just assumed "Well, he probably is a suspect." even though I was a reporter for the Colorado Daily for years in direct competition a block away from the Camera. I know all those people and I have known them but they just sort of fell right over, too, well, I guess, you know, despite everything that we can see with our own eyes about how the Ramseys are behaving and what happened, the little girl's body was found in the house, no sign of forced entry, well, you know, if the cops think this guy may bes omebody who did it, well so do we then. They wrote a big story about you how they--with the information I gave them from the interview which, you know, wasn't as good as--well, which was, you know made it, put me in not the light that I wanted to be in but
PB: Chris, how long did the Boulder PD hold you?
CW: Just an hour, couple--maybe an hour, probably an hour. They didn't charge me with anything.
PB: And then you did what they asked?
CW: No I didn't.. I left. I didn't at that time. Then about-- let's see, it was April the following year like, umm, 16 months after the murder they came back and looked for meat work when I was working for a newspaper and, ah, they said "We really need you to do this." and I said "What do I owe you?" and "I don't want to do it." and they said "Why don't you think about it?" They were patient and 'good cop' kind of thing and I called them back like five minutes later and said "OK" and I came in and gave 'em everything they wanted that afternoon.
PB: What all did you give them?
CW: I gave them a lengthy handwriting sample, ummm
PB: Did they take excerpts from the so-called ransom note?
CW: Yeah. It was all like that. Yeah.
PB: Did you use a Sharpie pen? You know, a felt tip?
CW: I can't remember. I think, maybe.
PB: OK. Did you do it on a legal pad like the
PB: OK. So you did every--they were trying to get you to re-create?
CW: Well, yeah, I guess...
PB: No, that's good police work. You can't fault them for that.
CW: I did the handwriting, I did the palm prints and I did, ahh, saliva swabs.
PB: A DNA swab.
PB: And then, and then they cleared you.
CW: That was April
PB: Actually, I shouldn't say they cleared you.
CW: That was April. I haven't, I've never heard anything that I'd been cleared, well, No, take that back. I have heard that. I've heard that from day one, Peter. You know like three weeks after the murder I was hauled in and then , you know, that whole thing happened and then I left and they let me out, you know, they threatened to charge me with obstructing the police investigation and then they didn't and then I left and two weeks later, or maybe ten days later, I came back to the PD and I said I want a copy of my police report. Steve Thomas and John Eller took me into the interrogation room, sat me down and John Eller looked me in the eye and said "We have no interest in you as asuspect ion this case." That was five weeks after the murder.
PB: Imagine now, these are both police officers whose careers ended on this case.
PB: Detective Steve Thomas, as you know, we're awaiting his book, which I think will probably be pretty good, and John Eller, of course, is in retirement in Florida and Eller was the Chief of Detectives. These are both guys, by the way, they're both guys who clearly believe that John and Patsy Ramsey killed that little girl.
PB: And the people who are still standing
CW: Are the ones who think maybe somebody else did it.
PB: Lou Smit! I mean it is--we haven't spoken about the Ramseys for the longest time, but this is just so unbelievable, particularly with the film coming this weekend and now their book is coming as well. Let me do another quick turn around here and come back and we'll get you to wrap this up. On the line with us is Chris Wolf. Imagine beingnamed by John and Patsy Ramsey; this Thomas Nelson Publishing house should hang their heads in shame.
PB: Chris, of course, a reporter for the longest time in the Boulder area gets named by the Ramseys in their book as a suspect in their daughter's murder. They name three people as the suspects. One of the things that Carol McKinley from Fox News, her contention, and I think it's a good one, is they are choosing people that they think don't have the dough to fight them back. And they're choosing you, Santa Claus McReynolds, who, I understand is, I don't know what his financial shape's in and Jeff Merrick, who is just one of the best guys in the world. Jeffrey's involved in real estate and technology.They're not naming Fleet White, are they?
CW: Well I haven't heard of that yet.
PB: No... Fleet White's got a wallet. If they go at Fleet White, he'll ballback them. You can just bet on it. They're not naming people that actually figured them out.
PB: So here you are, named as a suspect--I want to return to those thrilling days of yesteryear--you're driving down the highway in Boulder.
PB: --and this is what, tabout three months after the murder?
CW: Three weeks
PB: I'm sorry, three weeks. You get pulled over by the Boulder PD. Why were you pulled over?
CW: They said I was speeding; I was actually going a mile below the speed limit. They said I was going eleven miles above the speed limit, or nine miles above the speed limit, I don't know it was
PB: You think they were just looking for a reason?
CW: Well. yeah. It was entirely bogus and I, you know, I told them--that's sort of, that's incidental really.
PB: I understand. Which is interesting how they treat you as a working class guy versushow they treated John and Patsy.
CW: Sure. Exactly. Exactly. Big difference.
PB: Oh abs--Hello?
CW: I mean they were waiting for the Ramseys to make an appointment with them and
CW: --and they pull me off the street so
PB: Oh no, once again.
CW: Peter, let's see, I want to also tell you that I sat recently again at the Boulder PD,that was in August '99 of this past year. I sat there with Tom Wickman and Michael Kane and told them, you know, gave them sort of a, I don't know if you'd call it a deposition. I don't think it was a deposition.
PB: Michael Kane was the special prosecutor for the Grand Jury and Wickman is adetective.
PB: OK, go ahead.
CW: And they, they told me the same thing. They both said to me "You're not a suspect." so, I mean, and I don't know why this keeps going on like this.
PB: Well I understand the only official person cleared, officially cleared, is Burke Ramsey. Everybody else, including me, everybody listening to the show, the people in Beijing, you know, you're all suspects in the Ramsey killing. So.. I guess my final question to you is, you're just a working guy. Have you thought about suing the bastards for doing this?
CW: Well, I would certainly, umm--I'm waiting to see the book, of course and if there's any sort of direct implication that I committed that crime...Umm, Peter, you know, I'm a non-violent person, I'm the most gentle person in the world. I mean, I wouldn't really hurt
anybody, I've never hurt anybody, I've never physically hurt anybody, certainly not achild.
PB: Why did they say they thought it was you?
CW: Uhhh, that's a good question. Well, umm, I've been told that my old girlfriend turned me in. That's what the paper said and that's what other people have told me.
PB: Yeah, I've heard--I didn't want to bring it up but--Geez...
CW: She said that I was--I don't know, she's--she may have done that. We were having problems at the time.
PB: I understand. People do that. That's really understandable. But again, the fact that you were questioned and handled as you were. As you know one of the contentions of the Ramseys and their lawyers and others, their spinmeisters, is "Gee, nobody was everl ooked at but John and Patsy."
CW: Oh, right!
PB: Absolute lie. There were like, what, 180 people were questioned. I mean, pleeeze,
CW: You know, this sort of scenario, without the wealth and power of the Ramseys, they would have probably looked at almost no other suspects
PB: Thank you!
PB. Thank you! I agree. Listen I know a ton of people want to talk to you. I'm gonna put you on hold. Chris, you know how to get ahold of me. Good luck to you and let's talk maybe Monday after the first part of this movie Perfect Murder, Perfect Town airs.