Lou Smit was the first investigator to closely scrutinise the unusual pairs of marks on JonBenet's body that the coroner had described as 'abrasions'. The team of police detectives had dismissed or simply ignored that evidence apparently because it did not have any use as far as making the case for Ramsey guilt, which was their main focus
'On Wednesday, April 9, as Smit was looking at the autopsy photographs yet again, he noticed something unusual about several marks on JonBenét’s body. In one photograph, he noticed two dried rust-colored abrasions on her lower back; in a second photograph, just below her right ear and at a right angle to her cheek, he saw another set of rust-colored abrasions; and a third photograph showed two marks that looked like scratches on her lower leg. Smit asked Trip DeMuth and Ainsworth to look at the photos. They agreed with him that the three sets of abrasions appeared to be identical. In the final coroner’s report, they would be described as “rust-colored to slightly purple” discolorations of unequal size. The investigators agreed that there was about the same distance between the symmetrical marks.
To Smit the marks looked as if they had been made by the two electrodes of a stun gun. Stun guns, about the size of a TV remote control, are used primarily by police and security officers to immobilize people with a charge of electricity. In 1991 the LAPD’s officers had been caught on video-tape trying to incapacitate Rodney King with a stun gun.
On Friday, April 11, Smit, DeMuth, and Ainsworth went to the coroner’s office and laid out the photographs for John Meyer. “Are these abrasions consistent with a stun gun or taser?” they asked. Meyer wouldn’t commit himself to a definite answer. DeMuth asked Meyer for a complete set of autopsy photographs and had some of them enlarged to life size.
Five days later, on April 16, Lou Smit drove to Lakewood, just outside Denver, to see CBI inspector Pete Mang, who had begun his career at the FBI. Mang suggested that Smit talk to Sue Kitchen, another CBI investigator, who had worked on a murder case in Steamboat Springs in which a stun gun was used. Two days later, Kitchen told the investigators that in her opinion, the small abrasions could have been made by a stun gun. She referred them to Arapahoe County coroner Mike Dobersen, who had solved a murder involving a stun gun in 1993. The device had been found in a suspect’s car, and the body of the victim was exhumed eight months after burial. Tissue from the corpse was tested for evidence of electric shock, and it proved positive. The suspect and her boyfriend were later charged and convicted.
After viewing the photos, Dobersen told the investigators that the abrasions on JonBenét’s body could have come from a stun-gun injury but that there was no way to know for sure without checking the skin tissue under a microscope. Before taking the extreme step of exhuming JonBenét’s body, Dobersen advised them to find a stun gun or taser with prongs spaced the same distance apart as the marks on JonBenét’s body and compare them to a life-size photograph.
Ainsworth, Hofstrom, DeMuth and Wickman met with the coroner John Meyer. After reviewing the photos and this new information, Meyer concluded that the injuries on JBR's face and back were, in fact, consistent with those produced by a stun gun.
Ainsworth learned of a 1988 Larimer County murder in which a stun gun had been used on a 13-month-old girl, Michaela Hughes, who had been sexually assaulted and killed. Ainsworth met with Dr. Robert Deters the pathologist on the case and showed him the autopsy photos of JBR. Deters also agreed that the marks were consistent with a stun-gun injury and he did NOT think the body needed to be exhumed and nothing else would be learned by examining the skin tissue."
PMPT By Lawrence Schiller 1999