In January/February 1997 the Miss USA pageant had been held in Shreveport Louisiana. A letter with a Shreveport postmark surfaced at the Boulder Police Department in late January 1997
Although City spokeswoman Leslie Aaholm stated that the letter was postmarked late January 1997, Newsweek journalist Daniel Glick claimed it was actually dated late December 1996.
1997-02-06: BPR: RAMSEY CASE NEWS RELEASE #23
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 6, 1997
Contact: Leslie Aaholm/Kelvin McNeill
RAMSEY CASE NEWS RELEASE #23
Police Seek Information on Author of Letter
Boulder Police today requested assistance from the Shreveport, Louisiana Police Department in attempting to locate the author of an anonymous letter sent to Boulder Police earlier this week. The letter was postmarked in late January, 1997 in Shreveport. The letter contained potentially significant information which is of interest to Boulder investigators.
Boulder Police have not determined if any field investigation trip to Louisiana will be necessary and at this point Boulder police simply want to make contact with the author of the letter to ask some follow-up questions.
The letter was one of the 600 letters Boulder Police have received regarding the Ramsey case. Police also have received over 1300 telephone calls regarding the case. These calls and letters are logged and assigned to follow-up as necessary. To date only 5% of the calls and letters have warranted some form of follow-up.
The author of this letter is asked to contact Boulder Police Detectives at 303-441-3330.
News reports relating to the Shreveport Letter:
Letter may shed light on murder mystery
By ALLI KRUPSKI
Friday, February 7, 1997
Boulder Police are seeking the author of an anonymous, handwritten letter that may provide insight into the murder of JonBenet Ramsey. The letter - mailed from Shreveport, La., and postmarked Jan. 27 - apparently reports details relevant to the homicide, sources said. "There's a good possibility that it has facts in it that the media haven't reported yet," a source said. "It'd be very helpful to find out what exactly the author knows so we can use the information, along with things like DNA test results, and arrest a suspect."
As authorities continue to search for clues, Boulder Police detective Steve Thomas called the Shreveport Police Department Wednesday. "He said the letter contained information that could be important to the case," said Cindy Chadwick, spokeswoman for the Louisiana department.
Police have asked people not to respond to the plea unless they wrote the letter. "This is not a request for unsolicited or psychic information," Thomas said in a press release from the Shreveport Police Department.
Boulder Police have not contacted Chadwick about sending an investigator to Louisiana, she added. "We probably won't fly someone down there unless something major turns up," one source said. "There's a chance that the person who wrote this letter just mailed it from Shreveport and doesn't live there, so flying someone there could be a waste of time. Hopefully, we'll find the person, because on the surface, the letter seems very interesting."
Sources said the department does not immediately plan to submit the letter for handwriting analysis. City spokeswoman Leslie Aaholm declined to comment on the contents of the letter. "The police want to find the author to ask some follow-up questions," Aaholm said. "We hope the person will come forward. But I guess the opposite could happen: If they were hesitant to sign their name in the first place, this (media attention) may convince them that they made the right decision." The department has received 600 letters and more than 1,300 calls about the murder, Aaholm noted.
"I'm sure the police have gotten a lot of letters, and I hope they find who wrote the Shreveport letter," a Ramsey family friend said. "It could be anyone, even someone at the Miss USA contest (held Wednesday) in Shreveport. I mean, JonBenet and Patsy were in beauty pageants, so the author might be someone from those contests or other contests."
Letter writer sought Information may be key to Ramsey case
February 7, 1997
An anonymous author mailed a letter from Louisiana to Boulder police last week that might contain information key to the JonBenet Ramsey murder case. Boulder authorities yesterday revealed that a letter mailed to them last week from Shreveport, La., "contained information that could be important to the case."
The letter prompted police departments in Boulder and Shreveport to appeal to the author of the letter to come forward and talk to detectives investigating the murder of the 6-year-old child beauty queen.
"We are saying it is significant information - potentially significant," said Boulder city spokeswoman Leslie Aaholm of the anonymous letter, received in Boulder early this week."I'm sure they'd like information from the author as soon as possible." Although potentially important, Aaholm said she would not characterize the letter, postmarked Jan. 27 in Shreveport, as "the break" in the case.
While Boulder officials were making a nationwide appeal, police in Shreveport went to the media and public there asking that the author come forward. Shreveport police quoted Boulder Police Detective Steve Thomas as saying the letter "contained information that could be important to the case."
"Please come forward and contact Detective Sgt. (Tom) Wickman or myself ... at 1805 33rd St. in Boulder ... or please leave a phone message at (303) 441-3330, including how we may contact you," Thomas said in the statement released by Louisiana authorities.
Shreveport officials released Thomas' plea yesterday morning, just hours after they were contacted by Boulder officers. "We're just doing what they asked us to do - however we can help," said Shreveport spokeswoman Cindy Chadwick. "Hopefully the person who wrote the letter will contact them directly."
Boulder authorities declined to say what the letter said or characterize its contents. The unsigned letter was addressed to Boulder police.
Aaholm stressed that the writer could live anywhere in the United States. "It could have been written in Seattle, flown to Shreveport and mailed there," she said.
LETTER IN JONBENET CASE POTENTIALLY SIGNIFICANT COPS URGE ANONYMOUS WRITER OF MESSAGE MAILED FROM LOUISIANA TO COME FORWARD
Rocky Mountain News, Denver, CO
February 7, 1997
An anonymous letter mailed to Boulder detectives investigating the JonBenet Ramsey murder contains such potentially significant information that police are pleading with the author to come forward. The handwritten letter was mailed from Shreveport, La., and postmarked Jan. 27. Boulder police contacted Shreveport police Wednesday and asked them to help find the author.
Authorities, however, concede the author may not be from the Shreveport area.
Pat Korten, the spokesman for JonBenet's parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, said the family does not know anyone in Shreveport and has no idea what may be in the letter. “It came as a surprise to everybody,'' Korten said Thursday. “We have no idea who it involves.''
Equally surprising is that Boulder police would even acknowledge such a letter exists. The department has released virtually no details about the case. Police have not made any arrests or publicly identified any suspects. Boulder spokesman Kelvin McNeill said the Shreveport letter is one of 600 letters and 1,300 phone calls police have received. “To date, only 5% of the calls and letters have warranted some form of follow-up,'' he said.
Police have not decided whether to send detectives to Louisiana. In the appeal, Boulder Detective Steve Thomas asked Shreveport residents to “please respect the investigators' time and resources and call and write only if, in fact, you are the author of the letter.'' “This is not a request for unsolicited or psychic information,'' Thomas added.
Boulder police try to contact letter writer
Gazette, The (Colorado Springs, CO)
February 7, 1997
DENVER - Boulder police are pleading with the author of an anonymous letter about the JonBenet Ramsey slaying to come forward. The letter was mailed from Shreveport, La., and postmarked Jan. 27.
"Please come forward and contact (police)," Boulder authorities pleaded in a letter faxed to Shreveport police and distributed to local radio, television and newspapers.
Police asked the public not to respond unless they wrote the letter, saying they did not want to tie up police lines with "unsolicited or psychic information." They offered a phone number and the police department's address in Boulder. Boulder Police Det. Steve Thomas told Shreveport police his department received the handwritten letter reporting details about the homicide, said Cindy Chadwick, spokeswoman for Shreveport police. She said Thomas called her department Wednesday and said the letter "contained information that could be important to the case."
Kelvin McNeill, spokesman for Boulder police, said the department has not decided whether to send an investigator to Louisiana. "We're not discussing what the letter contains," McNeill said. "There was some potentially significant information contained in this letter. We're fairly confident that by putting out an appeal this person will come forward and contact us. That is our hope." McNeill said the department has received more than 600 letters and 1,300 phone calls about the slaying, and investigators are trying to follow up on leads.
Contest parent alleged note writer Daughter in a pageant with JonBenet
February 8, 1997
The anonymous letter that could provide clues into the murder of JonBenet Ramsey was purported to be written by a parent whose daughter once competed in a pageant with JonBenet, a source told The Denver Post yesterday. The letter, which was mailed to Boulder police last week from Shreveport, La., contained potentially important information to the case, police said.
Investigators had asked for the author of the letter to come forward. But as of yesterday, Boulder spokeswoman Leslie Aaholm said police have had no other contact from the letter writer.
Rocky Mountain News
February 8 1997
In a related development, KCNC-Channel 4 reported that an anonymous letter sent from Shreveport, Louisiana., to Boulder police said JonBenet had told another beauty-pageant contestant that she had been abused by a family friend.
Police declined to comment on the report.
Detectives publicized the letter earlier this week in hopes that they could interview its author. They said it contained information that could be helpful to their investigation.
It is one of several dozen letters investigators have received containing tips considered worthy of investigation.
By ALLI KRUPSKI
Saturday, February 8, 1997
The parent of a child who competed in beauty pageants with JonBenet Ramsey may have written a letter to Boulder police about JonBenet's murder, sources said Friday. But late Friday, some sources questioned the authenticity of the letter. "There's a possibility it's from someone in the pageant circuit," a source said. "It apparently said something about JonBenet sharing information with this person's child, or some other details that may be useful in solving the case. But until you can find the author, it really makes you suspicious as to how believable it is."
Investigators received the letter - mailed from Shreveport, La., and postmarked Jan. 27 - a few days ago. The Miss USA pageant was held in Shreveport on Wednesday. Authorities declined to comment on the letter's contents and issued a public plea Thursday for the author to come forward.
Report on JonBenet letter `speculation,' official says
Gazette, The (Colorado Springs, CO)
February 9, 1997
BOULDER - Reports on the contents of an anonymous letter sent from Shreveport, La., to Boulder police concerning the JonBenet Ramsey case are "pure speculation," a city spokesman said Saturday.
The letter was mailed last week and contained information that might be important to the case, said police officials, who have made a public appeal to the author of the letter to come forward. Police said it was one of dozens of letters police have received.
The Denver Post quoted a source that said the letter might have been written by a parent whose daughter once competed in a pageant with the 6-year-old girl.
KCNC-Channel 4 reported the letter indicated JonBenet had told another beauty pageant contestant she was abused by a family friend.
"We have not revealed the contents of the letter," said Boulder city spokesman Kelvin McNeil. McNeil said as of Saturday no arrests were imminent.
Letter tied to Miss USA pageant?
By Howard Pankratz
Denver Post Legal Affairs Writer
The mystery letter is of great concern to Suzi Dolan, a good friend of Dee Dee Munoz and her family, and JonBenet Ramsey. Dolan runs "America's Royale Miss Youth Development Organization" in which both Dee Dee Munoz and JonBenet participated. Dolan believes the Shreveport letter writer can be found, but identification can only be expedited if Boulder police publicize the letter - similar to the FBI's efforts to find the Unabomber through publication of his manifestos.
Dolan said the writer's word usage and her comments about certain pageants could help people like her direct the attention of investigators to certain individuals. Asked why a mother might not want to sign her name, Dolan said it is probably to shield her child. "The only reason I can think of is she wanted to protect her child from having to be questioned by police, having to appear in court or being inundated by the media." Dolan, however, feels that the woman should have gone to the police rather than writing a letter.
Dolan also sees another way for police to find the author: Check everyone who bought tickets for the Miss USA competition who live in Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Michigan and Colorado - states where JonBenet entered beauty pageants. That should be easy because tickets must be bought in advance to attend Miss USA functions, Dolan said, so there should be computer records of ticket buyers.
In her April 1997 police interview Patsy was questioned about the letter by Tom Trujillo:
TT: Okay. Patsy, we got a uh, got some information for a friend of yours down in Shreveport. You know anybody down in Shreveport, Louisiana?
PR: I don’t know anybody down in Shreveport.
TT: The name, that come up at all you guys know of?
PR: I think I heard something about it in the press or something, but I never have known anybody that I can remember in Shreveport.
TT: Okay. Um . . .
PR: Do you know the name? Do you guys have the name?
TT: I, I don’t have the name right off. I don’t have that.
PR: Maybe it’s somebody I knew that moved to Shreveport and I didn’t know that.
PR: But I don’t . . .
TT: Don’t know of anybody that, recent friends that would have moved down there.
Then John was questioned about the letter by Steve Thomas in his April 1997 police interview:
ST: John, do you know who this person is from Shreveport who has communicated with us and is indicating that they’re a friend of yours?
JR; Huh uh.
ST: And again, just for the tape, that was a . . .
JR: No, no I do not.
JR: I have lots of new friends I didn’t know about.
Sometime later Newsweek reporter Daniel Glick appeared on Larry King Live and claimed the letter was postmarked on December 27 not January 27 as claimed by Aaholm.
Then on May 9, 2000 Steve Thomas appeared on live chat program at About.com. The conversation went like this:
crimeADM: "There was a letter from Shreveport LA from a pageant mom; how far was that investigated?"
SteveThomas: "Shreveport letter -- short and sweet, a former friend of Patsy's, she wrote, saying we needed to look more at JR and PR early in the case. Some hints and innuendoes. nothing case breaking"
So who was the pageant mom? Very likely, considering the content of the letter, she was a Boulder or a Denver mom and would have been very easy to contact, as Suzi Dolan (see Howard Pankratz news report of February 9) said. But judging by Thomas’ comments above, I doubt very much that Boulder Police ever did try to find out her identity.
Even though neither Patsy nor John could recall that they had any friends in Shreveport and said to so police in their first formal interviews, when Steve Thomas appeared on that live chat he said that it was a former friend of Patsy’s who wrote the note saying, according to him, that police needed to look more closely at John and Patsy. So not only does that not agree with what John or Patsy said about having no friends in Shreveport, what Steve said doesn’t agree with what was originally said about the contents of letter containing "significant information - potentially significant", which was stated by Boulder city spokeswoman Leslie Aaholm back in February 1997.
But there you go, that’s the way the investigation went with Boulder Police in charge. Steve never had his facts right but was nevertheless allowed to continue as one of Eller’s lead detectives.
Seems likely Steve Thomas didn’t ever track down who the sender was. Even though the letter had been sent from Shreveport, it could have been written by a Boulder mother whose daughter was competing in the contest along with JonBenet and in whom JonBenet had confided in about having been sexually abused by someone outside of her family. What a pity Steve didn't put as much effort into tracking down this woman as he did tracking down John's supposed mistress Kimberley Ballard or dead Elizabeth Ramsey's friends in whom she might have confided her father's hypothesised sexual abuse of her. He might have found out something useful. I guess John Eller must have stepped in, like he did after Steve got Chris Wolf brought in for questioning in that very same month and told him to "drop it".