Return to Transcripts main page

Nancy Grace

Arrest Made in Connection with JonBenet Ramsey Case

Aired August 16, 2006 - 20:00   ET


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, GUEST HOST: Breaking news tonight. After a decade-long investigation, an arrest in the JonBenet Ramsey murder case. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, in for Nancy Grace. The possible suspect, a 42- year-old American male, a one-time school teacher. Police plan to bring him back to the United States from Thailand, where he is in custody. This little 6-year-old girl, a frequent contestant in beauty pageants, found beaten and strangled in the basement of her home during the Christmas holiday. Ten years later, an arrest and possible confession in the murder of JonBenet Ramsey.

PATSY RAMSEY, MOTHER: There is a killer on the loose.


P. RAMSEY: I don`t know who it is, but if I were a resident of Boulder, I would tell my friends to keep -- keep your babies close to you! There`s someone out there!


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell. in tonight for Nancy Grace. Breaking news, a suspect is in custody in connection with the JonBenet Ramsey murder case. This man, identified as 42-year-old John Mark Karr, is being held in Bangkok, Thailand, on unrelated sex charges and has reportedly confessed, at least in part, to certain elements of the crime.

This is an extraordinary development. For the very latest, let`s go straight out to CNN correspondent Tom Foreman. Tom, bring us up to date on this truly spectacular development.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Boy, this is spectacular and completely unanticipated. What we do know is, right now, we`re talking about a 41-year-old man who apparently lived in Georgia for a period of time. He was a school teacher at some point in his life. And just as importantly, this is a name that has not come up in this case. In the 10 years that I`ve been involved in covering this case, never heard it once.

Many people were raised early on. There were a lot of potential outside suspects. But one after another, the authorities looked at them and determined that they simply were not -- there just wasn`t enough connected with them to make them credible suspects. So time and again, they came back to looking very hard at the Ramsey family and the very close associates of that family.

John Ramsey was asked by KUSA if he knew anything about this guy, and his initial take on it was, you know, couldn`t say for sure. And it sounded like his answer wasn`t that he wouldn`t say, but that he just wasn`t sure who this guy was or if maybe he had had some contact with him in the past. Ask any of us to name all the people we had contact with 10, 11, 12 years ago, we might all struggle with that.

So that`s what we know at the moment. What we don`t know are the specifics of how this man was found, exactly what he has said that`s allowed them to arrest him for this crime, and the big question, what happens next? Will this be enough to hold up? Because any time you`re trying to get a conviction 10 years after the crime, as you know, it`s very difficult.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely. Now John Ramsey, who you mentioned did speak tonight -- this is the father of little JonBenet. Let`s hear what he had to say.


J. RAMSEY: I was notified this morning that an arrest had been made. And I`m just absolutely impressed with the effort that went in to accomplishing this by the Boulder DA`s office and the other agencies that were involved all over the world, including the Thai police. And it`s very -- it`s just beyond impressive, what they accomplished.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tom, you have covered this case from the very start. There are some unconfirmed reports tonight that this suspect may have connections to Conyers, Georgia. Is there any link between Conyers, Georgia, and the Ramsey family?

FOREMAN: Well, the Ramseys had a home in Atlanta. They had links to Atlanta. They flew to Atlanta within days of the murder itself. So whether or not that is a link, who knows, at this point. That`s the big mystery about this guy. Exactly who is he, and what could the link be?

What we do know from the evidence of this case, from the beginning, it always suggested that the person who committed this crime, if it was not a member of the Ramsey family, it had to be somebody who knew a lot about them. Their home was always described as unbelievably maze-like, with all sorts of additions and little paths that led off here and there. It had different stairways. Many people who knew the home fairly well said it was easy to get lost in it.

You see a picture all the time of the front of the house. It`s a little deceptive. That`s what it looks like from the street. But it goes back into the neighborhood with all these additions. So whoever got into the house had to be able to get in on Christmas night, with the fresh snow on the ground and not leave any tracks anybody ever noticed, show no signs of forced entry, negotiate this house in the darkness, in this complex structure, get to this girl`s bedroom, at some point get her down to the basement, deliver a skull-crushing blow to the head, and choke her with a piece of rope that was tightened with a broken paintbrush taken from Patsy Ramsey`s hobby kit.

In addition to that, this person had to write this ransom note on a pad of paper from the house, according to authorities, write part of the note and then start over again and complete the note, and then put it on the stairs where Patsy Ramsey would walk down in the morning and would find it -- all of this happening before she gets up in the pre-dawn hours the next day, after the family returned from a party the night before.

All of that has made authorities say all along whoever this was had to know a lot about this family, even enough to include financial details in this ransom note, or fake ransom note, that suggested a knowledge of how much John Ramsey received as bonuses in his business, for example. That`s why authorities have always said this is a very unusual person they`re looking for.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And getting back to the suspect that they have arrested in Bangkok, Thailand, there are some unconfirmed reports that he may be a convicted sex offender. Have you heard anything about that?

FOREMAN: I haven`t heard anything about that. Obviously, I mean, this is one of the questions from the beginning. Always, always, always, people were asking and nobody had a confirmed answer, Was she sexually assaulted as part of this attack? That was never made clear. At one point, there was some DNA that was found on her undergarments, which some people thought might have been semen or some kind of sexual fluid. Never established it, though. Could never prove it at the time. Perhaps the technology`s advanced enough that now they are able to draw some kind of link.

But we could never get an answer, even talking to the people who are closest to the case, on whether or not they believed that she was sexually assaulted at the time.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So bizarre, so wild, and such an extraordinary development. We`re also delighted to have with us tonight another CNN correspondent, Mary Snow. You`ve been covering the DNA aspect of this. What I found amazing, looking at the research and the history of this case, is that these two blood drops that were found on the crime -- it was seven years later before that DNA was turned over to the FBI to the point where they could establish that there was unidentified male DNA. Doesn`t that point to someone else other than the Ramseys? And why did they wait so long?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really is extraordinary, that seven- year timeframe. And what happened in 2003, they had some very sophisticated equipment where they tested this DNA and, as you said, it came up with an identified male -- unidentified male. And that has been one of the big pieces. Now, at the time, though, also, the forensic scientists who had been testing this said that it could have been innocent. It could have come from the manufacturer. It was a very small piece of evidence, and there were a lot of question marks about what this would actually prove.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, of course, the big question is, does the DNA that they found after seven years, when they finally tested to those blood drops, match this person, this individual who has been arrested and his DNA?

Let`s go out to Dr. Larry Kobilinsky, forensic scientist, and a good friend. Larry good evening, sir.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: What do you know about the DNA? Do they have enough DNA after 10 years, is it degraded at all, to make this kind of test and establish that connection?

KOBILINSKY: Well, I believe that there is a sufficient amount of DNA to determine whether there is a match or not. The technology has improved greatly, and the level of sensitivity is extraordinary now, so that even back in 2003, they would have been able to generate a genetic profile.

My understanding was that they did not get a complete profile. By a complete profile, we`re talking about the 13 genetic markers, part of the national database, the CODIS (ph) system. But even if they have a partial profile, it`s probably enough to determine if, indeed, John Mark Karr is a match.

Again, we don`t know what -- whether the DNA is derived from saliva or semen or even skin cells. That will remain a mystery. There are many mysteries here that will remain unsolved. But I think that the DNA is the major factor in this case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And you know, there are so many unconfirmed reports coming in. We`ve heard so many stories tonight. This is a still- developing story. But one of the unconfirmed reports we`ve heard is that they may already have a match. Dr. Kobilinsky, is it possible that they could have accomplished that so quickly?

KOBILINSKY: Indeed, they could have. I understand that this individual was being tracked for some time, that this wasn`t just something that happened this morning. And it could very well be that he discarded some item, a cup that he drank out of, and the police took that and typed it and determined that there was a match. So you know, this DNA match could already be established, at this point. We just don`t know all the details.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Tom Foreman, do we have any idea how they found this man and how they made this incredible connection almost 10 years after the fact?

FOREMAN: That`s a big mystery right now. There`s been some talk about some kind of e-mail communications, a question maybe he tipped somebody off in some fashion. He was being investigated for something else, though, is my understanding, and that`s where they first became aware of him in some fashion and started pursuing him further.

But I do think this is true. When you talk about a 10-year-old case, when you talk about DNA that was not clear in the beginning but only became clear through advancing technology -- because it was very small samples, and as you pointed out, was not even talked about for seven years -- I think what you`re going to have is a big challenge when you go to prosecute this case, in my experience.

What`s going to happen is you`re going to have to answer those questions we had before. How did it happen? Was he there? How did he get in? How did he pull it off? Why did he pull it off? What was involved? The DNA obviously could help with all of that. But I think our experience has shown us in court, a lot of juries, at least, are going to look very carefully at that if this man comes back here and says, I was not the guy, I was not involved.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And prosecutor Holly Hughes, this man found in Bangkok, Thailand -- we know that is the sex capital of the world. That is a sex tourism destination. He is reportedly being held on an unrelated sex charge. So what does that say about the motive in the crime that was allegedly committed by him, if, in fact, he is charged? He`s been arrested. He is now considered a possible suspect. What does that say about the JonBenet case?

HOLLY HUGHES, PROSECUTOR: Well, what it tells me, Jane, is this man must really have some deviant behavior, if, as you pointed out, he gets arrested for a sex charge in Bangkok, which we know Thailand is the sex capital of the world. So whatever he did with JonBenet, I think there was a sexual component, a sexual element. And at this point in time, I`d like to know what it is that he told the police with respect to his confession that contained details we haven`t heard before, that haven`t been released to the media.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And of course, he has not been convicted yet. He hasn`t even been formally charged because he hasn`t come back to the United States to be arraigned. So he does deserve the presumption of innocence. He is considered right now a possible suspect.

Let`s go to the phone lines. Linda from Nevada, your question, ma`am.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. I was wondering -- I know John Ramsey, Sr., has children from a first marriage, and I believe they were residing in Georgia -- if there was any connection, if this gentleman was their teacher at one time or knew the family in that way?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that`s a fascinating question, and I don`t think we really have the answer to that at this point. But let`s go to Ed Miller from "America`s Most Wanted." He has been tracking this case also from the start. You heard the question, Ed.

ED MILLER, "AMERICA`S MOST WANTED": Jane, I don`t know that. We have been able to not double confirm but tentatively confirm that he was a school teacher in northern California, in the Petaluma school district, that he got an emergency teaching certificate to do some substitute teaching up there. And we believe that he did some substitute teaching, as well, in Alabama, but not in Georgia, and not, to the best of our knowledge, in Colorado.

However, our sources tell us that they have -- at the time of the murder, that Mr. Karr was in Colorado at the same time, which is obviously important when you start putting the pieces together, that he was there at the time of the murder.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that`s absolutely one of the key questions, was he there, and you have answered it. And of course, that is a very, very big piece of the puzzle. What have you learned, Ed, about this unconfirmed report that he may have been a convicted sex offender?

MILLER: Well, from what we understand that he was and is under arrest in Bangkok, for a sex charge. We were not able to find whether or not he is a registered sex offender in the United States. We checked several different areas where he allegedly lived and would have -- and taught school for a while, and he is not registered as a sex offender in the United States. Why that`s important, of course, is that not many sexual offenders register. We know that there`s a huge hole in that regard.

The other big, big question that people will want to ask is, was this man somehow stalking child beauty contests? In other words, did he go to these contests, see her, something in her performance set him off? That`s the big question.


P. RAMSEY: I go down the spiral staircase, and there on one of the rungs of the stair is the three-page ransom note. I hurriedly read it, you know. I didn`t take long to understand what was happening, and I ran back upstairs and pushed open her bedroom door and she was gone.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, sitting in for Nancy Grace. A possible break for Boulder, Colorado, police in the JonBenet Ramsey murder case -- an American, a one-time school teacher, arrested this morning in Thailand in connection with the beating and strangulation of 6- year-old JonBenet Ramsey.

This is a tragedy of Shakespearean proportion. What is absolutely so sad about this is that Patsy Ramsey, the mother of little JonBenet Ramsey, died just a couple of months ago at the end of June, never having achieved full vindication, living for so many years, the better part of a decade, under a cloud of suspicion, with people pointing the finger at her, vicious rumors, all because she was under a cloud of suspicion in the death of her daughter.

I want to go to Patricia Saunders, clinical psychologist. Now, Patricia, the good news is that we`re hearing reports that she was aware of this development. She had been informed by the DA in Boulder that there was this promising development, so she at least knew about that when she passed away. But she didn`t see this break in the case. And it just so upsets me that she`s not here to see this and get that vindication. What did she go through? What did she live through those 10 years?

PATRICIA SAUNDERS, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: It`s hard for us to begin to imagine the sorrow, the anger, and really, the guilt that I think both of these parents experienced, as all parents of murdered children do, that somehow, some way, they might have, could have protected the child. It`s not real. The parents experienced that. At least Patsy Ramsey was aware that there was a primary suspect, this man, for some time. And I can only guess that what John Ramsey is experiencing is some sense of vindication, some sense of relief, and if this man is convicted as the perpetrator, that he will be publicly and officially vindicated.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And you know, Mary Snow, you`ve covered this case a lot. I look at these pictures of little JonBenet all dressed up. I think one of the reasons that the public was always so suspicious of the Ramseys is the way she was dressed, the make-up, the gloves, dressed up like a little doll in almost a -- some people felt it was a little grotesque. It was a little over the top, and it made them suspicious. Did you ever get any sense of that?

SNOW: I think one thing that people took a look at is how public the Ramseys were. Don`t forget, after JonBenet Ramsey was buried, the next day, the parents did an interview with CNN. Now, of course, we heard Patsy and John Ramsey say an intruder came in, and hug your children, and she`s very emotional in that interview. But they also hired people to -- people to handle the media. And because they were so public, along with those pictures, it made people take a second look.


J. RAMSEY: Certainly, based on what happened to us, I don`t think it`s proper that we speculate or discuss the case. I think it`s important that justice be allowed to run its course and do its job. And so I really won`t speculate or discuss what I know or don`t know. It`s an important lesson we can learn from this whole episode, that we shouldn`t -- we shouldn`t subvert our very good justice system.




J. RAMSEY: A uniformed police officer arrived relatively quickly and I said -- I handed him the note. I said, My daughter`s been taken. He said, Gee, you don`t think she just ran away? And I said, For heaven`s sake, she`s 6 years old. No, she didn`t just run away.

LARRY KING, CNN HOST: No sign of foul play at this point?

P. RAMSEY: We weren`t looking. We were concerned...

KING: I mean no foul play in her room?

P. RAMSEY: We didn`t go back into the room. She was not in there.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, in for Nancy Grace. We`re following breaking developments in the JonBenet Ramsey murder case. A man arrested and held in Bangkok is believed to be connected to the beating and strangulation of little JonBenet, who was found dead in the basement of her home.

Let`s go straight out to prosecutor Eleanor Dixon. This DA managed -- and her team -- managed to lead this case for several months, investigating this guy, with no leaks. Isn`t that extraordinary, given the media we have today? Doesn`t she deserve kudos for that?

ELEANOR DIXON, PROSECUTOR: Oh, definitely. I think that`s amazing, that they were able to keep that under wraps. And I`m just so glad there`s a break in the case. My office is right down the street from where JonBenet is buried, and we often talk about how we hope to see her killer brought to justice one day.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely. It is extraordinary. You know, Mary Snow, there`s been so much criticism now, with 20/20 hindsight, of how the police originally handled the case, how they seemed to have blinders on, looking at the Ramsey family almost exclusively from the start. Do you think part of it had to do with the couple of days, or even the day before, I don`t remember exactly, the crime, you mentioned the Ramseys came out and spoke, and she said something, Hey, if you have a kid out there, keep them close -- do you feel that the police treated that like an insult to them?

SNOW: It could be. And you know, after -- in the early stages, really, there was a disconnect. And if you remember, the Ramseys did not have an investigation or an interview with the police under certain conditions. That also added to the friction. And it just continued to build after that.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They do remain under an umbrella of suspicion, but we`re not ready to name any suspects.

J. RAMSEY: I did not kill my daughter, JonBenet.

P. RAMSEY: I did not kill JonBenet. I did not have anything to do with it. I loved that child. Keep your babies close to you.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, in for Nancy Grace. An arrest in the JonBenet Ramsey murder case. A 42-year-old American male taken into custody overseas in Bangkok, Thailand. We`ve got some breaking news to tell you about in this case.

CNN is now reporting that law enforcement sources say online communication -- online communication -- to a person in Boulder, Colorado, helped lead to the arrest of this possible suspect. I think that`s absolutely fascinating.

Ed Miller, from "America`s Most Wanted," what does that tell you? Does it tell you that maybe there`s somebody else in Boulder who knew all about this and kept their mouth shut?

MILLER: It could mean that. However, police sources tell me that they truly believe that there was only one man involved in the murder of JonBenet, and that man may very well be, as of this evening, would be Mr. Karr.

We should talk about the medical evidence of this murder, just based on pure medical evidence, how this child was killed, because a lot of people don`t understand how exactly she was strangled. She was very slowly strangled. There was no bruising around the neck. If I strangle you, there`d be bruising. She was very slowly strangled, almost as if it was a game.

And then the fracture on the head was done to cover up the strangulation. There was very little blood found underneath the skull, indicating that the heart had already stopped beating. So, again, she was strangled first, very slowly, and then hit on the head to cover it up.

There`s also that big question about the undigested pineapple in her stomach. She didn`t have that for dinner. Why that`s important is, did the killer lure her from her room with this pineapple? And did the killer share a snack with her before killing her? Just based on pure medical evidence, these questions now exist.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You have raised so many important questions. We`re going to try to address them all. First, let`s hear from John Ramsey, the father of little JonBenet, a very important day for him, a day of possible vindication, once and for all, after a decade. Let`s listen in.


J. RAMSEY: We have, in a sense, turned the justice process over to the media. And, you know, people are tried on the 6:00 news and, you know, without benefit of argument or defense. And it`s just -- it doesn`t allow, you know, our constitutionally defined set of protections to come into play.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Such a tragedy. These two people, their reputations raked through the mud for a decade, and now we are finding there`s a good possibility that they were not responsible. Somebody else who is now in Bangkok, Thailand, was, in fact, responsible. We`re hearing that person will be back in the United States soon.

We want to go to Ed Gelb. Now, he is the past president of the American Polygraph Association, and he gave polygraphs to the Ramsey parents.

Good evening, sir. We are delighted to have you with us.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tell us about the polygraph exams you conducted on the parents and what they said.

GELB: Well, the polygraph examination showed that both John Ramsey and Patsy Ramsey had absolutely nothing to do with the murder of JonBenet. They were polygraphed thoroughly. There was separate-issue examinations.

With John Ramsey, you can imagine how angry he was at being inferentially accused of killing his daughter. And to come through a polygraph test with flying colors, with that kind of disability to begin with, speaks wonders for, not only John Ramsey, but the polygraph technique. Two separate examinations for John: One, did he kill JonBenet? And the other, did he know who killed JonBenet?

With Patsy Ramsey, there was a third examination dealing with the ransom note. And it`s interesting, when we talk about the ransom note, the criminologists say, "Well, the handwriting was inconclusive." The polygraph examination was not inconclusive: It was conclusively truthful when it indicated that Patsy Ramsey did not write that ransom note.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ed, tell us very briefly, when did you do these examinations? What year?

GELB: They were about two years after the death of JonBenet, and they were conducted in both Atlanta, Georgia, and Los Angeles, California.


And I want to go back right now to Ed Miller from "America`s Most Wanted," because we have been trying to fathom tonight why it seemed that the police had the blinders on, only had eyes for the Ramseys, nobody else. Part of it, of course, is the evidence at the scene was just so confounding. Tell us about that. Take us back there.

MILLER: Well, you just asked the question and answered it yourself. It took them two years before they took that polygraph test. You know, there was a cloud of suspicion over the family. And again, I`m not defending the police. I`m just saying what happens in cases like this, they always look at the family first. And the family did not act, in many cases, by many accounts, like a grieving family.

For example, they did not want to take a polygraph test right away. They insisted on being interviewed together, not separately. Eventually, they did do private interviews, you know, separate mom and dad from each other, but not for a long time. And again, those polygraph tests were taken two years after the fact.

So again, why didn`t they step forward and say, "You know, we`ll do anything we can to solve the murder of our daughter"? They did not act like grieving parents, which raised a lot of red flags.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, there was also all the evidence, the no footprints in the snow. I know there is some controversy surrounding that, but that was one of the basics. The note having been reportedly practiced. Tell us about that, because we`ve heard so much urban myth about that for years. What exactly does that mean?

MILLER: All right. The urban myth is there was no snow around the window to begin with. What the real question is, there was some cobwebs around the window, and those cobwebs seemed to be not disturbed.

There was a broken window or window that was -- it seemed to be open, and it could have been opened from the outside, could have been opened from the inside. So it`s unclear whether or not the killer could have come in from the outside, be an intruder, or was that intruder in the house hiding?

We have to explain -- give you some background information just to give you some perspective on this thing -- the Ramseys entertained lots and lots of people, through these beauty pageants, through business associations, through their charity work. There were lots of people that came through that house.

So when you asked the Ramseys, "Well, did you know this guy?" Well, they could have, and maybe they not. But again, because of where that body was found, in a very strange location -- it`s actually a room within a room, underneath the stairs, sort of a makeshift wine cellar -- one would guess somebody had to know where to put that body.

And that raises the question about the note, too. He felt comfortable enough to sit there and write that note over and over again. Why would someone do that?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And how did they know that? That was because they saw the pen mark underneath and a paper underneath?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. Now I have the full text of the JonBenet Ramsey ransom note, which I`m not going to read you because it would take literally minutes. But let me read a little bit of it, and that`s another part of it, but I`ll start a second before that.

"Mr. Ramsey, listen carefully. We are a group of individuals that represent a small foreign faction. We respect your business, but not the country it serves. At this time, we have your daughter in our possession. She is safe and unharmed. And if you want to see her in 1997, you must follow our instructions to the letter. You will withdraw $118,000 from your account: $100,000 will be in $100 bills, the remaining $18,000 in $20 bills."

Now, Ed, just to wrap this up, wasn`t that $118,000 an actual corollary with the bonus that John Ramsey had received that year?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So that was very suspicious.

MILLER: Yes, yes, absolutely. I mean, it could be coincidence or it could be, again, someone that somehow knew that he got this money. There`s just lots and lots of questions about this: how he knew where to put the body in the house; how he knew where to get that paintbrush. That paintbrush that was used as a tourniquet was not in the basement, and it was in a separate room.

So how did this killer know where to find all these things in the house? How did he know where the pad was?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And you know what, Doug Burns, defense attorney, what I don`t understand is -- now, this is looking more and more like it could be a sex crime. But yet, this note doesn`t say really anything about sex. It`s more about finances, so it totally throws you off. It`s such a bizarre note.

DOUG BURNS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, there`s no question about it. But, you know, the point you guys just made can be turned around, too. There`s no way that Mr. Ramsey would write the exact figure that he himself got a bonus on. That would point away from him, in my opinion.


J. RAMSEY: Have we been asked to take a lie detector test? We said no. We were asked, "Would we?" We said, certainly, we would. We would expect it to be fair, and we would expect the results to be public.




P. RAMSEY: We would like to think that we don`t know anyone that we`ve ever met in our lives who could do such a thing to a child, you know, but they talked with us and said, "Please tell us names of people, you know, who may have been in your home at any time." You know, we just outpoured information.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, in tonight for Nancy Grace. After a 10-year-long investigation, a suspect finally, finally arrested in the JonBenet Ramsey murder case. We`ve been telling you about a lot of breaking news. We`ve got some more.

We had just told you that CNN`s reporting law enforcement sources say online communications to a person in Boulder, Colorado, helped lead to the arrest of this possible suspect. And now I`m hearing from my colleague, Mary Snow, who is on set with me, that this individual was working with law enforcement.

Now, let me go straight out to Don Clark, former head of the FBI Houston bureau. What does that tell you that this person was believed to be working with law enforcement, the person on the receiving end of the online communication?

DON CLARK, FORMER HEAD OF FBI HOUSTON BUREAU: Well, it tells you that the law enforcement didn`t let this case go dry up and go dormant and that they`ve been continually trying to do things to generate activity and to generate information that they could use to try to find out who did this very hideous crime.

If this person is working with law enforcement, that`s a good thing for the law enforcement. That`s what they should be doing, is trying to co-opt people to help them solve this type of case.

But I have to tell you, Jane, I really think, not only is this person working with them, but I think one of the biggest successes of this is going to be is of how the evidence has been handled in this case since the inception. And that`s something that law enforcement is responsible for. And if the evidence is good and taken care of over all of these years, that`s going to help them make this case against -- if this is the right guy, that`s going to help them make this case against this guy.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And, Don, let`s just hope that whatever confession -- because they say they got some kind of partial confession -- they did get was tape-recorded and videotaped, and they didn`t mess that up, because we hear so often about these confessions -- the last two cases we`ve covered here on the NANCY GRACE show, confessions that the defense attorneys say should be thrown out because they were improperly obtained.

CLARK: That`s absolutely right. This confession has to be done right down the line. Anything that they`ve done with this person should have been done right down the line and make sure that there`s no mistakes made in there, because they cannot afford it in this case. They`ve got to have everything precisely done, follow the rules.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And you`ve got to wonder, because this is all happening possibly in a Bangkok prison and, you know, that just conjures up all sorts of images. Gee.

Let`s go out to the phone lines, Amy in Pennsylvania, your question, ma`am?

CALLER: Hi, Jane.


CALLER: I feel so bad for all the years that I`ve been thinking bad thoughts about the Ramseys. And I`m just wondering, going forward, what can we do, as public, as the media, as law enforcement, so that this kind of thing doesn`t happen again, where the parents are held in such suspicion?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Ed Miller, "America`s Most Wanted," you and I have covered this case for a long time. Do you think that the media went overboard and kind of convicted the Ramseys without a trial because there was just -- in the court of public opinion, especially -- such a cloud of suspicion over them?

MILLER: Yes, that`s a great question. I think the lesson to be learned from this is, if you get in trouble, do everything you can to help the police. The police are not the enemy. The police are not there to, you know, go after you. They`re really there to solve the crime.

So if you volunteer every possible way to help them out, I think, you know, the cloud of suspicion will slowly, you know, go off of you. In other words, if you act like you really are sincerely concerned about this and do everything you possibly can, instead of hiring P.R. people to represent your interests, then I think you look less like a suspect.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, I think you`re absolutely right. And I have to say, I confess myself, that when I saw Patsy Ramsey sometimes talking, and almost -- you wonder, is that bad acting? Well, it turns out that it`s very possibly not bad acting, that this was a woman who was really, really so distraught that she was breaking into tears, and crying, and sort of stumbling through her words.

And it seemed dramatic at the time, but none of us who have not lost a child -- I mean, we can`t judge. How would we act? We don`t know. So a lot of times I think people just jump to conclusions, and make assessments, and judge people when we have absolutely no reason to do so. So it`s really a cautionary tale for all of us not to judge people, but to wait for all the evidence to come in.

Amy from Pennsylvania, we heard from you. Barbara, Texas, what is your question, ma`am?

CALLER: Hi, Jane.


CALLER: If this is the guy, I hope he`s not too short to do time. But my question is: Does he already have an attorney lined up to defend him?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what? We were all here in the studio trying to figure out what you meant by "too short to do time," so you`re going to have to ask that question again.

CALLER: Well, the "too short to do time" is from the judge that let the guy off because he was too short and wouldn`t make it in prison.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, thank you. And, you know, you`re now an honorary correspondent here. So ask your question, ma`am.

CALLER: Does he already have an attorney lined up to defend him?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that`s an excellent question. Gee, who do we go to for that? Let me go back to Ed Miller, because you`ve been tracking this case.

Ed, do you think this guy already has an attorney or is that premature at this point?

MILLER: No, I think it`s -- I don`t think he can be extradited back to the United States without some sort of legal representation. So even if he has some sort of temporary legal representation, that will happen first, and then, of course, he may get himself a different attorney or more high- powered attorney.

I think the real question is -- and from what our sources are saying, that he does not want to spend any time in Bangkok, that he is willing to be extradited back to the United States.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you could certainly imagine that. Bangkok prisons don`t have a great reputation, so you can understand him wanting to get back to the United States to face the music. What are the details, Ed, of this arrest? It`s such a mystery at this point.

MILLER: Again, they`re keeping a very close watch on this and close mouthed about this. I don`t know the details of it, other than the fact that he was, again -- once again, he was in prison already on an unrelated sex charge. Again, in Bangkok, that`s saying a lot, that he`s in a prison in Bangkok on a sex charge, that may or may not be involved a child. But again, he was in prison on an unrelated sex charge when this whole thing happened.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we want to know what that unrelated sex charge is, because, if there are commonalities between that case and the JonBenet Ramsey case, that`s a further link to his possible involvement in the JonBenet Ramsey.



PAM PAUGH, PATSY RAMSEY`S SISTER: In my mind, there was never any need for vindication, because I knew, from the depths of my heart, that Patsy, John, Burke, no one in my family ever harmed JonBenet. We`ve lived on that truth; we`ve stood on that truth. And now the facts are going to bear that out.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Patsy Ramsey`s sister, Pam Paugh, speaking tonight in the wake of this amazing development. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell in for Nancy Grace. We are following breaking developments in the arrest of a suspect in the JonBenet Ramsey case.

I want to go back out to prosecutor Eleanor Dixon. It seems that somewhere along the line, this 10-year-old case, things change, new eyes, a fresh attitude toward the entire case that was more objective. Now, the D.A. getting tremendous praise for this break. What`s your analysis of that, in terms of how law enforcement should operate?

DIXON: Well, I think at this point with the alleged confession that will give them another way to look at the evidence and to see if that evidence lines up with the confession. Remember, physical evidence doesn`t change; it doesn`t lie; it is what it is. And maybe they`ll get a break with the DNA, as well, and be able to put all the pieces of the puzzle together to show the guilt of the defendant.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And don`t you think it`s a tragedy that Patsy didn`t live just a couple of more months to see this night?

DIXON: It`s just so sad. It`s one of those horrible things. But I`m so glad that JonBenet`s father is around and he can feel vindicated. And I would like to think that somewhere that Patsy Ramsey knows what`s happened.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I would like to agree with you. I`d like to think that somewhere up there that Patsy Ramsey is experiencing the vindication she so desperately sought in life and wasn`t given by, not just law enforcement, by everybody, by the people. It`s a wake-up call for all of us. Let`s not go out of our way to jump to conclusions and judge other people, because we`re not walking in their shoes.

Tonight, we remember Marine Corporal Ryan Cummings, just 22, from Streamwood, Illinois. Cummings joined the Marines right out of high school where he was an honors student. On his third tour of duty, Cummings planned to study engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He leaves behind a loving family, including two younger brothers and a sister. Ryan Cummings, an American hero.

We would like to thank all of our guests for their insights, and thanks to you at home for tracking these very important cases with us. We`re going to see you right here tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern. Until then, have a terrific and a safe evening.