The Investigator: Jon Benet Ramsey case
By RW “Pete” Peterson
The Jon Benet case is the most frustrating case of my career and I refuse to discuss the case with people who aren’t very knowledgeable of it because it just gets my blood pressure up.
I have spent years on it and am still working on it. I have many boxes full of files on this case and have spent a lot of sleepless nights on it. I’ve traveled thousands of miles following up on leads.
My involvement began when we were retained by a Boulder, Colo., doctor to investigate an assault on his adolescent daughter.
The client was out of town on business and his wife and daughter were home alone. They had set the house alarm after returning home at approximately 7 p.m. The alarm had not been set prior to them coming home.
At approximately 11:30 p.m., the mother was awakened by sounds in the daughter’s adjoining room. She went to investigate and was bumped by an intruder who brushed by and went out a screen door over a porch roof. He jumped to the ground and disappeared.
When police were called the same detective who was first responder at the Ramsey house, Linda Arndt, showed up. The parents were not impressed with the way the case was handled and had to insist that the police should dust for prints.
The daughter stated that the intruder woke her up with a hand over her mouth while touching her genitals with the other hand. He called her by name and told her to shut up or her would kill her. (Her name was on her wall in large wooden lettering and he may have been able to read it in the limited ambient light.)
This case happened approximately six months after the Jon Benet murder and had similarities. One of the things we developed was that our client’s daughter and Jon Benet had attended the same dance studio. Our client felt that it would be productive to look for more similarities between the two cases.
The Boulder Police Department (PD) was only fixated on the parents in the Jon Benet case and would not listen to anything else. One of their lead “detectives” wrote a book accusing John and Patsy after he left the department in disgrace. This detective was “wet behind the ears” and had never worked a homicide in his life. I debated him on national TV and he was flustered and clueless (literally). Boulder PD hunkered down in a turf war and would not accept outside help. They saw this as their biggest case and were more interested in keeping it to themselves than solving it.
I took a lot of heat from the Denver and national media types who were convinced that “the parents must have done it.”
The D.A.’s office was at odds with the PD and brought in a terrific homicide detective named Lou Schmidt. I was shocked when he agreed with my assessment that the parents were not involved. He was the only light in a very dim-witted bunch of law enforcement investigators. The Boulder PD stonewalled and did everything possible to limit what the DA’s office could do.
I believe that Boulder PD did not want to see it solved if they couldn’t do it. They did not want to be outshone.
This case took us as far away as Nantucket Island following leads and suspects. We are still focused on two people in this case.
There is partial (contaminated) DNA in this case and with the advances in the study of DNA very soon we will see much more specific identifiers as to race, gender, age, eye and hair color and who knows what else.
We have two people that we’re focused on and I believe that this case will be solved.
RW “Pete” Peterson has operated his investigative firm for 30-plus years. He can be reached at 760-443-0575; www.RWPeterson.com.