JonBenet Ramsey Case And The Kidnapping Of Elizabeth Smart

JonBenet Ramsey Case And The Kidnapping Of Elizabeth Smart

Postby akwilks on Wed Jun 29, 2011 4:27 pm

Comments by Doug Oswell
Analysis by AK Wilks

If you look even superficially at the Ramsey and Smart cases you'll see that they have a great deal in common.

* First, the victims were from two relatively wealthy upper-middle-class families living in large houses where the children's sleeping quarters were separated by some distance from those of the parents.

* Those dwellings were in upscale residential areas on the outskirts of major metropolitan areas, each within a very short distance of wilderness area marked by mountainous and hilly terrain. The cities in question were approximately 300 miles apart.

* In both cases renovation work had been done on the houses shortly before the respective incidents, each involving workers strange to the family.

In fact, Brian Mitchell had briefly worked at the Smart home doing odd jobs. The Ramseys had recently had construction and home improvement work done. In addition, they had lawn and landscape services. While it is unlikely that the name "Brian Mitchell" appears on any list of employees of these companies that did work at the Ramsey home, many of these types of companies employ temp workers, who they often pay "under the table", thus there would be no records.

* In both cases, an audacious entry was made into the dwelling through a small aperture while the family members slept; in each case the perpetrator was familiar with the layout of the house.

* The victims themselves shared the common attributes of blonde hair, angelic looks, and unique personal talents. Both were abducted directly from their beds.

Both children were beautiful and shared a very similar look. Both were talented performers, JonBenet in beauty paegents and Elizabeth a harp player. Many serial killers and child molestors have a certian look or type of victim they seek. The similarity between JonBenet and Elizabeth is noteworthy.

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* Brian Mitchell, Elizabeth Smart's abductor, had been classified as a pedophile early in life and was known to have sexually abused young children as an adult. He is an accomplished burglar; small, wiry and thus able to insinuate himself into tight places. He is known to have attempted at least two abductions in addition to that of Elizabeth Smart, both of the audacious "in-house" sort where the dwellings were actually occupied at the time of the attempts.

* Before attempting to abduct Elizabeth Smart's cousin [Olivia Wright] he told Wanda Barzee that he planned the abduction to occur on a holiday because during a holiday the response to the abduction would be slow.

JonBenet Ramsey was killed on a holiday, Christmas night. The July 24th attempted abduction of Elizabeth Smart's cousin, Olivia Wright, happened on Pioneer's Day, and official state holiday in Utah, which recognizes the arrival of the Mormon groups in the area. Most govenrment offices and many businesses are closed. Elizabeth Smart was abducted on June 4, not a holiday per se, but a time of celebration with many school graduations, proms and school events. In fact Elizabeth and her parents were at such an event on the night of June 4, meaning both that they were all out of the house and that Elizabeth was visible at the event.

* Early in 1995, Mitchell and Barzee moved to Idaho, where they lived in a trailer on land belonging to Tom and Betty McKnight. At some point later in the year, after staying on the McKnights' property for about six months, Mitchell decided to sell their possessions and go on a hitchhiking tour with Barzee. Barzee evidently kept a journal about this tour and was questioned about it during testimony given during court proceedings. Prosecutors attempted to elicit details of their itinerary during this tour, but her answers were vague and general, providing information no more exact than that they had ended up in the eastern U.S. before traveling to Florida and then to Los Angeles and Hawaii before returning to Salt Lake City in mid-1997.

* Yet, according to Betty McKnight, upon leaving Idaho, "Brian and Wanda eventually sold their truck and other possessions and left Idaho with very few belongings as they went hitchhiking to Colorado."

See ... full.story

Article on Betty McKnight testimony: "They said, 'We're just going to go on our own,' and they walked away," she said. "All they had was whatever was in their backpack. He picked apples off the tree that we had and put them in his pockets and jacket and that was going to be their food for a while."

McKnight said she wondered what would happen to them.

"I said, 'Where are you going?' They said, 'Colorado,' " she testified.


One objection would be that Elizabeth Smart was 14 years old, and JonBenet Ramsey only 6 years old. Despite the similarity in their looks, a reasonable objection might be raised that JonBenet was likely killed by a pedohile, one who is attracted to pre-pubuesent infants and toddlers, while Mitchell would seem to be attacted to young teenage girls who are in or about to start puberty.

But Mitchell's ex-wife stated that he had molested their 18 month old daughter, and family members stated Mitchell had earlier exposed himself to a girl who was 3 to 4 years old, thus indicating that he did have a sexual interest in children the age of JonBenet and younger. Numerous psychiatrists testified that Mitchell was in fact a pedophile.

Also, in September 1997, a girl named "Amy" who had been in JonBenet's dance class was the victim of a home invasion and attempted abduction. Many investigators regarded this as perhaps being done by the same man who had killed JonBenet. "Amy" was 14 years old, the exact same age as Elizabeth Smart at the time of her abduction.

Eliabeth Smart testified that Mitchell told her if she screamed or made noise he would "duct tape my mouth shut."

JonBenet was found with duct tape over her mouth. This duct tape had animal hairs, perhaps from a beaver, indicating it may have been from someone who was living outdoors in nature, as Brian Mitchell was.

Elizabeth's sister Mary Katherine stated that during the abduction she thought she head Elizabeth ask "why" she was being taken, and that the abductor said "Ransom".

Of course in the JonBenet case a ransom note was left.

So in both cases the prospect of a kidnap and return for ransom is introduced by the attacker, with no real intent of getting a ransom, but instead to either calm the fears of the victim and/or delay notification of authorities.

In 1995 Brian Mitchell and Wanda Barzee leave Idaho and state they are going to "Colorado". With no real documentation as to their exact whereabouts, it seems very possible if not likely that they are in Colorado during the winter of 1996, the time of the JonBenet murder. It also appears that right around the September 1997 time of the failed abduction of JonBenet's dance school classmate, the 14 year old "Amy", Mitchell and Barzee stop their two years of wanderings and return to Utah.

Is has previously been speculated that the signing of "SBTC" on the JonBenet ransom note may stand for "Saved By The Cross", a Christian expression that may well have appealed to the extremist Mormon/Christian/Esoteric fundamentalist views of Mitchell and Barzee.

The many different handwriting experts who have examined the ransom note often have differing views on aspects of it, but the most consistent opinion in the majority of the expert handwriting analyses I have seen is that the ransom note, judging by both handwriting styles and phrasology, was likely written by a middle aged white female. Wanda Barzee was a middle aged white female. The number of male child sex murderers who have an active female accomplice is extremely small. If the handwriting and word analysis experts are right, it appears that the JonBenet killer likely had such an active female accomplice, which matches Brian Mitchell and Wanda Barzee.

And as noted by Doug Oswell, Barzee gave some very odd testimony concerning her handwriting.

See ... script.php

Nov 18, 2010 Testimony of Wanda Barzee

Steele: So you sold everything and then did you leave?

Barzee: I think it was Aug. 8 that we were on the property of Fred and Janice Benson and I got a priesthood blessing and I felt that we were given specific instruction on how we were to travel, hitchhiking across the nation to see the sights and early history of the (LDS) church. We were first to stop and Adam-ondi-Ahman (in Missouri) and go from there.

Steele: Is that what you did? Did you write a book about it?

Barzee: I kept a journal.

Steele: What did you call that journal?

Barzee: I can’t remember.

[Steele calls for exhibit. Shows it to Barzee.]

Barzee: I think this is the journal I wrote when we went through the nation.

Steele: If you would look at ... first of all ... is it typed, handwritten?

Barzee: It’s in my handwriting.

Steele: And your handwriting is special is it not?

Barzee: It was then. I was always right-handed but when we traveled through the nation we were up in the Santa Cruz mountains of Palo Alto, California. We stayed there for five months while we pulled a handcart and I felt impressed to practice writing with my left hand. So this was written with my left hand.

Steele: How long did it take to teach yourself to write left-handed?

Barzee: It took me a while. While Brian said he was ministering, I would be at libraries and I would practice writing recipes and things down.

Steele: If I were to call that calligraphy instead of mere handwriting would that be fair?

(answer not heard)

----- ----- ----- -----

This testimony is very strange. It has no real relevance to the Smart case - it makes no difference with which hand she wrote the journal. But if we consider Mitchell a suspect for the JonBenet Ramsey case, and Wanda Barzee as a suspect as an accomplice and possible writer of the ransom note, it then becomes extremely relevant. It might appear as if Barzee wrote the journal after the fact, and after the Ramsey case, as a way to distinguish her writing in the journal from the ransom note writing. There is no logical reason an adult person would suddenly change with hand they write with. It makes no sense. Yet if Barzee wrote the ransom note, she would have a very strong incentive to create a fake journal which has entries that put them on a tour of Mormon historical sites placing them elsewhere than Colorado (when in fact they told Betty McKnight that they were they were going to Colorado) and which has handwriting that is very different from her own natural writing.

There are multiple unconfirmed reports that the DNA found on JonBenet is from a Caucasian. There was also a pubic hair recovered of undescribed color, and a photo of a dark hair on JonBenet's sleeve. Brian Mitchell is Caucasian and has dark hair.

Judging by the suitcase with some of JonBenet's things in it found by the window, and the ransom note probably designed to cause delay in notifying authorities, the intent may have been to kidnap JonBenet, and her death partially accidential as a result of the deviant sexual game involving the cord around her neck. Elizabeth Smart testified that at first she was also bound by a cord, a cord that would be tied to a tree.


Thus there are numerous reasons to consider Brian Mitchell and Wanda Barzee as serious suspects in the JonBenet Ramsey case. Of course, Mitchell was convicted on federal kidnapping charges, and sentenced in May 2011. In theory, there should be a DNA draw done on him, with his DNA placed into CODIS. Newspaper reports indicate that some of the DNA found on JonBenet's body and underwear had 9 markers, enough to be entered into CODIS. Thus, in theory, at some point CODIS would indicate a "hit" if there is a match between the Mitchell DNA and the Ramsey suspect DNA.

Theory is one thing, reality is another. Red tape and bureacracy might mean that the Mitchell DNA draw and entry into CODIS could take place in a few months, but it could also be a few years. There are 300,000 DNA profiles waiting for inclusion into CODIS. By routine procedure, if and when the Mitchell DNA draw is done, it would go to the back of this line for entry into CODIS. Thus it could be several years before it is actually entered. And if Mitchell refuses to cooperate, there could be more delays of months if not years in getting a court order to get the DNA.

Ted Kaczynski was convicted on federal charges in 1998, yet the FBI is now seeking a court order to get a DNA draw on him, because Ted never had a DNA draw done from his body and his DNA has never been entered into CODIS.

If the authorities think the evidence pointing to Mitchell as a suspect in the JonBenet Ramsey cases merits investigative follow up, then they MUST request Mitchell's DNA if it is already on record with the FBI and/or Salt Lake City PD, request the federal prison to expedite procedures for the Mitchell DNA draw and inclusion in CODIS or directly request a court to order a DNA draw on Mitchell.
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Re: JonBenet Ramsey Case And The Kidnapping Of Elizabeth Smart

Postby akwilks on Wed Jun 29, 2011 4:40 pm

Elizabeth Smart Large Pic.jpg
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Re: JonBenet Ramsey Case And The Kidnapping Of Elizabeth Smart

Postby Doug on Wed Jun 29, 2011 4:45 pm

AK--Good analysis. There's one thing that throws cold water on it, though. I happened to find a copy of the handwritten journal that Barzee kept after leaving Idaho, and the entries for Christmas of 1996 show them in Portland, Oregon and preparing for a trip to Alaska, where they supposedly stayed for several weeks. See . For my part, I have no trouble believing that Mitchell could have ginned up this journal for no other reason than to provide himself with an alibi. But of course, not everyone is going to see it that way. (The journal isn't written in diary fashion; the entries appear to have been made after the fact, and the ones covering the time in question are quite vague, particularly as to events.)

I'm not going to get all worked up about this, but I'll definitely stay alert.
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Re: JonBenet Ramsey Case And The Kidnapping Of Elizabeth Smart

Postby AweShucks on Wed Jun 29, 2011 8:44 pm

Interesting piece you put together here AK and Doug. While I can certainly see BM being a good suspect the odd circumstances of the JBR case certainly cast a lot of suspicion to a family member. I spend a lot of time analyzing body language of people through both training and jobs I've had in the past. One thing that always bothered me about the Ramsey's is they never made contact with each other. Most couple's when interviewed over a traumatic event tend to sit close and hold hands etc. I must have seen dozens of interviews of the Ramsey's never once did I see any type of affection between them. While that doesn't point blame on them for her murder it IMO points some type of blame towards each other for something regarding it?
The worst part about the JBR case is it is very similar to the likes of the Zodiac case where LE had so many hands in the pot the evidence pool and chain of custody is a murky puddle of mud at best.

I'll definitely keep up on this theory, there certainly is the similarities there to justify BM for consideration as a suspect.
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Re: JonBenet Ramsey Case And The Kidnapping Of Elizabeth Smart

Postby Doug on Thu Jun 30, 2011 1:16 pm

It's hard to do writing comparisons between the Ramsey ransom note and the calligraphic-style handwriting used by Wanda Barzee in her "Birth of Zion" document. Here are some things, however, that really stand out: (1) wordspacing is even throughout; (2) there is double-spacing after a period; (3) the abbreviation "a.m." contains no periods; (4) paragraphs are set off with large indents; and perhaps most interesting of all (4) line spacing is even but tight, with the descenders of one line allowed to run directly into ascenders of the next line.

One particularly noteworthy passage from the Barzee document:

"A significant vision took place 12 January 1999 that I entitled, "Vision of Celebration/Birthday Party - Wedding Feast." The vision was a little girl going to her bedroom to hide behind the headboard of her bed that was covered with stuffed animals so she wouldn't have to participate in the celebration that was about to take place."
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Re: JonBenet Ramsey Case And The Kidnapping Of Elizabeth Smart

Postby akwilks on Thu Jun 30, 2011 2:29 pm

Awe, I for one did consider the family a suspect for many years, but the new DNA evidence, found in three seperate spots, with one spot generating 9 markers, convinces me that absent a major lab error, JonBenet was killed by the man who left this DNA. John and Burke Ramsey do not match this DNA.

This I think is the passage mentioned by Doug. Reading this, you can picture JonBenet hiding behind her bed, a bed that I do think had stuffed animals.

I also post the ransom note here. I can't really see any major similarities in the writing, but the Journal is done in such an odd calligraphy style it is really hard to make any judgements. Doug makes some interesting observations about certain formatting and style similarities.

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Re: JonBenet Ramsey Case And The Kidnapping Of Elizabeth Smart

Postby akwilks on Thu Jun 30, 2011 2:37 pm

When you see pictures of the Ramsey house from the front, it looks small. I used to think "How could they not hear the scream that a nieghbor heard?"

But when you see the rear of the Ramsey home, you realize it was huge, a mansion. It is very probable that the Ramseys sleeping on the third floor would not hear anything from the basement, or even JonBenet's room on the second floor.

And the Ramsey home does look like the Smart home - both are exceptionally large homes. Very similar.

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Re: JonBenet Ramsey Case And The Kidnapping Of Elizabeth Smart

Postby akwilks on Thu Jun 30, 2011 2:44 pm

Two excerpts from the Barzee Mitchell journal. One mentions, in what purports to be around 2001, "failed attempts" to get the first wife, and that they shall take girls "10 to 14" in age. If you go back 4 years, that would indicate a 6 year old to be taken in 1996/1997. But the "failed attempts" may just refer to their efforts to convince adult young women to join them in plural marriage.

The second excerpt refers to the plan to kidnap Smart, wherein Wanda Barzee will offer words to soothe her, and then "bath" her body. The killer(s) of JonBent packed a suitcase with JonBenet's bedding and her Dr. Seuss book. There is evidence an intruder may have given JonBenet a bit of pinaapple to eat. An effort to "soothe" a little girl and make her feel comfortable enough to leave peacefully? And her vaginal area and other parts of her body were "wiped". An effort to "bath" the girl?

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Re: JonBenet Ramsey Case And The Kidnapping Of Elizabeth Smart

Postby akwilks on Fri Jul 01, 2011 2:03 pm

It appears that the entire Barzee Mitchell journal appears to have been written after the fact, and may be a huge attempt at an alibi. For the rough time period of winter 1996, there is nothing I know of to prove that they actually were in Portland/Seattle and headed to Alaska.

In fact given their finances, it appears very unlikely they went to Alaska, or that they could survive as homeless people there. It does give them an excuse why nobody could place them in Utah. So rather than rely on their vague after the fact journal which may be false, I would place more faith in the statement of a thrid party, the McKnights, who testified that in 1995 Mitchell and Barzee said they were going to COLORADO.

In the journal they state that a homeless man gave them $300 for a ticket to Alaska!

They state he had this money from disability checks and wanted to help them. This story sounds very fanciful to me. Homeless men do not typically have $300 handy and when they do they do not often give it away to strangers. It would be interesting to see if any hard evidence places them in Alaska, and if so, was it before or after Christmas 1996.

Up until this point, I have thought members of the Ramsey family may have been involved. Perhaps Burke, with Patsy and John covering it up. Perhaps Patsy. Much of the writing on the ransom note has similarities to Patsy's writing. But just as an intruder may have got the information on the $118,000 bonus from a paycheck stub, an intruder might have copied from writing of Patsy Ramsey, not so much to implicate her, but just to disguise his/her own style. Some experts say Patsy Ramsey likely wrote it, others say she did not. Many experts did say the writing and word choice indicated it was probably done by a middle aged white female. Some circumstantial evidence points to the Ramsey's, but such of that can be disputed or can also be viewed in a non-incriminating way.

Ransom Note and Patsy Ramsey Writing A B C.jpg
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It has also been disputed if the writing above is really from Patsy Ramsey. Also, in the Zodiac case I have seen handwriting from half a dozen different suspects that appears to be similar to the writing of the Zodiac. Yet at most only one of these suspects can be the Zodiac.

But new DNA evidence appears to clear the Ramsey's. They now have male DNA from three seperate spots on her body or clothes, and that DNA does NOT match Burke or John Ramsey. One of the DNA spots produced 9 markers, meaning it is highly unlikely to have come from a school playmate or other accidental source. The presence of the DNA in three spots also goes against an accidential source.

About nine months after JonBenet's death, a dance school classmate of hers named "Amy" was the victim of an attempted abduction. Nachtsider provided this link previously dealing with "Amy" and other evidence of an intruder in the Ramsey case: ... 1569.shtml
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Re: JonBenet Ramsey Case And The Kidnapping Of Elizabeth Smart

Postby Doug on Fri Jul 01, 2011 3:54 pm

I've always had a hard time believing that either of the Ramseys murdered their child, and this was borne out particularly when the autopsy photos and report were made public. One of two things killed JonBenet: (1) blunt force trauma to the head; or (2) ligature strangulation. It was apparently impossible to determine which of the two comprised the agency of death.

Suppose it were the former? The autopsy photos show that overwhelming force was used to shatter the child's skull from one end to the other, with a large rectangular piece completely taken out of one end. Now, to go by the scenario commonly conjured by proponents of the theory that the parents did it, one must envision Patsy Ramsey, a doting mother with no known predilection for violence, taking up some heavy object and with deliberate malice bringing it down with incredible force upon her daughter's head, to the extent that the child's soft skull was beaten in from front to back with the force demonstrated by the autopsy photo. Following this, one must also envision the same doting mother fashioning a crude garrote, placing it about her daughter's throat and twisting it about the broken handle of a paintbrush, either for the purpose of finishing the job begun with the blunt object, or in a desperate attempt to stage a crime.

If the latter scenario applies, the reverse of the above would hold true. Given what's known about the Ramseys, I think either scenario would have been highly unlikely, to the point where neither can be credited.

AK, I saw that remark about the homeless man and the $300 for a ticket (I think it was airfare) to Alaska. While I don't discount the possibility that Mitchell was able to con a lot of resources out of his fellow Mormons by posing as some kind of mystic, the idea of a homeless person simply forking over that kind of money so they can conveniently get to Alaska sounds a bit like hogwash to me. In fact, I find it surprising that they'd be going that far north in the beginning of the winter. But if you look at these travel accounts, it seems as if some "miracle" is always transpiring just when things are at their worst.
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