There Goes the Pulitzer

This was the lead paragraph in the lead story, written by Charlie Brennan, Todd Hartman, with help from six other reporters, that appeared  in the Thursday, Aug. 17 Rocky Mountain News:

The decade-long search for JonBenet Ramsey’s killer came to a startling end in Thailand on Wednesday.

Oops. Never mind.

Eleven days of media frenzy later, I’m not smug,  just bewildered, recalling the item originally posted at Colorado Confidential. Here it is again:

This is, I believe, the first time that I have ever written about JonBenet Ramsey. And I hope it is the last.

The reams of reporters currently hunkered down in Boulder, at the site of the former Ramsey compound, or on their way to Bangkok, can have at it. Today in Colorado we’ve gone from front-page headlines practically shrieking, Folks, We’ve Got Ourselves Our Killer! to talking heads doubting John Mark Karr’s confession as legit. Notwithstanding the question whether the confessor has ever even been to Colorado, where’s the DNA?

Just three weeks ago, retired police detective Lou Smit , who gained widespread notoriety for his investigation into the Ramsey case and concluded the parents were not suspects, weighed in on the status of the case.

“I don’t know who [killed] JonBenet, but I know we have excellent DNA, and one day we’ll catch the killer without a doubt,” Smit told Colorado Confidential. “It was in the blood spots in her panties.”

At the time he made that comment about that crime, Smit was actually being interviewed about his involvement in another breaking case, Robert Charles Browne’s claims that he had killed and butchered 49 men and women over a quarter century. Also at the time, the media went wild with the reports that Browne’s confession tucked him solidly in the Serial Murderer Hall of Fame. But we quickly learned that the proof is in the DNA – meaning that law enforcement in multiple states have a long way to go to authenticate Browne’s claims.

So before I hightail it to Boulder, to file reports on the Ramsey home’s basement floorplan, or the 12-year old girl that the suspect allegedly once married, or what Gov. Bill Owens has to say about the arrest from his current junket in Jordan, I’ll take the cue from Smit.

I’ll wait for the DNA.

I consider  myself lucky. I didn’t have to eat roast duck and clink champagne glasses, or be one of the 483 reporters begging for an interview with El Creepo, or try to figure out if the 29-year old lawyer had enough experience for the magnitude of the case…

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Cara Degette

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