Two things inspired me to write LOU AND JONBENÉT, A Legendary Lawman’s Quest to Solve the Murder of a Child Beauty Queen.
First, I wanted to correct the public misperception that someone in the Ramsey family was involved in the murder of six-year-old JonBenét.
Second, is to communicate the fact that this case can still be solved by a competent law enforcement agency using the DNA left behind by the killer at the crime scene.
For the past quarter century, people around the world have expressed interest in this high profile murder case. I believe the story of Lou and JonBenét is a story that must be told and I realize that I am uniquely positioned to tell it. In March 1997, three months after the murder, I receive a phone call from the Boulder District Attorney, Alex Hunter, asking if I would recommend he hire Lou Smit as an investigator with his Ramsey Task Force. At the time, I was the elected Sheriff for El Paso County, Colorado. I strongly encouraged him to hire Lou and shared that one of the smartest decisions I made when I was elected Sheriff, was to hire Lou as my Captain of Detectives. I tasked Lou in reorganizing our Detective Bureau and take on the Heather Dawn Church investigation, which was one of the most high-profile unsolved kidnap murders in our community. Within three months, Lou and his detectives arrested Robert Browne for the kidnapping and murder of Heather Dawn Church. He eventually pled guilty to two murders in El Paso County and is now serving two concurrent life sentences.
Shortly after Lou was hired by the Boulder DA’s Office, he told me that there was something wrong with this case. The facts were not what were being reported to the public. He shared how there was a broken window in the basement standing wide open. He pointed out the reason there were “no prints” in the snow, was because there was no snow around this south-facing window.
As Lou became more involved in the investigation, he returned to the crime scene over and over and eventually met John and Patsy Ramsey in front of their home. After meeting the parents in person Lou became even more convinced they were not involved. When he shared with the Boulder detectives that the physical evidence had led him to conclude the parents were not involved, and that there were other potential suspects who should be pursued, his “Intruder Theory” was outright dismissed.
After being on the DA’s Ramsey Task Force for eighteen months, Lou saw that a Boulder Grand Jury was being empanelled and became concerned that they were focused on indicting the parents. Lou felt this would be a terrible injustice and in protest Lou resigned from the Boulder DA’s Office. When he asked to testify before the Grand Jury, he was refused. After seeking legal representation, he advised the Grand Jury Special Prosecutor that if wasn’t allowed to testify he would have to go public with his findings. Reluctantly, the Special Prosecutor agreed to allow Lou to testify but limited his testimony to only two hours.
I met with Lou countless times after he had resigned from the DA’s Task Force, and he shared with me his investigative notes. Lou had built an amazing slide presentation and organized a huge spreadsheet to organize his investigative notes and findings. He dedicated the rest of his life to solve the murder of JonBenét. Even after he had been admitted to hospice, in 2010, he continued to share his thoughts on this case with me, his family and friends. Lou’s last wish was that this case would not die with him.
A few months after Lou had passed away I received a call from one of his daughters who invited me to join Lou’s family, along with a handful of other retired detectives, to continue Lou’s work in finding the killer of JonBenét. Since Lou’s passing in 2010, the Smit Family Team has used DNA to eliminate more than a dozen persons of interest named in Lou’s investigative notes. Using the advances in genetic DNA technology there has never been a better time to solve the murder of JonBenét Ramsey than there is today.
LOU AND JONBENÉT, A Legendary Lawman’s Quest to Solve the Murder of a Child Beauty Queen, tells the inside story of Lou’s compelling investigation. This book features many of Lou’s previously unpublished investigative slides, notes, and highlights the physical evidence which led this legendary lawman to conclude this murder was not committed by a member of the Ramsey family, but by an intruder–an evil man who broke into their home, during Christmas of 1996, and committed one of the most high-profile unsolved murders in American history.