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Ramsey Civil Case Begins

May 29, 2001

DENVER (AP) _ Jury selection began Tuesday in a civil trial brought by a former Boulder detective who says she was unfairly blamed for police mistakes in the JonBenet Ramsey investigation.

U.S. District Judge William F. Downes told 32 prospective jurors that it would be a difficult case and that they would have to listen closely.

Linda Arndt, 40, is seeking unspecified damages, alleging two police chiefs violated her rights by prohibiting her from challenging media reports that implied she bungled the investigation.

She said neither chief disputed the false reports.

Former Chief Tom Koby, current Chief Mark Beckner and the city _ all defendants in the case _ contended the highly publicized investigation would have been compromised if police spoke publicly in her defense.

Arndt was the first detective who arrived at the Ramsey home on Dec. 26, 1996, after Patsy Ramsey called 911 and reported her 6-year-old daughter was missing and a ransom note was found. For nearly three hours, Arndt was the only detective at the home.

John Ramsey, searching the house at Arndt’s request, found his daughter’s body in the basement several hours later.

Arndt was criticized for allowing John Ramsey to search the home without an accompanying police officer and for placing a blanket over his daughter’s body, possibly contaminating evidence. She also was criticized for not taking statements immediately from the parents.

Arndt was removed from the case five months later, and resigned from the department in 1999.

Police have said the Ramseys remain under suspicion. The couple, who have since moved to suburban Atlanta, deny killing their daughter, saying an unidentified intruder is responsible for the death.

___

On the Net:

Boulder police: http://www.ci.boulder.co.us/police

Boulder DA’s office: http://www.co.boulder.co.us./da

Ramseys’ site: http://www.ramseyfamily.com/

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