Autopsy gives new details on JonBenet’s final moments
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) _ JonBenet Ramsey’s body was on the living room floor, her head turned toward the side and her arms extended when a coroner arrived at the family home, said an autopsy report released today.
A court ordered release of the complete autopsy report on the 6-year-old beauty queen despite police objections that it could jeopardize the investigation. It confirmed much of what has been made public, but did not provide an estimated time of death.
JonBenet’s body was discovered in the basement of her family’s house on Dec. 26 by her father, John Ramsey, about eight hours after his wife, Patricia, said she found a ransom note demanding $118,000. Police have said Ramsey moved the body upstairs before officers arrived. The Ramseys are a focus of the investigation, but no one has been charged.
The report included details about the cord that had been wrapped around her neck and one wrist. It also described the clothing she was wearing, including a white knit shirt with a sequin-decorated star on its chest and underwear stained with urine.
Her body was covered with a blanket and a Colorado Avalanche sweatshirt.
A red-ink drawing of a heart was on the palm of her left hand and around her neck was a gold cross, the autopsy report said. She also had a yellow metal ID bracelet with the inscription ``JonBenet 12-25-96″ _ the day before she was found dead _ and a ring on her right hand.
The coroner’s office said omission of the time of death was routine.
``I consider estimation of time of death to be an interpretative finding rather than a factual statement, and it is not this office’s practice to include this estimate as part of any autopsy report,″ Boulder County Coroner John Meyer said.
Rachelle Zimmer, spokeswoman for the Ramsey family, declined to comment immediately. The Ramseys could not be located at their new Atlanta home, where construction materials littered the yard.
Portions of the report previously released indicated JonBenet had a fractured skull and was strangled with a ``ligature.″ Evidence of sexual assault was inconclusive.
When Meyer arrived, he said, JonBenet’s body was covered with a blanket, her arms extended up over her head, which was turned to the right side. A white synthetic cord was wrapped around her neck and another length of cord was loosely tied around the right wrist over the sleeve of her knit shirt, the autopsy report said.
Near the body was a brown wooden stick holding several loops of cord. It was irregularly broken at both ends, with several colors of paint and possibly some varnish, the report said. One end had the gold-stamped word, ``Korea,″ and another unintelligible word.
Police believe the stick was used as a garrote to tighten the cord around the girl’s neck. Her hair was caught in the knot of the cord and in the loops of the stick, the autopsy report said.
JonBenet was wearing white panties with printed rosebuds and the word ``Wednesday″ on the elastic band beneath long white underwear. Meyer said there were red stains and urine on the panties.
Meyer released the report today under a court order.
``Police obviously went to court to keep out some of the information, because they feel there is enough information still in the report that only the killer or killers and the family would know,″ city spokeswoman Leslie Aaholm said Tuesday.
Police have kept a seal on warrants that were obtained to search the family’s home.