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Ramsey Investigator Resigns

September 27, 1998

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) _ A special investigator in the JonBenet Ramsey slaying resigned because he believes police are targeting innocent people, including the slain girl’s parents.

``I find that I cannot in good conscience be a part of the persecution of innocent people,″ Lou Smit tells District Attorney Alex Hunter in the Sept. 20 letter, which was obtained by Newsweek. ``It would be highly improper and unethical for me to stay when I so strongly believe this.″

Smit, whose resignation was publicly confirmed Thursday, says in the letter that JonBenet’s parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, ``did not do it,″ and urges Hunter to ``wait and investigate this case more thoroughly.″

Hunter’s office refused to comment on the letter.

JonBenet, 6, was found beaten and strangled in the basement of her family’s Boulder home on Dec. 26, 1996.

No one has been arrested, and the Ramseys have denied any involvement in their daughter’s death. Authorities have said the couple remains under ``an umbrella of suspicion.″

Earlier this month, a grand jury began hearing evidence in the case.

In requesting the grand jury several months ago, Cmdr. Mark Beckner, now police chief, noted that the Ramseys have refused recent requests for interviews. Police say the panel’s special subpoena powers were needed to finish investigating the case.

Smit, a retired homicide detective who was hired as special investigator in March, cut his hours in July because his wife was ill. He had planned to return to full-time work on the case.

His resignation follows the departure last month of Boulder Detective Steve Thomas, whose resignation letter accused Hunter of bungling the case.

Smit refrained from attacking the prosecutor’s office, but said the Boulder Police Department is ``just going in the wrong direction.

``The case tells me that there is substantial, credible, evidence of an intruder and lack of evidence that the parents are involved,″ Smit wrote. ``If this is true, they too are tragic victims whose misery has been compounded by a misdirected and flawed investigation, unsubstantiated leaks, rumors and accusations.″

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