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Police search for answers in slain youngster’s death

December 27, 1996

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) _ The 6-year-old daughter of a business executive was found slain in the basement of her home hours after her mother discovered a ransom note indicating the girl had been kidnapped.

Police were attempting to comply with the note’s instructions when a family member found JonBenet Ramsey’s body, which had been concealed.

John Eller, commander of the police detective division, said the ransom note demanded money and indicated there would be further instructions.

No suspects had been identified and Eller revealed few other details about the investigation.

JonBenet’s parents and their 10-year-old son, who also lives in the home, were taken to an undisclosed location, where a police officer remained with them ``for security purposes,″ Eller said.

``It’s still a rather delicate and sensitive investigation, and we want to preserve as much of our potential evidence as we can,″ Eller said. ``This was a beautiful, young girl ... The parents are going to go through a tremendous grieving process.″

JonBenet, who was named Little Miss Colorado last year, was the daughter of John and Patricia ``Patsy″ Ramsey. Her father is president of Access Graphics, a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corp. Police said there was no indication the slaying was linked to the father’s employment.

Mrs. Ramsey called police early Thursday after she discovered a ransom note in her home, Eller said. About seven hours after police and FBI agents began a kidnapping investigation, they conducted a thorough search of the home, and a family member found the child’s body, Eller said. He refused to say how she died.

On Friday, while an autopsy was being performed, investigators looked for footprints and other clues around the house, which is in a close-knit, upscale neighborhood of this city about 30 miles north of Denver.

Christmas decorations, including red-and-white plastic candy canes, stood in patches of snow on the front yard.

An elementary school student, JonBenet was a precocious, engaging child, family friends said.

Laurie Wagner, a vice president at Access Graphics, said JonBenet often played around her father’s office. ``She was a charming girl, an adorable child,″ Wagner said. ``Everyone is concerned for the family.″

Mrs. Ramsey, a former Miss West Virginia, traveled around the country with JonBenet to attend her daughter’s beauty contests.

``They were so serious about this beauty queen stuff, but they never put any pressure on her,″ said Dee Dee Nelson-Schneider.

``She was a beautiful little girl,″ said Diane Brumfitt. ``She was very engaging and charming.″

Neighbor Joe Barnhill called the family ``such congenial people _ the best neighbors.″

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