This was a planned act. The suspect had watched the victim and the victim’s family enough to know a rough schedule of activities and an estimated layout of the house. The victim was stalked intermittently from the pageant scene or the Boulder area.
The suspect entered through the basement window when the Ramsey’s were out and had perhaps even entered the home on more than one occasion before the night of the murder, given the length of time the basement window was broken. The garrote and wrist ligatures were made and the ransom note was written while the Ramsey’s were out and the suspect was in the home alone. Indeed, all items, particularly the garrote and wrist ligatures could have been prepared well beforehand.
The victim was subdued with a stun gun in her bed (marks to the face indicated in autopsy) and her wrists fitted with the ligatures.**
Abduction was the original plan, however something went wrong: the child cried out or woke up from the original stun or perhaps the suspect saw foot traffic in the neighborhood. The victim came free on the spiral staircase and was stunned a 2nd time, then grabbed by the suspect, resulting in the wedge-shaped neck abrasion. If compared to the inner steps of the spiral stair, I believe the abrasion will match.
The suspect had most likely planned to take the victim from the home, which is why she was wrapped in a blanket: to keep her hidden, warm, quiet and unaware of her surroundings.
However, the suspect changes his plan and decides to assault the victim on site, either because of fear of interruption or he just doesn't want to wait since he’s so near the victim. As stated above, as it was Christmas day, he could have encountered too much foot traffic in the neighborhood to safely get away.
The Garrote used by the suspect is the type which would have been used in a S & M Bondage rituals to suffocate and revive the victim while the suspect lived out a sexual fantasy. In the type of assault which takes place, the suspect has no intention of assault in the sense of actual penetration. He will relive the experience in masturbation fantasies later. The terror of the victim is what the suspect is after, not the sexual assault itself; it is the terror that is the “turn-on.”
I believe the suspect miscalculated and killed the victim right away; not realizing how little effort it takes to kill a small child. The blow to the head may have been a rage blow but rage prompted by the early death of the victim.
The strangulation did not happen in the room where the body was found, but somewhere else in the basement or the house. The room in which the body was found was a body dump site. The straight, outstretched arms indicate the body was probably dragged into the room by the ligatures on the wrists. The skull injury could also have resulted from frustration at being unable to shake the victim awake or the body being carelessly dropped close to Time Of Death.
I think this was an intruder murder but maybe not a stranger murder. The suspect could have been someone the Ramsey’s knew, if only peripherally. The suspect came prepared with the duct tape and rope (and maybe even the garrote and wrist ligatures). Given the length of time the basement window had been broken, the suspect had perhaps gained entry into the house prior to the murder.
Most likely the suspect is not a pedophile but someone who has confused the victim somehow with a more adult person, perhaps due to the over-sexualization of young pageant participants. This person is used to the victimization of adults or perhaps young adults or disabled adults, but not children; this is not his first rape and she was a victim of perhaps opportunity and seen as easily compliant. He is most likely experienced with S & M Bondage techniques but this is an early attempt at a Rage Rape without actual penetration
I think the suspect is a white male, and may have been very young at the time of the crime; as young as 18 but not any younger; no older than 25. I think this was the first murder. I think this victim was out of the normal victimology for this suspect which is why the crime scene gives such conflicting information. I also think the suspect left the area soon after the crime.
I also think, short of a confession, he will never be caught.
That doesn’t mean the case won’t be closed, it just means he won’t be caught.
** The knots on the ligatures on JBR's wrists and on the wooden stick "anchoring" the garrote are reverse French bowline knots. They're used in S & M Bondage rituals.
If you note the bottom drawing, all of the knots on JBR are similar to the cuff knot on this bondage site; it's simply a matter that some on JBR are double and some are not – it is easier to see if you can imagine the photos upside down. The knots on the Garrote and wrist ligatures are reverse French bowline single and double bondage knots.
Those knots are generally only used for bondage cuffs and not erotic asphyxia; generally slipknots are used for that purpose since they slip off quickly. The knot on the loop around Jon Benet’s neck is a slip knot; this is for the purpose of pull and release – pull and release- pull and release – to accomplish erotic asphyxia without cushing the larynx or hyoid bone.
Reverse French Bowlines tend to tighten with any movement whatsoever, rather like real handcuffs. An added benefit of using this type of restraint is that these cuffs or ties generally do not leave the types of marks or bruising as handcuffs; note on the victim autopsy photos only light bruising along the wrists more likely associated with post-mortem bloat than struggle
Historical note of interest: French Bowline knots were originally purposed for tying off a boat without placing too much strain on the stanchion or pylon. The purpose of using a reverse French bowline knot on the stick end of the garrote would be to make sure that the rope did NOT slip off the stick AND make sure that the stick did not break under the pressure of strangulation. Such a knot would have ensured this would not have happened.
FOR FURTHER READING I suggest Dr. Robert Keppel’s Chapter on Rage Rape in “Signature Killers.”
Originally posted August 8, 2008