Statement Analysis®

JonBenet Ramsey Ransom Note


A key piece of evidence in solving this murder is the ransom note. The police as well as the Ramseys believe that whoever wrote the note is probably the killer. If the police can match the handwriting in the ransom note to a suspect's handwriting, the case is solved. The problem has been they have not found a match. Even without a positive match, the ransom note is still the key to solving this crime.

Using Statement Analysis we can examine this ransom note and determine if it is a legitimate ransom note. Was it the intention of the writer to extort money from the Ramseys, or was the note written as a ploy after JonBenet was killed? Determining the veracity of the ransom note is important. If the note is legitimate, then we know we have a kidnapping that went bad. This would exclude the Ramseys as possible suspects. Why would they kidnap their own child and demand money from themselves? If the note is fraudulent, then we know this was a murder made to look like a kidnapping. Anyone could be a possible suspect. Let's examine the ransom note left at the Ramsey's residence. I have added the numbers in the left hand column to make it easier to reference while analyzing it.

1.	"Mr. Ramsey.
2.	Listen carefully! We are a group of individuals that represent
3.	a small foreign faction. We xx respect your bussiness
4.	but not the country that it serves. At this time we have
5.	your daughter in our posession. She is safe and unharmed and
6.	if you want her to see 1997, you must follow our instructions to
7.	the letter.

8.	You will withdraw $118,000.00 from your account. $100,000 will be
9.	in $100 bills and the remaining $18,000 in $20 bills. Make sure 
10.	that you bring an adequate size attache to the bank. When you get
11.	home you will put the money in a brown paper bag. I will call you
12.	between 8 and 10 am tomorrow to instruct you on delivery. The 
13.	delivery will be exhausting so I advise you to be rested. If we 
14.	monitor you getting the money early, we might call you early to
15.	arrange an earlier delivery of the money and hence a earlier 
16.	delivery pickup of your daughter.

17.	Any deviation of my instructions will result in the immediate 
18.	execution of your daughter. You will also be denied her remains
19.	for proper burial. The two gentlemen watching over your daughter 
20.	do not particularly like you so I advise you not to provoke them. 
21.	Speaking to anyone about your situation, such as Police, F.B.I.,
22.	etc., will result in your daughter being beheaded. If we catch you 
23.	talking to a stray dog, she dies. If you alert bank authorities, she
24.	dies. If the money is in any way marked or tampered with, she dies.
25.	You will be scanned for electronic devices and if any are found, she
26.	dies. You can try to deceive us but be warned that we are familiar
27.	with Law enforcement countermeasures and tactics. You stand a 99% 
28.	chance of killing your daughter if you try to out smart us. Follow
29.	our instructions and you stand a 100% chance of getting her back. 
30.	You and your family are under constant scrutiny as well as the 
31.	authorities. Don't try to grow a brain John. You are not the only
32.	fat cat around so don't think that killing will be difficult. Don't
33.	underestimate us John. Use that good southern common sense of yours. 
34.	It is up to you now John!
35.						Victory!
36.						S.B.T.C"

One of the first things we notice is that this is a very long ransom note. Most ransom notes are short and to the point. "We have your kid and she is safe. It will cost you $500,000 to get her back. Do not call the police. We will be contacting you." This ransom note was written on three pieces of paper. This is our first clue this note may be bogus.

As we read the ransom note, we find it doesn't make much sense. Line #2, "We are a group of individuals." What exactly does the writer mean by "group of individuals"? Every group is comprised of individuals. That's what makes it a group. Is the writer telling us despite being a group, they maintain their individuality? Most of the year they live separate lives, but everyone once in a while they come together as a group?

1.	"Mr. Ramsey.
2.	Listen carefully! We are a group of individuals that represent
3.	a small foreign faction. We xx respect your bussiness[sic]
4.	but not the country that it serves. 

The writer also states in lines #2 and #3 that they "represent a small foreign faction." The use of the word "foreign" doesn't make sense. Even if to us they are foreigners, they wouldn't call themselves foreigners. They are not foreigners to themselves. They would tell us, "We are the Islamic Jihad." Remember you can learn a lot if you ask yourself how you would state something. Then compare your statement with the suspect's statement. If you went to Iran and kidnapped someone, it is doubtful you would leave a note stating you are a foreigner.

The writer goes on to say in lines #3 and #4, "We respect your bussiness but not the country that it serves." Are we to believe that JonBenet was kidnapped and then murdered because someone has a hatred for the United States? Most people would agree this crime is not an international incident.

1.	"Mr. Ramsey.
2.	Listen carefully! We are a group of individuals that represent
3.	a small foreign faction. We xx respect your bussiness[sic]
4.	but not the country that it serves. 

In line #3, the writer crossed out the beginning of a word. It appears that the first letter was a "d" and the second letter possibly an "o." The writer may have started to write "We don't respect your business" but then changed it to "We respect your business." A kidnapper who already has his mind set would probably not make this mistake.

The writer misspells two common words in lines #4 and #5, "business" and "possessions." However, the writer correctly spells the words "deviation" and "attache" even including the accent on the word "attache." This leads us to believe the writer purposefully misspelled these two words to try to make it look like an uneducated person or a foreigner wrote this note. The two misspellings occur in the first paragraph. After that, the writer uses correct grammar except for using the article "a" when he should have written "an." This is further indication the misspellings were done on purpose. The writer showed his true writing skills and forgot to misspell words throughout the note.

1.	"Mr. Ramsey.
2.	Listen carefully! We are a group of individuals that represent
3.	a small foreign faction. We xx respect your bussiness[sic]
4.	but not the country that it serves. At this time we have
5.	your daughter in our posession[sic]. She is safe and unharmed and
6.	if you want her to see 1997, you must follow our instructions to
7.	the letter.

In lines #4 and #5, the writer tells us "we have your daughter in our possession." Remember that the shortest way to say something is the best way to state it. A true kidnapper would have said, "We have your daughter." The words "in our possession" are understood and unnecessary. This wordiness shows us that someone was trying to make this look like a kidnapping.

The writer states in line #8, "You will withdraw $118,000.00 from your account." The kidnapper may know the Ramseys are wealthy, but how does the writer know they have $118,000 in their account. Most kidnappers would simply state "get the money." They don't care where you get it from just get it.

8.	You will withdraw $118,000.00 from your account. $100,000 will be
9.	in $100 bills and the remaining $18,000 in $20 bills. Make sure 
10.	that you bring an adequate size attache to the bank.

The amount of $118,000 is a relatively small amount of money. Kidnappers are greedy. A true kidnapper would demand much more money.

The phrase "your account" is very interesting. First, as I previously mentioned a kidnapper would not tell you from where to obtain the money. If a kidnapper did write where to get the money from, he would probably say "the bank" and not "your account." Secondly, if Patsy Ramsey was the author of this note, then we can see how in targeting the note towards her husband, she would use the phrase "your account" vs. "my account."

In line #10, the writer tells the Ramseys to "bring an adequate size attache to the bank." Most kidnappers are not going to remind you to bring an adequate size case to hold the money. Likewise in line #13, it is doubtful that a kidnapper will tell you "to be rested" because the delivery process will be exhausting.

8.	You will withdraw $118,000.00 from your account. $100,000 will be
9.	in $100 bills and the remaining $18,000 in $20 bills. Make sure 
10.	that you bring an adequate size attache to the bank. When you get
11.	home you will put the money in a brown paper bag. I will call you
12.	between 8 and 10 am tomorrow to instruct you on delivery. The 
13.	delivery will be exhausting so I advise you to be rested. If we
14.	monitor you getting the money early, we might call you early to
15.	arrange an earlier delivery of the money and hence a earlier 
16.	delivery pickup of your daughter.

In lines #13 and #14, the writer states, "If we monitor you getting the money early." The word "monitor" implies a continual surveillance. This is further emphasized in line #30 when the writer states, "You and your family are under constant scrutiny." The kidnapper would have us believe they are continually watching the Ramsey family which is highly unlikely.

In line #16, the writer crossed out the word "delivery." The writer started to say that upon receiving the money he would "deliver" JonBenet to her parents. He then realized that a kidnapper would not deliver the hostage but would tell the family where she could be found. Therefore, he changed it to "pick-up." It is doubtful that a kidnapper would make this mistake. This is a strong indication the writer was not a kidnapper.

In line #19, we have an unnecessary word, "over."

17.	Any deviation of my instructions will result in the immediate 
18.	execution of your daughter. You will also be denied her remains
19.	for proper burial. The two gentlemen watching over your daughter 

Unnecessary words are words that can be taken out of the sentence, and yet the sentence still makes sense. The writer could have stated, "The two gentlemen watching your daughter." Extra words give us extra information. What is the difference between "watching over someone" and "watching someone?" The best example I can think of is in reference to God. If I say that God is watching over me, I visualize God keeping his distance. He sees me, but he also see the entire world at the same time. He can see me because I am part of the world. While He is watching over me He is also watching over others. The word "over" means God is spreading His watchful eye upon the earth. However, if I say that God is watching me it becomes more personal. Even though He can see the entire world, He is focusing His attention on me. Another example would be if a friend asked you to "watch over" his house while he was out of town. In this case, he probably wants you to stop by every once in a while and make sure everything is okay. Maybe you will pick up his mail and water his plants. However, if he asked you to "watch" his house he probably wants you to housesit. He wants you to be there where you can keep a close eye on things.

In a kidnapping, the kidnappers should be "watching" the abductee. They will want to keep a close eye on her. They want to make sure she doesn't escape or alert someone that she needs help. They will want to make sure she doesn't harm herself if her being alive is dependent upon them receiving the ransom. When the writer of the ransom note said they were "watching over" JonBenet, the writer was telling us they were not keeping a close eye on her. There are only two reasons why you would not closely watch your hostage: 1. If you knew for certain she was alright and could not escape; 2. If you knew she was dead. Since a dead body isn't going anywhere, it is something you "watch over." Based on the language used, it appears the writer knew JonBenet was dead when writing the ransom note.

Line #19 continues on stating "The two men watching over your daughter do not particularly like you." When we look at a copy of the ransom note, we find the writer originally wrote "do particularly like you." The word "not" was then written above the space between the words "do" and "particularly." A line was then drawn indicating the word "not" should be inserted between these two words. A true kidnapper would not make the mistake of saying these gentlemen do like you.

17.	Any deviation of my instructions will result in the immediate 
18.	execution of your daughter. You will also be denied her remains
19.	for proper burial. The two gentlemen watching over your daughter 
20.	do not particularly like you so I advise you not to provoke them.

The sentence "The two gentlemen watching over your daughter do not particularly like you so I advise you not to provoke them" is not very aggressive language. This would indicate that a woman wrote this note. Other statements in the ransom note such as "I advise you to be rested" also show a feminine touch.

Saying that JonBenet will be "beheaded" in line #22 is very unusual. In the United States, we generally do not talk about beheading people. This was put in the note to make it look like a "foreign faction" was behind this kidnapping.

21.	Speaking to anyone about your situation, such as Police, F.B.I.,
22.	etc., will result in your daughter being beheaded. If we catch you 
23.	talking to a stray dog, she dies. If you alert bank authorities, she
24.	dies. If the money is in any way marked or tampered with, she dies.
25.	You will be scanned for electronic devices and if any are found, she
26.	dies. 

In lines #13 and #30, the writer said the Ramseys were being monitored and under constant scrutiny. Yet, in line #22 the writer contradicts this when he or she writes "if we catch you talking." This would indicate the family is not under constant scrutiny.

Four times the writer uses the phrase "she dies." (Lines #23 - #26) The problem is the writer should be speaking in the future tense; "she will die." This is a strong indication the writer knew JonBenet was dead when the ransom note was written.

The note is addressed to "Mr. Ramsey." However, towards the end of the note Mr. Ramsey becomes "John." The writer refers to Mr. Ramsey as "John" three times in lines #31 - #34. If this was a foreign faction, they would continually use the term "Mr. Ramsey." Referring to him by his first name is too personal for an unknown kidnapper.

30.	You and your family are under constant scrutiny as well as the 
31.	authorities. Don't try to grow a brain John. You are not the only
32.	fat cat around so don't think that killing will be difficult. Don't
33.	underestimate us John. Use that good southern common sense of yours. 
34.	It is up to you now John!
35.						Victory!
36.						S.B.T.C"

There are no synonyms in Statement Analysis. Every word or name means something different even if it is only slightly different in meaning. A truthful person will usually be consistent in their language and not change their language by using synonyms unless their is a justification for the change. Deceptive people will sometimes use synonyms because they are making up the story and are not speaking from the heart. If the writer saw John Ramsey as being "Mr. Ramsey", then he should always refer to him as "Mr. Ramsey." When the writer changed the language and called him "John" it is an indication the story is deceptive.

The note is signed "S.B.T.C" It appears there is no period after the letter "C." When writing we end a thought by placing a period at the end of the sentence. Not using a period tells us the writer intentionally stopped writing. There may be conflict at this point in the story. The writer may have more information that was purposely withheld.

There has been a lot of speculation as to what the letters S.B.T.C. mean. The one that makes some sense to me is "Saved By The Cross." This is because the Ramseys profess to have faith in God and because word "Victory" precedes the initials S.B.T.C. As all Christians know, it is through Christ's sacrifice on the cross that we have "victory" over death.

In examining the pronouns, we find this crime was not committed by a group. If you are writing for a group, then your language will reflect there are several people involved. Throughout the ransom note, the writer uses the plural pronouns "we," "us" and "our" because the writer wants to give the impression that a group is responsible for the kidnapping. In lines #2 - #5 we find the statements, "We are a group of individuals." "We respect your business." "We have your daughter." In line #6 the writer states, "You must follow our instructions." In line #28, "Follow our instructions." However, in line #17 we have, "Any deviation of my instructions." If this was a group effort, the writer would have a group mentality and would consistently use the plural pronouns. Look at line #11 and line #14, "I will call you" vs. "We might call you." People's words will betray them. The truth will slip out and in this case we can easily see it in the pronouns. We see deception in this ransom note with the changing pronouns. This kidnapping was not the work of a terrorist group. One person, probably a woman, wrote this ransom note. One person and perhaps an accomplice committed this crime.


As you can see there is a lot of deception in this ransom note. The writer's own words tell us this ransom note was not written with the intent to obtain money. Since the ransom note was written as a ruse, we can conclude this was not a kidnapping that turned into a murder, but a murder made to look like a kidnapping. This means we cannot exclude the Ramseys as possible suspects. Let's look at what evidence ties John and Patsy Ramsey to the ransom note.

1. The ransom note was written on a pad of paper that was in the Ramsey's residence. Likewise, the pen that was used to write the note also came from their residence.

2. The killer placed a nylon cord made into a garrote around JonBenet's neck and strangled her. A broken paintbrush belonging to Patsy Ramsey was used to make the garrote.

3. While handwriting analysis shows that John Ramsey did not write the ransom note, Patsy Ramsey could not be completely eliminated as the writer.

4. Certain words in the ransom note such as "instruction" "monitor" "execution" "scanned" "electronic" and "device" are computer terms. At the time of JonBenet's death, John Ramsey was president of Access Graphics a computer distribution company.

5. The kidnapper demanded $118,000 from the Ramseys. This is a very unusual amount. Most people would ask for a much larger amount. There is a reason why the writer chose $118,000. Even John Ramsey agrees that the number 118 is significant to the killer. It has been reported that in 1996 John Ramsey received a bonus of $118,000. Is this a coincidence? When the writer had to think of a number, $118,000 was on his mind.

13.	delivery will be exhausting so I advise you to be rested. If we 
14.	monitor you getting the money early, we might call you early to
15.	arrange an earlier delivery of the money and hence a earlier 
16.	delivery pickup of your daughter.

6. In lines #13 - 16, the writer states, "If we monitor you getting the money early, we might call you early to arrange an earlier delivery of the money and hence a earlier delivery pickup of your daughter." The word "hence" is a formal way of saying "therefore." The writer starts out the ransom note misspelling words giving the appearance he is uneducated. However, his educational level begins to show when he uses words such as "hence."

The word "hence" is not a very common word. When was the last time you used that word in a sentence? Chances are you have not used it this week. We should look to see if this word appears in any writings of John or Patsy Ramsey. Well, it does. On December 14, 1997, the First United Methodist Church in Boulder, Colorado held a memorial service for JonBenet. In the program, there was "A Christmas Message from the Ramsey Family." This message was also posted on the Ramsey family's web site. In the message, we find the statement, "Had there been no birth of Christ, there would be no hope of eternal life, and, hence, no hope of ever being with our loved ones again."

7. The word "hence" is a transition word. You do not have to use the word "and" with it. For example, "The arcade was closed, hence, I spent my money at the mall." Most people use the word "hence" and not the words "and hence." The writer of the ransom note used the phrase "and hence." In their Christmas Message, the Ramseys used this exact same phrase. "Had there been no birth of Christ, there would be no hope of eternal life, and, hence, no hope of ever being with our loved ones again."

In their book, The Death of Innocence, Patsy Ramsey addresses the use of the phrase "and hence."

"Actually, I have no idea why we used that phrase. Maybe we'd seen it so many times in reading the ransom note - and having to write it over and over again for the police - that it became a part of our subconscious vocabulary. Who Knows? Then again, maybe people everywhere use the phrase 'and hence' everyday of the week, because it's a normal part of the English language."

Like I said, when was the last time you used that phrase? It is not part of the normal English vocabulary. Patsy Ramsey does not tell us why they used that phrase. She only says "maybe" it is because they saw it in the ransom note and had to write it several times for the police. She then asked a question, "Who knows?" She is trying to sweep this under the carpet as if it is no big deal. However, this is a very big deal. We have the same phrase that is in the ransom note, appearing in their writings.

We should also note that Patsy Ramsey used the word "actually." This word is used when a person is comparing two thoughts. She is comparing "I have no idea" with what? That she does have an idea?

Also, it is very rare when a person can honestly say "I have no idea." Most people have an idea on just about everything. It may not be correct but they have an idea. After saying she has "no idea" she then contradicts herself and offers an explanation (an idea) why they used that phrase.

On October 12, 2000, the Ramsey's did a webcast interview with Newseum (www.newsuem.org). In the interview, John Ramsey makes the following statement:

"The justice system is a government organization. And hence, should be looked at with some degree of skepticism."

8. Many Ramsey supporters believe the Ramseys did subconsciously adopt the phrase "and hence" found in the ransom note. I will admit it is possible. But lets take a closer look at the phrase "and hence." When we look at the original ransom note we find the writer had crossed out a word.

13.	delivery will be exhausting so I advise you to be rested. If we 
14.	monitor you getting the money early, we might call you early to
15.	arrange an earlier delivery of the money and hence a earlier 
16.	delivery pickup of your daughter.

As I previously mentioned, the writer probably realized that a kidnapper would not deliver the hostage. This caused him to cross out the word "delivery" and write "pick-up." Another reason why he crossed out the word "delivery" may have to do with the author's writing style. An examination of the writing style shows us that whatever comes before the phrase "and hence" comes after the phrase "and hence."

13.	delivery will be exhausting so I advise you to be rested. If we 
14.	monitor you getting the money early, we might call you early to
15.	arrange an earlier delivery of the money and hence a earlier 
16.	delivery pickup of your daughter.

We see the same writing style in the Ramsey's Christmas message.

"Had there been no birth of Christ, there would be no hope of eternal life, and, hence, no hope of ever being with our loved ones again."

The Ramsey supporters would have us believe that the Ramseys not only adopted the word "hence," they also adopted the phrase "and hence" and they adopted the killer's writing style! Possible but not probable.


For a complete Statement Analysis of the JonBenet Ramsey murder, get the book
I Know You Are Lying
Detecting Deception Through Statement Analysis


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