BOULDER, Colo. – It's likely John Mark Karr will be extradited to the United States within the next few days, but what charges the man who claims he accidentally strangled to death 6-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey 10 years ago remain to be seen.
And law enforcement officials are giving very few details on the investigation, refusing to say whether they believe the 41-year-old man is indeed the girl's killer.
Meanwhile, the Ramsey family's attorney said Friday that authorities asked Patsy Ramsey in late May — a month before she died of cancer — whether she would be willing to meet with the man who claims he killed her daughter.
Ramsey said she would meet with Karr if it would advance the investigation into JonBenet's Christmastime slaying, but the meeting never took place because authorities did not get back to her before she died in June, attorney Lin Wood said.
The attorney also said the written correspondence Karr sent to Patsy Ramsey either in the form of e-mails or letters was never received by her because it was routed to someone else. He said police or someone else set up an address for the correspondence to be sent to make it look like he was writing to Ramsey. It was turned over to the police instead.
"He thought that he was corresponding with Patsy, but he wasn't," Wood told The Associated Press.
A spokesman for the Roswell, Ga., Police Department, which helped to identify and locate Karr, declined to say Friday whether his agency conducted the correspondence ruse.
"We're not commenting on any part of the investigation," Sgt. James McGee said.
Karr gave a stunning confession to reporters Thailand this week, claiming he was with JonBenet when she died. But questions soon surfaced about his claims — including whether he drugged the girl, sexually assaulted her or was even in Colorado at the time of the slaying.
The autopsy, for example, found no evidence of drugs or other suspicious substances in her system. And Karr's ex-wife, Lara Knutson, claims she was with her former husband in Alabama at the time of JonBenet's killing and she does not believe he was involved in the homicide.
"It's clear to me that he's somewhat interested or maybe even obsessed by the case and the real question is whether he's inserting himself into it for some obscure psychological reason," said author Carlton Smith, who wrote 1997's "Death of a Little Princess: The Tragic Story of the Murder of JonBenet Ramsey."
District Attorney Mary Lacy refused Thursday to say whether authorities have evidence linking Karr to JonBenet's death at her Boulder home on Dec. 26, 1996.
"We should all heed the poignant advice of John Ramsey," said Lacy, quoting the girl's father. "Do not jump to conclusions, do not rush to judgment, do not speculate. Let the justice system take its course."
• Timeline: The JonBenet Ramsey Murder Investigation
Karr told investigators he drugged and sexually assaulted the girl before accidentally killing her, according to a Thai police officer who was briefed about the interview with U.S. authorities.
Yet JonBenet's autopsy report found no evidence of drugs, saying her death was caused by strangulation after a beating that included a fractured skull. While it describes vaginal injuries, it doesn't say she was raped. It was later concluded there was no semen on JonBenet's body.
"I don't see much credibility at all," Mark Fuhrman, a former Los Angeles Police Department homicide detective who had corresponded with some officers involved in the investigation, told FOX News. "You'd think the killer could at least get right some of the details of the crime ... [and it] was not accidental, in fact, it was quite intentional."
Thai Officials Change Details of Story
But Lt. Gen. Suwat Tumrongsiskul of the Thai immigration police changed some details Friday of the account he had given of what Karr told investigators. In a telephone interview Thursday with The Associated Press, Suwat quoted Karr as saying he had sexually assaulted the girl and given her drugs. He also told reporters before a news conference Thursday that Karr had claimed to have picked up JonBenet at her school; the slaying occurred during Christmas break.
On Friday, Suwat confirmed to the AP his account of the sexual assault. But asked Friday if Karr gave the girl drugs, Suwat said the suspect described the encounter with JonBenet Ramsey as "a blur."
"It may have been drugs, or it may have been something else because (Karr said) it was a blur, blur," Suwat said.
Suwat also said Friday that his statement about the girl being picked from school was based on a documentary he had seen and not the interrogation
Karr's ex-wife, Lara Knutson, told reporters she cannot defend him, then insisted he was with her in Alabama that Christmas.
"She cannot think of a Christmas while they were together when he was away from the family on Christmas day or immediately thereafter," said her attorney, Michael Rains, though he added his client could not specifically recall Christmas 1996.
Authorities have not said whether Karr could have written the ransom note demanding $118,000 found in the Ramsey home. And the professor who swapped four years' worth of e-mails with Karr and brought him to the attention of prosecutors in May refused to characterize the suspect either as killer or kook.
"I don't know that he's guilty," said Michael Tracey, who teaches journalism at the University of Colorado and who communicated with Karr over several months before contacting police. "Obviously, I went to the district attorney for a reason, but let him have his day in court and let JonBenet have her day in court and let's see how it plays out."
Correspondence obtained by the Rocky Mountain News between Tracey and a person investigators believe to be Karr included one message in which the professor was asked to visit JonBenet's home in Boulder to read aloud an ode called "JonBenet, My Love."
"JonBenet, my love, my life. I love you and shall forever love you. I pray that you can hear my voice calling out to you from my darkness — this darkness that now separates us," read one of the e-mails, which the newspaper said Friday it obtained from a source close to the investigation.
It said the message was part of a small sample of correspondence between Karr and Tracey. In other e-mails, Karr said he was under federal investigation for "child murder and child molestation" in four states.
In Washington, federal law enforcement officials said Karr's comments since his arrest have piqued their interest and they want to question him. Regarding Kerr's purported claims in emails that he was under federal investigation for child murder and molestation, one law enforcement official said "there is no four-state federal case" in which Karr is wanted or even suspected.
In another e-mail, the Rocky Mountain News reported, Karr said he sympathized with Michael Jackson, who has been accused of molesting young boys.
"I will tell you that I can understand people like Michael Jackson and feel sympathy when he suffers as he has," Karr wrote.
"I can relate very well to children and the way they think and feel," one Karr e-mail said. "I think you are asking if I am much a 'Peter Pan.' In many ways, the answer is yes. In other ways, I suppose it is no because I am trapped in a world that does not understand."
In one correspondence, Tracey asked whether Karr's "fascination with little girls — which clearly has a strong erotic component — is a way of going back."
"Maybe I am not going back but have simply stayed consistent," Karr responded. "My peer group has not changed since I was a little boy, and girls were the people I was with always. Referring to them as a peer group is somewhat incorrect, but might also be the very definition of what they continue to be in my life."
Tracey refused to discuss the e-mails with reporters on Thursday and declined comment for the newspaper story.
Any previous relationship between Karr and the Ramseys remained a mystery, though both have ties to suburban Atlanta.
Karr Fired From Thailand
Karr's background includes an arrest in Petaluma, Calif., in 2001 on five misdemeanor counts of possession of child pornography, to which he pleaded not guilty.
He began teaching at Bangkok Christian College, an elite private school with about 5,500 male students in 12 grades, in early June, school officials said. He worked there for about two weeks before being dismissed.
"He was qualified to be a teacher. He had a diploma and has experience in teaching in Bangkok for some time," said Banchong Chompowong, assistant director of the English immersion program at Bangkok Christian. "John Karr came to us with a good resume and with credentials, but then we allowed him a trial (period) with students, we found he was too strict." (Full story)
Banchong said Karr gave the students "time outs" and another teacher said he had a reputation for yelling at students.
Karr was arrested at a Bangkok apartment Wednesday. Hours later, Thai authorities sat him before a room of journalists, where he admitted: "I was with JonBenet when she died. Her death was an accident."
"I am so very sorry for what happened to JonBenet," Karr told the AP.
Suwat said Karr wants to return to the United States to fight the case. He said U.S. authorities were preparing documents and plane tickets for the return journey. The departure could take place at any time, he said.
Thai police said Karr told them the slaying was second-degree murder. One expert suggested his confession was geared to spare him a first-degree murder charge.
"He seemed convinced that what he said would make him guilty of a lesser crime," said Sharon Davies, a former prosecutor at the Ohio State University law school.
Legal experts said DNA evidence will likely be key: DNA was found beneath JonBenet's fingernails and inside her underwear, and authorities have never said whether it matches anyone in an FBI database.
Karr was given a mouth-swab DNA test in Bangkok, according to a law enforcement official. Karr will be given another DNA test when he returns to the United States in the next several days, the official said.
Asked if authorities could tell whether Karr had firsthand knowledge of the murder or had just picked up information from news accounts, Wood said: "There is information about the murder that has never been publicly disclosed." He did not elaborate.
Karr's description of the case as an accident also rang false to experts.
"It's hard to imagine a more intentional, deliberate murder," said Craig Silverman, a former Denver prosecutor, referring to JonBenet's skull fracture and strangulation. "This has always been a case of deliberate murder."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.