Boulder Police Chief Defends JonBenet Ramsey Investigation

The Boulder police chief has defended his department's investigation of the murder of JonBenet Ramsey in several published reports, saying more than 160 suspects were investigated and $2 million spent.

Chief Mark Beckner's defense came in interviews with KCNC-TV, The Daily Camera of Boulder, the Rocky Mountain News Friday and in a statement posted on the Boulder police Web site. Three lawyers who worked with the police on the case also defended the department in the statement.

"A few people have accused the department of focusing too narrowly in its investigation of this homicide when that was not the case," Beckner said in the statement. "People who have spoken out that way have relied on the department's inability to discuss case specifics, but I cannot allow the misperceptions to go unanswered any longer."

The Ramsey family has criticized police, saying the department focused on them at the exclusion of evidence that an intruder killed the 6-year-old beauty queen in December 1996. He told the News that notion was "an urban myth."

Beckner, a year after the killing, said the Ramseys remained "under an umbrella of suspicion" in their daughter's death."

Beckner did not immediately return a call to his home seeking comment.

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Beckner told KCNC: "For a long time we have remained silent." His department said nothing about the recent arrest of John Mark Karr at the request of the district attorney's office. Karr was cleared by DNA and remains in custody in Boulder, awaiting extradition to California to face child pornography charges.

The sheriff's office refused Saturday morning to take questions about when Karr would leave for California.

Beckner disputed claims by former prosecutor Lawrence "Trip" DeMuth, who told the News that leads were ignored and that his staff was barred from doing its own investigation.