Statement from News Conference on October 14, 1999
I want to first publicly thank the twelve citizens of this grand jury for their service to the community. Although by law, I cannot comment on the grand jury's work as it relates to this case, I am grateful to the District Attorney, Alex Hunter, for allowing a grand jury investigation. Contrary to public perception, we have made progress in this case over the past 13 months because of the work of the grand jury. If you recall, when investigators asked for a grand jury in the spring of 1998, it was for the purpose of assisting us in our investigation. In this regard, it has been a successful grand jury.
I also want to thank Mike Kane, Mitch Morrisey and Bruce Levin for their hard work. There's been a great deal of speculation about the working relationship between the DA's office and the police. Let me just say that we have a great deal of respect for one another, and the working relationship on this case has never been better. Over the past 15 months, we have worked hand in hand with the prosecutors on this case and have been very pleased with how things have been handled.
There has also been speculation that charges have not been filed in this case because of reluctance on the part of the District Attorney's office. In addition to Alex Hunter, we have had 3 experienced prosecutors working on this case. None of these prosecutors, in my opinion, would hesitate in taking this case to trial once the evidence is sufficient to do so.
The next obvious question is: where do we go from here? From the police perspective, this will remain an open, ongoing investigation. Contrary to the public perception and the rampant speculation that the investigation is over, this case is not dead in the water. I know you have grown tired of hearing this, but yes, we still have forensic evidence we are working on. We are committed to not giving up on this investigation. Like any other open homicide, we will continue to process and test evidence as necessary, and follow any reasonable leads that are developed.
(Anyone who's been in law enforcement can tell you of cases that finally come to resolution, often after many months or years of investigation, and sometimes when you least expect it. That's what keeps us going.)
If you believe what some of the pundits are saying, you might think it's futile to keep trying. Those of us close to the case know better. We know that the right and just thing to do is to keep going. Quite frankly, too much has been made of the conclusion of the grand jury. We have simply completed another phase of this difficult investigation.
In addition to the possibility of new evidence developing, new forensic technology is advancing at a rapid pace. As a result, cases that were once unsolvable have been solved. New technology in the last 2 1/2 years has helped us in this case. We never know what the next month, year, or several years will bring.
As Police Chief, there is something else I know I can count on. And that is the dedication of the four investigators who have been on this case from the beginning.
These four individuals, as well as all members of the Boulder Police Department, are committed to finding a resolution in this case, and they will not be swayed from that commitment.
Much has been made out of alleged mistakes early in this case. Yes, there are things we should have done differently and wish we would have done differently. Any time a crime scene is disturbed, it creates problems for the investigation. However, to say that mistakes have made this an unsolvable case is not accurate. Circumstances and evidence that raise questions for us today are not the result of a contaminated crime scene.
I know that this case has been frustrating for everyone, but I can assure you it has not been more frustrating than for the detectives who have worked full time on this case for almost three years. While we will continue to be criticized by those who fail to understand the complexities in this case, I am proud of the work our detectives have done to get us where we are today. For any mistakes that may have been made early on, there have been many times more right things that have been done in this case.
I would also like to say that while the intense scrutiny has not always been pleasant, there have been positives. We are not the same police department we were 3 years ago. As a result of learning from our experiences, we have taken steps to make some changes in how we operate. We have developed some new policies and procedures, adjusted some of our training, and made some changes in our detective section. And, we have also developed a more open philosophy when dealing with the media. As a result of these changes, I believe we are a better prepared, better trained police department.
I must take a moment to thank the local Boulder community for its support. City council, the city manager, and the many citizens of this city have been understanding and supportive in our efforts. For this, we are appreciative.
In the end, all of the media attention doesn't matter. All of the speculation doesn't matter. Legal analysts who will find fault with the work we've done doesn't matter. What matters is finding justice for JonBenet Ramsey.
To this day, two years and nine months after her death, we are as intent on that objective as we were from day one.