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Potential Points of Entry

Page history last edited by Miss Marple 5 years, 7 months ago

Back to The House



  • No Reported Signs of Forced Entry. The search warrants stated the following: "According to Officers French and Veitch [the first to arrive at the Ramsey house on 12/26] there were no signs of forcible entry into their residence and the Ramsey's believed that the house was locked when they went to bed." (Byfield 1997:2) According to officer Jim Byfield, Detective Linda Arndt also reported "there was no sign of forced entry to this residence" (Byfield 1997:2).
  • Evidence of Unlocked Windows and Door. However, later reports painted a different picture: "law enforcement officials told NEWSWEEK that the police knew several windows and a door had been unlocked that night. Two windows were open slightly, allowing electrical cords for the outside Christmas lights to pass through." (Glick et al. 1998).


Basement Window in Storage Room

  • Location. A basement window was found broken in a basement storage room immediately adjacent to the "train room" (also called the "hobby room"; see location #1 in basement section of this diagram at the very bottom of the page).
  • Photos. A photo labeled Crime Scene Photo that was included in Lou Smit's PowerPoint presentation shows the window wide open, but this does not appear to be a crime-scene photo since John Ramsey later described the window as being open only a tiny bit. Likwise, a poor quality photo showing the window wide open and suitcase on its side is here, yet there are other crime scene photos of the suitcase on its bottom; another photo of someone standing next to the window also appears not to be taken at the crime scene, but there is no way of telling the date the photo was taken. The brief Lou Smit video immediately below shows how the window swings open.
  • On-line Discussion. See The Broken Window/Spider Web at Webbsleuths forum chat.    


Evidence for Possible Intruder Entry through Basement Window

  • Intruder Entrance? Lou Smit has argued that an intruder could easily have come in through this window. He and others have come through that window. (video: 39 seconds).
  • Suitcase Beneath Window. A suitcase was found beneath the window with a shard of glass on it.
  • Scuff Mark on Wall. In the photo of the window from Lou Smit's PowerPoint, a smudge mark can be seen on the wall immediately below the window. Since John Ramsey later reported in police interviews that he had come through this same window the preceding summer, it is uncertain whether this scuff mark might have been left by him or is evidence of an intruder.


Evidence Against Possible Intruder Entry through Basement Window

  • Skeptics believe that intruder entry through this particular window is implausible for several reasons:
  1. Window Sill Too Dirty. The window sill would have been wiped clean by the intruder's butt as s/he slid through the window.
  2. No Fingerprints Found on Window. "Interior dusting of the window for fingerprints was done by crime scene investigators and no latent prints were found" (Sauers 1998).
  3. Too Little Debris on Floor. There would have been more evidence of debris immediately below the window.
  4. Window Closed. No intruder would shut the window after escaping, yet John Ramsey reportedly found it open less than 1" when he searched the basement on the morning of December 26.
  5. Spider Web Evidence. Skeptics of an intruder theory view the spider web evidence as supporting their position. See below.


Spider Web Evidence

  • There are conflicting accounts regarding a spider web observed near the window grate.
  • On-line Discussion. See The Broken Window/Spider Web at Webbsleuths forum chat.  

Evidence the Web Was Attached to the Grate

  • "During their initial inspection of the exterior of the house on the day JonBenét’s body was found, detectives had noticed several strands of a spiderweb on the grate covering the window well in front of the broken basement window. It extended from the edge of the grate to some nearby rocks, and this seemed to confirm that nobody had entered through that window recently" (Schiller 1999a:344, citation from Internet poster Margoo.).
  • Internet poster Margoo notes: "There is no indication what time of day it was when Det. Everett and Wickman allegedly saw the intact strands. It certainly WAS NOT at 6 A.M. No one was there during daylight hours until after the body was discovered – the earliest time in the afternoon being about 2 PM."
  • However, Sauers claims that "as noted by detectives arriving early on the morning of December 26[emphasis added], an intact spider web covered the grate which blocked off the window. In order to enter or exit the window, the grate would have had to have been removed. This grate was photographed and collected for evidence" (Sauers 1998). Sauers further states: "The web was reasonably intact and extending through the grating, suggesting that the grating had not been disturbed since the spider constructed its web."

Evidence the Web Was Not Attached to the Grate

  1. "Wickman had an argument at the Ramsey house with Detective Greg Idler, who had carefully lifted the metal grate above the broken window and found that the spiderweb between the window well bricks and the grate wasn't necessarily attached. Wickman challenged Idler's findings" (Thomas 2000a:108, citation from Internet poster Margoo.).

Net Assessment

  • Whether the observed web was attached "matters" only if the web was observed early enough that it could not have been spun during the morning of December 26.
  • Regardless of when the web was observed, Detectives Everett and Wickman disagree with Detective Idler about whether the web was attached to the grate; absent a photograph, this conflicting eyewitness testimony would appear to be unresolvable.

Was a Police Photograph Taken of the Web?

  • Yes.
  1. "On April 2, Detective Michael Everett of the Boulder PD called entomologist Dr. Brent Opell of the Virginia State University Department of Biology, who was known as Mr. Spider Man. Opell told the police that there are two general types of spiderwebs. The first, which are called cob or funnel webs, once established are constantly reworked and added to by the spider. The second, manufactured by orb-weaving spiders, is regularly replaced by the spiders and can be completed at any hour of the day, in less than twelve hours. The police also learned that if the grate covering the window well had simply been lifted and the web damaged, the type of web would be hard to identify, but if something the size of a man had passed through the web, it would have been destroyed" (Schiller 1999a:344, citation from Internet poster Margoo.).
  2. "Everett sent Dr. Opell an enlarged photo of the type of web in question. The entomologist said it appeared to be of the funnel type" (Schiller 1999a:344, citation from Internet poster Margoo.).
  3. Six months later, on October 25, Everett traveled to Vancouver Island and met with another expert, Dr. Robert Bennett of the British Columbia Ministry of Forests. The detective had with him a newly enlarged and enhanced photograph of a (sic) the strands of the web that had covered part of the window grate. Bennett confirmed that it was a funnel web" (Schiller 1999a:344, citation from Internet poster Margoo.).
  4. "This grate was photographed and collected for evidence...In May, the photos were submitted to Brent Opell, Professor of Biology at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksbury,sic Virginia" (Sauers 1998).
  5. Thus, Schiller and Sauers concur Opell was given a police photograph (although they disagree on the month this occurred) and Schiller further adds that a blown-up version was given to Bennett; but note that Schiller alludes to Opell being given photos "of the type of web in question" which may or may not have been of the original web.
  • No.
  1. "The original web had never been photographed or committed to a report, a huge error that would become extraordinarily controversial in months to come" (Thomas 2000a:108, citation from Internet poster Margoo.).
  2. "In December both Sergeant Wickman and Detective Mike Everett had seen at least three strands of a spiderweb reaching from the brick window well upward to the covering grate. No one had photographed it" (Thomas 2000a:219, citation from Internet poster Margoo.).
  • Net Assessment.
  1. One way to reconcile these accounts without impugning anyone's accuracy or integrity is to assume that the photos provided to Opell and Bennett were not of the original web.
  2. Note that Thomas believes Patsy killed JonBenet accidently, so if anything, he would be expected to be biased in favor of any evidence that would disprove an intruder.

Could the Web be Re-spun if Broken?

  • Yes.
  1. "Dr. Bennett confirmed that if the temperature rises sufficiently, spiders can come out of hibernation. In Boulder, on Christmas night 1996, the temperature reached a low of 6 degrees, but it rose the next day to a high of 51. And the grate faced southwest – toward the sun. Perfect conditions for a hibernating spider to wake up and repair a damaged web" (Schiller 1999a:344, citation from Internet poster Margoo.).
  2. "In October 1997 Detective Everett would learn from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that it was impossible to determine the condition of the dew frost or snow cover on the ground around the Ramsey residence during the night of December 25 and into the morning of December 26." (Schiller 1999a:344, citation from Internet poster Margoo.).
  • No.
  1. "Prof. Opell reported that the web was that of the Agelenidae, known as a funnel-web spider. The web was reasonably intact and extending through the grating, suggesting that the grating had not been disturbed since the spider constructed its web. According to Prof. Opell, these types of spiders would cease constructing webs no later than early November, thus indicating that no one had entered that window well past this early November deadline. The theory that anyone could have entered the Ramsey residence through this broken window was totally discounted by this simple evidence of nature" (Sauers 1998).
  • Net Assessment. This dispute between experts matters only if the spider web was observed later in the day, i.e., late enough in the day for there to be enough warmth and time for the spider to re-spin the web. If the web truly was observed first thing in the morning as Sauers claims, then Dr. Bennett's scenario would not apply.


Butler Pantry Door

  • Location. The butler pantry door was on the north side of the house, entering a foyer adjacent to the kitchen. Crime Scene Photo 84. Crime Scene Photo 70.
  • Evidence Door Found Open. "the butler's door to the kitchen was found ajar that morning. (SMF P 137; PSMF P 137.) Defendants note that the butler's door was only a short distance away from the spiral staircase where the Ransom Note was found and within plain view of where the pad of paper used for the Ransom Note was found. (SMF P 138; PSMF P 138.)" (Carnes 2003:89-90). Rocky Mountain News reported: "a police report noted that a Ramsey friend who arrived at the home shortly after 6 a.m., one of the first people there, said a door on the first floor -- called the butler door -- was ajar." The Ramsey friend likely was John Fernie.
  • Evidence Door Not Open. Internet poster Tricia has summarized the reasons the butler door may not have been open during the night.
  • Door Could Have Been Jimmied. Internet poster Jameson  (see post #22) claims that Frank Coffman broke into the Ramsey house after the murder by jimmying the lock on the butler door; her assessment is that if he could do this, anyone could.



From 1998 interviews:

10 LOU SMIT: Does the garage door close

11 automatically?


13 LOU SMIT: Or was it open for a little while?

14 JOHN RAMSEY: Well it doesn't close automatically.

15 There's a button by the door. Normal practice

16 would have been to close it from the inside at

17 some point.

18 LOU SMIT: Think about this. You had her in

19 your arms (INAUDIBLE)?

20 JOHN RAMSEY: I don't remember closing the

21 door myself. I only remember carrying her.

22 LOU SMIT: Think about that at some point,

23 okay? Now you do remember going up the spiral

24 staircase?



1 MIKE KANE: In terms of the button on the

2 garage door, is it on the interior of the garage

3 or the interior of the house?

4 JOHN RAMSEY: I think it's on the interior

5 of the house.

6 MIKE KANE: So you can be fully in the house

7 before you push that button?

8 JOHN RAMSEY: I believe so, as I recall,

9 yeah.


Internet poster Braveheart states notes that even if the door were shut, someone with a codetrapping device could open it; from inside the garage, the door into the house was never locked.


Other Points of Entry

  • JBR Balcony. According to the Bonita Papers: "Footprints were found in the dust on the deck of the balcony outside JonBenet's bedroom. The impressions ranged from tennis shoes, running shoes, hiking boots and a child's bare feet positioned to look over the edge. However, this inspection was done after the frost had cleared after the morning of the murder. Reports by officers the morning of December 26 stated that there were no footprints were visible in the frost coating of the balcony."


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