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Colo. authorities knew Karr-JonBenet link in 2001

Written by: Staff
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BOULDER, Colo., Aug 24: California investigators told Colorado authorities about John Mark Karr's ''fascination'' with JonBenet Ramsey's murder in 2001 during a wide-ranging probe of the schoolteacher, a spokesman for the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department said.

The disclosure came as Karr, 41, awaited extradition from Los Angeles to Boulder, Colorado, where six-year-old JonBenet was found strangled to death in her home on Dec 26, 1996.

Karr professed his love for the JonBenet at a news conference in Bangkok, Thailand, and said he was with the former Little Miss Colorado beauty queen when she died, but his statements have been greeted by growing skepticism.

Sonoma County detectives first began investigating Karr in the unsolved 1997 murder of 12-year-old Georgia Moses and gave information about him to three jurisdictions, including Colorado, Lt Dave Edmonds said in a written statement.

Edmonds said Karr ''does not appear to be a viable suspect'' in the death of Moses -- whose body was found beside a road near Petaluma, the California town where Karr once lived. Another 12-year-old, Polly Klaas, was also kidnapped and murdered in Petaluma.

''During the course of our investigation in 2001, we learned of Karr's apparent fascination with the 1993 murder of Polly Klaas in Petaluma, and the 1996 murder of Jon Benet Ramsey in Boulder, Colorado,'' Edmonds said.

Karr's family has also said that he was consumed by the Klaas and Ramsey cases, but his ex-wife told reporters he was in Alabama or Georgia on the night of JonBenet's death and could not have killed the girl.

NO CONFESSION, NO EVIDENCE

''We never uncovered any 'confession' statements, overt murder evidence, or other indications that John Karr possessed secret knowledge that only the murderer of Jon Benet Ramsey would know,'' Edmonds said. Edmonds said Karr made references to two other out-of-state crimes, a child murder and a molestation, and that Sonoma detectives notified those jurisdictions along with Boulder authorities.

Karr was ultimately charged in Sonoma with possession of child pornography but fled before he could stand trial.

Boulder prosecutors have not said what evidence they have against Karr, whose arrest in Thailand last week for America's most notorious unsolved crimes triggered a US media frenzy.

Edmonds also confirmed that Sonoma detectives obtained information from Wendy Hutchens, a California woman who has said that Karr discussed JonBenet's murder with her.

Los Angeles and Boulder authorities have refused to say when Karr would be moved to Colorado, but a tent city of camera crews and reporters has sprung up in the college town for Karr's arrival there, despite officials insistence that he would not be ''paraded'' to public view.

The house in Boulder where JonBenet died appears unoccupied but has been attracting the attention of curious passers-by and reporters. JonBenet's family moved to Michigan after the murder, and her mother, Patsy, died in June of ovarian cancer.

DNA evidence, found in JonBenet's underwear and under her fingernails, is likely to prove crucial to the case. But People Magazine yesterday quoted Karr as telling Thai authorities while in their custody; ''The DNA might not match, but you can't trust the test.'' Karr reportedly told the unnamed Thai officials he was alone when JonBenet was killed. Asked whether her death was brutal, he replied; ''It's not what that seemed to be.''

REUTERS

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