updated 7/23/2004 10:09:38 AM ET 2004-07-23T14:09:38

Guest: Eraldo Soares, Elizabeth Read, Lance Hacking, Det. Dwayne Baird, Pat Brown


DEBORAH NORVILLE, HOST:  The search for Lori Hacking.  A young wife and mother-to-be goes out for a morning jog, then vanishes without a trace.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It certainly appears that there—some kind of foul play may be involved.

THELMA SOARES, MISSING WOMAN‘S MOTHER:  We try to think positively and hope that she can be found.


NORVILLE:  Her husband now under scrutiny in a bizarre twist.


DOUGLAS HACKING, MISSING WOMAN‘S FATHER-IN-LAW:  I have no explanation for—for this new development.  I just can‘t understand it.


NORVILLE:  Tonight: the search for Lori Hacking and the puzzling questions surrounding her husband.


THELMA SOARES:  We‘ll work the other stuff out.  Lori is still missing.  Please help us find her.


NORVILLE:  Back in the spotlight.  John and Patsy Ramsey, names forever linked with one of the most disturbing unsolved murders in modern history.  Now John Ramsey‘s making headlines again, this time as a political candidate.  Tonight, John and Patsy Ramsey talk about his bid to become an elected official and the campaign ads that reference his daughter.


JOHN RAMSEY ®, MICHIGAN STATEHOUSE CANDIDATE:  Sadly, most of you know my name only from the tragic death of my daughter, JonBenet.


NORVILLE:  Plus, nearly eight years after the brutal murder of JonBenet, John and Patsy Ramsey on new developments in the case.

ANNOUNCER:  From studio 3K in Rockefeller Center, Deborah Norville.

NORVILLE:  And good evening.  We begin this evening with the disappearance of Lori Hacking.  Her husband reported her missing Monday morning when she didn‘t return from her morning jog in Salt Lake City.


MARK HACKING, MISSING WOMAN‘S HUSBAND:  She never made it in this morning.  And I panicked.  I called the police.


NORVILLE:  Friends say that Lori Hacking was about five weeks pregnant, and she and her husband, Mark, have been preparing to move to North Carolina in the next few days, where Mark said he‘d been accepted to medical school.  But yesterday came word that not only had he had been accepted, he never even applied to the medical school.  And police say he never graduated from college, either.  Mark Hacking was registered as a student at The university of Utah from 1999 to 2002, but he never got a diploma.  Both his family and Lori‘s were shocked by that news.  And now, with the cloud of suspicion hanging over Mark‘s head, his family says he‘s been hospitalized.


DOUGLAS HACKING, MARK‘S FATHER:  He‘s still grieving about Lori.  He is very concerned.  He wishes he could be out here going door to door, beating the brush and whatever he could do.  He‘s just so incapacitated with his grieving that he‘s just not able to be here.


NORVILLE:  And as more than 1,000 people help to search for Lori, her mother says what happened with Mark has no bearing on her daughter.


THELMA SOARES:  Lori is still missing, and that‘s what is important right now.  We‘ll work the other stuff out.  Lori is still missing.  Please help us find her.


NORVILLE:  Joining me this evening are Eraldo Soares, Lori‘s father.  Also with us tonight, Mark Hacking‘s brother, Lance Hacking.  Elizabeth Read is with us, as well.  She‘s a friend of Lori‘s, and they worked at the same bank.  And also joining our discussion, Salt Lake City police detective Dwayne Baird.  I thank you all for being with us.

And Lance, let me start with you.  I know you had a chance to speak with your brother, Mark, earlier today.  What does he say about all of the questions that have come up in the last 24 hours?

LANCE HACKING, MARK HACKING‘S BROTHER:  I—you know, I did have a chance to speak with him, and it‘s my first time since I arrived, and so it was really a—first off, just coming as a brother was a real touching experience to able to sit down and talk to him and give him a hug.  So I was grateful to have that.  I didn‘t really ask him a lot of questions in terms of what was going out here.  I wanted to check to make sure he was doing OK.  And the main thing is, he seems to be doing well, although he‘s very much grieving for Lori right now and wants to do anything he can to help.  And we actually have—we‘ve worked out a way that we think that we can get him to help, actually.

NORVILLE:  How so?

HACKING:  Currently, what we want to do—he wishes he could actually come out and participate in the searches, and what we decided was that at night, after we‘re done with the day, I will take the map areas that we‘ve covered and at least let him review those and make sure, as much as he knows Lori‘s habits, we‘re going in the right direction, in case somebody who she may have come in contact with, with her regular patterns, may be involved.  In addition, as we collect the clues and things that come back and the leads that come back, I‘m going to take those up to him and just review those with him, so he has an opportunity to help participate and just see if something might spawn something in his mind that might be a clue or something he‘s kind of seen before.

NORVILLE:  Does he have any idea what might have happened to his wife?

HACKING:  He doesn‘t.  He has no idea.  You know, there‘s no other names or something like that that he‘s given me.  He‘s really pretty much beside himself and just stricken with grief that she‘s not here with us.

NORVILLE:  As you know, your dad was speaking with the press earlier today, and he talked about the confusion that‘s resulted from this change of stories about his education and whether he‘s going to medical school.  And this is what your father had to say earlier.


DOUGLAS HACKING:  He talked a bit about his deception to us, about how it kind of all got started a few years ago.  He has two older brothers who are high achievers.  One‘s a physician, and the other‘s an electrical engineer.  And he felt that he had to—was under some pressure to excel, as well.


NORVILLE:  Lance, did you have any idea your brother felt as inadequate as your dad describes, compared to your siblings and the rest of your family?

HACKING:  You know, I really didn‘t have any of those kind of feelings.  It was news to me, actually, when my dad let that out to the press.  I actually hadn‘t heard that before, and it really actually kind of hurts my heart to think he had those feelings, given how capable and how special he actually is.

NORVILLE:  And Mr. Soares, I know this must be the most excruciating time for you and the rest of your family.  What do you think has happened to your daughter?

ERALDO SOARES, MISSING WOMAN‘S FATHER:  At this point, I think she was abducted because we worked at least six times—thanks heaven for the Salt Lake City Police Department, the sheriffs, the volunteers.  And we combed that area, oh, at least six time.  And they felt that while it is a good sign that she is not here, so the idea is that she—somebody must have abducted her.  And I know for sure she is alive.  I don‘t know where she is.  But if she can see us now, I would say, We are doing everything that we can.


SOARES:  The whole Utah is helping us, all the other states—you know, the Oceanside in California, Fullerton—you name the cities—

Florida—quite a few cities there already have their—her pictures.

NORVILLE:  Well, we—we...

SOARES:  So we‘re doing everything we can.

NORVILLE:  We know that‘s the case.

Elizabeth, you‘re a jogging partner of Lori‘s, and I guess you probably know her habits out on the jogging trail as well as anybody out there.  On Monday morning, would it have been typical for her to go out jogging by herself?

ELIZABETH READ, FRIEND OF MISSING WOMAN:  We usually jog in the evenings but, you know, occasionally she would jog in the morning, and occasionally she would jog alone.

NORVILLE:  Was that something that she felt comfortable doing?  I don‘t know.  As a woman, I would not feel comfortable going out into the canyon area myself, but that‘s just me speaking.  Was that something that didn‘t faze her?

READ:  Yes, she felt comfortable.  She—I know that she had mace that she would occasionally take with her.

NORVILLE:  Do you know if she had it with her on Monday?

READ:  No, I don‘t.  I don‘t know if she had it.

NORVILLE:  And what other things—I mean, when you guys would run together, did you ever talk about what you would do if somebody tried to bother you on the trail?  And I guess what I‘m getting at is, was she the sort of jogger who would be aware of her surroundings and kind of protective as she went about her jogging business?

READ:  Oh, yes.  Definitely.  I mean, we‘ve talked about, yes, what we would do.  I mean, of course, there‘s been several reports of transients in the area.  And you know, whenever you, you know, you pass by somebody who looks, you know, suspicious or scary, we would talk about it.  We also a few months ago saw some signs for cougars, and we talked about what we would do if a cougar attacked us.

NORVILLE:  Knowing about that woman in California that got attacked when she was driving on her mountain bike.

READ:  Right.  And I actually saw a cougar up in that area not too long ago.

NORVILLE:  So what do you think happened to Lori?

READ:  You know, I just don‘t know.  I don‘t know.

NORVILLE:  Detective Baird, we‘ve asked everybody else the same question.  I‘ll ask you.  What‘s your best guess, from the law enforcement perspective, as to what‘s happened to this young woman?

DET. DWAYNE BAIRD, SALT LAKE CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT:  You know, we know that we have a missing person.  We know it‘s under suspicious circumstance.  We believe that there was foul play, in the sense that she was supposed to be running Monday morning, jogging up a trail.  The trail is paved.  It goes eight miles up the canyon.  She was not found along the trail, as though she had been injured.  So she‘s not there.  She‘s nowhere in that canyon.  We‘ve looked and searched everywhere that we can think of in the Memory Grove (ph) area and City Creek (ph) Canyon.  So we believe that she has met with foul play.  We‘re not exactly certain how or even where, but we don‘t believe that this is normal for her to just run away.

NORVILLE:  How much does the fact that she had just recently found out that she was expecting a baby play into your investigation and any motivations that you guys might be looking at?

BAIRD:  You know, that‘s just one small piece of the puzzle, but that is something that we have to look at.  Any kind of life change at all that this woman was about to make or had made in recent past would be important for us.  It‘s imperative that we look at all aspects of anyone‘s life when they turn up missing like this.

NORVILLE:  That may be a small piece, but I‘m guessing a very big piece that‘s got an awful lot of funny shapes and sides to it is the information that turned out not to be correct from her husband.  He had not graduated from college.  He had not accepted to medical school.  And yet they were packed and ready to move to North Carolina in a matter of days.

BAIRD:  Right.  And there again, that‘s something that we‘ve had to look at.  The idea that he was going to go to medical school is—the peak of a pyramid, if you will, of the plans that he‘s been making for the last several years.  And below the peak was the fact that he had graduated from the University of Utah, which didn‘t happen.  Below that in this pyramid, they were packing to go back to the East Coast.  Perhaps below that, they had gotten an apartment back there.  They were making plans.  There are all kinds of pieces to this puzzle, and certainly, parts of this pyramid, if you will, that seemed to come tumbling down yesterday.

NORVILLE:  Well, let me ask you if all these pieces are still in place.  Had they, in fact, rented an apartment?  Have you been able to determine that an apartment had been leased in their names?

BAIRD:  I specifically have not, but according to family members and what I‘ve talked—and what I‘ve talked to in the family, that‘s exactly what‘s happened, and those are the plans that they have made.

NORVILLE:  But the family thought he had graduated from college and gotten admitted to medical school, so they might not know if it had not happened.

BAIRD:  Exactly.  I‘m not certain what our detectives have found out. 

We would certainly be researching that to determine how far this plan went.

NORVILLE:  Lance, it‘s got to be just terrible for your family, for so many reasons.  I know how much Lori meant to all of you, being a member of the family for over five years, and then to have all of these questions about your brother‘s motivations.  Can you understand why he would have made these things up?  And does he acknowledge having spun this yarn that‘s gotten bigger and bigger over time?

HACKING:  He has said that this did, in fact—that he did fabricate these two stories.  And in my mind, that doesn‘t really—it‘s not really a big deal in terms of what‘s going on with Lori.  The only real thing for me there is the personal heartache that I have that he didn‘t approach me and that he felt bad enough that he didn‘t want to, you know, share this and get it out and that he‘s been loaded with this burden.  But now that we‘ve kind of got that off his shoulders and out of the way, it allows us again to kind of return focus back to Lori and continue that search.

NORVILLE:  But does he understand this makes him look awfully bad, in the scheme of things?

HACKING:  And it‘s very understandable that a lot of people will make this, you know, a credibility question, which I can—you know, I can completely understand.  But it‘s something that really started years before any of this and has—other than the fact that it‘s timed at this point...


HACKING:  ... really doesn‘t have much relevance that I can see to Lori‘s, you know, disappearance.

NORVILLE:  Detective Baird, let me then turn back to you.  A, do you think that these stories are relevant to Lori‘s disappearance?  And B, I know you‘ve searched for evidence.  Specifically, a dumpster near the local LDS church, Latterday Saints church, was looked at.  Was evidence taken from that?

BAIRD:  I‘m not certain about the evidence that was taken from that dumpster.  We did impound the dumpster so that we could go through it methodically and forensically to determine what was in it.  But to my knowledge, I don‘t know exactly what we took out of it.  As to the disappearance in relation to the fact that he was not going to medical school and these stories that he fabricated, we‘re not certain one is related to the other.  It may be coincidental that she disappeared at the same time this was all coming to light, and it may not.  But that‘s part of our investigation, and we have to look at this in a manner that‘s thorough with everything that we do.

NORVILLE:  Absolutely.  Well, I know there are many, many people who are...

HACKING:  Deborah?

NORVILLE:  ... hoping for a happy end.  Yes?  Please go ahead.

HACKING:  I was just going to say I really did want to commend the police department for keeping all avenues open and doing such a thorough job and making sure that, you know, they didn‘t reach hasty conclusions.  At least, you know, for me personally, the thing that makes it so easy for me to kind of dismiss this and stay concentrated on the search effort is, you know, that we would like to all fill in the pieces that we don‘t know.  And that‘s what really is hurting us.  But the pieces that we do know is that, you know, her car was at the park.  We have an eyewitness that places her at the park.  And given those two facts—and you know, it makes me think that we—you know, we haven‘t found her in the park, and it makes me think it‘s something either in the city or some kind of an abduction case.

NORVILLE:  Well, we‘ll...

HACKING:  And that‘s why we‘re focused there.

NORVILLE:  We‘ll let the police do their work.  Mr. Soares...

HACKING:  Absolutely.

NORVILLE:  ... our best wishes to you and your family.  Mr. Hacking, to your family, as well.  Elizabeth, Detective Baird, thank you for being with us.

And joining me now is criminal profiler Pat Brown.  Ms. Brown, you have heard what the police doing on the investigation.  What do you think the next best step for them would be?

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER:  Well, I think, Deborah, they‘re doing the right things that they should do.  They‘re looking at both possibilities.  And there really are just two possibilities.  We have that she could have gone to that canyon and become a target of a predator, whether she was attacked in the canyon or grabbed outside of her car.  Either one could have happened.  Early morning joggers in isolated places are absolutely just targets.  And if you heard her friend talking, she said that she wasn‘t really worried, that they talked about what they would do if they came upon a predator.

And I can tell you, and I want all the women out there to know this, you‘re 100 pounds, you‘re 5-foot-2, you are never going to win.  Mace will not help you.  Your self-defense course will not help you.  You‘re out with Mike Tyson in a bad mood.  You‘re going to lose.  So don‘t do it.

So that‘s one thing they‘re looking at, which is a very good possibility.

NORVILLE:  The other, obviously, being that the husband might have been involved in some way.  And there are those fabrications that he admits to.

BROWN:  Exactly.  And of course, those are very large fabrications.  They‘re not even small ones.  They are huge, which means this is a man who‘s having problems in his life.  He‘s wanting to prove he‘s something that perhaps he‘s not, trying to carry out a lie, maybe even move away and have people think that he‘s doing something, that he‘s achieved something, his whole family.  How long is he going to be able to keep this up?  And is he—is he—is his wife part of this, you know...


BROWN:  ... part of the family that doesn‘t realize this is going on, or does she know what‘s going on?  You know, it‘s a very interesting story he‘s created here.  And how long can he keep it going?  So you wonder, why is he doing it and why now, and why does she disappear now?  The police have to look at this.

NORVILLE:  But there‘s a big stretch from making up, admittedly, big pieces of your life story...

BROWN:  It‘s a big story.

NORVILLE:  ... but killing your wife—I mean, that‘s just a huge jump.

BROWN:  Well, it‘s not that it‘s a jump, but you just don‘t—people who are doing well in life and who aren‘t having problems do not make up stories to this level.  So this shows you that this guy has a big problem, and people with big problems often solve them in big ways.  And that could be eliminating a wife because she‘s going to say something or getting angry at your wife when she finds out or—there could be so many possibilities.

NORVILLE:  What about the pregnancy?  Real briefly, what about the pregnancy?

BROWN:  That‘s another problem because maybe the pregnancy is just

complicating his life.  Now what is he going to do?  He doesn‘t have this -

·         this—he‘s not going to medical school.  He doesn‘t have a future.  And he‘s got a wife who‘s now pregnant?  What‘s he going to do?  He might have panicked.  There‘s so many possibilities that the police have to look at this.  This is not something they can brush under the rug at all.  It‘s unfortunate, but it‘s made it more work for the police because they can‘t just look one direction.  They‘ve got to look both directions.  And they are doing that, to their credit.

NORVILLE:  It is a complicated case.  Pat Brown, criminal profiler, thank you for being with us.

BROWN:  My pleasure, Deborah.

ANNOUNCER:  Up next: Their lives were shattered when their 6-year-old daughter was murdered nearly eight years ago.  Now John and Patsy Ramsey are back in the public eye.


JOHN RAMSEY ®, MICHIGAN STATEHOUSE CANDIDATE:  I‘m John Ramsey, and I‘m running for state representative from northern Michigan.


ANNOUNCER:  John Ramsey‘s run for political office and the latest on the search for JonBenet‘s killer when DEBORAH NORVILLE TONIGHT returns.



JOHN RAMSEY:  I‘m excited to tell you we have filed the paperwork today, and we‘re off and running for the opportunity to serve the citizens of northern Michigan as your next representative in the state legislature.


NORVILLE:  That was John Ramsey announcing his candidacy for the Republican nomination for a seat in the Michigan statehouse.  Yes, the same John Ramsey who, along with his wife, Patsy, and son, Burke (ph), were thrust into the nation‘s headlines in December of 1996, when 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey was found murdered in their Boulder, Colorado, home.  The case remains unsolved, and the Ramseys now live 1,500 miles away in Charlevoix (ph), Michigan, where John Ramsey is running for public office for the first time.


JOHN RAMSEY:  The last thing we need in government are more career politicians or young aspiring career politicians.  I‘m John Ramsey, and I‘m running for state representative from northern Michigan.


NORVILLE:  And joining me now from Michigan are John and Patsy Ramsey. 

It‘s good to see you both.  Welcome.

JOHN RAMSEY:  Thank you, Deborah.

NORVILLE:  John, I‘m surprised.  All of the time you‘ve been under the media spotlight has usually been during the most unhappy periods of your life.  Why push yourself back out there now?

JOHN RAMSEY:  Well, Deborah, life goes on.  You‘ve got to keep moving forward.  You know, no one said life was going to be easy.  No one said life was going to be fair.  But the key is, it‘s got to—you‘ve got to keep moving forward, and we think this is a way we can contribute.  And the media certainly is a part of it because it‘s how we best communicate.

NORVILLE:  You live up there in Charlevoix, Michigan.  That‘s in the upper part of the lower peninsula of Michigan.  You‘ve had a vacation home there for years.  Why did you decide to move up there and make it your permanent home?

JOHN RAMSEY:  Well, northern Michigan is a great place to live. 

There‘s many wonderful communities.  We‘re in Gaylord (ph), Michigan today.  Charlevoix is another wonderful community.  We‘ve been going there for years and had talked about it for a long time.  And when—last summer, we were talking with Burke, and at the time, he was going to be going into his junior year in high school.  And he felt like he really would like to continue in school there in Charlevoix.  So we said, Well, that‘s the only reason that‘s keeping us back, so let‘s go ahead and make this permanent.  So that‘s how we did that.

NORVILLE:  Patsy, when did you realize your husband had a political bug that he had to deal with?

PATSY RAMSEY, MOTHER OF JonBenet:  I didn‘t realize it until just shortly ago.  He was—never had any inkling this would be something that he‘d be interested in.  But he has sure taken to it like a duck to water.  And I think he‘s doing a great job, and I think he‘s going to make a great representative.

NORVILLE:  Did the death of your daughter have anything to do with that transformation from businessman to someone who wanted to serve in politics, do you think, Patsy?

PATSY RAMSEY:  I think so.  I think it really has.  It can‘t help but

change your life significantly.  Our lives, our families‘ lives were

completely just devastated.  And you start doing a lot of prioritizing and

soul-searching and talking about what is important in life and what kind of

a legacy are we going to leave behind.  And really, through a lot of prayer

and study and thoughtful consideration, I think that‘s what has led John to

·         we both feel like we really want to give back a lot to the hundreds of people that have reached out to us for a number of years.  And these doors just suddenly started opening.  And John, I really think, feels like this is the way that he can contribute in a large degree.

NORVILLE:  John, I want to talk about your platform in just a moment, but I also want to ask you, how large of a presence is JonBenet‘s death in this whole campaign?  It certainly gives you name recognition that the other candidates don‘t have.

JOHN RAMSEY:  Well, it does do that.  And we didn‘t know for certain what kind of presence it would have or what the perception would be.  We found that as we have experienced really throughout the last eight years, that people understand really what went on, realize we‘ve gotten a pretty raw deal early on and really reached out to us with compassion, and they continue to.  So it—I can‘t say that it‘s not a part of us because it is and it always will be.  But the citizens have been wonderful to us and that‘s...

NORVILLE:  But it does figure in the campaign, doesn‘t it?  I mean, we‘ve got your TV commercial in which you certainly reference, without any hesitation, JonBenet‘s death.  And so let‘s take a look at the TV commercial you put together.


JOHN RAMSEY:  My family has been in Michigan for nearly 50 years, but sadly, most of you know my name only from the tragic death of my daughter, JonBenet.  Were it not for our faith, the grief of that event and the veil of suspicion cast upon us would have destroyed our family.  The federal judge, the district attorney and new DNA evidence have all confirmed that these accusations are groundless.  So we were left to pick up the pieces.


NORVILLE:  You also mention in it a section on your Web site, as well.  How important was it for you to go on and be proactive and address your daughter‘s death in such a public way?

JOHN RAMSEY:  Well, we thought it was important to do that because we didn‘t really know what people knew.  Certainly, there was a barrage of misinformation and false information that was—that surrounded our family for several years in the beginning.  There have been some significant developments in the last year-and-a-half or so.  We didn‘t know how much people knew about that.  They didn‘t receive a lot of media attention.  So we thought, you know, it‘s probably appropriate that we address the facts, the most recent facts, and then move on.  And that was the intent of that commercial.

NORVILLE:  Yes, but you know, it definitely—I don‘t think MSNBC has ever covered the state legislative race for the 105th district of Michigan.  And I‘m just going to go ahead and do it right now and say the names Jack Apall (ph), Greg Dean, Kevin Elsenheimer (ph), Jeff Garfeld (ph), Bonnie Nothor (ph) and Craig Ryan, who are your opponents in the race, just to be fair.

They got to be feeling a little bit left out with all of this attention you‘re getting.

NORVILLE:  Well, they‘re good people, and they‘re doing a good job.  And they say in this kind of a race, the most important thing you can do is knock on doors, and I‘ve found that to be true.  So I don‘t know that we have an overwhelming advantage over them in that regard.

NORVILLE:  Patsy, are you up for this contest?  I know you‘ve been battling ovarian cancer for quite some time.

PATSY RAMSEY:  I have, and I have been taking chemotherapy since February.  But I‘m happy to report I took the last treatment last Tuesday, so it‘s out of there.  And I‘m feeling really great.  I have just been blessed with supernatural strength—I just—I know that it only comes from above—throughout the whole campaign.  I‘ve had a few down days, but I‘d have chemotherapy, and the next day—last week, after my last chemotherapy treatment, I was serving 350 senior citizens at a get-together.  And it really has been terrific.  And I‘m so glad that I‘ve felt good enough to be part of this and that we could do it together.  It really has been a tremendous healing process to be out and stumping with John.

NORVILLE:  I‘m sure it does and...

PATSY RAMSEY:  They call me—they say that my nickname‘s “the Avon lady” because I actually like going door to door, knocking on doors.


NORVILLE:  Well, you look terrific for a woman who‘s been through what you‘ve been through physically.

We‘re going to take a short break.  When we come back, more with John and Patsy Ramsey, a look at his campaign for state legislature and a look at what‘s new in the investigation of their daughter‘s murder.  It‘s been almost eight years.  Up next, the latest in what happened to JonBenet.  More in a moment.



P. RAMSEY:  Somewhere out there is a killer.  And we‘re going to find out who that is. 


NORVILLE:  That was Patsy Ramsey back in 1999, three years after her daughter, JonBenet, was murdered. 

Back now with John and Patsy Ramsey.  We want to talk a little bit about the investigation. 

John, on your Web site, you say there‘s some new developments in the case.  Can you tell us what those are? 

J. RAMSEY:  Well, the most significant development was actually about a year and a half ago, when the district attorney took the case over, put two experienced homicide detectives on it and moved forward. 

That had been our single objective for almost five years, was to get the case in competent hands.  And that finally happened about a year and a half ago.  The result of that has been that these detectives have gone back, looked at the hundreds of leads that were not followed up.  Perhaps, most significantly, they were able to extract strong DNA evidence they believe to be the killer‘s.  And it‘s now in the national database and I believe in some of the other international database. 

NORVILLE:  And what‘s that going to do, put a link out there, so if somebody else has been DNA-tested and typed, they can make a match and perhaps find someone who might be linked to this crime? 

J. RAMSEY:  Well, that is hope.  And that‘s really guiding, I believe, the investigation. 

One of the things I learned was, we‘ve done a pretty good job as a country putting together a DNA database.  However, the database is not loaded.  There is not a lot of data in it, relatively speaking.  Michigan, for example, has a 10-year backlog of DNA samples of felons, of crime scenes, that are waiting to go into the database.  So it‘s a good news/bad news thing. 

But the fact that we have a strong DNA sample which the detectives firmly believe is the killer‘s, ultimately, I believe, will be the key to identifying this person. 

NORVILLE:  But, Patsy, if they have got this DNA sample out there and there is some question as to how well the information in the database has been entered in, how optimistic are you that a match will be made, or forget all that, how optimistic are you that somebody is going to find the killer of your little girl? 

P. RAMSEY:  I am very optimistic.  Until the day that they tell me they have done everything and they cannot find the killer, then I will give up.  But, until that day, I will not give up.  The DNA has been so instrumental in releasing people who were exonerated—erroneously.

And it has been instrumental in putting people behind bars that were let go.  So I have no doubt that we have the killer‘s DNA.  And it is just a matter of time until the DNA finds a match in the database, when all of these backlog are followed up.  We need a lot of funding in that arena, because it is just simply not funded enough to catch up to all these backlogs.  But it‘s going to happen.  I hope it‘s in my lifetime. 

NORVILLE:  I hope so, too.

John, I am really surprised, given your family‘s personal situation, when I went on and looked up all of your positions that you are using as your campaign platform, crime is nowhere to be mentioned.  Why is that? 

J. RAMSEY:  Well, it is certainly a personal issue, but I am trying to address the—what I believe are the more immediate issues of our district. 

I believe personally that America should be known as a country that protects its children above all else.  And today, we are not.  There are some things that I would personally advocate whenever I could.  But I think, in terms of serving the district well, the positions we have outlined in our platform are real and they‘re here today and they‘re things we could do things about. 

NORVILLE:  In a nutshell, your thing is job creation for that part of Michigan, where you live.

P. RAMSEY:  That‘s a big issue.  It‘s a big issue for northern Michigan.  It‘s a big issue for the country, but that‘s a key part of what I want to try to affect.  And I think I have got some unique background to do that. 

NORVILLE:  Patsy, where do you get your strength from?  I remember looking at the news footage just after your daughter was killed and you were going into the church and you were literally being held up by your friends and family. 

And then it just got worse.  They accused you and your husband of having been behind your daughter‘s murder.  How did you keep going in that very dark period? 

P. RAMSEY:  Well, it‘s the same thing that has sustained us for eight years.  And it‘s actually—it is a deep, abiding faith.  We believe that Jesus Christ died for our sins and is our savior.  And, in that strength, that foundation that began as a child going to church with my mother and father, and certainly it has stood the test of time.

It is the rock.  It is the strength that we hold hope eternal that we will one day again be with JonBenet and be with my mother and be with everyone, all my aunts and uncles who have gone before.  So I know I will see that child again.  And when we know the end of the story, then that gives us hope day-to-day to live for the happy ending.  So that‘s really been the strength.


NORVILLE:  Can you look at the old footage of your little girl in the pageants and the different things that have been—we have seen them now on television so many times.  Are you able to look at that without having a pain in your heart? 

P. RAMSEY:  No, I‘ll always have a pain in my heart.  I‘m able to look at them now without falling apart all the time.  And I remember fondly when that footage may have been taken.  So that brings a smile. 

But it‘s painful.  It is very painful.  It will continue to be painful.  But I think JonBenet would be very proud of her daddy right now.  And I think he thinks about her a lot.  And we just said a prayer before this show started and asked that JonBenet and Beth would be with us and help us.  And we know that they are.

NORVILLE:  Beth, of course, being your older daughter, who tragically died a few years before JonBenet. 

We‘re going to take a short break.  More with John and Patsy Ramsey after this. 


NORVILLE:  John and Patsy Ramsey were thrust into the spotlight with the death of their daughter.  Now they are in the spotlight again, this time by choice. 

More in a moment.



ALEX HUNTER, BOULDER DISTRICT ATTORNEY:  The Boulder grand jury has completed its work and will not return.  No charges have been filed. 


NORVILLE:  That was Boulder County district attorney Alex Hunter back in 1999 announcing the dismissal of the grand jury that had been looking into the JonBenet Ramsey murder case. 

Back now with John and Patsy Ramsey. 

What is your best guess, the two of you, on what happened to your daughter? 

J. RAMSEY:  Well, all we know for sure, Deborah, is that absolute evil came into our home that night and took the life of JonBenet in a horrible way.  It‘s unimaginable that someone could do that to a child. 

And beyond that, we don‘t know.  It‘s—we hope some day we will know. 

NORVILLE:  You don‘t have any good guess, an employee?  There was talk of an employee at your company who might have been upset for some reason, because the ransom note had a specific dollar figure to it.  There was a domestic worker that at one point there had been a suspicious glance cast that way.  There were others who had been visitors to the home.  You don‘t think any of them might be that DNA link you were talking about? 

J. RAMSEY:  Well, what we know now is that the people working on the case are extremely competent and are looking at all those avenues they have, I‘m sure.. 

NORVILLE:  Are you confident? 

J. RAMSEY:  Confident in what? 

NORVILLE:  About those avenues?


J. RAMSEY:  That they are working on it? 

NORVILLE:  No, no, that the avenues might pan out? 

J. RAMSEY:  I‘m very confident.  I think that what—the investigators working on it say, gosh, it would have been a lot easier if we would have been able to do this five years ago or six years ago or eight years ago now, but we will get the guy.  We will get the guy. 

And that‘s been a promise they have made to me.  So I have full confidence in that.  And at the point they tell me, look, we have exhausted everything and there‘s no more we can do, then I will believe there is no more they can do.  But I think they‘re going to—I think they‘re going to get the guy. 

NORVILLE:  Patsy, you are probably talking to the most suspicious mother on planet Earth.  But I wonder—and I think you may have mentioned this in the book that you and John wrote—you all had opened up your home to one of those charity house tours, where people pay money.  They come and they get to see beautifully decorated houses. 

In 20/20 hindsight, do you regret that you all had been so public with your private life?  Do you think you might have let the killer in that way, if indeed it was a stranger to the family? 

P. RAMSEY:  We have played and replayed everything a million times in our mind. 

In hindsight—and I tell my friends this—that you have to be very careful about everyone that you let in your house.  We had to go back and try to recall everyone who had been in our Boulder, Colorado, home for five years.  And it was a very difficult thing to do.  I think your home needs to be your sanctuary.  And I think I would never do that again, open my home again to have the public come through my home. 

At the time, it was for a benefit and it was for a charitable purpose and I thought it was a great thing to do.  We‘re still involved with a lot of benefits and a lot of charity work, but I will never do that again. 


P. RAMSEY:  Our home has to be your sanctuary.  And when it is violated, it really does something to you that cannot be undone. 

NORVILLE:  And by the same token, I wonder, you know, I‘m from the South, where beauty pageants, football, and God, and it‘s more or less in that order.  So I get the pageant thing and the fun that families can have with that.

But the same question.  JonBenet was so beautiful and so popular and so well known because of her pageant work.  Is it possible that that made her a target for some wacko out there? 

P. RAMSEY:  I really don‘t think that because it was so minuscule a part of what we did.  Really, the people that attended that were grandparents and parents.

It was not—there are—more people certainly attend little league games and little league games are much more public than any of these little dancing, you know, dance recital-type venues.  So I really don‘t—I would be very surprised if that is a link.  But, at this point, everyone is a suspect.  But I really think that the DNA will help us find somebody. 

I‘ll tell you, you asked me about how we continue and where we find our strength.  We found a lot of strength daily when we check our Web site, SupportRamsey.com.  A lot of people communicate with us.  And I think that this whole—the whole venue of John running for office has opened a very positive channel for people to contact us.  They probably lost touch with us for a few years and wondered where we were. 

So I think we have been so encouraged every day we are on that Web site, SupportRamsey.com. 

NORVILLE:  All right. 

P. RAMSEY:  And everyone will just reach out and send—they may not be able to vote in our district, but they‘ll send $1 or they‘ll send a note or they‘ll send some encouraging remark, and that really does a lot for us. 


P. RAMSEY:  ... appreciate it.

NORVILLE:  I‘m going to let that be the last word for the moment. 

We‘re going to be back for more with John and Patsy Ramsey after this. 


NORVILLE:  We‘ve been talking this evening with John and Patsy Ramsey.  John has just launched his first political effort, trying to win a Republican seat in the Michigan Statehouse.  And Patsy has been with us revisiting some of the memories that have been very public for her. 

I know you all were listening when we had the conversation at the beginning of the broadcast with the folks in Utah who are family members of Lori Hacking.  What goes through your own minds when you see another family thrust into the spotlight with the same anguish that you all felt nearly eight years ago? 

J. RAMSEY:  Well, there‘s nothing more horrible than not knowing where your child is.  And if parents—I know it has happened to every parent, where you‘ve missed your child just for a second in a shopping center and you have this horrible pain go through your stomach. 

I know that family that that feeling in their stomach and it is continuous.  And there‘s no more horrible feeling.  And I‘m just—I grieve for them and just am so sorry that they have to deal with this unknown, and unknown aspect of the safety of their child.  So it is a horrible, horrible situation.

NORVILLE:  Does it give you a bit of flashback, Patsy, when you hear another one of these stories? 

P. RAMSEY:  Yes, it was really difficult sitting here, trying to get ready to talk with you this evening and listening to a few minutes of that prior to us coming on. 

I was just sitting here praying silently for the girl and for the parents and everyone involved.  Our hearts just go out to them tremendously. 

NORVILLE:  What words of comfort, what words of advice would you give them?  Few people know where of they speak better than the two of you dealing with something that‘s as public and as heartbreaking as this.  And we hope there‘s a happy ending, of course.  But what would you say to them during this initial time? 

J. RAMSEY:  I would say, first, never, ever give up hope.  And, second, be sure that everything that can be done is being done.  And if you‘re not certain that everything that can be done is being done, then escalate the problem.  Call your senator.  Call your governor.  Insist that everything possible be done and not leave it up to regular channels. 

NORVILLE:  This is when being a nudge is a good thing, it sounds like. 

Nudge them as much as you need to, to get the results.

J. RAMSEY:  Yes.  Yes. 

NORVILLE:  John Ramsey, Patsy Ramsey, it is great to visit with you.  We thank you so much for your time and we wish you well the rest of the summer. 

J. RAMSEY:  Thank you, Deborah.

P. RAMSEY:  Come visit us in Michigan. 

NORVILLE:  All righty, we‘ll try. 

Coming up next, it is big-time for the countdown to the Democratic Convention in Boston.  What better way to look ahead than to talk with the very unique group about the Democrats? 

That‘s next. 


NORVILLE:  As always, we do like to hear from you, so send us your ideas and comments to us at NORVILLE@MSNBC.com.  We‘ve posted some of them on our Web page.  That‘s NORVILLE.MSNBC.com, which is where you can also sign up for the newsletter. 

And coming up tomorrow, children of some of America‘s premier politicians look ahead for us to the Democratic Convention, which begins next week in Boston.  Joining us will be Steven Ford and Chip Carter, both of whom had presidents who were fathers.  Tucker Quayle and Hubert Humphrey each had a vice president for a dad.  And Chrissy Gephardt‘s father is one of the most influential member of Congress, as well as having made a run for president.  They join us tomorrow.  And we hope you do, too.

That‘s our program for tonight.  I‘m Deborah Norville.  Thanks so much for watching. 

Up next, Joe Scarborough is joined by a flight attendant who may have seen a terrorist test run.  “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY” is next. 

See you tomorrow. 


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