The suspect in the slaying of JonBenet Ramsey called the 6-year-old girl "my love, my life" and prayed that the little beauty queen could hear his voice "calling out" from the darkness separating them, according to e-mails he sent to a Colorado professor.
"Sometimes little girls are closer to me than with their parents or any other person in their lives," wrote John Mark Karr. "When I refer to myself as JonBenet's closest, maybe now you understand."
Excerpts of the e-mails were published Friday in the Rocky Mountain News. The exchange took place between Karr and Michael Tracey, a University of Colorado journalism professor. The e-mails were shared with the newspaper by private investigator Ollie Gray.
Gray said he coached Tracey during the e-mail exchange, providing a law enforcement analysis of the messages and asking questions about Karr's replies. He refused to release more details Friday but said the e-mails suggest to him that Karr is a pedophile — though perhaps not a killer.
"I don't think his elevator goes all the way to the top floor all the time," Gray said. "I'm not satisfied of this guy's involvement because there's too many loose ends that need to be investigated."
Gray said he has not seen the May e-mail that prompted Tracey to contact prosecutors. But, he said, Karr "definitely knew about the case" and "needed to be investigated."
Four years of e-mails
Tracey said the e-mail correspondence began four years ago. He contacted prosecutors in May, but has not explained why or disclosed details of the messages.
The newspaper said it obtained the e-mails from a source close to the investigation that it did not identify. Tracey has said the correspondence was voluminous, and he was sought out by Karr because he has produced documentaries on the case.
The e-mails reviewed by the newspaper did not disclose any possible role in JonBenet's death. But they provide a glimpse into the thinking of a 41-year-old man who showed a deep interest in young girls.
"JonBenet, my love, my life. I love you and shall forever love you," according to an e-mail Karr sent Dec. 23, 2005. "I pray that you can hear my voice calling out to you from my darkness — this darkness that now separates us."
The e-mail asked Tracey to visit Ramsey's old home in Boulder and read aloud the ode, which he called "JonBenet, My Love."
In one message titled "Pretty Little Boy," Karr claimed he was the subject of "a four-state federal investigation for child murder and child molestation" — an investigation, he said, that cost him every friend and family member he had.
"Some of my closest little girls were questioned by the authorities, which broke my heart into pieces," he wrote later. "I will never have contact with anyone in my past ever again. I lost my identity when this happened. This was the easy part. The worst was yet to come."
In Washington, federal law enforcement officials said Friday that Karr's comments since his arrest have piqued their interest and they want to question him. But one official said "there is no four-state federal case" in which Karr is wanted or even suspected. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the case is being handled by local prosecutors in Colorado.
Raised as a girl
At one point, Tracey wrote, "You told me once that your mother tended to raise you as a girl. This must have had a powerful effect on your developing sexuality — confusion maybe?"
"Michael, I will not discuss my sexuality as if it is a psychological disorder," Karr responded. "In my case, I disagree with that totally, and if this is to be the way we progress in discussing it, I might as well stop while I am ahead.
"On the other hand, if you would like to learn something about my sexuality on an intellectual, nonjudgmental, nontraditional and nonpsychological way, I would love to share. It would help you understand a lot about my connection with JonBenet and possibly about the case. Shall we?"
Karr said his father was a "strong influence but rarely around," and responded to Tracey's question about whether his "fascination with little girls — which clearly has a strong erotic component — is a way of going back."
"Maybe I am not going back but have simply stayed consistent," Karr responded. "My peer group has not changed since I was a little boy, and girls were the people I was with always. Referring to them as a peer group is somewhat incorrect, but might also be the very definition of what they continue to be in my life."
Karr also said he was "tortured" because of his present situation, which he did not disclose. And at one point, Karr also referred to the movie "Finding Neverland," about the author of Peter Pan.
"I can only say that I can relate very well to children and the way they think and feel," he wrote. "I think you are asking if I am much a 'Peter Pan.' In many ways, the answer is yes. In other ways, I suppose it is no because I am trapped in a world that does not understand."