JonBenet

CNN.com is reporting a new district attorney in Boulder is looking into the JonBenet Ramsey murder.

That murder is the reason we left Boulder.

When I was a single college student, I lived with a girlfriend in the front half of an unimposing duplex near the university. It was a flat box of a house with no personality. After I moved in, I walked over to the most impressive house on the block, took a picture, and mailed it home to California with a note saying, ‘Here’s my new place.’ It was the Ramsey house.

As a newlywed a year later, I bought my first house across the street from the Ramsey’s block. In the five years I lived in the neighborhood, I never met the Ramseys.

By 1996 I was working in the newsroom at the local paper. My parents and grandparents had come visiting for the holidays. Even on Christmas night I had to work, but I got to clock in later than usual — 9 p.m. instead of 7.

I invited my family to drive me to work, using the opportunity to drive around looking at Christmas lights. The last house I took them to see before they dropped me at work was the Ramsey home.

‘Recognize this one?’ I teased. It was about 8:58 p.m.

The murder was a big story in Boulder. It was hard to work, because every night someone was in my way — Geraldo Rivera, ABC Atlanta, Dateline, they were all in the newsroom at some point. One night I came in and Katie Couric was being filmed sitting on my desk.

There was chaos. Officers were alluding to knowledge. One reporter hung up and rolled her eyes next to me, “He said ‘I don’t want to say we have a suspect, but there were no footprints in the snow.’ ”

The paper ran with it, only to run a clarification that there was no snow on the whole south yard, which is where the broken window to the basement was.

Meanwhile, there was “a killer on the loose.” We saw it on TV. Patty said it in her first interview on CNN. “If I were a resident of Boulder, I would tell my friends to keep your babies close to you, there’s someone out there.”

Wait a minute. I was a Boulder resident. I had babies.

I was up checking on them throughout the night. The last time JonBenet was seen alive was an hour after we went by, when her mother tucked her in bed. On the nights I was home to do that, I couldn’t put that thought aside. I fought that, because I could see I was missing the tucking with all the imagining.

I couldn’t escape it. The paper more than covered this story. We smothered ourselves with it.

I had to get away. My last day at work in Boulder was eight months after the murder. Dateline NBC cameramen were in the newsroom.

Enough.

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13 Responses to “JonBenet”

  1. Rhonda Says:

    I don’t blame you one bit. I was always disturbed by the Laura Bradbury coverage, because she looked a lot like Whitney. Good writing, T.

  2. The time my son went missing « Stories O’ Mine Says:

    […] uptight about open windows in the kids’ rooms, or anywhere in the house if we were sleeping. JonBenet had just been abducted in December, a couple of hop stops from our […]

  3. The tornado story « Stories O’ Mine Says:

    […] T. Five tornados touched down in Colorado the other day. This reminds me of two months before we left Boulder, when a tornado was a block from my […]

  4. Fetal attraction « Stories O’ Mine Says:

    […] We moved to California from Boulder when the kids were 2 and 4. Everybody in Colorado said the same thing to them: You’re gonna get to go to Disneyland all the time. […]

  5. Boulder weather « Stories O' Mine Says:

    […] we started talking about moving back to California, which you may remember was largely because of the JonBenet Ramsey murder, it was January. The temperature had not reached […]

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    […] 10 years later, after we had moved back to California, I was helping her in her kitchen. She was catering an art show […]

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    […] a year after we moved from Boulder back to my hometown, I saw him at the grocery store. I was on my way home from a workout, and […]

  8. The tornado story « Stories O' Mine Says:

    […] T. Five tornados touched down in Colorado the other day. This reminds me of two months before we left Boulder, when a tornado was a block from my […]

  9. The yelling story « Stories O' Mine Says:

    […] We moved to California when she 2 and a half. My husband became a stay-at-home dad and I left to work two jobs.   […]

  10. Fetal attraction « Stories O' Mine Says:

    […] We moved to California from Boulder when the kids were 2 and 4. Everybody in Colorado said the same thing to them: You’re gonna get to go to Disneyland all the time. […]

  11. The animal shelter story « Stories O' Mine Says:

    […] had thought moving to California would end my JonBenet-obsessed sleepless […]

  12. The tornado story « Stories O' Mine Says:

    […] tornados touched down in Colorado the other day. This reminds me of two months before we left Boulder, when a tornado was a block from my […]

  13. The time my son went missing « Stories O' Mine Says:

    […] uptight about open windows in the kids’ rooms, or anywhere in the house if we were sleeping. JonBenet had just been abducted in December, a couple of Hop stops from our […]

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