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JonBenet Ramsey’s autopsy report confirms brutal attack

July 15, 1997 GMT

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) _ JonBenet Ramsey had her skull fractured by a vicious blow to the head and may have been sexually assaulted before being strangled, according to portions of her autopsy report released for the first time Monday.

Her body was found with one ``ligature″ around her neck and another around her right wrist, and there were small amounts of dried blood, bruising and abrasions in the vaginal area, according to the autopsy.

An 8 1/2-inch fracture ran the length of the right side of her head and she also had bruises and abrasions on her shoulders, legs and feet.

The report said ``a deep ligature furrow″ encircled her neck, indicating the severity with which she was strangled.

The grisly details confirmed earlier reports on how the 6-year-old beauty queen was killed that were based on anonymous sources. All but six portions of the autopsy were made public Monday after the state’s highest court refused to hear prosecutors’ arguments to keep them sealed.

Family spokeswoman Rachelle Zimmer said the Ramseys had not reviewed the newly released information, ``but credible experts who have, confirm what we have been saying all along _ that there is no evidence of abuse or molestation prior to the night of her murder.″

Experts contacted by The Associated Press, however, differed over whether the details released Monday proved that JonBenet had been sexually assaulted the night she was killed.

Dr. Richard Krugman, the dean of the University of Colorado School of Medicine and an expert in child abuse who has consulted with the prosecution on the case, said the evidence is unclear.

``I don’t see anything that tells me with certainty that she was sexually abused,″ he said.

But Dr. Cyril Wecht, the coroner in Allegheny County, Pa., said a child winding up in an emergency room with the injuries JonBenet suffered would ``immediately considered to have been a victim of child abuse.″

``And not only on one occasion,″ he said.

JonBenet’s body was found in her family’s basement Dec. 26. Her father, John Ramsey, found the body about eight hours after her mother, Patsy Ramsey, said she discovered a ransom note demanding $118,000.

Part of the autopsy report confirming that JonBenet was strangled and indicating possible sexual assault was released in February, but Boulder County Coroner John Meyer sought to keep the rest under seal, bowing to investigators’ concerns that releasing details could jeopardize the case.

In May, Boulder District Judge Carol Glowinsky ordered all but six portions of the report released. The Colorado Court of Appeals last month rejected an effort to get that ruling overturned.

The six portions not released Monday include the time of death and position of the girl’s body.

Deputy County Attorney Madeline Mason said Monday’s release of new autopsy information could jeopardize the case because those details are now public and known by possible suspects.

``We lose the value that information had as a check on information we may be getting from other sources,″ she said.

There have been no arrests and no suspects named.

Thomas Kelley, an attorney representing several media outlets that sought the autopsy report, praised its release, calling it `` a victory for the public’s right to know in a case where knowledge has been hard to come by.″

While the report’s release provided some official answers, experts agreed it shed no new light on the investigation itself.

``For what the country wanted to know, there’s nothing,″ Krugman said. ``What this country wanted to know is who did it.″