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Paintbrush Linked to JonBenet’s Death

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<i> From Associated Press</i>

The piece of wood used to strangle JonBenet Ramsey was a broken paintbrush, the rest of which was found in her mother’s art supplies, Denver newspapers reported Friday.

The 6-year-old beauty contest winner was strangled with a garrote--a stick with a cord attached, according to the coroner’s report released last month. The wooden stick was “irregularly broken at both ends, and there are several colors of paint and apparent glistening varnish on the surface,” the report said.

Citing unidentified sources close to the case, the Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Post said the rest of the paintbrush was found among Patsy Ramsey’s art supplies.

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Police spokeswoman Leslie Aaholm had no comment on the reports.

JonBenet was found dead in the family’s basement Dec. 26, 1996.

Investigators have also found a legal pad believed to have been used to write the ransom note and an aborted “practice” note. Handwriting samples have eliminated JonBenet’s millionaire father, John, as the note’s author, but samples from the girl’s mother were inconclusive.

The Ramseys have not been ruled out as suspects, and they have sharply criticized the police probe, now in its ninth month.

The latest criticism came after the entire ransom note was made public Wednesday. The Ramseys blamed police for the leak, an allegation denied by investigators.

“If this wasn’t authorized by the command staff, then they have lost control of this Police Department,” Ramsey attorney Hal Haddon said.

Aaholm said an inquiry into the source of the leaks would disrupt the criminal investigation.


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