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Lead Jonbenet Investigator Sacked

Sat., Oct. 11, 1997

The lead investigator in the JonBenet Ramsey slaying was replaced Friday as the police chief acknowledged for the first time that missteps were made in the early hours of the case.

Police chief Tom Koby also admitted that relations have been strained between detectives and prosecutors, and announced changes in how the two departments would work together on the case.

“It is accurate to say if we had to do all over again, we would do it differently,” Koby said. “At the same time, we responded the best we could.”

Detectives who arrived first at the Ramsey home on Dec. 26 thought the 6-year-old beauty queen had been kidnapped - not killed - and “did what was necessary to manage a kidnapping situation,” Koby said.

He defended investigators’ work, saying they “responded well to what we thought we were confronted with,” and said few agencies would have handled it differently.

Critics of the investigation have said police allowed the crime scene to be trampled and permitted JonBenet’s father to look for the body, which he found and moved.

Koby, talking publicly about the case for the first time since February, named Cmdr. Mark Beckner to head the investigation that has stymied police for 10 months. Koby also said three investigators were being added, making a total of eight who will concentrate solely on the case.

Beckner will take over from Cmdr. John Eller, who had been running the detective bureau while also looking for JonBenet’s killer.

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