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Surrounding the JonBenet Ramsey Murder case

This web page is part of a series covering found materials regarding individuals, items or events that apparently became part of what is commonly known as the vortex of the JonBenet Ramsey murder case Christmas night 1996. The webmaster of this site claims no inside official Boulder police information as to who has been interviewed, investigated, the outcome or what information is actually considered official evidence. These pages outline found material which can include but not limited to materials found in books, articles, the Internet, transcripts, depositions, legal documents, Internet discussion forums, graphics or photos, media reports, TV/Radio shows about the JonBenet Ramsey murder case. Found materials are here for historical archive purposes. (www.acandyrose.com - acandyrose@aol.com)
This webpage series is for historical archive and educational purposes on found materials

Lorraine Florence Lawrence
Died December 4, 1996
What some believed to be strange circumstances
Her mother, Geraldine Vodicka was a former Ramsey housekeeper



Thursday, December 5, 1996
Section: MAIN
Edition: FIRST
Page: 1A
By ALLI KRUPSKI Camera Staff Writer
Caption: PHOTO:
By Crissy Pascual Daily Camera

CRIME SCENE: Police investigate the site where a construction worker found the body of a 37-year-old Boulder woman.

As her grieving mother and sister watched Wednesday morning, authorities removed the body of a 37-year-old Boulder woman from a construction site ditch close to her apartment near the North Boulder Recreation Center.

A Twin Peaks Excavating foreman discovered the body of Lorraine Florence Lawrence face down in the hole near the Boulder Housing Authority's apartment complex in the 3100 block of Broadway about 7:50 a.m. Wednesday, Boulder police said.

"We are treating it as a suspicious death," said city spokesman Kelvin McNeill. "It appears that the hole was properly covered and access to it was limited."

Police would not comment on the condition of the body or possible suspects. The Boulder County coroner's office planned to conduct an autopsy today.

Workers had covered the 6-foot hole with two pieces of plywood and two heavy buckets Tuesday night.

"We had it secured, so nobody could lift the plywood. It was safe so nobody could fall in, and there was equipment parked around it," said J.D. Lemmel, who found the body.

"When I got there this morning, the plywood was broken. And when I looked in, she was only in panties and a T-shirt," Lemmel said.

Lemmel notified police, who said they found a trail of blood leading from the apartment building to the hole, as well as a broken beer bottle near the scene. Investigators removed the body about 1 p.m. as runners and recreation center users stopped and stared.

Two murders occurred in Boulder in 1995, and as of July none had taken place in the city this year, McNeill said.

Geraldine Vodicka, Lawrence's mother, said her daughter "had epilepsy, but I don't think that's why she's dead today. I think someone killed her."

Dominique Vodicka, Lawrence's sister who moved into the North Boulder apartment complex three months ago, said: "A neighbor saw her last night at 9 p.m. sitting on the ice in her underwear, with a black eye and blood dripping from her eye and there was a ... guy walking near her. (The neighbor) made her go inside, but he never called us."

The neighbor should have informed the family, said Jonathan Smith, a family friend.

"If it looked like she had been punched or hit, and if he had called us or the police, she would be alive today," Smith said."She wouldn't have hurt a fly, and she didn't deserve to die."

Family members said they will remember Lawrence's gentle disposition. The mother of a 9-year-old son, Chad, and the oldest of five children, Lawrence had worked as a bagger at Safeway at 2798 Arapahoe Ave. for the past four years, Geraldine Vodicka said.

"Lorraine liked reading and taking long walks," her mother said, noting that Lawrence had lived in the complex for roughly nine years. "She was just a sweet person who never bothered anybody or fought with anyone."

But Lawrence had encountered violence in the past several years, according to records from the Boulder County Sheriff's Department. Records show she reported an assault in May 1990, a domestic dispute in January 1991 and saw a friend harass her sister, Elaine Romero, in October 1996.

Neighbors said they occasionally heard Lawrence argue with friends, but did not notice any unusual noise Tuesday night. Some residents, however, said they heard a car speeding away during the evening.

Irving Tejeda, who lives in the apartment next to Lawrence's, said he noticed her "wide open" front door at 7 a.m. Wednesday. "The lights were out, and it was cold," he said.

Staff writer Margie McAllister contributed to this report.


Friday, December 20, 1996
Section: TODAY
Edition: FIRST
Page: 1B
By ALLI KRUPSKI Camera Staff Writer

The Boulder County coroner's office ruled Thursday that a 37-year-old woman found dead in a construction site hole near her apartment died of exposure to the cold as the result of seizure disorder complications.

But Boulder police continue to investigate the death of Lorraine Florence Lawrence.

"We need to check on foot and hand prints on some items," said police Sgt. Tom Wickman.

A Twin Peaks Excavating foreman discovered Lawrence's body about 7:50 a.m. Dec. 4 face down in a 6-foot ditch at the Boulder Housing Authority's apartment complex in the 3100 block of Broadway. "She was only in panties and a T-shirt, but we had the hole properly secured," said J.D. Lemmel, who found the body. "We put cones around it, and when I got there in the morning, the plywood was broken," he said.

Workers covered the hole Dec. 3 with two sheets of particle board and two heavy tractor buckets, police said.

"People who have seizures are known to be in a state of confusion following a seizure. We believe that she was in that state and was wandering around the complex," said Dan Pruett, a medical investigator with the coroner's office. "At some point, she fell into the construction hole, where she was exposed to the cold."

Neighbors heard a scream and a thump between 1 and 2 a.m. Dec. 4, said Detective Ron Gosage.

Some residents said they noticed a man and a woman arguing and a car speeding away during the evening.

About 11 p.m., a resident saw Lawrence sitting outside on ice in her underwear with blood dripping from a cut above her right eye. The neighbor escorted Lawrence back to her apartment.

Police would not comment on a pool of blood and a broken beer bottle on ice found in the parking lot about 20 yards from the hole. Investigators also located blood inside Lawrence's apartment and skid marks outside the complex.

"There are a lot of things present, but nothing that links them together," said Cmdr. John Eller, noting that at one point 15 detectives worked on the case. "There is no outward evidence of any criminal act. We may never know the answer to exactly what happened."

Residents, however, said Lawrence walked around in her panties in front of the North Boulder Recreation Center on Oct. 6 and again nine days before she died, Wickman said.

"It shows a pattern of behavior," he said. Police plan to test the particle board for weight tolerance levels, he added.

"I don't know if she was heavy enough to have fallen in," said Geraldine Vodicka, Lawrence's mother. "I don't know what to think about what happened or how long she could have been in there."

Coroner's officials do not know how long Lawrence remained in the ditch.

"She was either too confused to get out or couldn't get out," Pruett said.

Medical investigators did not find evidence of sexual assault or alcohol, Pruett said. Lawrence, however, had injested cocaine and an anti-convulsant drug, Phenytoin, sometime before her death, he said.

"We don't know how much or when she took it," Pruett said. "She wasn't wearing a lot of clothing, and she could just have easily have died if the hole wasn't there."

The coroner's conclusions, however, did not reassure some residents of the apartment complex.

"There are just too many unanswered questions," said Christine Gomez, who has lived in the complex for six months. "Until they get answered, I don't know if I'll feel safe here again."


1997-01-10: A tale of two victims: questions surround handling of two deaths

A tale of two victims: questions surround handling of two deaths
Camera Staff Writer
Friday, January 10, 1997

John and Patsy Ramsey's daughter died in Boulder two weeks ago. She was found strangled and molested - with duct tape over her mouth and her skull fractured - in the basement of her parents' 15-room Tudor home. Tight-lipped police have spared nothing in t heir meticulous search for the killer or killers of the beautiful little girl - the youngest daughter of a wealthy corporate executive and a former beauty queen.

Geraldine Vodicka's daughter also died in Boulder in December. She was found nearly naked with her face bloodied and beaten, face-down in a construction ditch near the low-income housing project where she lived. The coroner ruled the death of the epil eptic grocery bagger - who was reported to have been an alcoholic - accidental. Police continue investigating, although Boulder Police Chief Tom Koby says he concurs with the coroner.

Boulder police say the murder of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey was the only homicide in 1996. Others aren't so sure.

Some neighbors and friends of 37-year-old Lorraine Florence Lawrence, who died Dec. 4, said they don't believe the assessment that she died of exposure in a hole at a construction site near a Boulder Housing Authority apartment complex. They believe L awrence was killed.

Comparing how police handled the two cases, they said, justice may be different for a poor woman like Lawrence and an affluent family like the Ramseys.

"I really believe justice will be served in the Ramsey case," said Tiffiney Johnson, a friend of Lawrence's who lives in the same housing com plex. "It's just the difference between rich and poor ... There's no doubt she was killed and everyone knows it."

Repeated attempts Thursday to contact detectives regarding the case were unsuccessful.

The neighbor who identified the body said Lawrence had been beaten so badly she couldn't recognize her friend's face. Lawrence's teeth were broken, her eyes were bloodied and blackened. A trail of blood led from her apartment to where her body was found, and police reportedly found a broken beer bottle next to a pool of blood about 20 yards away.

But two weeks after her death, the Boulder County coroner released an autopsy report saying Lawrence fell into the hole - presumably dazed from a seizure - and died of exposure to the cold.

There has been no explanation of how she could have replaced plywood and two heavy buckets over the hole, as construction workers reportedly left it and found it the morning they discovered Lawrence's body.

"I'm not sure what happened, but it's hard for me to believe what the police say - that she died because of the cold," said the neighbor who identified Lawrence's body; she asked that her name not be used. "It's obvious that people who have more money are going to get more attention than people who are average."

The police's treatment of the Lawrence case, some say, is starkly different from how the Ramsey case has been handled so far.

While Boulder police initially dispatched 15 officers to the scene of Lawrence's death, that number declined within days.

In the Ramsey case, 30 officers from Boulder police and other local law enforcement agencies have worked virtually around the clock - even sending investigators to Georgia and Michigan - since JonBenet's death the day after Christmas. The investigatio n continues.

Police spent almost 10 days carefully scouring the Ramsey house for evidence. They finished examining the Lawrence crime scene in about two days.

And while the coroner completed and released the autopsy report on Lawrence about two weeks after her body was found, more than two weeks have passed since JonBenet's body was found, and no such report has been released. The report is not expected for "a minimum of a week," according to the coroner's office.

Police also released a detailed report about two weeks after Lawrence's death, even though they said it was still being investigated. In the Ramsey case, virtually all public records have been sealed: 911 recordings, search warrant affidavits and list s of what was seized from the family home.

When Lawrence died, police immediately questioned everyone involved, including her mother, sister and stepfather. JonBenet's parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, flew to Georgia for their daughter's funeral. A week after her death, they were given a writt en list of questions; they have yet to be thoroughly interviewed in person. Police said they didn't question the Ramseys in order to give them time to grieve.

"If Lorraine's mom wanted to grieve and wanted time or wanted to leave the state, there's no way in hell they would've let her go," Johnson said.

When asked about the different handling of the two cases at Thursday's public forum, Koby said it was only perceived to be different because of media hype.

"Why has the media given so much attention to this case and literally no attention to the case you described?" Koby responded when questioned about the Lawrence case.

"The notion that we have treated them differently - any legal expert will tell you we have handled this case exactly as it should be handled ... If you go back and assess the homicides that Boulder has had, because they are infrequent events, you will find a similar response."


Wednesday, February 12, 1997
Section: MAIN
Edition: FIRST
Page: 2A
By ELLIOT ZARET Camera Staff Writer

Boulder police investigators still haven't closed the book on the death of Lorraine Florence Lawrence - found dead at a construction site Dec. 4 - even though the Boulder County coroner concluded the death was accidental nearly two months ago.

"They do their own investigation and we do our own investigation," said police Detective Ron Gosage. "Some of it's the same and some of it's different."

The coroner determined that 37-year-old Lawrence - found partially clothed with bruises on her head and side in a hole near the public-housing apartment complex where she lived - died of exposure to the cold after wandering disoriented following a seizure. Temperatures hovered near freezing that night.

"This all fits together pretty well and pretty logically," said Boulder County Coroner Dr. John Meyer. "Our burden of proof is preponderance of the evidence - what's more likely than not. It's not beyond reasonable doubt, because we can't prove a negative."

The case has been the subject of public controversy after some neighbors criticized police handling of the case, compared to the intense investigation into the murder of JonBenet Ramsey.

But Meyer said that controversy may have been fueled by some media inaccuracies. For instance, Meyer disputed reports that the construction hole where Lawrence's body was found had been re-covered with plywood boards that covered the hole the day before.

Lawrence's body was found leaning against a broken board in the hole, her leg scraped and bruised, said Meyer. The board was half-inch particle board - not plywood - something chief medical investigator Tom Faure described as "relatively lightweight." A person stepping on it, he said, could easily have fallen through.

The coroner initially investigated the case as a homicide, but an autopsy report showed the bruises and cuts on her face did not cause her death. There also were no other signs that her death was caused by some sort of beating or injury.

"She had injuries on her that someone looking at her would say she was beaten," said Meyer. "We're looking at the totality of the information that we have, and we don't think she was beaten. ... If we had found in the autopsy skull fractures or a ruptured spleen, that's a homicide - no question about it."

The coroner also researched Lawrence's medical history. It was that history that convinced him Lawrence died accidentally.

From the woman's medical records Meyer learned that Lawrence, who suffered from epileptic seizures, had been found wandering around semi-clothed, bruised, bloody and confused on several instances, including the night before her death. Meyer said such a period of confusion is common immediately following a seizure - called a "post-ictal state."

In another instance in October, Lawrence was brought to the emergency room by a stranger who found her outside her apartment half naked, incoherent and covered with blood.

Such instances were most common when Lawrence was not taking her prescribed seizure medication, Dilantin, Meyer said. The autopsy found levels of the drug in her bloodstream, but they were below "therapeutic levels" - in other words, she had been off her medication. Cocaine also was found in her system, officials said.

Meyer and Faure sat down with members of the family and told them how they believed Lawrence had died - that she wandered around in a disoriented state after a seizure and fell into the hole, where she died of exposure. The bruises and blood on her, they said, were self-induced.

They then sat down with police investigators, who did not object to the ruling.

But police are waiting for evidence from CBI labs before they decide whether to close the case. Those results are expected soon, said Gosage, who added that the long wait is simply due to the CBI's caseload.

Gosage agrees that Lawrence was not beaten, nor "struck with anything that we can tell." As for a broken beer bottle found near some blood on the parking lot, "I think the broken beer bottle was a coincidence," Gosage said, adding that only the bottom of the bottle was found in the parking lot.

"We're strongly leaning toward the coroner's conclusion," said Gosage. "I won't be able to say 100 percent until we get (CBI evidence) back."


[jameson's Webbsleuths]2001-01-16: Webbsleuths Forum (http://www.webbsleuths.com)
"The "Other" Housekeeper"

24 . "AND the other housekeeper,"
Posted by Maikai on Jan-17-01 at 11:49 PM (EST)

Geraldine Vodicka...who just so happened to have an adult daughter meet an untimely death a few weeks before JBR's murder. She may have been the one that worked for the Ramseys before Linda Wilcox. She had some type of disability, and may have been a problem in picking up toys.

25 . "Maikai"
Posted by LovelyPigeon on Jan-18-01 at 10:07 AM (EST)

Please nudge my memory on how we know Vodicka was a former Ramsey housekeeper as I can't locate the source this early in my memory's morning LOL. Here's the one article I could find: A tale of two victims: questions surround handling of two deaths

Camera Staff Writer
Friday, January 10, 1997

26 . "LP.....it was written"
Posted by Maikai on Jan-18-01 at 10:41 AM (EST)

in a Daily Camera article a couple years or so after the daughter was buried. The Camera had solicited for donations for the tombstone, because the family couldn't afford it. The Camera did a followup article, at the cemetery, and they interviewed Mrs. Vodicka and her daughter. It was in that article there was a reference that Mrs. Vodicka had been a former housekeeper for the Ramseys but had to quit because of some type of health problem. It was only a few lines buried within the article. I didn't save the article, but I remember it.

29 . "Lilac....I thought"
Posted by Maikai on Jan-19-01 at 00:33 AM (EST)

the same thing about rich vs poor. Afterall, that is what Boulder had become. The article where the police ruled the death an accident came out on 12/20/96--the day before the Access article. Previous articles in the Camera had talked about friends and family and how some didn't think it was an accident. Who knows what triggers there were? The Vodicka family was devastated...the Ramseys were enjoying success. Mrs. Vodicka's daughter would have been the first homicide that year, if she had been murdered. Some didn't think the police investigated the death properly, and just closed the case.

It came out later that there the family was ok with the ruling...there had been some history there of the daughter walking around outside after an epileptic attack. It is curious that she appeared to have been beaten around the head--that didn't cause her death--but even if she had fallen because of the attack--would she have sustained those kind of injuries? Like Eller said---they may not ever know what happened beforehand. Just reports of arguing...a car squealing away.

[jameson's Webbsleuths]2001-12-31: Webbsleuths Forum (http://www.webbsleuths.com)
"Vodicka & Lawrence"

"Vodicka & Lawrence"
Posted by jameson on Dec-31-01 at 10:01 AM (EST)

Geraldine Vodicka was a housekeeper for the Ramseys.

He daughter, Lorraine Lawrence, was found dead in a construction ditch not long before JBR's murder. That was termed an accident - though it seemed to some it was more likely murder (her body was in a ditch that was covered with plywood.)

Now, it seems that both mother and daughter in that case have criminal records - - and as people are known by the company they keep, I wonder if the BPD checked out that area at all. Vodicka would have been able to tell people about the house, the family. And with the Ramseys in the news, with JBR in the parade and Mall programs, someone might have decided to act on a fantasy.. or two.

I am just trying to point out that there were people who LOGICALLY should have been investigated.

Maybe they were, but if so, no one has leaked that at all.

And I know the BORG is going to scream that I am throwing someone else under the bus - - that is not so.

I am trying to figure out who did this terrible crime - and I don't think it was a total stranger just walking down the street that night. I think JBR was a target - and the killer wasn't so close that he was concerned about leaving a 3 page handwriting sample... so a friend of a friend of the family works.

Santa had a kid with a criminal record - I think that needed to be checked.

LHP's family was of some concern.

And Vodicka... did Lorraine and her mother tell someone about the Ramseys and was Lorraine's death (accident or not) a convenient "go-ahead" for the killer?

4 . "Again, in a tabloid:"
Posted by LovelyPigeon on Dec-31-01 at 11:29 AM (EST)

from the Denver Post Februay 1997: Two sources are named in the story, former Ramsey housekeeper Geraldine Vodicka and the family's media adviser Pat Korten.

The housekeeper says Mrs. Ramsey was paranoid that her husband "would be tempted by any pretty young girls he came in contact with." Therefore, women hired for the household staff had to be "heavier, older and less attractive" than Mrs. Ramsey, the housekeeper said.

Korten says the Ramseys would be happy to talk with the cops, but not at police headquarters.

10 . "The second article about "
Posted by Maikai on Dec-31-01 at 05:29 PM (EST)

John Ramsey's success appeared just one day later---one family (Vodicka's) was in mourning,....the other (Ramseys)had every reason to celebrate, with a great future ahead of them. IMO, it's logical to look at what possible link there could have been between the two families. We know Mrs. Vodicka worked as a housekeeper for the Ramseys at one time. We don't know if there was someone connected to the Vodicka's in some way that might have wanted to help her out--may have been distraught and angry about the death of Lorraine--maybe even angry at the police--might have thought a kidnapping would raise some easy money. Lorraine left behind a 9 year old son that I believe Mrs. Vodicka was going to raise. A subsequent article which I didn't save, but I believe came out in l997, had an interview with Mrs. Vodicka, and another daughter. The Boulder Camera had asked for donations for a tombstone, because the family couldn't afford one, and they were successful in raising the money.

The article talked about the tough times Mrs. Vodicka had encountered in her life. In that article it mentioned Mrs. Vodicka had been a former housekeeper of the Ramseys. Lorraine would have been the first murder of 1996, if the coroner had found evidence of a homicide. As it turned out, JonBenet Ramsey was the first murder....and there was a link between the two families. Who knows who may have been in Mrs. Vodicka's inner or outer circle--someone that may have mentioned something to someone, unwittingly?

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Wish to thank "Maikai" and "LovelyPigeon" of www.webbsleuths.com for the Daily Camera news articles regarding Lorraine Lawrence

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