1999-10-15: Little girl gets lost in public image of beauty princess
Little girl gets lost in public image of beauty princess
By Cindy Brovsky
Denver Post Staff Writer
Oct. 15, 1999 - She is enshrined in the public's memory as a young, precocious blonde, prancing on the stage during child beauty pageants.
But JonBenet Ramsey was really a pretty typical 6-year-old girl, those who knew her say.
She liked kindergarten and was just starting to excel in math. She asked her family's landscaper questions about thorns on roses. She was eager for Santa Claus to visit on Christmas
"I can tell you that JonBenet was highly intelligent,'' Shirley Brady, a former Ramsey nanny, said Thursday. "Mrs. Ramsey taught her how to answer the phone when she was just 22 months old. I called once and she said, "Hello, who is this?' When I told her "Mrs. Brady,' she said in her tiny little voice, "Who is Mrs. Brady?' She remembered when I told her it was Nanny.''
Brady came to work for JonBenet's parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, when they were living in Atlanta in the late 1980s, before they moved to Boulder in 1991. She initially was hired when the couple's son, Burke, was born, and then she helped raise JonBenet until she was 6 months old.
"In the three years I was in that house, there was never an argument, never voices raised,'' Brady said.
That's why Brady, 72, says she never has wavered in her belief that the Ramseys are innocent - even though they have always been suspects in the girl's murder. On Wednesday, Boulder District Attorney Alex Hunter announced that, after a year-long review of the case by a grand jury, no one would be charged in the case.
"I'd like to shake every one of the grand jurors' hands because they know this mother and father couldn't have hurt their child,'' Brady said. "Mrs. Ramsey survived cancer. Why would she kill the only little girl she would ever be able to have?''
In Lawrence Schiller's book "Perfect Murder, Perfect Town,'' friends are quoted saying that JonBenet's life was more than her beauty-pageant competitions.
Landscaper Brian Scott told Schiller how the little girl used to follow him around the family's Boulder yard asking numerous questions.
"Do roses know their thorns can hurt?'' she asked him one day.
Scott also remembers how JonBenet started to cry one day when she said she missed her father when he went on trips. But in the next minute, her playful side emerged.
"I saw JonBenet was scooping up the leaves from the top of the barrel and hurling them over her head into the wind,'' Scott recalled.
Barbara Kostanick's daughter attended school with JonBenet.
"I remember the first time I saw them together - they looked so cute playing on the monkey bars,'' she recalled in Schiller's book.
Pam Griffin, a seamstress who made JonBenet's pageant costumes, said the Ramseys had a loving relationship with their daughter.
"And then there was all the love in JonBenet's eyes when she spoke to her father,'' Griffin said. "Everything he said was important to her.''
Those kinds of memories don't surprise Brady. She said the Ramsey family were thoughtful of each other and very loving.
"The public never met the Ramseys, so they jump to these horrible conclusions that just aren't true,'' Brady said. "They were a loving family who never could have hurt each other. I know that is the truth.''