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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 August 2006, 20:23 GMT 21:23 UK
Warning on JonBenet speculation
John Mark Karr (centre) in Bangkok
John Mark Karr (centre) is a former teacher
The US district attorney investigating JonBenet Ramsey's murder has warned against speculation about the possible guilt of suspect John Mark Karr.

"John Mark Karr is presumed innocent," Mary Lacy said, adding that the public must not "jump to conclusions".

Mr Karr was arrested in Thailand over the killing of the six-year-old beauty queen, found beaten and strangled in her Colorado home 10 years ago.

Mr Karr says he was with JonBenet but that her death was an accident.

Ms Lacy was unable to give details of his arrest or the ongoing investigation at a press conference in Boulder, Colorado, but she said that Mr Karr had changed location many times prior to his arrest in Bangkok.

She said that his apprehension had been the result of months of painstaking work involving many law enforcement agencies both in the US and abroad.

It's certainly a day we have been waiting for 10 years. I hope this is a first major step in really drawing this to a conclusion, but it also opens up old wounds, and that's painful
John Ramsey, father

In particular she paid tribute to the US officials in Thailand and the Royal Thai Police in Bangkok.

Just prior to his arrest, Mr Karr had started work as a second grade teacher in one of Bangkok's international schools on Tuesday.

Ms Lacy said that there was still "much more work to do" in relation to the investigation. "Let us do our job thoroughly and carefully," she asked of the gathered media.

Facing extradition

Mr Karr, a former teacher, was arrested at an apartment in the Thai capital, Bangkok.

Paraded briefly before reporters on Thursday, Mr Karr, when asked if he killed JonBenet, said: "No, I did not. It was an accident."

Patsy and John Ramsey in 2000
Patsy and John Ramsey knew an arrest was expected

"I was with JonBenet when she died. Her death was an accident."

Mr Karr will be sent to Colorado within days to face charges of murder, kidnapping and child sexual assault, said US official Ann Hurst.

JonBenet's father said he and her mother, who died of cancer in June, had both been aware an arrest was imminent.

"Patsy was aware that authorities were close to making an arrest in the case and had she lived to see this day, would no doubt have been as pleased as I am with today's development almost 10 years after our daughter's murder," John Ramsey said in a statement.

Battle to clear name

Mr Ramsey later told US media that to the best of his knowledge he did not know Mr Karr.

The Ramsey family lawyer told Associated Press news agency Mr Karr once lived near the family in Georgia before they moved to Colorado.

The Ramsey family, who later moved back to Atlanta, Georgia, have fought for years to clear their names of persistent accusations of involvement in the death of their daughter.

JonBenet Ramsey's grave in Georgia
Many thought that the case would never be solved

Patsy Ramsey had called police on 26 December 1996 to say JonBenet was missing and that there was a ransom note demanding $118,000 (62,000).

After an initial police search of the home, officers asked John Ramsey to look again and he found JonBenet's body in the basement.

The case captivated US media, which focused on the ransom note, the role of child beauty pageants in society and attempts by the parents to resist police interviews.

In 1999, the Governor of Colorado, Bill Owens, told the parents to "quit hiding behind their attorneys, quit hiding behind their PR firm".

The Ramseys showed they had passed lie detector tests in 2000 proving they were not attempting deception.

In 2002 they agreed an out-of-court cash settlement with an ex-detective whose book said they had murdered JonBenet.




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
John Mark Karr speaks to reporters



SEE ALSO
Beauty queen murder - one year on
26 Dec 97 |  Americas



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