Burke's 1997 Interview

Discussion in 'Justice for JonBenet Discussion - Public Forum' started by Spade, Oct 29, 2003.

  1. Spade

    Spade Member

    This synopsis of the January 1997 interview with Burke Ramsey comes from the material written by the legal secretary for the BPD dream team and sold by her nephew to two different newspapers. Over the years I have gained respect for the BPD's handling of this tragedy. IMO the relationship between the Ramsey defense lawyers and individuals in the DA's office is the real reason this case is so bizarre on the surface.


    On January 8, John and Patsy took Burke to the Child Advocacy Center in Niwot, Colorado, through arrangements made by the Boulder Police department, to be interviewed by Dr. Suzanne Bernard, a specialist in child psychology. As is customary in interrogations of children, Dr. Bernhard played a game with Burke throughout the interview and the entire interview was videotaped.

    When left alone with the psychologist, Burke appeared to be at ease and even told the doctor that be felt safe, even though he did say that he had not wanted to come that day! Dr. Bernhard thought it was unusual for this child to feel safe. "People in this entire town didn't feel safe with the concept that there was someone running around that could be snatching children, and this was his own sister and happened in his own home. Generally speaking, a child who goes through this kind of trauma, where a sibling or a family member has been killed, they don’t feel safe.

    Burke described his father as quiet and that he was "always at work", and that his mother "worked as a mom'. The thing he liked most about his mom was that she gave him lots of hugs and kisses, and the thing he liked most about his dad were "planes". Throughout the interview he showed little warmth towards his family, but at the same time was very protective of them. According to Burke, the worst thing they did was not buy him, expensive toys. Dr. Bernhard explained that most children in interviews will discuss things about the family that angers them even if they love them, but Burke appeared to have difficulty in opening up about his family, similar to children who can't say things, because they feel that there are some things they shouldn't say.

    Social Services had previously provided Dr. Bernhard with some history on Burke which indicated an ongoing bedwetting problem, but Burke denied this saying that it happened a long time ago. Children are usually honest about this in interviews, and Dr. Bernhard wondered why Burke was not.

    Many of Burke's other responses also created areas of concern for the doctor. Burke displayed an enormous amount of lack of emotion, almost to the point of indifference, which Dr. Bernard explained may be attributed to shock, but could also have been a lack of attachment to his family. Since his mother had appeared very emotional when she brought Burke for the interview, Dr. Bernard thought that perhaps Burke could not deal with the family’s emotions and had therefore just withdrawn. Even in response to questions which should have elicited strong emotions, he remained non-expressive. When asked “How have things been since your only sister died?â€, Burke responded, “It’s been okay.†And when asked if he missed her, he said, “Yep.†Burke continuously told Dr. Bernhard that he tried to forget about things and just play his Nintendo.

    'When asked to draw a picture of his family, he drew a father figure who was distanced from Burke, a mother figure which was the smallest figure in the picture, and JonBenet was not in the picture at all. Dr. Bernhard interpreted the drawing to suggest that Burke felt his father was not emotionally available to him and that his mother was insignificant and did not have a great deal of power. Dr. Bernhard thought it extremely abnormal that JonBenet was not in the family picture at all, since her heath had occurred only 13 days prior. Most children continue to include deceased siblings in family drawings years after the death because it is too devastating for them to think about the loss. Burke also told Dr. Bernhard that he was “getting on with his life.â€, another very abnormal reaction for a child who had so recently lost his sibling.

    When specifically discussing the crime, he related that he did not hear any noises that night and that he was asleep, but he admitted that he usually hears when someone opens the refrigerator door downstairs. Dr. Bernhard asked what he thought happened to his sister. Burke, showing the first signs of irritation during the interview, responded, "I know what happened, she was killed.†Burke's explanation to the doctor was “someone took her quietly and took her down in the basement took a knife out or hit her on the head." He said that the only thing he asked his dad was "where did you find her body", a highly unusual query from a child considering the possible questions a child might ask about the death of a sibling.

    Dr. Bernhard felt there needed to be more follow-up with Burke in the discussion of sexual contact. The only show of emotion by Burke, other than the irritation with the questions about the actual crime, was when Dr. Bernhard began to ask about uncomfortable touching. Burke picked up a board game and put it on his head an action indicating anxiety or discomfort with these types of questions and that there was more that he was not telling her. Dr. Bernhard asked Burke if he had any secrets, and he said, “probably, if I did, I wouldn't tell you, because then
    it wouldn’t be a secret.
  2. LurkerXIV

    LurkerXIV Moderator


    I hadn't read this report before.

    To me, the responses of Burke are not at all as sinister as this reporter is making them out to be. Too much is being read into it all.

    No reputable child psychologist would expect every sibling of a dead child to respond in a fixed manner. Individual differences must be allowed for.

    I find Burke's responses to be well within the norm for a boy who has just lost his baby sister.
  3. Deja Nu

    Deja Nu Banned


    I'm no mental health expert, but this kid is SCAREY! Anybody here know about attachment disorder? Thanks for posting this, Spade....
  4. Freebird

    Freebird Active Member

    Lurker..... I mostly agree some kids are more reserved and Lord help me if someone was to interupt my kids drawings esp after they are mad at me!.

    But this one statement from Burke about sums up the whole attitude of this family.......

    "Burke also told Dr. Bernhard that he was “getting on with his life.â€, another very abnormal reaction for a child who had so recently lost his sibling."

    There is some reason these people were so anxious to get on with their lives. I think they wanted everyones else to get on with theirs and not dig around. They circled the wagons IMO.
  5. 1000 Sparks

    1000 Sparks Active Member


    I think Burke was just repeating something his parents were saying and knew it would be appropriate for an answer.

    The rest of this sounds pretty normal to me.

    When my daughter was about 6 she drew a picture of an animals and wrote on top "This is Bert and he HATES everyone"... what would you make of that?

    Also my daughter was same age as Burke (9) when her grandfather died. She was Pappa's angel, buddy, best friend, etc. She acted like nothing big happened when she was told. I found this a little odd. During the funeral not a tear either.

    Leaving the cemetary she started to cry. Later she told me she didn't want anyone to think she was a big baby so she thought of other fun things....

    I think that is what Burke was doing. Although I do believe he knows more.
  6. Deja Nu

    Deja Nu Banned

    Attachment Disorder: http://attachmenttherapy.com/ad.html

    Brief research shows there are two main types of this disorder, passive and reactive. The reactive type manifests with very aggressive, violent behaviors. The passive type seems to prefer disassociation and escapism techniques when confronted with uncomfortable or unpleasant people/situations, or a mental running away.

    Dissociative Disorder: http://www.voiceofwomen.com/centerarticle.html

    I've had more direct dealings with people suffering this type of disorder than attachment disorder.

    Given Spade's info regarding Burke, including an ongoing history of bedwetting, my guess is that his family life, not just the terrible, traumatic death of his sister, laid foundation for his scarey responses/behaviors with this shrink. He seems to be exhibiting classic dissociative activities, avoidance, changing subject, minimizing horrendous events, getting lost in Nintendo games, etc. I'm guessing Burke was/is a pretty weird kid before and after JonBenet's existence in this family. I also believe JR's responses to Burke's questions that were captured on the 911 tape, veiled contempt, dehumanizing, communicating complete unimportance of Burke in the situation, are perfect examples of how this poor child was treated in this family. He was/is a non-person and that was reinforced with the mountains of attention poured out on JB.Tragic...looks like these parents have killed off both kids...
  7. Nikeo

    Nikeo Member

    I just finished reading the Ramseys version of this meeting. Patsy stated that after this visit, how thankful they were that Burke had not been taken away from them.

    That got me to thinking...if the police and everybody thought these people really killed Jon Benet, why was it that they did not take Burke from them? Another mystery in this sad, sad story.

    About attachment disorder, I have read about the symptoms a lot. There is a forum at Delphi about this disorder that has a lot of links to resources, etc. Burke mentioned what he like the most about his mom were her hugs and kisses according to this report. Do a research on this disorder and you will find that one of the symptoms are that these children hate to be touched or held in any form. They are also very destructive, hurtful to animals. They get worse as they get older. There are reports that Burke is in high school and doing well. Children with attachment disorder need intensive psychotherapy. Also, most children with this disorder are adopted from foriegn countries, adopted from those hell holes they call orphanges where they are left to rot in their cribs, having hardly any human touch. They do not bond with other humans. Bonding begins at birth, being held, rocked, fed, interacted with. Children with this disorder do not receive what they need to form attachments to their caretakers, thus the term attachment disorder. It is a very sad disorder and almost incurable.

    I agree with Lurker and 1000 Sparks. To me Burke sounded like a very confused little boy trying to look like he had it all together. I think his way of coping was to totally shut down his emotions. Also, if anyone would have asked me at nine to talk about sex, I would have put something over my head too. You know that had to be embarrasing to a nine year old kid. If that therapist even had an inkling that he had been sexually abused or seen sexual abuse in that home, she/he was derilict in their duty to protect Burke, which obviously was not done, he was allowed to go home with his parents.
  8. Freebird

    Freebird Active Member

    Hey Sparky, I was agreeing with Lurker that this sounded pretty normal to me.

    I thought the comment from Burke about getting on with his life came straight from his parents.....I just wondered WY it was so important to them to have this already drilled this into his head 13 days after his sister was murdered.

    I've seen lots of people deal with the death of a loved one.....everyone is different but I can honestly say I've never ever heard anyone other than the rams say they just wanted to get on with their lives before the dirt on the coffin had time to harden.

    That I find abnormal.
  9. Little

    Little Member

    I would agree with those of you who feel that Burke was just parroting something he had heard when he said he just wanted to get on with his life. What I do find odd is if he had heard this in the context of moving on from JonBenet's death. To me the statement "getting on" with ones life would be for something more on the line of a divorce or a bad investment. Something you just want to put behind you, cut your losses and just get on with it.
    Why should it surprise us if that statement was made by his parents? After all, according to Patsy, JonBenet had served her purpose in this life. Time to dust themselves off and move on.

  10. purr

    purr Active Member

    burke knows a lot.........

    and IMHO........he knows everything that happened
    that night.

    i feel the psychiatrist is right on the button
    with all her observations.......again IMHO.

    and i have always had this gut feeling
    that someday we will know ALL that happened
    when Burke comes "into his own" and
    can be his own person......after both
    his parents die.

    and after much psychotherapy!!!!!

    i pray for his sad soul!

  11. Shadow

    Shadow FFJ Senior Content Moderator

    I agree with 1000 sparks, Lurker and Freebird... my grandson was 9 when his sister was 5. I honestly do not believe my grandson would have responded much differently (when he was 9) than Burke - particularly if his family was talking about getting on with their lives and working hard to take his mind off of the death of his sister.

    Also, I have two grandsons whose ages are 9 months apart. One was very "street wise" and took care of himself when he was 9 and the other was very niave and "sheltered" when he was 9. Their responses to this lady would have been 100% different. MY guess is that the intrepretation of the totally different actions of my two grandsons by the lady would depend on her agenda.
  12. Deja Nu

    Deja Nu Banned

    Yeah, I guess you guys are right. A child's responses would reflect the attitude in his/her home. Would that also hold true for Burke's responses to the cops when they questioned him? I'm fascinated with how he presented to the GJ and what they're take on him was.....
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