Break in Ramsey case brings beeline to cemetery
JonBenet's gravesite again luring 'tourists'
By JENNIFER BRETT
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 08/24/06
A couple of weeks ago, Patsy Ramsey's grave was a freshly upturned patch of earth. The mother of the nation's most famous slain 6-year-old lost her battle with ovarian cancer just eight weeks ago, and a marker for her grave hadn't been placed yet.
Then company came.
|St. James Cemetery, at the corner of Winn and Polk streets in Marietta, is the final resting place of JonBenet Ramsey and her mother, Patsy.
|Bob Estep of West Virginia visits the gravesites of JonBenet and Patsy Ramsey.
In the days since John Mark Karr's bizarre confession, of sorts, and his arrest in the 1996 death of child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey, Patsy's grave in Marietta's St. James Episcopal Church was hastily spruced up. Squares of sod, enclosed by delicate white fencing, now lay upon Mrs. Ramsey's final resting place — just a few steps from JonBenet's.
The little girl's burial spot used to be a dark tourist attraction. Strangers have left stuffed animals and notes on the marker, and hung angel ornaments in the dogwood tree that hangs over the grave. Over the years, the visits tapered off and the angels weathered in the wind.
Karr's confession — he says he was with JonBenet when she died, and that her death was "an accident" — has brought a new stream of visitors. Two Marietta sisters — one who'd never seen the grave — stopped by recently while walking their dog one night.
A man who said he
took a Greyhound bus from West Virginia came by to
pay his respects earlier this week.
Shortly after the Karr story broke, a family friend left a note that read: "Dearest Patsy, Justice has come for you and John. Rest in peace."
For days, television satellite trucks parked outside the historic cemetery while reporters stalked whoever seemed to be heading near the grave.
It's so very un-O.M. There's still a segment of Old Mariettans who prefer engraved invitations to E-vites.
They attend the same
baptisms and weddings and funerals.
They spot each other on Friday nights at the country club and on summer weekends in St. Simons. And they have discretion.
A decade ago, Marietta's polite society crossed paths with crass cable-show pundits when JonBenet was buried in the St. James cemetery, next to her half-sister Elizabeth, who died as an adult in a 1992 auto accident near Chicago.
From then on the historic graveyard became inextricably linked with kiddie beauty pageants and conspiracy theorists.
In their book "Images of America: Marietta 1833-2000," Jim Glover, Joe McTyre and Becky Paden chart the city's journey from sleepy country town to historic gem in a vibrant metropolitan region.
Many of the names that appear throughout the book are also chiseled in marble in the St. James cemetery: Dupre, Whitlock, Dobbs — and JonBenet Ramsey.ajc.com