A photographer who took pictures of JonBenét Ramsey and who has a disturbing tangential link to the case has been indicted on child pornography charges.
Randall D. Simons, 66, was arrested in Springfield, Oregon on July 2 on 15 counts of encouraging child sex abuse, the Register Guard in Eugene reported. He was indicted Thursday on the charges.
Days before his arrest, investigators searched four laptops, three camcorders, two bags of writable optical discs and six cameras in his possession. His arrest and the search of his items came after a year-long investigation into his activities.
An A&W restaurant had called police in July 2018 to report that someone was using their WiFi to download inappropriate images, according to the Register Guard.
Simons pleaded not guilty to all of the charges. He is due back in court Aug. 7.
Simons has a bizarre link to the unsolved murder of 6-year-old Ramsey. In 1998, two years after the 6-year-old was killed, he was arrested for indecent exposure, the Associated Press reported at the time. According to the book “Perfect Murder, Perfect Town” the then-46-year-old was allegedly walking naked down a street in the small Colorado town of Genoa. He told the arresting officer, “I didn’t kill JonBenét,” according to that book.
He had photographed Ramsey just months before she died. Those photos showed her in makeup and curls and, according to the 1998 Associated Press article, prompted criticism of children’s pageants.
A year after Ramsey’s death, he sold a portfolio of pictures he took of the slain girl to Sygma Photo Agency for $7,500, the AP reported. He reportedly said at the time that the sale of the photos could ruin his photography career.
A lengthy hand-written was found in the Ramsey family’s Boulder, Colorado home the day after Christmas in 1996, claiming JonBenét had been kidnapped and demanding $118,000 in ransom. However, her body was found in the house's basement eight hours later. The murder of the 6-year-old, who won several pageant titles including America's Royale Miss and Little Miss Colorado, became a national story and the subject of frequent speculative theories.
Her family was previously eyed in the case, and a grand jury even voted to indict the parents in 1999, CNN reported in 2013 after previously sealed court documents were made public. However, the district attorney decided not to go ahead with charges against John and Patsy Ramsey, citing a lack of evidence. Patsy Ramsey eventually died of cancer in 2006. In 2008, Boulder County District Attorney Mary Lacy, who used to run the county's sexual assault unit, cleared the family after examining DNA evidence. However, Stan Garnett, her successor as DA, said in 2016 that the letter was not binding and the the case was still open. Several people have allegedly claimed to have killed Ramsey, including sex offender Gary Oliva, who is currently serving a decade behind bars in Colorado for two counts of sexual exploitation of a child.
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