Sat, Aug 19, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Questions grow over Ramsey suspect

AP , BANGKOK

Murder suspect John Mark Karr yesterday awaited expulsion to the US, where questions mounted over whether his stunning confession to the slaying of 6-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey was that of a killer or merely someone obsessed with the case.

While detained in an immigration jail in Bangkok, slices of his globe-trotting life as a teacher began to emerge. An administrator at an elite Bangkok school described Karr as articulate and polite, but too strict, and said he was fired after two weeks on the job.

"John Karr came to us with a good resume and with credentials, but then we allowed him a trial [period] with students, we found he was too strict," said Banchong Chompowong, an administrator at Bangkok Christian College's elementary school.

Following Karr's surprise arrest in Bangkok on Wednesday, many questions hovered over one of the most intriguing US criminal cases of the past decade.

Karr, 41, told US investigators that he picked JonBenet up at school, drugged and had sex with her before accidentally killing her in the US state of Colorado in 1996, Thai police Lieutenant General Suwat Tumrongsiskul said.

Yesterday, Suwat contended that he had been misinterpreted, saying that drugs may not have been used and that Karr didn't mention picking her up at the school. But he did confirm Karr saying he had sex with her.

Suwat said that he was quoting a documentary which said someone had gone to pick up the child at the school before she disappeared and was found dead.

Among the possible discrepancies between his confession and earlier established facts were these: an autopsy was inconclusive about sexual assault and few experts believe that a girl who was slowly strangled with a garrote was killed by accident. There are even questions whether Karr was in Colorado at the time of the slaying.

The doubts have led some to wonder whether Karr is the answer to the long-unsolved slaying or a disturbed individual obsessed but not involved in the case.

In Taipei, the National Police Administration said yesterday that Karr entered the country in August last year and left two months later. The agency didn't know whether Karr taught during his stay and had no indication he engaged in any criminal behavior.

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