Mon, Aug 21, 2006 - Page 1 News List

JonBenet Ramsey suspect departs Bangkok for LA

AGENCIES , BANGKOK

The US schoolteacher suspected of murdering JonBenet Ramsey left Thailand yesterday on a plane bound for the US, where he will face questions over the 1996 killing of the child beauty queen.

John Mark Karr, 41, was put aboard a Thai Airways flight to Los Angeles. Thai officials said he would fly in business class, accompanied by at least two US law enforcement officers.

Karr was arrested in Bangkok last Wednesday on suspicion of first-degree murder, kidnapping and child sexual assault. He told reporters he had been with the 6-year-old when she died at Christmas a decade ago, but that her death was an accident.

Wearing a short-sleeved red shirt and dark tie, Karr looked composed but nervous when he arrived at the airport escorted by Thai police yesterday. He did not answer questions fired by the crowd of journalists who thronged around him.

Meanwhile, a doctor in Bangkok said Karr sought treatment at a sex-change clinic during his stay in Thailand.

A doctor at Pratunam Polyclinic, which specializes in sex-change operations, said, "He was one of my patients."

But Thep Vechavisit refused to provide details of the treatment.

A staffer at the clinic, who demanded anonymity since she was not authorized to make statements to the media, said Karr had consulted the doctor about a sex-change operation. This could not be confirmed by other sources.

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