Ramsey Friend Told To Stop Fake E-Mails

Atlanta Woman Says Emails From Police Chief Meant As Joke

Police have warned an Atlanta woman to stop sending e-mails about the JonBenet Ramsey case that purport to be from Police Chief Mark Beckner.

The woman said the e-mails were obviously phony and meant as a joke.

Police said Tuesday that Susan Stine sent e-mails from becknerbpd@hotmail.com to people affiliated with the investigation into the unsolved 1996 slaying of 6-year-old JonBenet.

Beckner (pictured, left) told the Rocky Mountain News in Wednesday's editions that some of the messages were clearly phony but others could constitute criminal impersonation. Some were signed "Mark."

Police sent Stine a letter saying criminal impersonation is a felony in Colorado. Beckner said police don't plan to file charges but could decide to do so in the future.

The investigation began April 25 after News reporter Charlie Brennan received an e-mail signed "Mark" that praised his stories. When Brennan called Beckner to ask about the message, the police chief became concerned that others were receiving phony e-mails.

Investigators got a warrant to search Hotmail records and traced the e-mails to Stine. They said the becknerbpd@hotmail.com account was established in 2000 under the name "Chief Beckner."

Stine said no reasonable person would have taken the messages seriously but said she sent Beckner an e-mail of apology.

"The e-mails were sent in an attempt to be humorous and satirical," Stine told the News in a telephone interview. "There was never an intent to mislead anyone."

Susan Stine is known as a close friend of John and Patsy Ramsey, according to Boulder Police, and has been interviewed as a witness in reference to the Ramsey investigation. The Ramseys moved to Atlanta after JonBenet was killed.

JonBenet's body was found beaten and strangled in the basement of the Ramseys' Boulder home Dec. 26, 1996.

"Given the history of the Ramsey case and the concerns we have had with information being distributed to the public, often times inaccurate information, this discovery is disturbing," Beckner said. "I want the media and public to know that if they have received communications from this e-mail address purporting to be me, that it is bogus. My official e-mail address is public and is becknerm@ci.boulder.co.us."

Under Colorado law, criminal impersonation is a felony and impersonating a police officer is a misdemeanor.

The Boulder Police Department and the Boulder County District Attorney's Office have agreed to issue a letter to Susan Stine advising her of the unlawful conduct and that the use of Chief Beckner's name in such a manner must cease immediately.

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