Report: CU Professor Has History Of False Leads In Ramsey Case

Tracey Earlier Identified 'Prime Suspect' Who Was Cleared

The recent focus by Boulder authorities on John Mark Karr as a suspect in the unsolved slaying of JonBenet Ramsey wasn't the first time that University of Colorado Professor Michael Tracey has given authorities a red herring in the case.

A Florida weekly newspaper recently reported that the CU journalism professor fingered another "prime suspect" in the case two years ago in a documentary he produced on the subject called "Who Killed the Pageant Queen?"

In a story written by Tony Ortega, The Broward-Palm Beach New Times reported that Tracey was "considered a notorious developer of false leads" by Internet sleuths investigating the JonBenet Ramsey case. The New Times is a sister publication of Denver's Westword, which linked to the article on its Web site.

In the 2004 documentary, Tracey identified a suspect in the Ramsey case -- although not by name. The documentary aired in the United Kingdom but not in the United States. It showed a police report that was traced to John Steven Gigax by an alert viewer who captured a screen grab of the report and looked up the visible arrest number that was shown on the page.

Just like Karr was discounted, further investigation revealed that Gigax was not in Colorado at the time JonBenet was killed. Gigax was in Indiana on the day of the murder.

Boulder District Attorney Marcy Lacy told reporters earlier that as many as 160 suspects had been investigated and discounted by authorities during the 10 years since the Boulder slaying. Karr came to investigator's attention after corresponding with Tracey about the case.

"If you know the case and you watch Tracey's documentaries, they're filled with blatant lies. It's so easily proven," Tricia Griffith told New Times. She has since become a vocal critic of Tracey and his investigative reporting.

In the documentary, Tracey claimed to have "stunning new evidence" that was leading police to a previously unidentified "prime suspect." The suspect turned out to be Gigax, based on the police report shown during the documentary.

Tracey claimed in the documentary that the suspect had gone underground and was "untraceable." The woman who found his name on the police report easily found Gigax after a quick search of Google. Boulder police had discounted the 2004 claim that Gigax was being sought as a suspect in the case. That made Tracey's suspect claims 0 for 2. The story of the earlier false lead orchestrated by Tracey has largely been ignored in the Colorado media.

The recent focus on John Karr was also the result of investigative work by Tracey and was also proven to be a false lead.

Tracey is working on a book about the 10-year-old investigation, according to a CU spokesman. He also is planning to write and produce one or two television documentaries, in addition to the three he released earlier on the case.

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