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Duct Tape on the Mouth

John Ramsey Testimony - How Tape Found.

John Ramsey found this piece of tape covering JBR's mouth when he first found JBR; he removed it before taking her upstairs. Fleet White picked up this tape and examined it. No Photos of Tape on Mouth. For this reason, there are no photos of this tape on JBR's mouth. Instead, the only photos are of the tape on a blanket found with JBR.

Physical Characteristics.

According to John Ramsey's account over several interviews, some key points about the duct tape are:
Color. The duct tape was black, a point JR makes repeatedly. At one point he states "it was like black. It wasn't electrical tape. It was kind of white, black, unusual tape, I thought." It appears that "wide" may have been incorrectly transcribed as "white" in this statement since there are repeated other instances in which he refers to the tape as black. Crime scene photos make the tape appear gray, but this may be due to a reflection of light off the black tape.
Size. The tape is described as wider than electrical tape but not as wide as duct tape; JR appears quite certain on this point. He had previously used tape of a similar size that was white for sailing, but had never seen that type of tape in black previously. Note the Carnes opinion below indicates it was duct tape despite John's insistence it was not that wide (in the interviews, John is surprised by how wide the tape appears in crime-scene photos since it does not square his recollection).
Cut or Torn? JR also several times notes the smooth edges of the tape, asserting that it has been cut with a knife and NOT torn by hand as one might normally do with duct tape. Note the Carnes opinion below indicates both ends were torn.
Loose or Firm? JR reported the tape adhered all the way to JBR's mouth, i.e., it was not just loose on her lips.

Carnes Opinion

Lip Prints on Tape. Plaintiff also notes that the strip of duct tape found on JonBenet's mouth had a bloody mucous on it and a "perfect set of child's lip prints, which did not indicate a tongue impression or resistance." (PSDMF 53.)(Carnes 2003:15).
Both Ends Torn. "Both ends of the duct tape found on her were torn, indicating that it came from a roll of tape that had been used before. (SMF P 171; PSMF P 171.) (Carnes 2003:18).
Animal Hair. "Animal hair, alleged to be from a beaver, was found on the duct tape. (SMF 183; PSMF 183.) Yet, nothing in defendants' home matches the hair (SMF 183; PSMF 183.), thereby suggesting either that the duct tape had been obtained from outside the home or that it had been carried outside the home at some point." (Carnes 2003:71).
FBI Findings Date Manufactured. "The FBI had determined that the tape .... had first been manufactured in November 1996 under the brand name Suretape. The tape had a 40 percent calcium filler in the adhesive, and its yarn/scrim count of 20/10 helped pinpoint that Bron was the tape’s distributor" (Schiller 1999a:499).
Birefringement Properties. Internet poster noted that calcium is birefringent; birefringent foreign material was found in JBR's vaginal mucosa (see below).
When Was Tape Applied? Internet poster suggests that since the "blood-tinged" saliva running down her cheek and onto her sleeve was found under the tape, the tape probably was applied after she was dead--a sign of staging. Another Internet poster does not believe the saliva was blood-tinged: it was probably an off-color effect from the camera angle.

Source of Tape

Not Sourced to Ramseys. "The black duct tape used on JonBenet's mouth has also not been sourced to defendants. (SMF P 170; PSMF P 170.)...No similar duct tape was found in the house, nor is there evidence that defendants ever used or owned such duct tape. (SMF P 172; PSMF P 172.)" (Carnes 2003:18).
Not From Picture Frame. "BPD detective Byfield had located two paintings in the home, one of which was hung in JonBenet’s bedroom, that had black tape attached to the rear of the frames. There was no match with the strip of tape found in the windowless room, however. It was later determined that Better Light Photography Studio had placed these pieces of tape on the frames in 1993" (Schiller 1999a:106); black duct tape was found on some Ramsey pictures, but this tape was from a different production run than the tape found on JBR.
Tape from American Girl Doll? Internet poster claims she used to work for Pleasant Company, which sells American Girl dolls and was instructed in training to tell customers to use duct tape if they complained about the cord attached to the doll's head. Internet poster believes that such a piece of tape could have been the source for the tape used on JBR's mouth, in which case, no roll of tape is "missing."
Imprint from Strings on Tape. Internet poster claims: "In experiments with the naked eye, the tape is very revealing of its source and more. If duct tape is placed on the doll's back; when removed, there is a visible imprint from the two stings on the tape, was this the lip imprint Thomas referred to?"
Fibers on Tape. poster also claims "There is also a visible weave pattern and fibers of the tan/light brown cotton cloth transferred to the tape. Pulling the tape off, pulls white polyester batting fibers through the loose weave that end up literally coating the tape and flying about the scene landing haphazardly."
Tape Residue. Poster concludes: "But by far the most pertinent fact is a very visible 'stain' of tape residue left behind on the doll's back. This 'stain' matches up like a puzzle piece to the now used,nonsticky tape and instantly links the doll as evidence. This was seen in unsophisticated experiments with the naked eye... imagine the possibilities in a professional crime lab.              (c) 2023