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Ransom Note Interpretations

What Does SBTC Stand For?

Numerous possibilities listed below alphabetically as there is no way of telling which is most probable.

  • Santa Barbara Tennis Club
    "Chris Wolf had been given a sweatshirt with the initials SBTC (the signature on the ransom note), which stood for Santa Barbara Tennis Club." (Quote from Ramsey & Ramsey (2000) in Carnes 2003:76-77).
  • Santa Bill & The Critic
    Bill MacReynolds was called Santa Bill & Janet MacReynolds fancied herself as a Film Critic.
  • Saved by the Cross
  • Scenario Based True Crime
  • Seduced by the Child
    If anyone believes that a pedophile is affilated or responsible for this crime it could be something as sic as Seduced By The Child. A vivid imagination and JonBenets pagent videos could be considered seductive to a pedo."
  • Shall Be the Conquerer
    This is a phrase connected with John Mark Karr
  • Shambhala Bon Taoism Confucianism
    Shambhala, the Sacred Path of the Warrior, was founded in Boulder in the 1980s by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche; by 1996 his son, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, had become leader and was incorporating elements Bon, Taoism and Confucianism into Shambhala tradition.
  • Signed by the Captain
    This is a very common phrase in sailboat racing. When there is a win they refer to it as Victory AND the SBTC stands for "Signed by the Captain.
  • Skill-Biased Technological Change
  • Small Business Technology Coalition
  • Some Body That Cares
  • Sorry 'Bout That Chief
    From the 60s TV series "Get Smart".
  • Southern Bell Telephone Company
  • Special Boat Team Captain
  • Square, Bible and The Compass
    The three masonic symbols, depicted on their crest or seal.
  • Stand Before the Cross
    From Dirty Harry as he does in the movie; it's a dramatic scene, with a great deal of religious signifigance as Harry has to stand before a 100 ft tall cross located in a park in San Francisco, as the kidnapper bullies him."
  • Stand By To Communicate
  • Strangle Bind Torture Children
  • Strangled By The Cellar
  • Strangled By The Cord
  • Strangled By The Cross
    You can see in the autopsy photos that the necklace with a crucifix is under the cord of the garrote stangling her neck.
  • Subic Bay Technical Center
  • Subic Bay Training Center
  • Swallowed by the Competition
    In Death of Innocence John Ramsey states: "I also recognized that larger, better-financed companies were growing around us. Even though we were doing fine, I was afraid that unless we expanded, our company would soon be swallowed by the competition." (Ramsey and Ramsey 2001:135).

What is the Significance of $118,000?

  • John Ramsey Bonus. In 1996, John Ramsey received a bonus of $118,117.50. In his April 30, 1997 deposition, JR explained that the bonus was from the preceding year, paid in February 1996 and showed up on every monthly pay stub for the rest of 1996. If the RN refers to this bonus, some believe this would suggest "inside" information, i.e., a family member, friend or someone connected to Access Graphics. However, stranger intruder theorists argue that if someone had access to the house for several hours during the Christmas party, they could have found this amount on a paycheck stub.
  • Ramsey Financial Liabilities. Steve Thomas's book asserted: "A handwritten ledger reflected his increasing wealth over the years. Later I would find records showing that as of May 1, 1996, Ramsey had assets of $7,348,628, and a total net worth of $6,230,628. Total liabilites were an even 1,118,000, and the similarity of that figure to the ransom demand of $118,000 jumped out at me." Note that if a kidnapper actually knew the size of JR's net worth, the ransom amount requested might seem unusually small.
  • Biblical References. At least 3 biblical references included the number 118: Psalms 118. Verse 27 can be seen as offering a person as a sacrifice to God, according to Internet poster narlacat. The bible in Patsy's bedroom allegedly was turned to Psalms 118, which includes the following verse: "God is the LORD, which hath showed us light: bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar."
  • Genesis 1:18 could be seen as saying God approves of separating the light from the darkness; Revelation 1:18 - I am the living one.
  • Mindhunter Allusion. 118 = number of victims attributed to killers in the FBI research study culminating in the Crimes Classification Manual. This figure also is mentioned in John Douglas's Mindhunter and is a more likely source; because it "was on the bestseller list during the time period leading up to the murder."
  • Movie References. Similarly, there are at least 3 movies for which the number 118 has significance: 118=minutes run-time Silence of the Lambs; 1:18 PM. This is the time Perry Smith was hanged In Cold Blood; 1:18 PM. In the movie Nick of Time, this is the "nick of time" at which the father could have saved his 6-year daughter if only he'd shot the governor at this exact time.
  • One Million Mexican Pesos. $118,000=1 million Mexican pesos. This was the prevailing conversion rate, according to Lou Smit as reported in (Douglas 2001).
  • Military Justice Code. Article 118 Uniform Code of Military Justice, or Military Code Of Military Justice : ART. 118. MURDER. Any person subject to this chapter whom without justification or excuse, unlawfully kills a human being, when he- (1) has a premeditated design to kill; (2) intends to kill or inflict great bodily harm; (3) is engaged in an act which is inherently dangerous to others and evinces a wanton disregard of human life; or (4) is engaged in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of burglary, sodomy, rape, robbery, or aggravated arson; is guilty of murder, and shall suffer such punishment as a court-martial may direct, except that if found guilty under clause (1) or (4), he shall suffer death or imprisonment for life as a court-martial may direct.

How Large an Attache Case Was Needed?

  • The RN instructed the Ramseys "You will withdraw $118,000.00 from your account. $100,000 will be in $100 bills and the remaining $18,000 in $20 bills." This would amount to 900 $20 bills and 1,000 $100 bills.
  • The height of a stack of 1,000 one dollar bills measures 4.3 inches. Thus, the two stacks would have been roughly 8.3" high. A typical attache case might be around 17-1/2" x 12-1/2 x 4.3." A $100 bill is 2.6" x 6.14." Such an attache case therefore could fit 12 stacks of bills on its floor, meaning each one would be only 0.7" high to fit $118,000 in the denominations requested. Thus, even if only half the vertical space were actually available (due to interior organizer pockets etc.), such an attache case hypothetically could have held at least 3 times the requested amount ($354,000) quite easily--or $598,000 if all the extra room were devoted to $100 bills rather than $20 dollar bills.
  • These figures could be doubled if an attache case without any inner pockets is assumed. In light of these facts, the admonition to "Make sure that you bring an adequate size attache to the bank" might seem superfluous or even comical. However, there's no reason to suppose the perp had thought that carefully about how large an attache would be needed for the specific amount requested. But the perp may have been aware that trying to stuff $1 million into such an attache case could be a challenge.

What Does Fat Cats Refer To?

  • An extensive compilation of source materials that relates to the term "fat cats" and what Ramseys and others have said about this term can be found at

What Does Use That Good Southern Common Sense Mean?

  • Carnes Opinion. "The author of the Ransom Note instructs Mr. Ramsey to "use that good southern sic common sense," an obviously inaccurate reference as Mr. Ramsey was originally from Michigan, whereas Mrs. Ramsey was originally from West Virginia." (Carnes 2003:25). Carnes inferred from this that the RN writer was unlikely to have been Patsy Ramsey, who would not have made this mistake; by inference, any close friend of John Ramsey's should have known better than to use this phrase in connection with him.

What Does Tomorrow Mean?

  • The RN states that "I will call you between 8 and 10 am tomorrow." No call ever came on December 26. The note either was written on the 25th (or before) or in the early hours of the 26th. Determining what "tomorrow" means might provide insight into when the note was written and/or whether the RN was "genuine" i.e., actually seeking payment of a ransom.              (c) 2023