Legendary homicide detective Lou Smit, age 75, passed away last week in Colorado after a battle with cancer. Over the span of his career, beginning in 1966, Smit investigated hundreds of homicides. He was a modest, methodical and ethical detective. Nine out of every ten cases he investigated were solved. One of Smit's most famous (and as-yet unsolved) cases was the JonBenet Ramsey case.
Smit came out of retirement in 1997 to join the Boulder DA team to try to find the person that tortured, molested and brutally murdered 6 year-old JonBenet Ramsey. Smit never stopped looking for her killer.
The man who once falsely confessed to the murder of child beauty contestant JonBenet Ramsey is still out there. John Mark Karr is now living as a woman and attempting to form a cult of little girls he intends to have sex with. Nineteen-year-old Samantha Spiegel, who was once engaged to John Mark Karr, was a witness to Karr recruiting girls between the ages of 4 and 8 into a sex cult just a few years ago. Spiegel has since cut communication with Karr but is worried for other young girls out there. "His mission is to create a cult that he wants to call 'The Immaculates,' of little girls that would have sexual relationships with him and do whatever he wanted and be his little minions," Spiegel has said.
From The New York Times: "The Ramseys did not do it," Smit wrote in his resignation letter, dated Sept. 20, 1998. "There is substantial, credible evidence of an intruder and a lack of evidence that the parents are involved." For years after his official involvement in the case ended, Smit continued to work to identify the killer, both independently and with a private investigator hired by the Ramseys. He carried a photo of JonBenet in his wallet.
If anyone was going to solve JonBenet's case it would have been Lou Smit. He was often heard to say "if it wasn't the Ramseys, it had to be an intruder; whoever killed JonBenet is still out there." Whichever side of the fence one might sit on regarding who killed JonBenet, we can all agree that, unfortunately, with the passing of Lou Smit there has been a major setback in this cold case.
Alan Prendergast of Westword said it well: "Right or wrong, Smit pursued his hunches with the same doggedness he'd always shown -- the kind that you want to see rewarded at the end."
While the murder of JonBenet may have been one of the most high profile, Smit also solved the murder of Karen Grammer, sister of actor Kelsey Grammer, and cracked open the once unsolved abduction murder of 13 year-old Heather Church, which lead to the arrest of serial killer Robert Browne. "Lou always fought the good fight and has moved on to his final reward," said longtime friend and associate OM Gray, retired Sheriff's Captain and Municipal Court Judge. "His fight for victims never stopped, it continued in recent weeks even as Lou fought his own personal battle with cancer."
While Smit was in the hospital before being transferred to hospice, he said: "Hang in there. We have a lot to do." Lou, where ever you are, we hear you and we will keep fighting!