Patsy Ramsey 911 call

(John and Burke Ramsey reversals can be heard here)

Here is a group of reversals from the 911 call. There appear to be 6 statements occurring which follow directly from each other without any gibberish between for a total of 22 words. At this stage, the Ramsey’s apparently had no knowledge of JonBenet’s whereabouts.

The lack of good audio quality, no doubt, lends something to the perception of the following reversals. As a result, there is definite ambiguity in what may be heard.

This is the forward speech dialogue:

FS: Patsy: [We have a kidnapping] [hurry please].

Dispatcher: [Explain to me what’s going on, OK?]

Patsy: [Se? we have a re…], [there’s a note left] [and our daughter’s gone].

Here is the reverse speech all the way through:

Patsy: Knows you bargain(ed)/Knows who bargain(ed) (‘n our daughter’s gone)

Patsy: Everyone did it (there’s a note left)

Patsy: Co .. cover your words (Se?, we have a re…)

911 dispatcher: Yeah but I know blowing here (FS: explain to me what’s going on, OK)

Patsy: Killed gir(l)/yeah (FS: hurry please)

Patsy: Your baby’s dead (FS: we have a kidnapping)

Here is the audio with the statements separated: 

Linguistic discussion

Knows you bargain(ed)/Knows who bargain(ed)  [‘n our daughter’s gone] Knows occurs at [‘s gone] where the /g/ disappears and falls into a fricative with the /s/ to produces an /s/ ending. You comes at FS [er]’s where a possible [y] sound occurs as articulation moves up towards /s/. One can also get a sense of who. Bargain comes at [‘n my daught]. The initial is ambiguous – I assume bargain(ed). Perception of /g/ comes at the FS release of [my] before the onset of FS /d/. There is audio noise at the end of FS [left]. It is possible that there is an [ed] ending.

Everyone did it [there’s a note left] everyone comes from [note left] [ft] disappears substantially allowing an [e] initial. Perception of possible [v] comes at the FS [t] in note. [on]e comes at [no] The [ry], however, could be heard as /l/.  This where there is a vowel change through the diphthong [o] in [note]. This can make it sound like Evelyn; however, I think this is not the word here.

Ki/Co.. cover your words [Se? we have a re …] The first word may be the start of kill. But it is possible that she begins to say cover then tries again. cover is from [have a]. The initial is ambiguous, but [c] is a possibility. The [e] in FS [we] influences the ending of the word to sound like [ee]; however, this may not be much of an issue as in normal FS the ending [er] followed by [y] can be influenced in this manner. your is from [we] where the [y] is produced by [e], the rounded vowel is from [w]. [r] is assumed. The /w/ in FW [we] also comes at the /w/ in words. There is an [r] ‘flavour’ in the FS vowel. The [ds] is assumed in the initial frication of the FS. 

Yeah but I know blowing here

  • Yeah There is a short vowel sound leading into yeah but this may not cause too much of an issue. The fricative kh sound from [k] in FS [ok] could be acceptable. 
  • but I know  [going on o]k A sound that has a labial quality occurs at the onset of [o] – [b] is one alternative. RS [t] comes at FS o[n], RS [kn] comes at FS [ng]. FS [g] disappears in the RS.

Here is an analysis of the final part of this section:

  • blowing here   ex[plain to me what’s] RS [w] occurs at FS [w]. At the onset of FS wha[t]’s, one can perceive /n/ or /l/. At the release of wha[t’s] there is fricative noise. Admittedly, the blowing on the microphone contributes to perception of /b/.  Perception of [ing] occurs at [me]. With the possibility of here, I am assuming that the explai[n t]o gets lost as frication noise in the movement from blowing to here.

Whatever one, it seems that the dispatcher’s subconscious recognised or believed that Patsy’s rendition was not believable.

Killed gir(l)/yeah [hurry please] The fricative noise of the audio helps one perceive [k]ill. An [ed] could be assumed here. [girl] is ambiguous. A strong [y] is possible here, though it could also be heard as [g]. /l/ ending is missing.  girl is uncertain, but a possibility.

Your baby’s dead –  This is ambiguous. The overall structure can be perceived as this, however, individual sounds are not accurate. I have separated dead from the first two words:  


I will look at bargain as meaning either negotiating some outcome or arriving at an agreement. This could refer to Patsy and family.

With knows you bargain(ed) the subject is missing before knows, but verb agreement indicates 3rd person singular he/she. This may refer to the dispatcher suspecting something awry or at least a fear that the dispatcher may suspect. With you, this could be Patsy, and is ‘self-talk’, or a subconscious aspect speaking directly to her, revealing knowledge of her bargaining, whether this is arriving at an agreement with her own family or attempting to ‘sell’ a story to the dispatcher. If knows who bargain(ed), this may indicate some knowledge of 3rd party involvement outside of the family by another person. 

everyone did it may be a form of admission where ‘everyone’ (family?) had some knowledge or hand in it indirectly or perhaps directly. In this sense, then, they bargained or came to some agreement among themselves about what to do. Or alternatively, she is placing blame on herself and her husband for what happened even if there is an outside 3rd party involved. 

After this is (kill) cover your words. This could indicate Patsy telling herself to be very careful about what she chooses to say. Or, it is a message to another in the room to be quiet. If she started to say kill, then this indicates knowledge of her daughter’s death. This may be so if it is ‘self-talk’; however, we should also entertain the point that the subconscious may simply be reflecting back associated thoughts absorbed into it over a lifetime which are around being careful what you say. 

Next, is the dispatcher’s words but I know blowing here. blowing can be looked at in different ways. It could be a belief that Patsy is ‘blowing things up into something bigger’ or ‘simply producing a lot of air’ Or, it could be stuffing up her opportunity. This could indicate that the dispatcher at a subconscious level does not believe Patsy. 

Killed girl and your baby’s dead follow. If the words killed and dead are there, or at least one of these words, this would indicate knowledge of her death at some level of consciousness, or a feared expectation that she is no longer alive. 

In determining meaning, a question to ask is ‘who’ is doing the reversed speaking, and who is it referring to? Is the statement one that is conscious to the speaker, that is, reveals something that she knows consciously, or is the statement from an aspect of the speaker’s subconscious that possesses some semi-autonomy from the conscious thoughts of the speaker? The use of 1st, 2nd and 3rd pronouns and referent words can cause considerable consternation when interpreting meaning, and also, as these words are typically short and unstressed one can get the word choice wrong. There are three statements from Patsy that possibly contain 2nd person you/your – likely the final two statements and maybe the first statement. When using 2nd person, one is communicating directly to another; in RS this could be the person the speaker is speaking with, an aspect of the speaker’s subconscious speaking to the speaker’s conscious self, or the conscious self of the speaker referring to herself.  Cover your words could be a conscious thought that is reflected by the subconscious to herself, or it could be a concern that someone else in the room will say something that could be heard by the dispatcher, and so a desire to remind them to be quiet. [kill], if there, would indicate knowledge at some level of consciousness that the daughter is dead. The other two could be communication from a quasi – separate aspect of Patsy attempting to communicate directly to her conscious self. The first statement – knows you bargain(ed) – has a more even-tempered quality than cover your words and killed girl, which are highly emotional. The last statement – your baby’s dead – is not as even-tempered as the first one, but is not over-emotional like the other two mentioned – there is perhaps a different voice quality to it.  However, they could also be semi-conscious self-talk. 

Looking at the whole picture, we need to determine whether some statements refer to the apparent kidnappers or to Patsy and family. Taking a kidnapper-focused interpretation, we would have knows who bargain(ed) referring to the apparent kidnappers, with the second one indicating potential knowledge of the people that may be involved. Everyone did it might indicate some self-blame for the situation. Cover words  reveals that she knows something that she won’t reveal. With killed girl, we don’t have the subject, and therefore the ‘who’. In this interpretation, she could not have known the child was dead, so this and the final reversal would not have been consciously known to her. 

In a Ramsey-focused interpretation, bargain refers either to the Ramseys arriving at an agreement among themselves over what to do, or suggesting that the dispatcher knows at some level that Patsy is trying to convince the dispatcher of her story. The dispatcher states that she knows subconsciously that Patsy is blowing it. If it is ‘everyone’, perhaps the family were complicit in some way in that they know something. There is then admission that JonBenet is dead in the last two reversal statements. 


Here is a John Burke reversal (click on the link at the top of this page to listen to several interesting reversals from John and Burke Ramsey). So wet on the corpse; the boy, so we know/knew it

FS: so I wasn’t surprised that the glass wa[s broken but I was] surprised that [the window was open].

When JB mentioned the glass was broken he stated the body was wet. When he mentioned the window was open, he mentioned what could be ‘the boy’.

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