Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2006

The Jonbenet Suspect: A Loner's Life in Thailand, August 17, 2006

John Mark Karr, 41, lived on the ninth floor of a rundown apartment building in a Bangkok district full of similarly rundown buildings and guest houses. For Karr, it was an inexpensive place to reside; apartments in his building rent for as little as $160 a month. Other residents describe him as a dour loner who didn't let anyone into his peripatetic life, traveling in and out of Thailand. An Internet café clerk in Karr's building said he was a regular customer who kept a close eye on users in neighboring booths, as if he was afraid they were spying on him. "He never wanted to chat," said Nii, the clerk. "Actually I was afraid of talking to him. He always seemed to be a bad mood. He rushed in, then rushed out."

Karr has now let the world into some of his secrets. On Wednesday evening, the wan, sandy-haired one-time grade school teacher arrived at Bangkok's Suan Phlu immigration pen, to spend the night in a solitary cell. The day before, a judge in Boulder, Colorado, had issued an arrest warrant for Karr in the nearly decade-old murder of JonBenet Ramsey, the six-year-old child beauty pageant contestant. Soon after, a small group of plainclothes Thai and U.S. officers arrived at his shabby apartment, where Karr had stayed since arriving from Malaysia in June, on the latest of several trips in recent years to the Thai capital. Later Karr sat silently as U.S. and Thai authorities discussed his case in a press center. The press conference broke up with a photo op of the suspect, who wore a sky-blue polo shirt and beige slacks without a belt.