Lou Smit. Not a name to conjure up images of a great detective here in the UK, but in the United States, he was rightly regarded as a legend. A man who thoroughly investigated homicides, and never settled for taking the easy way out. He worked for the Police in Colorado and made a number of high profile arrests, including the killer of the sister of Frasier star Kelsey Grammer, and a man called Robert Browne, who went on to confess to a total of forty eight murders. He ended his career as Police Chief for the El Paso County Sheriff`s Department. But his finest hour was yet to come.
One of the most notorious unsolved murders in US history is that of six year old JonBenet Ramsey, a child beauty pageant contestant. The Boulder PD quickly concluded that the murder was committed by Mrs Ramsey, and her husband helped cover up for her. Yet, they had no proof to launch a prosecution, and the Ramseys were subjected to a sickening trial by media, including a talk show host conducting a mock grand jury trial of the Ramseys, that led to the inevitable conclusion. That they both murdered their daughter. This example of trial by television, would never have been allowed in this country, and I dare say, that the host would have found himself in jail.
To help put the case and the guilt of the Ramseys, to rest, retired detective Lou Smit was brought in to prove "That they did it!" But right from the outset, Det. Smit started pulling the Boulder PD case apart. To everything he said, he showed proof to back up what he was saying. A documentary about this investigation was made, but the TV company held back showing it for over a year, citing the programme "Was dynamite!" Dynamite it certainly was. This was a masterclass in being a detective, and Smit destroyed one claim after another about the Ramseys. He proclaimed them completely innocent of the crime and blamed the Boulder PD investigation for having tunnel vision over the supposed guilt of the Ramseys. It was announced in 2008 that advances in DNA had cleared the Ramseys of murdering their daughter, and proved the existence of an intruder. Just as Smit had claimed ten years earlier. Sadly Lou Smit passed away in 2010 from cancer. Lou Smit investigated over two hundred homicides and in every single case, somebody went on trial. A great loss to Law Enforcement, but I wonder if some Boulder Police secretly celebrated?