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  1. #1
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    The Vodicka Coincidence

    Geraldine Vodicka was a former housekeeper of the Ramseys and was fired, leaving under a cloud and not on pleasant terms. Her daughter would have been the FIRST murder in Boulder, but her death was ruled accidental. As it is, JBR was the first muder in Boulder in 1996. The daughter was unmarried and left behind a 9 year old son, which someone in the family would have to raise--similar in age to Burke. I've wondered if someone that knew the Vodicka family wanted to help them out financially--someone upset at the accidental ruling and someone that knew the past relationship with the Ramseys. I'll post some of the newspaper articles that appeared in December 1996. Interestingly, the one where the police determined it was an accident appeared THE DAY BEFORE the Access article.

    A tale of two victims: questions surround handling of two deaths
    By ELLIOT ZARET
    Camera Staff Writer
    Friday, January 10, 1997

    John and Patsy Ramsey's daughter died in Boulder two weeks ago. She was found strangled and molested - with duct tape over her mouth and her skull fractured - in the basement of her parents' 15-room Tudor home. Tight-lipped police have spared nothing in t heir meticulous search for the killer or killers of the beautiful little girl - the youngest daughter of a wealthy corporate executive and a former beauty queen.

    Geraldine Vodicka's daughter also died in Boulder in December. She was found nearly naked with her face bloodied and beaten, face-down in a construction ditch near the low-income housing project where she lived. The coroner ruled the death of the epil eptic grocery bagger - who was reported to have been an alcoholic - accidental. Police continue investigating, although Boulder Police Chief Tom Koby says he concurs with the coroner.

    Boulder police say the murder of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey was the only homicide in 1996. Others aren't so sure.

    Some neighbors and friends of 37-year-old Lorraine Florence Lawrence, who died Dec. 4, said they don't believe the assessment that she died of exposure in a hole at a construction site near a Boulder Housing Authority apartment complex. They believe L awrence was killed.

    Comparing how police handled the two cases, they said, justice may be different for a poor woman like Lawrence and an affluent family like the Ramseys.

    "I really believe justice will be served in the Ramsey case," said Tiffiney Johnson, a friend of Lawrence's who lives in the same housing com plex. "It's just the difference between rich and poor ... There's no doubt she was killed and everyone knows it."

    Repeated attempts Thursday to contact detectives regarding the case were unsuccessful.

    The neighbor who identified the

    body said Lawrence had been beaten so badly she couldn't recognize her friend's face. Lawrence's teeth were broken, her eyes were bloodied and blackened. A trail of blood led from her apartment to where her body was found, and police reportedly found a broken beer bottle next to a pool of blood about 20 yards away.

    But two weeks after her death, the Boulder County coroner released an autopsy report saying Lawrence fell into the hole - presumably dazed from a seizure - and died of exposure to the cold.

    There has been no explanation of how she could have replaced plywood and two heavy buckets over the hole, as construction workers reportedly left it and found it the morning they discovered Lawrence's body.

    "I'm not sure what happened, but it's hard for me to believe what the police say - that she died because of the cold," said the neighbor who identified Lawrence's body; she asked that her name not be used. "It's obvious that people who have more money are going to get more attention than people who are average."

    The police's treatment of the Lawrence case, some say, is starkly different from how the Ramsey case has been handled so far.

    While Boulder police initially dispatched 15 officers to the scene of Lawrence's death, that number declined within days.

    In the Ramsey case, 30 officers from Boulder police and other local law enforcement agencies have worked virtually around the clock - even sending investigators to Georgia and Michigan - since JonBenet's death the day after Christmas. The investigatio n continues.

    Police spent almost 10 days carefully scouring the Ramsey house for evidence. They finished examining the Lawrence crime scene in about two days.

    And while the coroner completed and released the autopsy report on Lawrence about two weeks after her body was found, more than two weeks have passed since JonBenet's body was found, and no such report has been released. The report is not expected for "a minimum of a week," according to the coroner's office.

    Police also released a detailed report about two weeks after Lawrence's death, even though they said it was still being investigated. In the Ramsey case, virtually all public records have been sealed: 911 recordings, search warrant affidavits and list s of what was seized from the family home.

    When Lawrence died, police immediately questioned everyone involved, including her mother, sister and stepfather. JonBenet's parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, flew to Georgia for their daughter's funeral. A week after her death, they were given a writt en list of questions; they have yet to be thoroughly interviewed in person. Police said they didn't question the Ramseys in order to give them time to grieve.

    "If Lorraine's mom wanted to grieve and wanted time or wanted to leave the state, there's no way in hell they would've let her go," Johnson said.

    When asked about the different handling of the two cases at Thursday's public forum, Koby said it was only perceived to be different because of media hype.

    "Why has the media given so much attention to this case and literally no attention to the case you described?" Koby responded when questioned about the Lawrence case.

    "The notion that we have treated them differently - any legal expert will tell you we have handled this case exactly as it should be handled ... If you go back and assess the homicides that Boulder has had, because they are infrequent events, you will find a similar response."

  2. #2
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    The December 20th article

    The article notes that on autopsy, there were no criminal signs of murder...and it says she was not sexually assaulted. In the case of JBR, there is no question she was murdered and sexually assaulted. When the Access article appeared the next day, the Vodicka family was in mourning, and the Ramsey family riding high.


    DAILY CAMERA
    CORONER: EXPOSURE KILLED WOMAN< BODY WAS FOUND IN DITCH DEC. 4; POLICE INVESTIGATION CONTINUING
    Friday, December 20, 1996
    Section: TODAY
    Edition: FIRST
    Page: 1B
    By ALLI KRUPSKI Camera Staff Writer

    The Boulder County coroner's office ruled Thursday that a 37-year-old woman found dead in a construction site hole near her apartment died of exposure to the cold as the result of seizure disorder complications.

    But Boulder police continue to investigate the death of Lorraine Florence Lawrence.


    "We need to check on foot and hand prints on some items," said police Sgt. Tom Wickman.
    A Twin Peaks Excavating foreman discovered Lawrence's body about 7:50 a.m. Dec. 4 face down in a 6-foot ditch at the Boulder Housing Authority's apartment complex in the 3100 block of Broadway. "She was only in panties and a T-shirt, but we had the hole properly secured," said J.D. Lemmel, who found the body. "We put cones around it, and when I got there in the morning, the plywood was broken," he said.

    Workers covered the hole Dec. 3 with two sheets of particle board and two heavy tractor buckets, police said.

    "People who have seizures are known to be in a state of confusion following a seizure. We believe that she was in that state and was wandering around the complex," said Dan Pruett, a medical investigator with the coroner's office. "At some point, she fell into the construction hole, where she was exposed to the cold."

    Neighbors heard a scream and a thump between 1 and 2 a.m. Dec. 4, said Detective Ron Gosage.

    Some residents said they noticed a man and a woman arguing and a car speeding away during the evening.

    About 11 p.m., a resident saw Lawrence sitting outside on ice in her underwear with blood dripping from a cut above her right eye. The neighbor escorted Lawrence back to her apartment.

    Police would not comment on a pool of blood and a broken beer bottle on ice found in the parking lot about 20 yards from the hole. Investigators also located blood inside Lawrence's apartment and skid marks outside the complex.

    "There are a lot of things present, but nothing that links them together," said Cmdr. John Eller, noting that at one point 15 detectives worked on the case. "There is no outward evidence of any criminal act. We may never know the answer to exactly what happened."

    Residents, however, said Lawrence walked around in her panties in front of the North Boulder Recreation Center on Oct. 6 and again nine days before she died, Wickman said.

    "It shows a pattern of behavior," he said. Police plan to test the particle board for weight tolerance levels, he added.

    "I don't know if she was heavy enough to have fallen in," said Geraldine Vodicka, Lawrence's mother. "I don't know what to think about what happened or how long she could have been in there."

    Coroner's officials do not know how long Lawrence remained in the ditch.

    "She was either too confused to get out or couldn't get out," Pruett said.

    Medical investigators did not find evidence of sexual assault or alcohol, Pruett said. Lawrence, however, had injested cocaine and an anti-convulsant drug, Phenytoin, sometime before her death, he said.

    "We don't know how much or when she took it," Pruett said. "She wasn't wearing a lot of clothing, and she could just have easily have died if the hole wasn't there."

    The coroner's conclusions, however, did not reassure some residents of the apartment complex.

    "There are just too many unanswered questions," said Christine Gomez, who has lived in the complex for six months. "Until they get answered, I don't know if I'll feel safe here again."

  3. #3
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    The First Article December 5th, 1996

    DAILY CAMERA
    BODY FOUND AT BOULDER WORK SITE
    Thursday, December 5, 1996
    Section: MAIN
    Edition: FIRST
    Page: 1A
    By ALLI KRUPSKI Camera Staff Writer
    Caption: PHOTO:
    By Crissy Pascual Daily Camera

    CRIME SCENE: Police investigate the site where a construction worker found the body of a 37-year-old Boulder woman.




    As her grieving mother and sister watched Wednesday morning, authorities removed the body of a 37-year-old Boulder woman from a construction site ditch close to her apartment near the North Boulder Recreation Center.

    A Twin Peaks Excavating foreman discovered the body of Lorraine Florence Lawrence face down in the hole near the Boulder Housing Authority's apartment complex in the 3100 block of Broadway about 7:50 a.m. Wednesday, Boulder police said.


    "We are treating it as a suspicious death," said city spokesman Kelvin McNeill. "It appears that the hole was properly covered and access to it was limited."
    Police would not comment on the condition of the body or possible suspects. The Boulder County coroner's office planned to conduct an autopsy today.

    Workers had covered the 6-foot hole with two pieces of plywood and two heavy buckets Tuesday night.

    "We had it secured, so nobody could lift the plywood. It was safe so nobody could fall in, and there was equipment parked around it," said J.D. Lemmel, who found the body.

    "When I got there this morning, the plywood was broken. And when I looked in, she was only in panties and a T-shirt," Lemmel said.

    Lemmel notified police, who said they found a trail of blood leading from the apartment building to the hole, as well as a broken beer bottle near the scene. Investigators removed the body about 1 p.m. as runners and recreation center users stopped and stared.

    Two murders occurred in Boulder in 1995, and as of July none had taken place in the city this year, McNeill said.

    Geraldine Vodicka, Lawrence's mother, said her daughter "had epilepsy, but I don't think that's why she's dead today. I think someone killed her."

    Dominique Vodicka, Lawrence's sister who moved into the North Boulder apartment complex three months ago, said: "A neighbor saw her last night at 9 p.m. sitting on the ice in her underwear, with a black eye and blood dripping from her eye and there was a ... guy walking near her. (The neighbor) made her go inside, but he never called us."

    The neighbor should have informed the family, said Jonathan Smith, a family friend.

    "If it looked like she had been punched or hit, and if he had called us or the police, she would be alive today," Smith said."She wouldn't have hurt a fly, and she didn't deserve to die."

    Family members said they will remember Lawrence's gentle disposition. The mother of a 9-year-old son, Chad, and the oldest of five children, Lawrence had worked as a bagger at Safeway at 2798 Arapahoe Ave. for the past four years, Geraldine Vodicka said.

    "Lorraine liked reading and taking long walks," her mother said, noting that Lawrence had lived in the complex for roughly nine years. "She was just a sweet person who never bothered anybody or fought with anyone."

    But Lawrence had encountered violence in the past several years, according to records from the Boulder County Sheriff's Department. Records show she reported an assault in May 1990, a domestic dispute in January 1991 and saw a friend harass her sister, Elaine Romero, in October 1996.

    Neighbors said they occasionally heard Lawrence argue with friends, but did not notice any unusual noise Tuesday night. Some residents, however, said they heard a car speeding away during the evening.


    Irving Tejeda, who lives in the apartment next to Lawrence's, said he noticed her "wide open" front door at 7 a.m. Wednesday. "The lights were out, and it was cold," he said.

    Staff writer Margie McAllister contributed to this report.

  4. #4
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    February 1997

    There was nothing in these articles about Mrs. Vodicka being a former housekeeper of the Ramseys. The Boulder Camera solicited donations for a tombstone since the family was too poor to pay for one. An article appeared showing Mrs. Vodicka and another daughter by the tombstone in the cemetery, and it was that article it was mentioned that Mrs. Vodicka had been a former housekeeper of the Ramseys.


    DAILY CAMERA
    CASE NOT CLOSED IN LAWRENCE DEATH< POLICE LEAN TOWARD EXPOSURE AS CAUSE
    Wednesday, February 12, 1997
    Section: MAIN
    Edition: FIRST
    Page: 2A
    By ELLIOT ZARET Camera Staff Writer

    Boulder police investigators still haven't closed the book on the death of Lorraine Florence Lawrence - found dead at a construction site Dec. 4 - even though the Boulder County coroner concluded the death was accidental nearly two months ago.

    "They do their own investigation and we do our own investigation," said police Detective Ron Gosage. "Some of it's the same and some of it's different."


    The coroner determined that 37-year-old Lawrence - found partially clothed with bruises on her head and side in a hole near the public-housing apartment complex where she lived - died of exposure to the cold after wandering disoriented following a seizure. Temperatures hovered near freezing that night.
    "This all fits together pretty well and pretty logically," said Boulder County Coroner Dr. John Meyer. "Our burden of proof is preponderance of the evidence - what's more likely than not. It's not beyond reasonable doubt, because we can't prove a negative."

    The case has been the subject of public controversy after some neighbors criticized police andling of the case, compared to the intense investigation into the murder of JonBenet Ramsey.

    But Meyer said that controversy may have been fueled by some media inaccuracies. For instance, Meyer disputed reports that the construction hole where Lawrence's body was found had been re-covered with plywood boards that covered the hole the day before.

    Lawrence's body was found leaning against a broken board in the hole, her leg scraped and bruised, said Meyer. The board was half-inch particle board - not plywood - something chief medical investigator Tom Faure described as "relatively lightweight." A person stepping on it, he said, could easily have fallen through.

    The coroner initially investigated the case as a homicide, but an autopsy report showed the bruises and cuts on her face did not cause her death. There also were no other signs that her death was caused by some sort of beating or injury.

    "She had injuries on her that someone looking at her would say she was beaten," said Meyer. "We're looking at the totality of the information that we have, and we don't think she was beaten. ... If we had found in the autopsy skull fractures or a ruptured spleen, that's a homicide - no question about it."

    The coroner also researched Lawrence's medical history. It was that history that convinced him Lawrence died accidentally.

    From the woman's medical records Meyer learned that Lawrence, who suffered from epileptic seizures, had been found wandering around semi-clothed, bruised, bloody and confused on several instances, including the night before her death. Meyer said such a period of confusion is common immediately following a seizure - called a "post-ictal state."

    In another instance in October, Lawrence was brought to the emergency room by a stranger who found her outside her apartment half naked, incoherent and covered with blood.

    Such instances were most common when Lawrence was not taking her prescribed seizure medication, Dilantin, Meyer said. The autopsy found levels of the drug in her bloodstream, but they were below "therapeutic levels" - in other words, she had been off her medication. Cocaine also was found in her system, officials said.

    Meyer and Faure sat down with members of the family and told them how they believed Lawrence had died - that she wandered around in a disoriented state after a seizure and fell into the hole, where she died of exposure. The bruises and blood on her, they said, were self-induced.

    They then sat down with police investigators, who did not object to the ruling.

    But police are waiting for evidence from CBI labs before they decide whether to close the case. Those results are expected soon, said Gosage, who added that the long wait is simply due to the CBI's caseload.

    Gosage agrees that Lawrence was not beaten, nor "struck with anything that we can tell." As for a broken beer bottle found near some blood on the parking lot, "I think the broken beer bottle was a coincidence," Gosage said, adding that only the bottom of the bottle was found in the parking lot.

    "We're strongly leaning toward the coroner's conclusion," said Gosage. "I won't be able to say 100 percent until we get (CBI evidence) back."

  5. #5
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    Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roy23 View Post
    Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    That's what I thought too! May just be another coincidence, but if someone were upset enough about Lorraine's death, and upset that the police were blowing it off to an accident (true or not)......it could be a motive and they snapped when they read the Access article and wanted revenge---or revenge and money for the Vodicka family. Would be interesting to learn if any tips were given early on about a connection, that were blown off.

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    Interesting story.
    Why was she fired?
    The rice is already cooked...

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maikai View Post
    That's what I thought too! May just be another coincidence, but if someone were upset enough about Lorraine's death, and upset that the police were blowing it off to an accident (true or not)......it could be a motive and they snapped when they read the Access article and wanted revenge---or revenge and money for the Vodicka family. Would be interesting to learn if any tips were given early on about a connection, that were blown off.

    Quote Respect Maikai

    Thank you for posting this story. I am obviously confused though. I get that Lorraine was (killed/died) before JB. But, how would someone kill JB because they were mad that Lorraine's death wasn't being investigated like JB? JB would have already been killed and then the person would have to be mad that the two investigations were not being handled the same.

    Also: Where is the information that she was the Ramsey's housekeeper? Can I look that up? I do find that connection very interesting.

    btw: it is terrible that just because you have money you get treated better. not that this is what happened in this case(necessarily) but it happens.

    I realize I am not understanding something, I'm not questioning you.

    Thank you

    ...jmo...
    John 14:6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maikai View Post
    That's what I thought too! May just be another coincidence, but if someone were upset enough about Lorraine's death, and upset that the police were blowing it off to an accident (true or not)......it could be a motive and they snapped when they read the Access article and wanted revenge---or revenge and money for the Vodicka family. Would be interesting to learn if any tips were given early on about a connection, that were blown off.
    Now THAT's something I can wrap my head around!
    I'm as mad as HELL and I'm NOT gonna take it anymore!.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by madeleine View Post
    Interesting story.
    Why was she fired?
    Allegedly, money was missing from Patsy's purse.


  11. #11
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    Question

    Quote Originally Posted by SuperDave View Post
    Now THAT's something I can wrap my head around!
    Hello SuperDave

    I appreciate the answers you have given to some of my questions so I hope you do not mind if I ask you about this subject of Vodicka.

    You can see my confusion on my post below.

    Thanks in advance.

    ...jmo...
    John 14:6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chiquita71 View Post
    Hello SuperDave

    I appreciate the answers you have given to some of my questions so I hope you do not mind if I ask you about this subject of Vodicka.

    You can see my confusion on my post below.

    Thanks in advance.

    ...jmo...
    Sadly, Chiquita, this one's new to me, too.
    I'm as mad as HELL and I'm NOT gonna take it anymore!.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperDave View Post
    Sadly, Chiquita, this one's new to me, too.
    I thought you knew everything!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maikai View Post
    I thought you knew everything!
    I never said that.
    I'm as mad as HELL and I'm NOT gonna take it anymore!.



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