(Boulder, CO) ABC News is reporting that John Mark Karr, the 41-year-old former schoolteacher who is wanted for questioning in the murder of JonBenet Ramsey, was charged in 2001 with possession of child pornography in Sonoma County, CA.
Karr is also wanted in California for failing to appear in court, according to law enforcement sources. Karr taught in the Petaluma school district for several years, and as recently as 2002 met requirements.
The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing suspended Karr's license to teach on April 11, 2002. He was suspended because of a "complaint, information or an indictment that had been filed in court" against him alleging that he committed a sex offense or an offense "involving aiding and abetting the unlawful sale, use or exchange to minors of controlled substances," according to the minutes of the hearing.
Steve Bolman, a spokesperson from the Petaulma School District, said Karr had worked as a substitute teacher in Petaluma schools from December 2000 until April 2, 2001. Bolman declined to state why Karr was termintated on that date.
Mary Armstrong, from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, said that Karr was licensed to teach in California from December 2000 until May 2003. His credentials were revoked in 2003 as the result of the criminal conviction for posession of child pornography, she said.
Karr is being extradited to Boulder, CO so that investigators working on the case can interview him; he was detained in Thailand early Wednesday. The former elementary school teacher was arrested Wednesday at his apartment in downtown Bangkok and was being held pending arrival of U.S. officals, according to Thailand police.
Left: John Mark Karr in Xeroxed photo distributed by Thai police, courtesy of Reuters
CBS News is reporting that investigators found Karr because of a series of e-mails he allegedly sent them regarding the case. Officials have told several news outlets that the Ramseys knew Karr, but they have not disclosed how the Ramseys and Karr were acquainted.
Karr once lived in Conyers, GA, not far from where JonBenet Ramsey was born. MSNBC is reporting that Karr also lived in Boulder, CO around the time that the 6-year-old was murdered.
Nathaniel Karr, the suspect's brother, lives in Atlanta, and he confirmed the arrest of his brother in the case to KPIX late Wednesday afternoon.
"We have only positive things to say about my brother. We believe he is totally innocent and the evidence is circumstantial," he said.
Thai police, though, announced Thursday that Karr has admitted the killing while in custody.
"He told police while under arrest that he did kill the girl but so far he has not pleaded guilty in writing. This is needed as official evidence," said Lt. Gen. Suwat Tumrongsiskul.
Left: John Mark Karr at Thai press conference, courtesy of Reuters
A cached copy of Karr's resume is available here; the jobs4teachers.com website has pulled the original. On the resume he makes what now appear to be chilling comments about the young children he has recently cared for:
Two girls - 5 and 8; boy 10...I helped the 8 year old girl with her homework each day. I took the children outside for play. At days end, I made sure the children had their evening bath, then put them to bed and read to them before they went to sleep.and also
Baby girl 9 months, boy 3, and girl 4: I taught English to the three year old boy and four year old girl, through conversational and instructional methods. I was very attentive to needs of the baby which included changing, feeding, and bathing her. I helped the baby when she learned to walk at 10 and a half months.Thai police official Tumroungsiskul provided further details about Karr's confession.
"He killed the girl by accident," he told reporters after primary school teacher John Mark Karr, 41, was interrogated. "They fell in love with each other. She was very beautiful. So he kidnapped her and killed her by accident."