Relatives of missing North Texas boy feel betrayed by parents

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by MONIKA DIAZ / WFAA

khou.com

Posted on April 2, 2012 at 11:18 AM

DALLAS — Dallas police called off the search for 11-year-old Johnathan Ramsey on Sunday morning.

The search for the boy's remains in Ellis County has been difficult, police say, because of the terrain and previous weather conditions. Detectives don't know when the search can resume.

The boy's father, Aaron Ramsey, and his stepmother, Elizabeth Ramsey, are at the Dallas County Jail, accused of injuring the child.  The Ramseys' bond is $500,000 each. If the boy's remains are found, they could face additional charges.

Police believe the couple starved the boy and then dumped his body in a field south of Ennis.

Investigators said Edward Ramsey, Aaron's father, went to police with concerns about his grandson's safety. He told investigators he wanted to see his grandson, but his son was always coming up with excuses.

Elizabeth Ramsey's Facebook page includes dozens of family photos in 2010 and early 2011. There are photos of Aaron Ramsey and his son visiting a model train display at a local mall;  the boy at the couple's wedding; and Jonathan kissing his stepmother's pregnant belly.

According to documents obtained by The Dallas Morning News, the couple admitted to giving the boy "military rations" of food as punishment — bread, water, and sometimes milk.

Aaron Ramsey told investigators during questioning that he punished the boy by locking him in a bedroom after he allegedly hit a pregnant Elizabeth Ramsey in the stomach, causing her to lose their triplets.

Elizabeth Ramsey told investigators, that the boy's health "slowly deteriorated and described him as looking like one of the kids you see on the commercials from Africa."  She went on to say that the boy was really thin and unable to walk at times due to the loss of strength.

The boy's maternal grandparents told News 8 in a telephone interview Sunday that they would send birthday and Christmas gifts to Johnathan, but never got a response.

Starla Swanson, the boy's maternal step-grandmother, said Johnathan's mother is devastated and filed court papers for visitation last year.  She told News 8 that Aaron and Elizabeth Ramsey lied to everyone for months. They feel betrayed.

"There are no words.  You feel like a failure.  You wish you would have tried harder, faster.  Grandparents have no rights," said Swanson.

Swanson hoped she would get to see Johnathan when he was older.  She said she would have not stopped trying to get in contact with him.  Those hopes are now gone.

E-mail mdiaz@wfaa.com

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