A forensic psychiatrist who aided in the murder investigation of JonBenet Ramsey was shot dead outside his Arizona office.
ABC News reports that Steven Pitt, 59, was found shot to death on Thursday night outside his office in the Phoenix area. Police found Pitt after responding to reports of gunfire following a loud argument.
The suspected shooter fled the scene before he could be apprehended. Police have released a sketch of the suspect, and described him as a white, bald man who was wearing a dark hat with a short rim at the time of the shooting.
JUST IN: Police say psychiatrist Dr. Steven Pitt was shot, killed outside of his office near Paradise Lane and 71st Street last night. Suspect sought, @SilentwitnessAZ offering $1,000 reward for information on homicide. #abc15 pic.twitter.com/0HqjIIaHsl
— ABC15 Arizona (@abc15) June 1, 2018
Phoenix police Sgt. Vince Lewis told the Associated Press that it was not known at this time if Pitt’s murder had any connection to his work as a forensic psychiatrist who has testified and aided in a number of high-profile cases, including the 1996 murder of child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey. The six-year-old girl was found murdered in her family’s basement in December 1996, after her mother Patsy Ramsey found a ransom note claiming the girl had been kidnapped and demanding money.
The case was never solved, and JonBenet’s parents were cleared by way of DNA evidence. According to TMZ, Steven Pitt believed that undigested pineapple found in JonBenet’s stomach was a key to the investigation. Both of JonBenet’s parents denied giving her the pineapple, but the medical examination revealed that she had eaten in shortly before her death, likely from a bowl of the fruit in the kitchen. Both Patsy’s and JonBenet’s brother Burke’s fingerprints were reportedly found on the bowl of pineapple. Burke was only nine years old at the time of the murder, and some who have followed the case believe he may have somehow played a role in her death, even if it was unintentional.
Pitt, a father of two, additionally consulted on well-known cases including the Columbine school shooting, the Kobe Bryant sex assault case, and the “Baseline” serial investigation. Pitt is believed to have played a central role in solving that case, as his work helped lead to the arrest 0f Mark Goudeau, who was convicted and sentenced to death for a murder spree that killed 11 people.