It reminded Smit of a prayer he shared with John and Patsy Ramsey years earlier on the eve of a grand jury meeting when it appeared likely Patsy would be charged with murdering her 6-year-old daughter, JonBenet, on Dec. 26, 1996, in Boulder.
The circumstances were reversed last week as Smit was the one in peril, suffering from colon cancer. He died Wednesday. He was 75.
"He died peacefully with his family all around him," said Dawn Miller, Smit's youngest daughter.
Though the retired Colorado Springs homicide detective put more than 200 killers behind bars in a career spanning more than 30 years, many people will remember him for the few suspects, including the Ramseys, that he helped keep out of prison.
He also cleared Mike Church in 1995 of suspicion in the murder of his 13-year-old daughter, Heather Dawn Church, and then led an investigation in which serial killer Robert Charles Browne was later convicted.
Friends and family said he was too honest to put someone away just to further his own career.
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