Young beauty queen JonBenét Ramsey was born on August 6, 1990, and died on December 25, 1996, at the tender age of six years old.
It’s been nearly 20 years since this little girl’s infamous disappearance and subsequent death and to this day, despite an exhaustive investigation, the case has still not been solved. However, recently unsealed clues in the murder of young JonBenét Ramsey may provide new insight into what really happened that fateful Christmas night…
JonBenét Ramsay was a six-year-old beauty pageant phenom. Even at such a young age, she was taking the pageant world by storm. She was talented, adorable, and very pretty. Patsy Ramsey, JonBenét’s mother, was herself a former beauty queen. It was at her insistence that JonBenét enter in the child beauty pageants.
John Ramsey, JonBenét’s father, was the owner of Access Graphics, a very successful computer services company that had done over $1 billion in revenue in 1996. In addition to JonBenét, the Ramseys had a nine-year-old son named Burke Ramsey. The family lived peacefully in Boulder, Colorado until one fateful Christmas…
Records indicate that JonBenét visited her pediatrician no less than 27 times between age three and six. Though it is not considered excessive, at least by her doctor’s own admission, it was a suspicious amount. If her pediatrician had indeed known something was wrong, he never revealed what it was. Even after the worst occurred.
On the day after Christmas, the Ramseys woke to find their precious, beautiful daughter missing from her bedroom. They apparently found a ransom note and brought it with them when they called the police. The police searched the whole house, including the basement where she was later discovered, but found no signs of JonBenét…
According to John Ramsey, he found his daughter’s body in the basement later that afternoon, after the police had left. Apparently, the ransomer had decided to just return the girl’s lifeless body to her home though no note of explanation was ever found.
Cause of Death
According to the coroner’s report, JonBenét sustained a broken skull from a blow to the head, but the official cause of death was concluded to be “asphyxiation due to strangulation associated with craniocerebral trauma”. Someone had struck her over the head and strangled her with a garrote. But who could have done such a thing to such a sweet little girl on Christmas night?
The World Weeps
The death of poor little JonBenét Ramsey hit the world hard. The story was a fixture of local and national news for months and the initial investigation was widely publicized. On April 27th, 1997, the Ramseys offered up a $100,000 reward for any information that might lead to their darling daughter’s killer.
The police initially suspected that JonBenét’s death was caused accidentally. They thought perhaps either Patsy or her brother Burke had killed the girl in a fit of rage or frustration. The family didn’t help allay those suspicions either, as they stymied police every step of the way by withholding information…
The alleged three-page ransom note demanded $118,000 for her JonBenét’s safe return. Based on the time of death and the unexplained reappearance of the body, police believed that JonBenét’s death might have been accidental and that it was being rather clumsily covered up by the likely suspects, her parents.
The Boulder police decided to focus almost exclusively on John and Patsy Ramsey as the suspected killers of their daughter. Statistically, there is a 12-to-1 probability that a family member or a caregiver is involved in the death of a child. The theory was sound, but the pattern wasn’t there. Despite her frequent doctor visits, Patsy had no history of lashing out angrily at her daughter…
The Boulder County District Attorney’s Office eventually presented the case to the grand jury, who wanted to indict the Ramseys. But amassed among all the evidence were 437 evidential items that pointed the blame away from the Ramseys. In the end, the prosecutors decided not to press charges, even though Boulder police were adamant of the Ramseys’ guilt.
That wasn’t the only reason that Boulder County District Attorney Alex Hunter didn’t prosecute the Ramseys, however. He too believed that they weren’t telling the whole story, that they had some hand in what had befallen their daughter, but he also knew he couldn’t meet the higher standard of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The Ramseys were going to get away with it.
One of the main issues concerning the reasonable doubt was caused by the Boulder Police Department. The police made a number of errors in the initial investigation which included: loss of evidence, contamination of evidence, lack of experienced staff, sharing evidence with their main suspects the Ramseys, and delay in interviewing the parents.
The world at large also believed that John and Patsy Ramsey, who appeared publicly as very unlikeable and haughty, were guilty of JonBenét’s murder. The two were harangued constantly by those they encountered and dealt with the backlash of those allegations for years. Patsy, who died in 2006, was particularly affected by the world’s insistence that she had killed her perfect angel….
Cleared of Charges
In 2003, investigators reexamined the already open case. Trace DNA, taken from the victim’s clothes, was found to belong to an unknown male. Perhaps the Ramseys were correct, maybe someone else had been in their basement, had kidnapped and killed their daughter. The police cross-checked the DNA to the Ramseys, they apologized and fully cleared them of all suspicions.
There are two types of theories about the death of JonBenét. The first involves the alleged intruder who snuck into the Ramseys house and stole off with the girl before accidentally killing her. The second of course still concerns the Ramseys’ involvement, but as time moves on that theory seems less and less likely. Though new confessions and evidence seem to point to either…
In August of 2006, a lunatic named John Mark Karr, who was a 41-year-old elementary school teacher, claimed that he had been the one who drugged, sexually assaulted, and accidentally killed little JonBenét Ramsey. This proved to be a false confession as there were no drugs in JonBenét’s system and DNA samples taken from Karr didn’t match the DNA on her body.
More suspicious information was revealed in 2013 when the 1999 court documents of the grand jury were unsealed. Items like the bit of pineapple in JonBenét’s stomach that her mother swore she didn’t give her. Or the odd ransom amount of $118,000 dollars, which had been close to the amount John had been paid in a recent bonus. Then in 2016 a break came…
The Case Today
In September of 2016, CBS reopened the case once more. Using a team of experts, they reevaluated the evidence in the case. Their assertion was that Burke Ramsey did, in fact, hit his sister over the head, but that it was not his intent to kill her. They also implied that the famous ransom note was indeed the Ramseys attempt at covering up the accidental killing.
What We Know
If JonBenét’s nine-year-old brother had indeed killed her in a misplaced fit of adolescent rage, then perhaps he ought to be punished for his crimes. Unfortunately, without sufficient proof, the case will remain open, and the mystery surrounding this depressing tragedy will remain unsolved, until the day the killer is caught and JonBenét can finally rest in peace.