JonBenet Ramsey would have celebrated her 23rd birthday this year, except that 17 years ago to the day — on December 26, 1996 — her parents found the 6-year-old child beauty queen dead in the basement of their home. She had been hit on the head and strangled.
As the contentious case moves toward its second decade without a solution, police in Boulder, Colorado, where the family resided, say they expect that whoever murdered the angelic young girl will get away with it — forever.
“The case is still open, but is not actively being investigated and there are no new leads,” Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner said, quoted by United Press International. “While we believe at this point it is unlikely there will ever be a prosecution, the Boulder Police Department still holds out some hope that one day the district attorney and the Boulder Police Department will be able to put together a case worthy of presenting to a jury.”
In 1999, it was revealed only in October of this year, a grand jury thought it had just such a case. Acting in secret, the grand jury voted to indict JonBenet’s parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, on charges of child abuse resulting in death, and accessory to a crime.
But the District Attorney at the time, Alex Hunter, was not convinced. He ignored the grand jury indictment, believing he lacked enough evidence to take a case against the parents to court.
If Patsy Ramsey, who guided her daughter through numerous child beauty pageants, was keeping ay secrets about JonBenet’s murder, she took them to the grave. She died of ovarian cancer in 2006.
In 2011, JonBenet’s father, John Ramsey, married fashion designer Jan Rousseaux.
The Ramsey couple always maintained that they had nothing to do with causing their daughter’s death. In 2008, the District Attorney who succeeded Hunter, Mary Lacy, said that DNA evidence exonerated the parents in the murder of JonBenet Ramsey.
More than 150 DNA samples were examined, police told Denver’s Channel 7 News, and about 140 suspects were investigated — all to no avail.
Before discovering JonBenet’s body, the parents found a ransom note purportedly left by the killer. The letter began, “Mr. Ramsey, listen carefully!” That phrase forms the title of an upcoming book by former local television reporter Paula Woodward.
But even after researching the case for four solid years and, she says, obtaining the cooperation of John Ramsey and other involved in the case, Woodward refuses to say whether she has come to any conclusions. She was long perceived as a defender of the parents’ innocence in the case.
“That case was full of misperceptions, and nobody knows what I thought then and after reviewing it for four years, nobody knows what I think now,” Woodward said, quoted in Boulder’s Daily Camera newspaper. “This is doing investigative reporting: Here’s the best information I can get. Decide for yourself.”