JonBenet Ramsey: ‘Dateline NBC’ And Investigation Discovery Examine Boulder’s ‘American Murder Mystery’ Of Dead Beauty Queen

JonBenet Ramsey, the 6-year-old beauty queen who was found dead in her basement the day after Christmas, is the subject of several documentaries that are airing over the next few days. Dateline NBC will review the case this Friday for the 20th anniversary of JonBenet Ramsey’s death. The Dateline episode is titled “Who Killed JonBenet.” On Monday, Investigation Discovery will pry the case open in their documentary JonBenet: An American Murder Mystery. Both cases will examine the circumstances around the beauty queen’s murder and update the public with any new details in the case. Rolling Stone reported that A&E has already aired their documentary The Killing of JonBenét: The Truth Uncovered, and a three-part series featuring Burke Ramsey will air on Dr. Phil.

Dateline NBC and ID’s JonBenet: An American Murder Mystery will show that JonBenet Ramsey was killed on December 26, 1996. Her killer has never been brought to justice. Some believe that it was JonBenet’s mother, Patsy Ramsey. Others say an intruder came into the home and killed the little girl while her family slept.

According to People, the case of JonBenet Ramsey has fascinated the public over the last two decades, and a lot has happened since the case first broke. Patsy Ramsey has since died from cancer. Burke, the Ramseys’ son, is all grown up, and John Ramsey remarried in 2011.

A Very Creepy Christmas

Anyone who remembers Christmas of 1996 can remember the blazing headlines about JonBenet Ramsey, coupled with images of a beautiful 6-year-old pageant girl who was dressed in full makeup, big hair, and grown-up dresses.

The headlines stated that the girl had been found murdered in her home in Boulder, Colorado. In addition to JonBenet’s pageant photos, which some found disturbing, there were photos of their posh home outfitted in elaborate Christmas decorations. It was an eerie Christmas murder that people have never forgotten. According to authorities, Patsy Ramsey found a ransom note informing her that her daughter had been kidnapped.

After Patsy Ramsey dialed 911, officers came out to the scene and found it odd that Patsy Ramsey was already dressed and wearing makeup. It turns out, the clothes that she was wearing were from the night before, leading them to believe that she had never gone to sleep that night.

Family and friends poured into the home to offer support, and hours later, like a bizarre scene out of a movie, John Ramsey found JonBenet’s dead body in the basement of the home. She was found under a white blanket, had a cord around her neck, and her hands were bound. She was also wearing a pink nightgown. An old article from the Los Angeles Times goes more in depth about the condition of JonBenet’s body.

“A red-ink drawing of a heart was on the palm of her left hand, and a gold cross was around her neck, the report said. She also had a yellow metal ID bracelet with the inscription ‘JonBenet 12-25-96’ and a ring on her right hand. Attached to the cord around her neck was a brown wooden stick holding several loops of cord. It was irregularly broken at both ends, with several colors of paint and possibly some varnish, the report said. The word ‘Korea’ and another unintelligible word were stamped on the stick. Her hair, in pigtails, was caught in the knot of the cord and in the loops of the stick, the autopsy report said. JonBenet was wearing white panties with printed rosebuds and the word ‘Wednesday’ on the elastic band beneath long white underwear.”

JonBenet’s autopsy report indicated that her head had been struck against a hard object, knocking her unconscious before she was strangled.

One handwriting expert was certain that the ransom note was written by Patsy Ramsey. From the beginning, John and Patsy Ramsey were placed under a cloud of suspicion.

Detective Steve Thomas laid out a timeline of what he believed happened in the documentary KILLER REVEALED: Who Killed JonBenet Ramsey?

  • On Christmas day, the Ramseys ate breakfast and enjoyed the normal pleasantries of Christmas. JonBenet rode her new bike and played with her new toys. Lots of children were in and out of the house that same day. Later, the family went to a Christmas dinner.
  • After the dinner, Patsy Ramsey and John Ramsey dropped off a couple of Christmas gifts before heading home.
  • When they arrived, JonBenet had fallen asleep in the backseat, and her father took her inside the house.
  • JonBenet had some pineapple to eat, since she didn’t eat much at the party.
  • John took his daughter upstairs, read her a story, and put her to bed.

It was the last time John Ramsey saw his precious daughter alive. From there, John and Burke went to bed while Patsy Ramsey continued packing for the trip the next morning. At some point during the night, according to Detective Steve Thomas’ theory, JonBenet woke up because she had wet her bed.

The bed-wetting is indicated by the following.

  1. Plastic sheets were found
  2. Urine stains were found
  3. A diaper pack was discovered.
  4. A wet red turtleneck was found in JonBenet’s bathroom.

Was It Patsy? Who Killed JonBenet?

Thomas further theorizes that a tired and stressed out Patsy become irate that JonBenet had wet the bed and some sort of fatal encounter happened in the bathroom. At some point, the child’s head came into contact with a hard object, such as the side of the bathtub. Then in a panic, Patsy Ramsey strangled her daughter and began writing the ransom note and staging the scene to cover her tracks.

Patsy Ramsey has always denied killing her daughter and writing the ransom note. The Ramseys were eventually cleared of the murder.

On Dateline NBC‘s coverage of “Who Killed JonBenet,” expect to hear never-before-seen interviews with Jane Harmer, the former detective of Boulder Police Department, Tom Haney, a former detective in the Denver Police Department, and the 911 operator who took the call that morning in 1996 from Patsy Ramsey. Never-before-seen documents will also be made public on the show.

The Investigation Discovery show JonBenet: An American Murder Mystery, which will focus on different theories and suspect profiles, will include the following people, according to ID’s press release.

“Gordon Coombes, a former investigator for the Boulder County District Attorney’s office

“Diane Dimond, an investigative journalist for Hard Copy

“Bobby Brown and Steve Pease, both former Colorado Springs Detectives and protégés of Lou Smit’s

“Ollie Gray and John San Agustin, private investigators for the Ramsey family and leading voices advocating the ‘Intruder Theory’

“Bob Whitson, former Sergeant in the Boulder Police

“Pamela Griffin, Patsy Ramsey’s confidant who handmade all of JonBenét’s pageant costumes.”

Where To Watch JonBenet Coverage

Watch Dateline this Friday, September 9, at 9/8 p.m. Central on NBC. On Monday, September 12 at 10/9 p.m. Central watch JonBenet: An American Murder Mystery, and Dr. Phil‘s interview with Burke Ramsey will begin on Monday, September 12. Check Dr. Phil‘s website for times.

[Photo by Michael S. Green/AP Image]