JonBenet Ramsey died almost exactly 20 years ago, and two decades on, no one has been convicted of the child beauty queen’s murder. Now, however, new DNA testing may finally lead police to the young girl’s killer.
As The Denver Post reports, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will use “new testing procedures” to try to match evidence from JonBenet’s murder to an FBI database with 15.1 million known offenders, says Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett.
On the morning of December 26, 1996, JonBenet Ramsey was reported missing by her parents, John and Patsy Ramsey. Hours later, John Ramsey found JonBenet in the basement, dead. A garotte (strangulation device) was found nearby, and an autopsy would later determine that the 6-year-old was killed by “asphyxiation due to strangulation associated with craniocerebral trauma,” according to Time. She had been bludgeoned, and duct tape was across her mouth and throat.
Also found at the scene of JonBenet’s murder was a lengthy ransom note demanding $118,00, according to Statement Analysis.
“Listen carefully! We are a group of individuals that represent a small foreign faction. We xx respect your bussiness [sic] but not the country that it serves. At this time we have your daughter in our posession [sic]. She is safe and unharmed and if you want her to see 1997, you must follow our instructions to the letter.”
The case generated far more questions than answers. Why did John and Patsy Ramsey not think to look in the basement until several hours after they had reported JonBenet missing? How were the killers able to murder the young girl in her parents’ home while the rest of the family slept upstairs? Why did they leave a ransom note despite murdering JonBenet? Was it a kidnapping gone wrong? Or was the ransom note faked in order to make it look like her murder was a kidnapping gone wrong?
Complicating matters was the fact that John and Patsy Ramsey were less than cooperative with the Boulder police, agreeing to speak to them only on their terms.
Over the ensuing years and decades, the Boulder police, the CBI, and the FBI reviewed mountains of evidence and came away with next to nothing. At various points, the Ramseys themselves were considered suspects (and in fact, in 1999 a grand jury indicted them, but the indictment was never signed by then-Boulder County District Attorney Alex Hunter, who said there was insufficient evidence to indict them). Similarly, JonBenet’s brother Burkey Ramsey, who was 9-years-old at the time of his sister’s death, was also considered a suspect but was never indicted.
In 2008, then-Boulder County District Attorney Mary Lacy announced that a review of DNA obtained from the scene of JonBenet’s murder belonged to a male who was not related to the family. That revelation, thus far, has not led to any arrests.
Stan Garnett cautions that new DNA testing may help authorities make progress on the case, but it’s unlikely that it will solve the murder once and for all.
“What I am confident about is that the Ramsey case is more than a DNA case, and to ever have a prosecutable case, we have to have several different pieces of evidence come together. DNA would be a part of that and additional testing might give us new information that could be helpful to the investigation, however I don’t expect that DNA test results alone will definitively solve or prove the case.”
As of this writing, it is unclear when the Colorado Bureau of Investigation will begin conducting new testing on the DNA related to the JonBenet Ramsey murder investigation.
[Featured Image by Barry Williams/Getty Images]