The unsolved murder case of JonBenet Ramsey has captivated the attention of the nation for almost 20 years. On December 26, 1996, the the 6-year-old child beauty queen was found bludgeoned and strangled in the basement of her own Boulder, Colorado home. Prior to the discovery of JonBenet Ramsey's remains, her frantic mother had called 911 to report the little girl missing, citing a now-infamous ransom note demanding $118,000 for the girl's safe return.According to those who have investigated the murder of JonBenet Ramsey, they believe that the crime scene (along with the disputed ransom note, which has been attributed without proof to now-deceased Patsy Ramsey, JonBenet's mother) may have been staged. An autopsy determined that strangulation ended the life of little JonBenet, but the medical examiner has gone on record to add that her head injuries also would likely have proven fatal.
In addition to being beaten on the head and strangled, law enforcement has reported that JonBenet Ramsey suffered vaginal trauma. However, like the rest of the tragic crime scene, investigators believe that the little girl's "sexual assault" may have been staged.
"The rest of the scene we believe was staged, including the vaginal trauma, to make it look like a kidnapping/assault gone bad."In the aftermath of the murder of JonBenet Ramsey, investigators and the general public focused their collective scrutiny on the little girl's parents. Fingers were pointed based on the favorite pastime of JonBenet; namely, participating in child beauty pageants involving large amounts of make-up and what many called "child exploitation." Other red flags caused law enforcement to zero in on the Ramsey family, from the apparently staged crime scene to the fact that no intruder was heard or seen at the home to the notorious ransom note.
A grand jury was eventually convened in the murder case of JonBenet Ramsey. Ultimately, charges were never levied against John and Patsy Ramsey and eventually, the Boulder District Attorney Mary Lacy announced that the couple had been "cleared of wrongdoing" in their daughter's murder. That announcement was a controversial one and based upon some questionable DNA result.Now, nearly 20 years after the murder of JonBenet Ramsey, ABC News reports that a member of the Boulder grand jury has spoken to the media for the first time. According to that unnamed grand juror, he believed that the state had enough evidence to indict John and Pasty Ramsey in the death of JonBenet. He didn't believe, however, that the state would be able to secure a conviction in the case.
"There is no way that I would have been able to say, 'Beyond a reasonable doubt, this is the person. And if you are the district attorney, if you know that going in, it's a waste of taxpayer dollars to do it."The grand jury in the murder case of JonBenet Ramsey was convened in late 1998, and over the course of a year, the eight women and four men became among the only people in the world who saw the entirety of the evidence in the murder of JonBenet. That evidence had been presented by then-Boulder County District Attorney Alex Hunter as a case against the parents of JonBenet Ramsey.
It is important to note that grand jury proceedings in Colorado are completely secret, with strict rules and severe penalties for speaking publicly about what goes on behind closed doors. Even so, after two decades this grand juror in the JonBenet Ramsey murder case has decided to take the risk and speak to the media about what he knows.According to the JonBenet grand juror, he didn't know much about the murder of the 6-year-old beauty queen before he was called to serve on the case. However, in the year that he served on the grand jury, he learned more than anyone would ever have wanted to know, saw evidence that left him shaken, and was even taken on a tour of the Ramsey basement where JonBenet was found dead.
"I saw that there was a little girl dressed up with, in my opinion, a sexual persona, and it disgusted me. And I turned off the TV."At the end of their tenure, the Boulder grand jury did recommend that John and Patsy Ramsey be charged in connection with the death of JonBenet. While they didn't believe that the state could secure a murder conviction (or convictions) in the case, jurors believed that the little girl's parents "placed JonBenet in a situation resulting in her death."
The unnamed grand juror who spoke to 20/20 added that he "knows" who killed JonBenet, but never expressly points the finger at the only people he directly investigated - John and Patsy Ramsey.
Shockingly, after all of that collective time and effort, the prosecutor in the case disregarded the decision of the grand jury, a grand jury that he himself had convened. He nullified their findings and publicly announced that the prosecution didn't have enough evidence to file charges against the Ramsey's or anyone else that had yet been investigated in the murder of JonBenet Ramsey.
Years later, Boulder District Attorney Mary Lacy would publicly "clear" the Ramsey's in their daughter's murder.The JonBenet Ramsey murder case is still open and under investigation to this day. Nearly 20 years since the burgeoning beauty queen's life was cut short, investigators are still reviewing DNA and other evidence in the case. As Yahoo News reported, it has recently been announced by new District Attorney Stan Garnett that new DNA tests are being conducted in the murder case of JonBenet Ramsey.
In the two decades since JonBenet was found murdered, advances have been made in DNA testing. Additionally, Colorado is home to a new crime lab with newly advanced forensic technology. According to the DA, the new DNA tests could " give us new information that could be helpful to the investigation." However, when it comes to the solving the murder of JonBenet Ramsey, District Attorney Garnett is only cautiously optimistic adding that investigators don't think that the new tests will "definitively solve or prove the case."
[Featured Image by Ric Feld/AP Photo]