The 15th anniversary of JonBenet Ramsey’s murder passed with little fanfare a few months ago.
On Aug. 29, 2000, John and Patsy Ramsey attend a news conference in Atlanta after prosecutors announced that DNA tests had cleared JonBenet Ramsey's family in the 1996 killing of the 6-year-old beauty queen. Boulder County District Attorney Mary Lacy said in 2008 that the tests point to an "unexplained third party." (Gregory Smith - AP)
There were no long takeouts in the local media pondering who might have strangled the 6-year-old and left her in the basement of her family’s home.
No press releases from police seeking clues about who might have written that long ransom note. No “48 Hours Mystery” feature marking the milestone and wondering whether DNA might eventually identify the killer.
The book is subtitled as Ramsey’s “Journey From Grief to Grace.” In it, Ramsey compares himself to Job, noting that another daughter had already died in a car crash when JonBenet was 2, and that his wife, Patsy, died of ovarian cancer almost 10 years after her daughter’s murder.
In the GMA interview, Ramsey noted that the family called JonBenet by the nickname JonnieB. And he shared far more casual photos of the little girl than those seen at the time of her death.
He called the competitiveness of the pageants his daughter participated in “unhealthy” and said he regretted his daughter’s involvement in the beauty biz. He referred to the TLC reality show “Toddlers & Tiaras” as “very bizarre.”
As the assistant city editor at the Daily Camera when this tragedy transpired, I still find the whole situation simply sad.
It’s sad that Ramsey now refers to his daughter by a nickname never mentioned in the hoopla after her death. It’s sad that now he offers photos of an authentic-looking 6-year-old, hair tousled, photos never offered to counteract the beauty pageant images of JonBenet. It’s sad that now he questions the wisdom of dressing up young girls in suggestive outfits and makeup.
Finally, it’s sad that JonBenet’s father considers her criminal case “pretty dead.”
Perhaps if the Boulder police had cleared the crime scene and conducted a thorough search of the Ramsey home on Dec. 26, 1996; perhaps if John and Patsy Ramsey had cooperated with police instead of hiring a defense attorney and talking to CNN less than a week later; perhaps if the family had done more to create a portrait of their daughter beyond beauty pageant queen; perhaps if the public and media focused less on the spectacle and more on the crime. Perhaps, then, a 6-year-old’s murder might be solved.
JonBenet’s first-grade classmates are in college now or out in the world on their own. Her peer group likely remembers little from the years right after her death — the “celebritization” of her murder, with frequent visits by Geraldo Rivera and the international media, the tabloid “revelations,” the finger-pointing at the Ramsey family (all cleared in the case by the district attorney’s office) and the constant parade of pageant photos that can still be found on the Internet.
Perhaps John Ramsey’s book will bring him peace. Perhaps it will inspire others going through difficult times.
More likely, it will make a little money and create a little publicity surge around the memory of his daughter’s death.
But of course it won’t bring her back, and it’s unlikely to catch her killer.
JonBenet Ramsey case. A lovely little 6 year old girl who was found strangled in her home on Boxing Day 1996 in Boulder Colorado.
The affluent parents were considered as suspects, but to this day there is no clear indication who may have killed little JonBenet. Her gravestone shows her death as December 25th (though she was found 1.05pm December 26th)
The investigation was certainly flawed from the start and highlights the Portuguese Police efficiency in comparison. JonBenet's body was found by the father in the basement several hours after the first alert to the police. The initial search did not find her and one lone detective remained , without back up, with the family and friends (compromising the crime scene) during the day
Hiring a prominent Atlanta libel attorney L. Lin Wood, and PR and non co-operation with the police as well as hiring their own Private Detective (Kris Kristofferson)
Here are some other notable similarities.
1) '...For a long time, the local police supported the hypothesis that her mother Patsy Ramsey injured her child in a fit of rage after the girl had wet her bed on the same night, and then proceeded to kill her either in rage or to cover up the original injury. In November 1997, several handwriting experts determined that Patsy Ramsey more than likely wrote the ransom note. According to a Colorado Bureau of Investigation report, "There are indications that the author of the ransom note is Patricia Ramsey," but they could not definitively prove this assertion.
Another hypothesis was that John Ramsey had been sexually abusing his daughter and murdered her as a cover. The Ramseys' son Burke, who was nine at the time of JonBenét's death, was also targeted by speculation, and asked to testify at the grand jury hearing. In 1999, the Governor of Colorado, Bill Owens, told the parents of JonBenét Ramsey to "quit hiding behind their attorneys, quit hiding behind their PR firm." Police suspicions were initially concentrated almost exclusively on the members of the Ramsey family, although the girl's parents had no prior signs of aggression in the public record.
2)Reports have also questioned the police's overall handling of the case. The police were later claimed by observers to have made several critical mistakes in the investigation, such as not sealing off the crime scene and allowing friends and family in and out of the house once a kidnapping was reported
3) Several defamation suits have been filed against several media organizations by Ramsey family members and their friends over reporting of the murder.
4)the three of them went to a "wine cellar" room where Ramsey found his daughter's body covered in her special white blanket. She was also found with a nylon cord around her neck, her wrists tied above her head, and duct tape covering her mouth
5) other reporters found that snow around the doors of the house had been cleared away. Police reported no signs of forced entry, although a basement window that had been broken and left unsecured before Christmas, along with other open doors, were not reported to the public until a year later.
6) as a result of newly developed DNA sampling and testing techniques, the Ramsey family members are no longer considered suspects in the case
7) The Ramseys have consistently held that the crime was committed by an intruder
8) the existence of a connection of the murder to the industry of child pornography
9) Two of the lead investigators in the case resigned, one because he believed that the investigation had incompetently overlooked the intruder hypothesis, and the other because he believed that the investigation had failed to successfully prosecute the Ramseys.
10) Several defamation lawsuits have ensued since JonBenét's murder. L. Lin Wood was the plaintiff's lead attorney for John and Patsy Ramsey and their son Burke, and has prosecuted defamation claims on their behalf against St. Martin's Press, Time, Inc., The Fox News Channel, American Media, Inc., Star, The Globe, Court TV and The New York Post.
11)John and Patsy Ramsey were also sued in two separate defamation lawsuits arising from the publication of their book, The Death of Innocence, brought by two individuals named in the book as having been investigated by Boulder police as suspects in JonBenét's murder. The Ramseys were defended in those lawsuits by Lin Wood and three other Atlanta attorneys, James C. Rawls, Eric P. Schroeder, and S. Derek Bauer, who obtained dismissal of both lawsuits including an in-depth decision by U.S. District Court Judge Julie Carnes that "abundant evidence" in the murder case pointed to an intruder having committed the crime
Investigators made many mistakes early on in the case. Interviewing the parents was virtually impossible, as the Ramseys seemed uninterested in speaking with the Boulder, Colorado Police Department about the hours just before and just after the time their daughter was murdered. Each time there was thought to be an upcoming interview with them, John and Patsy Ramsey would always set forth their own pre-interview terms and conditions that limited detectives from asking pertinent questions about the case and the terms could not be agreed upon. Attorneys had been retained for everyone, including John's former wife, Lucinda, his two older children from his first marriage and even for young Burke, who was only nine years old.
John Ramsey has time on his side, it is now 15 years ago and not a lot of people remember the case in great detail ,therefore he can play to the media with his 'suffering' . Below in great detail is how he 'claims' to have found JonBenet , her small body was solid , so yes I guess he would think she was dead !
Her mouth was covered with duct tape. Her wrists were tied and her arms raised above her head. She appeared to be in a state of full rigor mortis. A noose-like garrote made with a thin rope and one of Patsy's paintbrushes was found tightly bound around her badly bruised neck. There were no outer physical indications, but later, during the autopsy the medical examiner discovered an 8 inch long fissure where her skull had been crushed.
JonBenet the cash cow March 9, 2012—John Ramsey, father of murder victim JonBenet Ramsey, will release his new book next week while on a full media tour with ABC. The Other Side of Suffering, by John Ramsey with Marie Chapian (FaithWords/Hachette Book Group 2012) will be featured on several programs on the ABC network, including Good Morning America, The View, Nightline, GMA Weekend, in addition to an ABC Radio Network tour. Ramsey will also be a guest on Anderson Cooper’s new daytime show Anderson, CBS This Morning, CNN’s Starting Point and the weekend FOXNEWS program Huckabee. http://www.alivecommunications.com/2012/03/john-ramsey-on-abc/
The View: Wednesday, March 14, 2012 The legendary Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog are here! Plus: Author John Ramsey, and Rita Rudner in "Joy's Comedy Corner". http://theview.abc.go.com/schedule Anderson Cooper: Friday, March 16, 2012 Fifteen years after her death, John Ramsey, father of murdered child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey, joins Anderson to discuss what he thinks happened to his daughter, how he’s coped with losing his wife to ovarian cancer, and how he has found love again. In a candid and emotional interview, John talks openly about the fateful night that JonBenet was killed, the media circus that followed, and what he’s doing to keep his daughter’s memory alive http://www.andersoncooper.com/episodes/where-are-they-now-john-ramsey-15-years-after-daughter-jonbenets-death/#ixzz1oqQWip9Y
Licking your lips after saying something is a strong sign of deception.
When there is a will, there is often a way. When it comes to solving crimes, it also helps to have DNA. This JonBenet murder mystery has never been lacking for clues. There are too many clues. It is putting all the puzzle pieces together that matters.
In the last few years, some things have changed in the JonBenet Ramsey case, but the essentials remain the same. The precious little beauty queen has been dead since Christmas 1996 and the epic mystery of her murder lives on. Who killed JonBenet? An answer to that question would still captivate Colorado, America and much of the world.
Lots of sensational crime stories have come and gone, but none quite like this. It was a macabre murder on Christmas, an extraordinary crime scene, which included a lengthy handwritten ransom note, a garotte, and stained underwear (which many years later, yielded the interesting DNA). In her death, poor JonBenet became a magazine cover girl and international icon of innocent beauty. The images still haunt.
One big change is in the people putting together the puzzle. Mary Lacy is no longer the Boulder DA and neither is her predecessor, Alex Hunter. They made a mess of the matter. Do you remember Hunter and his odd musings with tabloid reporters, and Lacy's dogged pursuit of an obvious fraud, John Mark Karr?
Mary Lacy, distrusting Boulder PD's theories, took the extraordinary step of taking the case investigation away from the Boulder Police Department in 2002. In 2008, shortly before leaving office; Lacy publicly exoneratedthe entire Ramsey family.
It was Boulder DA Stan Garnett who, in 2009, gave the case back to Beckner and the Boulder PD. I have known Stan since we worked together as Denver prosecutors in the 1980's. Stan, less than two years into his first term as Boulder DA, is running for Colorado Attorney General. Stan likes the spotlight and has strong ambitions. Nothing could catapult a career like solving America's most enduring crime mystery.
Stan Garnett has been talking to the media, including the September 14 edition of our award winning Caplis and Silverman radio show. When asked "Have you ruled the Ramseys out?" Boulder DA Stan Garnett said"I'm not going to comment on that." Now that is interesting, especially in light of Garnett and Lacy further sniping at each other in the media.
Fameddetective Lou Smit, who defended the Ramseys' innocence, has passed away.
Alsogone is JonBenet's mom, the unforgettable former Miss West Virginia, Patsy Ramsey. John Ramsey and Burke Ramsey, JonBenet's father and brother, remain alive, looking for answers.
This current spasm of publicity follows the public announcement that the Boulder Police would like to get some answers from 23 year old Burke, now old enough to be on his own.
Burke Ramsey could never have been the perpetrator.
The expansive and sophisticated three page ransom note is forever an inextricable part of this murder. None of this was conceivably within the capacity of a 9 year old like Burke Ramsey, who did not kill his little sister.
As for the parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, they long labored under an "umbrella of suspicion." With Beckner back on the case and the belittling of all things done by prior DA Lacy, it would not be wise to bank on any legal assurances previously given.
'I find it disturbing and bizarre': JonBenet Ramsey's father hits out at TLC show Toddlers and Tiaras and speaks of regret at putting his daughter on 'public display'
It is little wonder then, that the father of JonBenet Ramsey finds shows like Toddlers and Tiaras 'disturbing' and 'bizarre'. It has been 15 years since the child beauty queen's death and Mr Ramsey said he cannot even bring himself to watch the hit TLC show, which showcases the competitive world of child pageants.
Child beauty queen: JonBenet Ramsey was found bludgeoned and strangled in her family's home in Boulder on December 26, 1996
John Ramsey, left, with his wife Patsy, who died in 2006: John believes children should never be put on display and believes putting his daughter in pageants led to her murder
JonBenet was found dead on Christmas day, 1996, in the basement of her family home. Her wrists were tied above her head, she had duct tape over her mouth. She had been strangled and bludgeoned to death. After an on-going 15-year investigation which held her parents John and Patricia as the chief suspects through most of it, her killer has never been found.
Due to the media frenzy surrounding the case, the world remembers the six-year-old as a real-life doll, with her face fully painted, hair coiffed with a sparkly tiara placed on top and her ruby red lips formed into a perfect smile.
It is the same image that mothers across the country strive week-after-week, pageant-after-pageant to recreate.
Rivalry: Pageant pro Eden Wood, six (left), takes on newcomer Makenzie Myers, five (right), in the TLC hit show Tantrums and Tiaras, which John Ramsey finds 'disturbing'
Too far: Shocking images of a three-year-old girl dressed as a prostitute on Toddlers and Tiaras, emulating the hit film Pretty Woman, drew a lot of negative criticism to the show
JonBenet may have been the original child beauty queen, for it was her doll-like picture that thrust the competition into the world's spotlight, garnering it negative publicity which in turn likely made it into the hit show it is today. Speaking to ABC, Mr Ramsey said he has never actually sat and watched Toddlers and Tiaras but has caught snippets of it.
He says: 'It's very bizarre. And Patsy and JonBenet didn't approach it this way. They did it just for fun.'
Days before her death, he remembered his daughter taking part in a local parade in Boulder, Colorado, when she was sat on a friend's convertible, waving to the crowd and drawing everyone's attention. 'Patsy’s mother later told me that a strange man approached the car during the parade and it made her uncomfortable,' he told ABC.
John Ramsey hopes his daughter's killer is found and is still trying to keep his daughter's memory alive
'I think about these things now and it makes me cringe. We were so naive. I now believe with all my heart that it’s not a good idea to put your child on public display.' Though he remembers his only daughter as a tomboy, Mr Ramsey recalls she very much wanted to enter the pageants because her mother had been a beauty queen. Though it is a decision he very much regrets. 'Only because that possibly might have drawn attention to us,' he told ABC. 'I don’t know. I think for - advice to a parent is just recognize that regardless of where you live, there could be evil around you. 'And don’t be naive about it. And keep your kids protected.' On that fateful day in 1996, the family received a ransom note saying they had kidnapped JonBenet and were demanding $118,000 - the amount of a bonus Mr Ramsey had recently received - or else she would be beheaded. But it was not long before her body was found in the basement of the house. Within hours, the Ramseys themselves became the chief suspects of the investigation and police were later criticized for losing focus of the crime scene and other leads by concentrating on the family - including JonBenet's brother Burke - instead of following up other leads. For the next 12 years, the blame for their beautiful daughter's death - who was given the name Miss Sunshine - lay largely on their shoulders as they fought to clear their name and find the real killer. Eventually, Boulder district attorney’s office completely cleared the Ramseys of any wrongdoing in their daughter’s slaying, and issued an apology in 2008. Since then, John Ramsey has lost his reputation, his thriving business and his wife to ovarian cancer in 2006. Though he said he will never give up hope that police will find his daughter's killer. He is still trying to keep his daughter's memory alive and he has released a book The Other Side Of Suffering, which documents his journey from grief to happiness. The 68-year-old found that happiness through his relationship with fashion designer Jan Rousseaux, who he married at a private ceremony in Charlevoix, Michigan, in July last year.
Ramsey reiterates a summary of details surrounding death of six-year-old JonBenét by murder on Christmas of 1996. He tells of the impact on the family as a result of the years of media speculation. He openly speaks of the emotions experienced while trying to prove their innocence, while going through the anguish and trauma of grief. He describes the new DNA technology which has cleared all family members of any involvement in the death of JonBenét.
My Search for JonBenet Ramsey's Killer – a 15th Anniversary Retrospective
By Jeffrey Scott Shapiro Published December 26, 2011
Nearly 15 years ago, I was recruited by the Globe tabloid to investigate the murder of JonBenet Ramsey in Boulder, Colorado.
My story was chronicled in Lawrence Schiller’s New York Times bestseller, “Perfect Murder, Perfect Town,” which featured my tale as a cub reporter immersed in the most sensational child murder case in American history.
During my time on the JonBenet Ramsey case, I tracked down the origin of the murder weapon, infiltrated the Ramsey’s church, spent nights tracking intruder suspects, worked for the Boulder Police Department as a confidential informant, had secret conversations with District Attorney Alex Hunter, and made presentations to the F.B.I. I even became acquainted with John and Patsy Ramsey.
For several years, I secretly hoped I could prove the Ramseys were innocent. Not only did I feel compassion for them in the wake of relentless media attacks, my interaction with them forced me to recognize them as real people instead of mere names in newspaper print.
In 2006 however, after Patsy Ramsey died of ovarian cancer, I came to terms with the fact that the most compelling evidence suggested that she was somehow involved in the death of her daughter – even if it was just an accident covered up to look like an intentional killing.
When the Ramseys woke up the morning of December 26, 1996, they allegedly found a three-page ransom note left on the spiral staircase of their home demanding the odd sum of $118,000. It was signed, “Victory! S.B.T.C.”
In my opinion, the handwriting in the ransom note had striking similarities to samples of Patsy’s that I’d collected over the years, and there were also what I considered to be coded messages in the note that had special significance for Patsy.
Many reporters assumed the $118,000 ransom demand was somehow connected to the $118,000 bonus John Ramsey coincidentally received that year from his company, Access Graphics, but what most people do not know is that the number 118 had a sacred meaning to Patsy.
As a devoutly religious woman who had relied on Christian faith healing, two of Patsy’s favorite books on the matter held the key.
In 1994, the Colorado Woman’s Daily did a cover story on Patsy in which she admitted that she was relying on Christian faith healing to overcome her illness. In that article, Patsy said she relied heavily on a spiritual book by Dodie Osteen called, “Healed of Cancer.”
Osteen wrote in her book that she recited Psalm 118, Verse 17 every night before going to sleep over and over again. It read: “I shall not die, but live and declare the works of the Lord.”
Patsy’s neighbor, Betty Barnhill referred another book to me that she had loaned Patsy called “Be Healed,” by Marilyn Hickey. In the second paragraph of the very first page, the author also reiterated the importance of reciting Psalm 118 regularly.
It was undeniably clear to me that the number 118 had a deeply profound importance in Patsy’s life, and so the appearance of this odd number in the ransom note was unlikely to be a coincidence.
I then tried to imagine – if a deeply Christian woman wanted to make it appear that an intruder had killed her daughter on Christmas night, what kind of person would she envision as the killer?
Who would she want to blame it on?
To me, the answer was obvious.
During the 1980’s and 1990’s, many people believed stories about Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA). Typically, SRA involved the attempted kidnapping of children for sexual molestation and sacrifice, and in some stories, children were strangled or tied up.
[snip]It is my firm belief that JonBenet’s killer was a deeply religious person who was calling out to God for help in a hysterical panic after the little girl died, someone who was trying to convince themselves that Satan was responsible for their actions.
Who would believe such a delusion?
Someone who believed their illness was caused by Satan, someone who read books that blamed every bad worldly occurrence on the dark angel; someone deeply religious who actually believed there were Satanists out there and knew about Satanic Ritual Abuse; someone who thought if they staged the murder to look like a cult killing, police may believe that’s what it was, unaware of the fact that the SRA phenomenon had already been widely discredited within law enforcement circles.
I wasn’t the only one who felt that religion somehow played into the cover up of the murder.
Several years after lead detective Steve Thomas publicly professed his unequivocal belief that Patsy was the killer, another investigator, James Kolar examined the case.Kolar, concluded that Patsy was the killer because many of the religious statements she made to the media after JonBenet’s death mirrored the types of deeply religious statements Susan Smith made after she killed her own children.
After Kolar made his presentation to Boulder District Attorney Mary Lacy, she did the unthinkable by releasing a written statement clearing the Ramseys. Lacy however, was not the original district attorney who investigated the crime, Alex Hunter was, and Hunter had always told me in private that he believed Patsy was the only logical suspect – as did almost all my sources in the Boulder Police Department, Colorado Bureau of Investigations and F.B.I.
Shortly after Lacy’s announcement that she exonerated the Ramseys, I wrote a piece for Fox News Opinion explaining why I believed she had made a fatal mistake. Since her successor Stan Garnett took over, law enforcement officials have resumed investigating their original theory that Patsy was involved.
As much as I’d love to believe that DNA was not an unrelated, accidental transfer and that Patsy was completely innocent, I cannot. In addition, I do not believe that any other member of the Ramsey family was involved in JonBenet’s death or the cover up of her murder, because neither proposition is what the totality of the evidence suggests.
Finally, there were personal observations I made that led me to think Patsy could have been involved.
One summer day in 1997 I sat beside the Ramseys in church only a few months after JonBenet’s passing. At one point, the reverend, Rol Hoverstock put his hand on John’s shoulder and compassionately whispered to him, “You’re a good man, John. I know you didn’t do this.”
Minutes later, when he walked by Patsy sitting alone in an empty pew, the two made eye contact, but instead of greeting her as he did John, he angrily looked away and drifted right past her.
That stunned me.
Jeffrey Scott Shapiro is an investigative journalist who has researched the JonBenet Ramsey murder case for nearly 15 years.