Real Name: JonBenet Patricia Ramsey
Location: Boulder, Colorado
Date: December 26, 1996
Details: On the day after Christmas in 1996, six-year-old JonBenet Ramsey vanished from her home in Boulder, after her parents, John and Patsy, found a ransom note demanding $118,000 for her safe return. Eight hours later, her body was found in the basement. She had been struck in the head and strangled. John, in an apparent panic, picked up her body and took it upstairs. Unfortunately, this destroyed important evidence. A lack of a secured crime scene also caused great amounts of evidence to be destroyed. As a result, many have criticized the official police investigation.
John was a millionaire businessman. Patsy was a former Miss West Virginia who guided JonBenet's career as a child beauty queen. Investigators have considered them suspects in her murder; however, they have not ruled out a random assailant.
Criminologist Prabha Unnithan has investigated JonBenet's murder. He believes that the police may have made several mistakes because they were not equipped to handle a high-profile murder investigation. He also notes that stranger child homicide is a rare occurrence, which would mean that John and Patsy should still be investigated as suspects.
Suspects: John and Patsy are considered suspects in JonBenet's death. It was determined that the ransom note and an apparent practice one had been written on a notepad from their home. Also, the $118,000 sum in it was the exact amount of John's Christmas bonus. Handwriting analysis would later be unable to rule out Patsy as its writer. Their lack of cooperation with the police has also made many suspicious of them.
However, John and Patsy's deny any involvement in JonBenet's murder. Neighbors, friends, and relatives have stated that they do not believe that they would be capable of such an appalling crime.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the January 31, 1997 episode. It focuses on an interview with a criminologist, Professor Prabha Unnithan, who gives his theories on it.
Results: Unresolved. After being suspects for several years, John and Patsy were cleared of any involvement in JonBenet's murder in 2003 after DNA found on her body did not match either of them or any other close relatives. In 2006, John Mark Karr confessed to her murder, but DNA found at the crime scene did not match him either, and no charges were filed against him. Sadly, Patsy died of ovarian cancer that same year. This case remains unsolved.
Despite John and Patsy being ruled out by the police, many still believe that a Ramsey relative was responsible for JonBenet's murder. They note the DNA that "cleared" the Ramseys was touch DNA, which could have ended up on her clothes when it was originally manufactured. Also, in 2013, it was revealed that a grand jury that reviewed this case decided to indict John and Patsy on charges of child abuse leading to JonBenet's murder. However, prosecutors declined to file charges against them at that time.
More recently, suspicion has fallen on JonBenet's older brother, Burke, who was nine at the time. Some amateur sleuths and retired investigators have theorized that he accidentally killed her during a fight. Afterwards, John and Patsy staged the death to look like a random crime. This theory is unconfirmed.
- JonBenet Ramsey on Wikipedia
- JonBenet Ramsey on Biography.com
- No Charges in Death of Child Beauty Queen
- Ramsey Case Suspect Cleared After DNA Tests
- New DNA Technology Clears the Family of JonBenet Ramsey
- Grand Jury Urged Charges in JonBenet Ramsey Case
- 20 years later, JonBenet Ramsey's murder remains unsolved. Why?
- Who killed JonBenet Ramsey? The theories and questions of the case