Child murder mystery haunts the US psyche
Friday 10 January 1997
Tom Koby was due to meet five local reporters for a discussion to be broadcast on Boulder's municipal cable network last night. His police department, which has released virtually no information on its investigation, has pointed to no suspects or even tangible leads in the death of the child beauty queen.
Home videos of JonBenet - pronounced "Shaunbernay" - sauntering down catwalks, precociously belting out patriotic songs - have seared the image of the dead child into the public mind.
Early on Boxing Day morning, Boulder police were called to the home of John Ramsey, founder of a billion-dollar high technology company. His wife, Patsy, a former Miss West Virginia, told of finding a neatly written three-page ransom note that said "We have your daughter" and demanding the strange sum of $118,000. For eight hours, it is now reported, police waited for the kidnappers to call while a bank provided the cash.
In a highly unusual procedure, they then asked Mr Ramsey to search his house for anything odd. He found his daughter's body in the wine cellar, her mouth sealed with duct tape, a cord around her neck, her skull fractured, and reportedly sexually assaulted. Since then, the police department has responded to an invasion by the national press with silence.
Dribs and drabs of information, however, have pointed suspicion at the family. Only the couple and their nine-year-old son were said to be in the house that night, although Mr Ramsey's two grown children from a previous marriage had visited on Christmas Day. There was no sign of a forced entry.
The bizarre circumstances of her death have brought comparisons to the case of Susan Smith, the South Carolina mother who confessed to drowning her two picture perfect children - also captured on family videos - after claiming they were kidnapped by a carjacker.
Mr and Mrs Ramsey have both hired lawyers and a media adviser. They made a single tearful appearance on CNN, but have not so far agreed to be formally interviewed by police. When Mrs Ramsey warned of a "killer on the loose", city officials went out of their way to say there was no danger to the public.
The ransom note - and part of a "practice" note - were matched to a pad found in the house, according to newspaper reports.
But family friends have noted that with the Ramseys having spent a reported half a million dollars extending the house, numerous workmen had access. Others have suggested that a disgruntled employee of Mr Ramsey might have been behind a kidnap attempt.
- 1 Home Office says Nigerian asylum-seeker can’t be a lesbian as she’s got children
- 2 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 3 Drugs Live cannabis trial: Hash is less harmful than any other drug, expert claims
- 4 Turkish Airlines flight TK 726 crash-lands on Nepal runway amid dense fog
- 5 Apple and Google users being spied on for a decade because of 'Freak' security flaw
The City of the Monkey God: Archaeologists claim to have found city lost for 1,000 years in remote Honduran jungle
Turkish Airlines flight TK 726 crash-lands on Nepal runway amid dense fog
Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
London property boom built on dirty money
Becky Watts: Stepbrother and his girlfriend named locally as two arrested on suspicion of murder
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is killed near the Kremlin
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm are focussed on assis...
£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...
£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...
£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...