JonBenet Ramsey’s father calls for case to be taken away from local police in bid to solve 25 year mystery

Over 25 years on, the murder of the child beauty pageant contestant still remains unsolved

Rachel Sharp
Sunday 01 May 2022 22:14 BST
JonBenét Ramsey was found dead at her family’s home in Boulder, Colorado, on 26 December 1996
JonBenét Ramsey was found dead at her family’s home in Boulder, Colorado, on 26 December 1996 (Sipa/Shutterstock)

The father of JonBenet Ramsey has called for his daughter’s case to be taken out of the hands of the local police department and given to an independent agency that can use advanced DNA testing to try to solve the 25-year-old cold case.

John Ramsey launched a petition asking Colorado Governor Jared Polis to step in and give DNA testing decisions to an independent agency that is free from Boulder Police Department’s “significant history with the case”.

In the petition, Mr Ramsey said that advances in DNA testing means that investigators could finally crack the notorious unsolved Boxing Day murder of the child beauty pageant contestant and bring some “justice” to her and her family.

But, instead of using the available technology, his daughter’s murder investigation has been plagued by “false investigative starts, wild conspiracy theories, and a seemingly infinite number of accusations against nearly everyone involved with the case”, it reads.

JonBenét Ramsey deserves justice and new advances in DNA technology finally make that possible,” the petition reads.

“Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, you are the only person with enough power and independence in the state to put Ramsey DNA testing decisions in the hands of a new agency that’s free from Boulder’s significant history with the case.”

The governor’s office said in a statement to CBS News that it is reviewing the request to determine how the state can assist in using new technology to “identify JonBenet Ramsey’s killer and bring him or her to justice”.

JonBenet was just six years old when she was found murdered in the basement of her family’s home in an affluent neighbourhood in Boulder, Colorado, on 26 December 1996.

Her mother Patsy Ramsey had called 911 that morning reporting that their daughter had been kidnapped and a ransom note had been left behind.

The handwritten note, warning the parents not to alert the authorities, demanded that they hand over $118,000 in exchange for the safe return of their daughter.

A few hours later, JonBenet’s body was found under a blanket in the basement by her father and police officers as they searched the home.

A nylon cord was tied around her neck, her wrists were bound and duct tape had been placed over her mouth. There was also some signs that she had been sexually assaulted.

An autopsy revealed the six-year-old died of strangulation and had also suffered a blow to the head, fracturing her skull.

For years, JonBenet’s parents were the prime suspects in her killing.

Suspicion fell on them as it emerged the lengthy note had been written on paper in the home, the $118,000 ransom matched the exact amount Mr Ramsey had been given as a Christmas bonus from his job and the parents stopped cooperating with the police investigation.

In 2008, JonBenet’s parents were finally officially ruled out as suspects as investigators determined that DNA pointed to an “unexplained third party”.

The couple’s nine-year-old son Burke, who was the only other person known to be in the house at the time, was also suspected.

He was questioned by a grand jury in 1999 but never charged.

In 2019 he settled a defamation lawsuit against CBS after the network released a documentary which theorised that he had killed his sister.

Ms Ramsey died of cancer in 2006 not knowing who killed her daughter.

This December, on the 25th anniversary of JonBenet’s murder this December, Boulder Police said that it had been using DNA technology to check “multiple suspects” against evidence found at the crime scene.

“As the Department continues to use new technology to enhance the investigation, it is actively reviewing genetic DNA testing processes to see if those can be applied to this case moving forward,” the department said.

But Mr Ramsey said the department’s efforts are not enough.

Speaking to Fox News Digital at the CrimeCon 2022 convention in Las Vegas on Saturday, he said he hopes that if enough people get behind the petition, the state of Colorado will intervene in the case.

“It’s going to take a lot of help to get that moving again,” he said of the case.

“But, you know, the government is very reactive, and we’re talking about politicians, and we want them to do the right thing.”

The petition points to the use of advanced DNA testing to solve other high-profile cold cases, such as the identification and conviction of Joseph James DeAngelo Jr. as the Golden State Killer over 40 years on from his killing spree.

“Since her death in 1996, advances in DNA have allowed for testing of even trace amounts of severely degraded samples,” the petition reads.

“Combined with innovation in forensic genetic genealogy (which led to the arrest of the Golden State Killer), new arrests and identifications in cold cases are happening across the country at an unprecedented rate.”

The petition asks: “So why is new DNA testing technology and forensic genetic genealogy searching not being used in the JonBenét case?”

The same two key investigators from 1996 “still have control of the case”, the petition continues, as it calls for “new perspectives and ideas” to be brought to the investigation.

“In short, justice for JonBenét has seemingly given way to politics and the massaging of egos,” it reads.

“She deserves better. Everyone, from the police to the family, should have a vested interest in finding the truth. The fact that those with the ability to do that are not doing it should tell us everything we need to know.”

The petition appeals to the state governor’s “compassion” pointing to his decision to commute the sentence of Rogel Aguilera-Mederos in December for a deadly 2019 truck crash.

“Governor Polis, you were born in Boulder 15 years before JonBenét. You have a connection to the city. Your intervention in the Colorado truck driver case shows you have compassion,” it reads.

“You have the power. Given the lack of progress by the Boulder Police, we the undersigned petitioners ask you to move DNA decisions in this case away from the BPD to an independent agency so that JonBenét has a last chance at the justice she deserves.”

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