The December 25, 1996, six year old JonBenet Ramsey murder remains unsolved. On the 16th anniversary of the beauty pageant queen’s horrific death, there’s still no new evidence. This unsolved JonBenet Ramsey mystery is viewed as one of the most gruesome and unconscionable murders in American history.
JonBenet’s parents, Patsy and John were held under police suspicion for nearly a decade. Patsy Ramsey died in 2006 after a long battle with ovarian cancer but was still considered a suspect. (1) Her husband, John, wasn’t entirely eliminated as a suspect, but many law enforcement officials believed Patsy was the murderer and John assisted her in the cover-up.
The most damning evidence against Patsy as a suspect was the oddly worded ransom note, written on a notepad with a pen; both found in the Ramsey’s home.
The phrase “and hence” was one that Patsy used frequently and not a common term. She was also known to be ambidextrous.
Originally, the Denver Police Department hired four hand-writing analysts and the Ramseys hired two. All six concluded Patsy Ramsey did not write the ransom note. (2) However, this was not enough to stop speculation and further analysis.
According to PB Works, “At Least 10 Professionals Concluded Patsy Was Author”. (3)
Later, when the case went before the Colorado Grand Jury, Dr. Andrew Hodges, one analyst who identified Patsy as the author of the ransom note, was denied the right to testify. (4)
Conflicting Evidence in the JonBenet Ramsey Mystery
Denver Detective Steve Thomas stated on Larry King Live in 2000:
“Out of 73 people whose handwriting was examined in this case, there was only one whose handwriting showed evidence to suggest authorship, who was in the home that night, who couldn’t be eliminated as the author, and that was Patsy Ramsey.”
In this bizarre interview, King spoke live with Thomas and the Ramseys in an exchange that some say revealed the truth. The transcript was analyzed by what’s known as Statement Analysis®, used to detect deception and lies. (5) The full analysis of the transcript can be found on Statement Analysis blog and concludes that Patsy Ramsey killed JonBonet in a fit of anger against John Ramsey and then the two covered up the crime with the ransom note. (6)
However, among the DNA evidence found at the scene of the crime was that of a male that couldn’t be matched with any of the Ramsey family or over 160 various suspect samples taken and examined. Some conjecture that the mysterious DNA was due to contamination, while others staunchly support that the DNA proves the killer was unknown.
The second DA (District Attorney) to oversee the case in the JonBenet Ramsey mystery was Mary Keenan Lacy. She eventually issued an official statement clearing the Ramsey family of the crime, citing they were in search of the unknown male DNA. (7)
What Is the Truth?
Trying to find the truth among the plethora of evidence that amounts to between 30,000 to 60,000 pieces apparently has proven to be an insurmountable task not just for the Denver police, but also for subsequent investigators the various DAs have hired as special investigators.
Two of those stand out because they drew diametrically opposed conclusions. In March 1997, at the request of the Denver police, retired Detective Lou Smit joined the investigation. (8) Detective Smit was later reprimanded by DA Alex Hunter for being unprofessional during his first meeting with Patsy and John Ramsey. It was reported that during that meeting, Smit demonstrated his unorthodox approach to solving cases by asking the Ramseys to kneel with him in prayer.
Despite Smit ’s lifetime work of successfully solving over 200 murder cases, the Denver DA wasn’t pleased when news of the detective’s tactics were leaked to the press. Smit subsequently quit the investigation, citing that the police were about to arrest two innocent people and he couldn’t be a part of such injustice. Many contend that Smit grew too close to the Ramseys and this clouded his judgment. Smit believed the intruder theory and that the real murderer was still unidentified and free.
On the opposite side of the spectrum was James Kolar who recently self-published his book, Foreign Faction: Who Really Kidnapped JonBenet Ramsey? DA Mary Keenan Lacy hired Kolar when she first took office in 2004. A year later he was the lead investigator when the new DNA marker was discovered on JonBenet’s panties.
By then, Kolar was convinced that the intruder theory was wrong. He explains in his book how his no intruder theory was shot down by the DA’s office as fantasy. But, in the same fashion of Sherlock Holmes, Kolar paid strict attention to details. He pointed out two very important factors that were continually overlooked or ignored in the case.
The first was the assumption that the intruder used a broken window (John Ramsey had broken that summer when locked out of his home and never repaired). He points out that a crime scene video taken a few hours after John Ramsey discovered his daughter’s lifeless body revealed the broken basement window appears undisturbed. (9)
His conclusion that the window wasn’t used is based on the intact spider web covering the supposed point of entry. In addition, Kolar maintains that not only the spider web, but also the shards of glass that had remained on the window sill since summer would have been knocked out of the way had an intruder actually used that window to gain access into the Ramsey’s home.
The second piece of evidence he cites are the markings on the little girl’s neck. According to Kolar, the markings didn’t match those of a stun gun, but of a broken toy in the basement discovered near the body. He is the only one who maintains this discrepancy in the interpretation of the markings. The coroner as well as Lou Smit stated that the markings matched those of a “common” stun gun; a method Smit recognized as the “earmarkings of a child predator”.
The Denver Police Department suffered extreme public humiliation over the mishandling of the evidence when they allowed John Ramsey to search the house instead of them.
He contaminated the crime scene when he found his daughter in the basement by picking up her lifeless body, tearing off the duct tape from her mouth and then carrying her upstairs.
His actions not only hampered the investigation, but irrevocably destroyed the integrity of the crime scene.
Further, his actions created a cloud of suspicion that follows him to this day, despite, Lou Smit’s conclusion that the Ramseys were innocent and DA Lacy’s public statement exonerating them as suspects.
Many people involved in the investigation into the JonBenet Ramsey mystery, like James Kolar, still point fingers at the Ramseys. The only thing that will ever clear that stigma of doubt is to identify the man that matches the mysterious DNA found on JonBenet’s panties. Until then, the little pageant queen’s murder remains an unsolved crime.
In Colorado, the grand jury law demands an oath of secrecy from the jurors and witnesses. This oath ensures the grand jury proceedings and testimony aren’t available to the public.
On January 28, 2013, an unidentified source leaked to the news media that the 1999 grand jury believed there was enough evidence to indict John and Patsy Ramsey for the death of their daughter, JonBenet.
The charges of the grand jury indictment were for child abuse that ended in death, but DA Hunter refused to charge the Ramseys out of fear he couldn’t get a conviction. As a result of that decision, the grand jury’s indictment was never served.
References & Image Credits:
(2) PB Works: Writing
(3) PB works: Patsy
(4) Tom Miller Law
(5) Statement Analysis®
(6) Statement Analysis Blog
(8) The Daily Beast
(10) The Daily Beast: New Clues
(13) Ted Abbott via photopin cc
(14) Fox News