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More than 25 years after the death of JonBenét Ramsey, her father spoke about the girl’s death and the investigation that followed as he pushed for the Boulder Police Department to test a trove of DNA evidence and help solve the homicide case that has captivated the nation for a quarter-century.
In Las Vegas on Saturday at CrimeCon 2022, John Ramsey appeared alongside journalist and author Paula Woodward, who has covered the case since JonBenét’s 1996 death and wrote the book, “We Have Your Daughter: The Unsolved Murder of JonBenét Ramsey Twenty Years Later.” The two spent the hour challenging what they say are the myths surrounding the case and taking the Boulder police to task for thus far failing to solve the murder. Both panelists encouraged viewers to sign a petition to have evidence retested by new DNA methods.
“The government moves based on public pressure. Our government is reactive,” John Ramsey said. “And we need to apply pressure to the government to do the right thing and that's what this petition is about. We can't do it ourselves. I've tried for 25 years, and it's going to take lots of people from the public putting pressure on the police to do the right thing.”
JonBenét Ramsey was reported missing on Dec. 26, 1996. The 6-year-old’s parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, said they found a ransom note demanding $118,000 written on one of Patsy's note pads. John found his daughter's body in the home's basement after she was reported missing.
For years after the girl’s death, her parents were suspects, but both were officially cleared along with other immediate family members in 2008 after investigators found DNA evidence connecting an unknown male to the murder. Police have still not solved the case and it remains open at the Boulder Police Department. Patsy Ramsey died in 2006 after a long battle with ovarian cancer.
The autopsy report stated that JonBenét's official cause of death was "asphyxia by strangulation associated with craniocerebral trauma." Woodward opened the panel by discussing a conversation that she said she had with the coroner about this dual cause of death, saying that it's key to anyone who is looking at the case — or insists they are certain about what happened that day.
Throughout the panel, Woodward listed several myths that she claims are often associated with the case and sought to dispel them for the audience and anyone interested in the sensational case. She noted that at the time of the initial investigation, the Boulder police said that at the house there were no signs of forced entry.
“Folks, that's a myth: ‘No signs of forced entry at that time,’ Woodward said from the stage.
Woodward and Ramsey went on to discuss speculation around the supposed guilt of the Ramseys; at the time, many felt that the fact they'd obtained attorneys, pointed to their guilt.
John Ramsey also noted that he believes that his daughter’s killer was exacting some sort of revenge on him, as the ransom figure mentioned in the note was $118,000. This amount was just above the bonus he had received at his job that year—and was announced in an article in a newspaper.
“They interviewed me, my picture was in the paper — and was that what drew that anger? Jealousy? I don't know, but it was a mistake on my part…I don't know,” he told the audience.
CrimeCon 2022 is produced by Red Seat Ventures and presented by Oxygen.
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