Oxygen Insider Exclusive!

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, breaking news, sweepstakes, and more!

Sign Up for Free to View
Crime News Cold Cases

Resurfaced Documents Show Police Knew Early On That DNA From JonBenét Ramsey's Clothes Didn't Match Family Members: Report

An update on DNA evidence found on JonBenét Ramsey's clothes and fingernails shows it was not a match for her family members, according to a new book about the detective who investigated her brutal murder and his investigative files. 

By Caitlin Schunn
The JonBenét Ramsey Case, Explained

DNA evidence recovered from under JonBenet Ramsey’s fingernails and clothes and analyzed a year after her brutal murder was known not to match members of her family, according to Fox News. Still, police alleged her parents were suspects for years. The unearthed documents are part of a new book on the late Lou Smit, who investigated the Ramsey case, and come from his files, which his family shared.

The book, “Lou and JonBenet: A Legendary Lawman’s Quest To Solve A Child Beauty Queen’s Murder,” is by John W. Anderson — a former sheriff turned author — and will be published on Feb. 28.

RELATED: Colorado Walmart Shoppers Thwart Alleged Kidnapping Of ‘Young Child’

The 6-year-old girl was found dead in the basement of her family’s Boulder, Colorado home on Dec. 26, 1996— hours after her mother called 911 to say she was missing and a ransom note had been left behind. She was bludgeoned and strangled.

The excerpts from the January 1997 DNA results have been online for years, but Anderson shared Smit’s unredacted copy with Fox News. Smit, who had been a Colorado Springs detective, came out of retirement in 1997 to look into the case, but he quit again in 1998, Fox News reported.

Jonbenet Ramsey G

Smit argued in his files that the likeliest suspect would have been an intruder, and shared frustration with the Boulder Police Department pushing Ramsey’s parents as the suspects, according to Fox News.

“At this point in the investigation, ‘the case’ tells me that John and Patsy Ramsey did not kill their daughter, that a very dangerous killer is still out there, and no one is actively looking for him,” Fox News reported Smit wrote in his resignation letter.

After Smit’s death in 2010, his family shared his files with a group called the “JonBenet Ramsey Smit Family Team” — and Anderson was a member of that team. He alleges in his book that Boulder police neglected to share the DNA analysis with the county prosecutor for months, according to Fox News.

"We recognize that many articles and books have been written about this tragic homicide. We have not read this newest book which, apparently, contains allegations from the late 1990s," said Dionne Waugh, Boulder Police Department's Public Information Officer, in a statement to Oxygen.com. "At present, this active investigation continues to receive assistance from federal, state and local partners. Boulder police is working with multiple agencies, including the FBI, the District Attorney's Office, Colorado's Department of Public Safety, Colorado's Bureau of Investigation, and several private DNA laboratories across the country."

There are many unknowns and many ways foreign DNA could have gotten on JonBenet Ramsey’s clothes — possibly even before her death. Some argue this report didn’t necessarily mean anything, citing a study from Dr. Henry Lee, the head of the Connecticut State Police Forensic Science Laboratory, that found trace DNA could be found on panties from random people who had handled them, even factory workers and laundry workers, according to Fox News.

Lee told Fox News that DNA technology has advanced significantly since the late '90s, and said it’s worth retesting the samples now. JonBenet Ramsey’s father, John, also pushed for Boulder police to re-test the DNA evidence at CrimeCon in April 2022, according to previous Oxygen.com reporting. After petitioning Colorado Gov. Jared Polis for an independent review of the case, Ramsey told Fox News he spoke with the state’s director of public safety, and the case will get another look.

The DNA samples could also help genealogists try to build a suspect profile. Anderson said his group offered to pay for state-of-the-art testing at a private lab, but Boulder police have not provided the sample, according to Fox News.

Ramsey told Fox News he was aware of the DNA document, but didn’t learn of it for a long time.

“It didn’t fit their conclusion that one of us was the killer,” he told Fox News. “They did eventually notify the district attorney about six months later.”

Authorities are asking anyone with information related to the JonBenet investigation to contact 303-441-1974, BouldersMostWanted@bouldercolorado.gov or Northern Colorado Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

Read more about: