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After 25 Years, Police Focus On New DNA Technology To Crack JonBenet Ramsey Case

Sunday marks a quarter-century since 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey was found strangled to death in the basement of her Boulder, Colorado home.

By Constance Johnson
The JonBenét Ramsey Case, Explained

Nearly 25 years after 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey’s lifeless body was discovered inside her parent’s home in Boulder, Colorado, police said they are “actively reviewing genetic DNA testing process” to track down her killer.

Earlier this week, Boulder police released a statement marking the 25th anniversary of the murder, which became a media sensation, spawning dozens of true crime books, prime-time specials and television movies. Police said in the statement that nearly 1,000 DNA samples have been analyzed and more than 1,500 pieces of evidence have been processed. More than 21,000 tips have been received. Police have traveled to 19 states to interview more than 1,000 people.

The little girl was reported missing the day after Christmas in 1996. Her parents said they found a ransom note demanding $118,000, according to the Denver Post. Her body was discovered in the basement and the cause of death was strangulation, but police never found her killer.

JonBenet’s family remains dissatisfied with the investigation and desperate for the case to be solved.

"What the Boulder police have done to date is not enough," John Andrew Ramsey, JonBenet’s older brother, told the Denver Gazette. "What our family wants is results. We don't care who gets us to the finish line, whether it's the Boulder police, great. If it's another agency, great. Whatever it takes to find JonBenet's killer.” 

The case has taken many twists and turns over the years.

At first, JonBenet’s parents, John and Patsy, were suspects, but they were officially cleared along with other immediate family members in 2008 after investigators found DNA evidence connecting an unknown male to the murder, according to the Denver Post.

“Significant new evidence . . . convinces us that it is appropriate, given the circumstances of this case, to state that we do not consider your immediate family, including you, your wife, Patsy, and your son, Burke, to be under any suspicion in the commission of this crime,” then-Boulder District Attorney Mary Lacy wrote to John Ramsey, the Denver Post reported.

Patsy Ramsey died in 2006 after a long battle with ovarian cancer.

Five years ago, a man named John Mark Karr was arrested in Thailand after confessing to the murder in an email to a professor at the University of Colorado, but the case against him was ultimately dropped after authorities found no DNA evidence linking him to the crime, according to the Denver Gazette.

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