On December 26, 1996, JonBenét Ramsey was found dead. The 6-year-old beauty pageant contestant was discovered strangled and struck in the head in her parents' basement in Boulder, Colorado on Christmas Day. The murder remains a mystery and serves as the foundation for the upcoming true crime docuseries The Case of JonBenet Ramsey. Here are six theories on what really happened to the little girl.
Her Parents Did It
Initially, JonBenét's parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, were the biggest suspects in the case. Rumors circulated that Patsy was an overbearing, abusive stage mom. The couple was cleared with DNA results in 2008. Two years prior, Patsy died at age 49 after battling ovarian cancer.
Police also considered older brother Burke a suspect. The 9-year-old was questioned and asked to testify at a grand jury hearing. DNA cleared him, too.
John Mark Karr
Schoolteacher John Mark Karr confessed to the murder but his DNA was later cleared. Many speculate he had fantasized about the six-year-old, claiming publicly that he loved her, or he was looking for attention.
Gary Howard Oliva
Gary Howard Oliva was named a suspect at the time of the case. A convicted and registered sex offender, he was thought to have been close to the family home the night JonBenét was killed. He was later charged with child pornography.
Money Is The Motive
Before JonBenét's body was found in her family's basement, she was thought to have been kidnapped by someone wanting money. Her mother found a ransom note on the family's back staircase demanding $118,000. The mystery suspect could be a total stranger or someone who knew the details of the Ramsey family finances.
Beauty Pageant Fan
The JonBenét case brought a lot of attention to child beauty pageants. JonBenét had won a half-dozen pageants, including a 1995 Little Miss Colorado title and a 1996 America's Royale Miss title. Many critics argued that the little girl was dressed provocatively, wearing makeup and acting flirtatiously, which may have invited attention from creeps and weirdos. "It's impossible...not to see a terribly exploited little girl," Denver Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Steinhauser told reporters. Because of that, a psycho fan or stalker may have committed the crime. Her father later regretted letting her compete in pageants.