Behind the Murder of JonBenét Ramsey

On December 26th, 1996, the all American pageant child, JonBenét Ramsey was found brutally wrapped in a blanket with a garrote strangled forcibly around her neck. The events that took place ten hours prior remains a mystery the CSI has yet to uncover. At 5:52 a.m., Patsy Ramsey, the mother of six-year old JonBenét frantically called 911, saying “We have a kidnapping. Hurry, please!” (The Case of: JonBenét Ramsey). As the operator tried to calm her down and get more information on the case, Patsy released, “There’s a note left and our daughters gone… It says SBTC victory!” (The Case of: JonBenét Ramsey). Moments later, she hung up leaving Kim Archuleta, the operator patiently trying to help Patsy until police arrive without another explanation.


As police entered the scene, the mood of the house lingered with a suspicious feeling of calmness. Patsy, along with her Husband John seemed the opposite of frantic, with the evidence of family friends hanging out in the living room casually. Burke Ramsey, the brother of JonBenét was even asleep in his bedroom during the mid-day. As police searched the house for any remaining DNA samples, John Ramsey along with one of his best friends scurried to the basement, opening a door to reveal JonBenét faced down with a blanket covering her figure. His initial reaction was to pick her up, transfer her upstairs to show the police, and then lay her down on the living room floor. This was a catalytic flaw in the case, ultimately due to the abundance of DNA previously on the floor that would now catch onto JonBenét’s blanket. Any remaining evidence from the supposed ‘kidnapper’ physically on her was then extirpated. Still, no signs of forced entry, breakage, blood, or footprints were observed creating dubiosity towards the family.


To further examine evidence on JonBenét’s body, an autopsy was held. Doctors were able to discover wounds on the back of her neck that were imprinted in the shape of a stun gun. They also discovered ligature strangulation, craniocerebral injuries, and abrasion to her genitalia. Ultimately, they were able to claim her death from asphyxiation and strangulation.


During the trial, the three page hand-written ransom note left behind sparked controversy and questions. Its specific statements and bipolar tone brought attention to forensics. Standing out was the quote, “we are a small foreign faction” (The Case of: JonBenét Ramsey) appearing to debunk a sense of power kidnappers usually manipulate families with. When studied, the linguistic profile had been proven to show a high writing ability, native english structure, an adult over thirty, and female characteristics. The note also stated to withdraw one-hundred and eighteen-thousand dollars in order to receive JonBenét back, which was the exact amount Mr. Benét received as his Christmas bonus. It was known that the Benét family lived a lavish life consisting of a private jet and million dollar estate. This clue indicated the confusion many felt as to why the ‘kidnapper’ hadn’t requested a higher amount of money for the return of their daughter. During the CBS document series following the case, the letter was proven to take twenty-one minutes, not including the time it took to plan out each sentence. It became nonsensical that the ‘kidnapper’ would risk a minimum of thirty minutes to describe in great detail a fake kidnapping. All documentations found report back to the theory that someone in the Ramsey household was responsible for the first degree murder of an innocent six year old.


The first conspiracy theory is the most controversial, yet popular one; Patsy Ramsey is authoritative of the homicide. Unconventionally, Patsy Ramsey was a retired pageant queen herself. People believed she pushed JonBenét into the world of performing to relive the memories she once had. Randy Simon, JonBenét’s portrait photographer claimed “Patsy was your normal mom who absolutely loved her kid”, and “She had the opportunity to spend a huge amount of time with JonBenet, and they were just really close” (Hewitt and Bane).  On the sidelines, one may think it is impossible for her to kill the only person she had that kept her in the world of glory, yet JonBenét’s shameful bedwetting dilemmas proved Patsy’s frustration towards her daughter. On the night of the murder, it is stated that her bed was in fact wet. Many believe Patsy became infuriated with JonBenét because of her ‘wetting’, and slammed her head on a surface most like a bathtub which fractured her skull causing an inflammation of the brain. Then, she proceeded to cover up the murder by writing the ransom note, placing a strangulator on JonBenét’s neck, and called the police. During the trial, the evidence proved that the pen and paper used to right the famous ‘ransom note’ left on the stairs, was indeed from the Ramsey kitchen. Handwriting detectors proved that Patsy's handwriting on previous notes left in her kitchen were similar, if not exact to the handwriting on the ransom note. Not to mention, there was a drafted note crumpled up in the trash can. Although this conspiracy  was debunked after countless defences by the Ramsey’s, the grand jury continued to claim John and Patsy "permit[ted] a child to be unreasonably placed in a situation which posed a threat of injury to the child's life or health which resulted in the death of JonBenet Ramsey”.


The second most famous and controversial conspiracy is that Burke Ramsey, the nine-year old brother of JonBenét killed her. Many had disclosed Burke had anger issues and was emotionally disturbed. He was caught physically hurting JonBenét on many occasions, including the use of a golf club. To no surprise, a neighbor of the family stated Burke was secluded often and had little to no attention. She even admitted, “[JonBenét] was the name one heard all the time..I don’t think Burke ever got much of a reference”(Bill and Bane). With remaining evidence, theorist began to believe Burke violently swung a flashlight to the back of her head after she had stolen a piece of his pineapple, causing inflammation to the skull. As she laid unconscious, he poked her with his toy train track in order to get a response most like the stun gun marks found during the autopsy. Frantically, he then told his parents and they proceeded to stage the case in order of protecting their identities. Although possible, he was considered under the minimal age to receive criminal responsibility resulting in no warrant.


Unfortunately, no indictment was enforced after the trial. Boulder District Attorney, Alex Hunter, decided there was no sufficient evidence for any accusation, leaving the case without a conclusion. The investigation has been unsettled for two decades since the murder, and many are dedicating their lives to find justice for JonBenét and end the silence. Until then, the case remains an riddle yet to be solved.






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