Despite police trying to project that child murder victim JonBenet Ramsey’s 1996 killing left her parents ‘under suspicion,’ new documents have revealed that the DNA evidence did not match her family members.
The revelation comes from a new book by former Texas sheriff and now author John W. Anderson, Lou and JonBenet: A Legendary Lawman’s Quest to Solve a Child Beauty Queen’s Murder.
Anderson interviews Colorado investigator Lou Smit, who worked the case until his 2010 death. Police have since launched a new effort to solve the murder.
Smit argues that evidence recovered under the little girl’s fingernails and clothes did not match any family members or anyone close to the case.
Despite that, Smit says authorities continued to put parents Patsy Ramsey and John Bennett Ramsey were put under ‘an umbrella of suspicion’ that led many to suspect them in the case.
The body of JonBenet Ramsey (pictured) was found bludgeoned and strangled in her basement hours after she was reported missing on December 26, 1996
For many years following her death, John and Patsy Ramsey would remain the primary suspects in their daughter’s murder.
It was not until 2008 that they were officially cleared – though they were never charged with any crime.
Smit’s copy of the DNA results may be the only in existence that are unredacted, with censored results having circulated online in the past, according to Fox News.
The book is set to be published February 28
Ramsey’s father supported an online petition last year asking Colorado´s governor to intervene in the investigation into her death more than 25 years ago by putting an outside agency in charge of DNA testing in the case.
Anderson writes in the book: ‘For the past quarter-century, the Boulder police have ignored the DNA evidence that exonerated the Ramseys and could be used to identify her killer.’
The 6-year-old was found dead in the basement of her family´s home in Boulder on December 26, 1996, bludgeoned and strangled, several hours after her mother called 911 to say her daughter was missing and a ransom note had been left behind.
Her death was ruled a homicide, but nobody was ever prosecuted.
In November, Colorado police, who are working with a cold case review team, said they were hopeful that new technology can help them use the very small amount of DNA evidence found on the child to create a profile to match the killer.
The case is being revisited by the Colorado Cold Case Review Team next year in another bid to solve the case that has haunted Colorado law enforcement officers.
If DNA analysis produces the killer, it will be one of the largest cold case breakthroughs in American history.
John and Patsy Ramsey, the parents of JonBenet Ramsey, meet with a small selected group of the local Colorado media after four months of silence in Boulder, Colorado on May 1, 1997
The girl’s father has repeatedly expressed disappointment with BPD’s handling of the case over the last quarter century and believe an independent research team would have more success finally identifying the killer. But, in order to do so, BPD would need to hand over the evidence in their custody.
If either an independent agency or the BPD could establish a more complete DNA profile of the suspect, the information could then be compared to millions of DNA profiles available on public databases.
Patsy Ramsey died of cancer in 2006 and John Ramsey told The Daily Beast in 2019 that even though he has been cleared, the accusations against him linger.
‘The fact I’m no longer under suspicion will never bring back my life,’ he said at the time. ‘Once your reputation is tarnished, it stays tarnished.’
No one in the family was ever charged in the death, but for years tabloids and members of the public believed one or more were the culprits.
Several years ago, CBS aired The Case Of: JonBenet Ramsey, which concluded with investigators revealing that after extensive research into the events that happened on the night of the murder they believed Burke Ramsey was responsible for killing his sister- despite the fact that he was only nine-years-old at the time.
Burke sued the network and settled that case after demanding damages of $750million.
Private investigator Ollie Gray, who continued to investigate the murder case even after he stopped working for the Ramseys, claimed in 2016 that the child’s killer was a local 26-year-old whose family owned a junkyard on the outskirts of the city – Michael Helgoth.
On February 13, 1997, Alex Hunter, who was the district attorney at the time of the murder, held a press conference where he spoke to JonBenet’s unknown killer, saying: ‘The list of suspect narrows. Soon there will be no one on the list but you.’
Helgoth died of an apparent suicide two days later at his home.
A few years after his death, however, Helgoth was cleared when it was revealed that none of his DNA was found under JonBenet’s fingernails or in her underwear.
In 2006 – 10 years after JonBenet’s death – a 41-year-old schoolteacher named John Mark Karr confessed to killing the little beauty.
He was arrested in Bangkok, Thailand, but he was never charged with the murder because his DNA did not match that found on the girl’s body.