At six years-old, JonBenét Ramsey was a child beauty pageant queen living in Boulder, Colorado with her parents, John and Patsy, as well as her nine year-old brother Burke. Unfortunately, it wasn’t just her shining smile and big blonde hair that would set her apart — although, ironically, these are the very features that are immortalised in countless newspapers. Instead, JonBenét was the victim of sick and twisted murder that remains unsolved to this day.

Th daughter of a successful (and very wealthy) businessman and former beauty queen, JonBenét was no stranger to the glamourous parties often hosted by her parents and their large social circle. After one such party on Christmas night of 1996, Patsy carried her sleeping daughter up the stairs to bed at approximately 09:00 pm. At 05:00 am the next morning, on her way to the kitchen, Patsy found a note that said that JonBenét was being held for a ransom of $118,000. The letter warned that if the money was not delivered, she would be beheaded.

Patsy called for John and once the police had been notified, they were at the house within seven minutes. Shockingly, the house was not treated as a crime scene until much later in the day — friends and family were allowed to walk in and out, possibly contaminating the scene. More surprisingly, the full house wasn’t even searched until the early afternoon — in fact, it wasn’t even the police who discovered the horrors in the basement.

While searching the house with his two friends, John Ramsey upon entering the basement discovered the restrained dead body of JonBenét.

The high profile nature of this case meant that media attention was intense — none were more scrutinised than the child’s parents who were only officially eliminated as suspects in 2008. The current theory stands that an intruder, with possible paedophilic motives, was responsible for her death, and while this has become a widely accepted working theory, there are several pieces of evidence that simply don’t add up. Here we discuss just four of the clues that have us scratching our heads.
 

The ransom note

There are a few reasons why this ransom note can be considered somewhat odd. First of all, it was nearly two and a half pages long. In a Reddit AMA, former Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner who headed JonBenét’s murder investigation, said that experts had never heard of a ransom note of this length. It is quite bizarre to consider someone in a highly tense situation (like in the middle of a kidnapping) would take the time to write such a lengthy letter. The note was written on paper taken from a notebook in the family home, so it had to have been written at the scene.

The ransom note, as stated, demanded a $118,000 ransom — this was the exact amount the John Ramsey received as a bonus from work. The killer was either close enough to the family to know these fine details or this was a clever cover-up attempt.

Handwriting samples provided by John and Patsy provided were later found to bear no similarity to that in the ransom note. However, Patsy did come under scrutiny early on the investigation for supposedly changing her handwriting to be more cursive in style after the murder.

 

The location of her body


JonBenét’s body was found in the basement of the family home — there was a nylon cord tied around her neck, her wrists were bound above her head and there was duct tape over her mouth.

Alone, the location of her body, dumped in the basement isn’t (aside from the obvious reasons) wholly unusual. However, taken together with the ransom note, this does start to appear questionable. Why would someone claim to have kidnapped JonBenét and demand ransom only for her to be already dead inside the home she was supposedly removed from?

At the time, the Assistant District Attorney was overheard as saying: “It was very unusual for a kidnap victim’s body to be found at home — it’s not adding up.”

One theory states that the ransom note was written before JonBenét was even dead — perhaps while she was still stunned (read on for details about a stun gun’s potential use) or unconscious from the blow to her head. According to this theory, she awoke and identified the killer as being someone she recognised — turning kidnapper into killer. However, it does seem out of place that the perpetrator would still not make an effort to move her body away from the scene of death which is a typical characteristic of a premeditated crime as this seems to be.

 

Her cause of death


Examination of JonBenét’s body during autopsy revealed further information about what had happened. In her autopsy report her cause of death is cited as being ligature strangulation — not surprising considering that she had been found with nylon chord around her neck. She had also received a blow to the head, possibly from a large torch or baseball bat, about an hour before she was strangled. You can download her full autopsy report here: JonBenét Ramsey autopsy report.

Is this a sign of a botched kidnapping or was it simply designed to look that way?

A later review of the autopsy photographs revealed something missed in the initial examination: marks on JonBenét’s chin that closely match the electrodes of a stun gun. The use of a stun gun on her would not have been lethal but would have certainly rendered her unconscious.

 

The pineapple in her stomach


Another interesting, and unusual find, that came to light during the autopsy was the undigested remnants of pineapple in JonBenét’s stomach suggesting she’d eaten shortly before her death. Both Patsy and John deny giving her this fruit. One theory stands that she was lured into her kitchen with the promise of food — possibly by someone she already knew — before being attacked.

Most incriminatingly, the fingerprints of Burke (JonBenét’s brother) were found on a bowl of pineapple discovered in the kitchen after the murder. While Burke was the subject of brief police scrutiny, the young boy was never seriously considered as a suspect and was often shielded from this by his parents.

 
Your turn: What do you think really happened? Do you believe JonBenét Ramsey was killed by a member of her family or by an intruder? Let us know your views in the comments below.

Comments

comments

38 Responses

  1. Tim.

    Jealous Brother I would suggest.
    He probably hated his sister’s fame,
    The thought of $118000 to a nine year old boy would be fantastic.

    Reply
      • David K.

        THIS WAS ONE OF THE MOST DISTURBING MURDERS EVER. I HONESTLY THINK THE BROTHER HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH THIS. VERY SAD.A LOT OF THIS POINTS TO THE BROTHER THE FINGER PRINTS ON THE BOWL WHICH THE PINEAPPLE WAS IN.AND HER LIFELESS BODY FOUND IN THE BASEMENT.

    • Segnosaur

      Do you really think a 9 year old child could write a 3 page ransom note? (Granted, the note itself was rather long and rambling, but I think its still above the abilities of a pre-teen to write.)

      Reply
      • Myya

        He probably didn’t write the ransom note. He probably struck her with something for reasons that are unknown and there may have been a struggle. The parents may have heard and rushed downstairs only to find the awful scene. At this time it could’ve went two ways 1) she was already dead 2) she wasn’t but how could they take her to the hospital and explain the turn of events. And risk being the perfect family they claimed to be. So they had to act fast. They staged it as a kidnapping. This theory I’ve come up with may be far fetched by some evidence back it up. The practice ransom notes on the note pad found in the Ramsey’s kitchen. The two other voices besides Patsy on the 911 call. Finger prints on the pineapple bowl that was found after the fact that Burke was alleged to be “sleeping”. The Dr. Phill interview where he brought up things that had never been reported in the case before. Did he just randomly remember at the convenient time. Although Dr. Phill did say there was nothing wrong with Burke, can we really believe that? If he had said otherwise he could’ve been sued like every other person who claimed the family had something to do with the murder. But why get so defensive and sue? There are lot of evidence for every theory. But unlike you, I’m not going to chose the one that helps me sleep at night. I’m going to chose the one that makes the most sense and brings justice to this tragic event.

    • Maxild

      Yes, there was no DNA from blood or seemen on the crime scene. Only microscopic DNA and the only tested for four markers. Dr. Han tested for 16 and the result is inconclusive and not indicative of a sexual crime. The DNA neither exonerates nor convicts anyone. But ofcourse the crime scene could have been staged. The Boulder police refuses to examine the DNA from the Garrots String & Knot. Why? John bought of the DA. Burke is an undiagnosed sadistic psychopath taking pleasure in his mothers agony and distress. Dr. Phil is a cunning, exploitive buisnessman cashing on a childs death. Burke killed Jonbenet and John and Patsy covered it up in my opinion.

      Reply
      • Brandy

        The brother did it, parents covered it up and he showed no empathy or remorse and I want Burke to take a lie detector test, if he is innocent then he could had proven it on Dr. Phil, if you are accused of such a sinister act would you not clear your name, he’s so guilty and no I don’t care what his attorney advised him!

    • Maxild

      There was no DNA from blood or seamen on the crime scene. Only microscopic DNA and the only tested for four markers. Dr. Han tested for 16 and the result is inconclusive and not indicative of a sexual crime. The DNA neither exonerates nor convicts anyone. But ofcourse the crime scene could have been staged. The Boulder police refuses to examine the DNA from the Garrots String & Knot. Why? John bought of the DA. Burke is an undiagnosed sadistic psychopath taking pleasure in his mothers agony and distress. Dr. Phil is a cunning, exploitive buisnessman cashing on a childs death. Burke killed Jonbenet and John and Patsy covered it up in my opinion.

      Reply
  2. Justice

    Maybe she got up in the middle of the night for a snack and an intruder then grabbed her because if she was graves in her room when she was sleeping then a family member would have heard her screamer struggle in her room.

    Reply
    • june murray

      you are right
      she got up in the middle of the night because she was hungry
      a pedophile was hiding in the house, as he got through a window that was opened and a scuff mark was found on the wall below the window she was eating a bowl of pineapple at the table with milk , the pedophile came up behind her
      she looked around quickly and he shot her with a stun gun
      to silence her, assaulted her , then strangled her as he got
      worried someone would suspect him he killed her then flealed the house got on a suitcase to get out the wndow he came in through he had been stalking her for six month before he worked in security and he watched her she knew him and he knew her from the paegent s

      Reply
      • Amanda

        I think we all have our own opinions on this case, but I just watched the whole case and the interviews of the brother and parents as well as read the full autopsy report, there is so much evidence that was tampered with when it comes to the body being moved so many times among other things. I think that this was honestly an accident by her brother and her parents didn’t know what to do so they covered it up. If you watch the documentary’s there is a lot of inside that was shared in regards to the stun gun and the pineapple that was found in her stomach. again just my opinion but we will honestly never know unless someone comes forward, that is if anyone knows what truly happened. until then Rest In Peace JonBente.

    • Valerie Evans

      There was NO pineapple found in JBR stomach. Read the autopsy report
      Stomach was EMPTY except for brown bike and gastric juice.

      Reply
      • clara

        Did you read the report? Pineapple was specifically mentioned.

      • Elaine

        not in the stomach, it was in one of the intestines. guess it is you that need to look at the reports again

  3. Memyselfndi

    Burke got mad at her and either accidentally or more then likely I intionally killed her then parents or wanting to loose both their kids covered it up

    Reply
    • Segnosaur

      Keep in mind that there is evidence that the Garrot was applied when JonBenet was still alive. For it to have been the brother, then either 1) He figured out how to make a garrot as part of the killing (I think that’s above the capabilities of a 9 year old), or 2) one of the parents would have had to strangle the injured (but still alive) JonBenet as part of the cover up, rather than getting her medical help

      Reply
    • JVC

      Was the house ever tested with Luminol? Her head wound would have left a lot of blood. ..whysterical would an interactive bother cleaning it up, obviously an inside job

      Reply
  4. dave niles

    I believe the family has something to do with it. First off why did they wait to look through the house for her? If my kid wasn’t in her room when I called I would be looking all through the house and not wait until the police arrived. Secondly why did they write a ransom note and she was already dead?
    Also they live in this big house why didn’t they have their burglar alarm set?

    Reply
    • Segnosaur

      First of all, remember that the family found the ransom note early in the morning. If you find a note that says “your daughter has been taken”, I don’t think its that far fetched for someone to take the note as valid and assume the daughter has already been taken from the house. (And the house was searched that morning. But the person searching the room she was eventually found in just did a cursory glance and overlooked the body.)

      The family did have an alarm. However, the kids kept setting it off by accident, and the Ramseys lived in what they thought was a safe neighborhood, so they didn’t turn it on.

      Reply
    • Jess

      If you read the ransom note it specifically says “… Speaking to anyone about your situation, such as the Police, F.B.I, ect., will result in your daughter being beheaded.” She was not beheaded, but why would you call the police after reading that? I have never been in that situation, and I am not a parent, however I don’t think I would call the police. Yet right after reading that, the mother calls them? Waiting to look through the house was very strange too, I agree.

      Reply
  5. aj

    I am very skeptical of any tv docudrama these days.
    Amazing, how they leave out little bits here and there.
    Do we really have ALL the Facts??
    Being a parent myself, one thing sickens me, and makes me scratch my head more than anything…..
    It seem there is an agreement, that the trauma to the head was most likely not the cause of death, but the strangulation.
    I could possibly see that if one sibling killed another sibling that a few parents in this world may decide to cover that up to protect the other child….that is possible.
    So, had the son hit the daughter over the head, like many suspect, which is possible for sure….one thing is odd.?!
    The blow didn’t kill JonBenét.
    So, did they the parents think she was dead at that point?
    If so, and the son had inflicted that injury, and now the parents panic to “stage the death”…..
    Why the garrote???!!!
    At that point, why just not tape over the mouth, as was the case.
    And why not, tie up hands and legs and stage it that way?!
    But a garrote?!?
    It is beyond my comprehension that they, the parents would now strangle “their” daughter!
    And, when doing that…she was “Alive” still!
    It is believed that she even tried to pull the cord away from her neck (if interpretation of evidence to the small marks around her neck are correct), to save herself.
    Remember, no one is really saying now (investigators) that the parents were at all physically abusing her…at any point, nor does the family doctor ever have seen any signs of any physical assaults at any time before her death.
    So, I ask, if there are parents out there, that will go to the lengths of staging a death of one of their children, to protect their other child who committed the real offence…..
    Why the garrote?
    And than watch that child struggle for her life why you choke her to death?
    Wouldn’t they have said…OMG, she’s still alive!
    Something isn’t right here…something is missing.
    Was it complete “public” knowledge that the father received 118,000$ bonus…or…..was that only “insider” information?
    Someone inside the Company that was only privy to that info?
    Lot’s of questions still “to be asked” not just “answered”
    If there was any suspicion before hand or evidence showing that she was “physically showing signs of repeated abuse”, than a garrote is not beyond the stretch of imagination here.
    But remember, these parents, did not give any reason to believe that they were at all abusive parents.
    And a 9 year old creating a garrote to kill his sister…..
    not likely.
    It’s the “garrote”, that sickens me, and confuses me.

    Reply
  6. Andy

    When the Police arrived at the Ramsey residence they knew one thing for sure; no question about it; ransom note or no ransom note; there is a missing 6 year old girl. I was in law enforcement for for over 30 years. In a case such as this the first thing the Police engage in is a complete search of the residence, the yard, and surrounding neighborhood. I have been in situations with missing children when one parent is sure, with some good reason, that the estranged parent took the child. Child found a short time later hiding behind some bushes in the yard, or under a pile of clothing in a closet! Officers should never assume anything when a child is missing. The troops are called out and a major search is initiated. And, under these circumstances, you do not send a parent to go off and look through the house to see if anything is missing. Perhaps the parent could find some evidence and collect it for the Officer on scene!!! Yep. Total amateur hour on the part of responding Officers. It is embarrassing. As far as who committed this crime, I am convinced it was an intruder.

    Reply
  7. website

    You see im in a law enforcement career and we are looking over this case and i will try to reveal as much as can so we can all know what happened to this little girl

    Reply
  8. xelorwatch

    Here are the reasons why I believe John killed his daughter and not his son Burke. I’m also ruling out Patsy due to several factors. The body was found in the Basement. Typically women even find the word creepy–it is a man’s domain, like it or not, feminists. The ransom note was sloppily written contrary to Patsy’s empathise on ‘neat’ handwriting. She died from ovarian cancer which in most cases, is always curable–therefore, that leads me to believe she felt so controlled by her husband (the feeling of being controlled over a long period of time always involves severe Depression) that she intentionally ignored the early warning signs. Known as a self fulfilled prophecy. She no longer wanted to live. Lastly, almost all women would never an unfinished bowl of food, so obvious, in such an upscale clean environment. However, a careless man who had been drinking at a Christmas party, Would. The ransom note requested $118,000 which was the Exact amount of John’s Bonus. In addition, one investigator mentioned he had never seen such a lengthy ransom note. 2-1/2 pages long. To me, this denotes someone who had so much hatred and such a very strong need to communicate it, in order to feel a sense of relief. Lastly, John recently complimented his son on creating an IRA and other retirement account, “All on his own.” Which tells me that the then 9 yo was in No way capable of killing anyone. Hence, John killed his daughter because She was NOW the center of attention (and he no longer was) and son Burke, unfortunately, Witnessed it. And that’s why Burke, today, is a mental mess. I truly believe that this is what went down.

    Reply
    • Renee

      hey, it’s not 1950 anymore….. women can and do spend time in basements….. there are women auto mechanics now….. You should probably refrain from making sweeping judgments about anyone based on sex…. “women wouldn’t leave unfinished bowl of food around.” Well, yeah, they would — i do it all the time. I’m not focusing on feminism….. just that times have changed, and you don’t seem to be changing with them. And ovarian cancer is not usually cured…… it has very slight and subtle signs…. many women don’t know about it until it’s in the late stages — which causes them to die. Just try to avoid disseminating false information… can’t see how that helps anybody. thanks.

      Reply
  9. Trish

    I think Burke hit her in the head and they all believe she was dead therfore staged the scene. By staging the scene, they placed the items around her neck which actually killed her.

    Reply
  10. Dee

    Something puzzling to me is the fact that john said they put her to bed and the alarm was turned on when they went to bed. Ifs door was opened or a window after the alarm was turned on why did it not set off the alarm He is on tape during the Barbara Walters interview saying the alarm was turned on ? Also the weapon used to suffocate jonbennet was tied with a elaborate type knot. Not by a common person had to have had some kind of training untying that type of knot

    Reply
  11. Diana Smith

    I feel in my gut her brother Burke murdered her. She was strangled and hit on the head. I think that there was intense rage and jealousy. Jon Benet was a beautiful little girl. She was so innocent and performed at pageants only because of her mother’s prodding. This was not a normal family. Obviously with the ransom note it was Patsy who wrote that. They parents tried to cover up the crime committed by their son. After all, that is the only child they had left.

    Reply
  12. Don

    The parents were sure looking guilty. I wonder if at anytime in the early hours of this, the parents asked Burke if he had heard anything during the night? If they did not, more evidence the parents (especially Patsy) were guilty. Why would an intruder go in without gloves? And then go back and erase fingerprints from everything. Why not just wear gloves and avoid all that work of erasing fingerprints? Why did the intruder use a suitcase to climb out the window (the suitcase was taken from another room)? I would use a chair. That thing they call a garrote, might not have been a garrote at all, whoever, might have had to drag the body a ways and wrapped the twine around the brush handle to be able to drag the body easier. I think the missing pages on the Ramsey note EEEEEE Ransom note might have been placed on the page while being written so as to leave no fingerprints (write one line and move the blank page down as the lines were being written.

    Reply
  13. Jules

    From what I’ve just been reading they have found 2 unidentified male DNA samples on her her brother was tested so was the whole family they didn’t match so why keep saying her brother or her parents did it yes the cicumstancial evidence pointed that way but the forensic evidence didn’t. So who did it we will probably never know unless they get a hit in codis on the DNA

    Reply
  14. Dawn

    It was never said that she was raped her hymen was in tact there was no tearing they said they suspected sexual assault that means it was made to look like she was assaulted but her body did not show definite indication of sexual assault. I have never read that it was urine in her underwear. It has been proven that there were no signs of struggle also but an autopsy did confirm that she was strangled well after she was hit in the head they say it could have been up to 2 hours after, looks a lot like she was unconscious and they thought she was dead then she must have partially woke up and was strangled. If she were fully concious there would have been struggle signs in her wrists which were also tied not even the strangulation shows signs of struggle this all indicates she was unconscious before being tied up. It is my belief that was staged. Whatever happened here this family was involved it’s just too obvious there’s to many inconsistencies to the behavior of an outside assailent and the bowl patsys fingerprints were on it not Burkes his prints were on the iced tea glass next to the bowl of pineapple

    Reply
  15. Wendy

    No one will ever really know. I think investigators blew it right from the start. The ransom note, the odd amount of money $118,00( why not just say $125,000), the garnot, the body and not in the same location. That poor girl was wronged so many ways before and after her death.

    Reply
  16. Jakball

    Burke most likely had friends over that night if they were having a party. They should look at all Burkes friends. They probably wrote the ransom note ahead of time, and after they killed her, her dead weight was probably more than they bargained for and they couldnt get her out of the house!

    Reply
  17. Kiki Cox

    First, why do people assume JB was made to be involved in pageantry? We can all see that the kid liked to entertain, can’t we? That’s what pageant kids look like.
    We know JB got the head wound and was later strangled. If Burke hit her and then J n P found out they would NOT have said ” well, I guess we’re gonna have to kill our precious little angel since she got cracked in the head by her brother”. That would be absurd to not have rushed her to the hospital or called 911. They would NOT have been so worried about what would happen to B as a result of the blow that they wouldn’t have tried to save their daughter. Plus, how much trouble could a 9 year old get into in that situation. The golf club thing means nothing. Jon Benet could have walked by while he was swinging it. There would be other reports of his violence if he was in fact a threat. That lady wanted media attention. What makes sense is that Patsy hit her with something in the house in a freak out!! I think Patsy had some demons and wasn’t what she seemed. If she was the one to hit her there was no way she was taking her to the hospital because she would have no explanation for cracking her in the head with let’s say a lamp, maybe. There is also NO WAY she (Patsy) was wearing the same clothes to go on vacation as she wore the night before!! also absurd. Corrupting the crime scene in the house ( her friends cleaning the kitchen) AND not searching every square inch of their large, unkempt home, also absurd!! Any normal parent would look and re-look and then keep looking!!!! She wrote the note and even closed it with something she wrote in her other written pieces S.B.T.C. I think it was. What are the chances of that? Someone framing her?? No Way!! And why bother with a grand jury if you’re gonna ignore what they decide? The intruder theory has too many holes. Patsy went off the rails . Patsy unfortunately killed her child. Alone. Her husband obviously helped her cover it up. Maybe Burke will talk after John dies.

    Reply

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