Police relaunch investigation into 1996 beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey’s death

Police relaunch investigation into 1996 beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey's death

US police have announced that they have reopened the investigation into the JonBenet Ramsey case, found dead at her home in 1996.

Will this new survey be the right one? The American police have announced that they want to give a new chance to research linked to the death of JonBenet Ramsey, a little girl found dead at home in 1996. In order to relaunch the investigation, the authorities of Boulder, Colorado, announced on Thursday in a press release that they were going to call on a new team of “cold case” experts to try to finally find answers.

“Since JonBenet’s murder, detectives have investigated leads from over 21,000 tips, letters and emails. We have traveled to 19 states to interview or speak with more than 1,000 people,” the police department said, adding that it has worked with local, federal, Department of Public Safety and the Colorado Attorney’s Office. , the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and DNA labs. But until then, nothing has ever been discovered to finally close this investigation. “This crime has left a hole in the hearts of many, and we will never stop investigating until we find JonBenet’s killer,” Police Chief Maris Herold said in the same statement.

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Back to the case

The murder of JonBenet has fascinated the United States for two decades. JonBenet was found dead in her home on December 26, 1996. That day, her mother, Patsy Ramsey – who died in 2006 of ovarian cancer at the age of 49 – called the emergency services to report the the disappearance of his daughter and the discovery of a ransom demand of 118,000 dollars – corresponding to the amount of a bonus that the father of the little one had recently received. The note claimed that if the sum was not paid, the child would be beheaded. But a few hours later, the young victim was found in the basement of the family home in the quiet town of Boulder. Her wrists were bound, she had duct tape over her mouth. The small corpse showed signs of strangulation and other violence, including sexual violence, which the autopsy had confirmed. The sordid murder made headlines in the region and beyond, especially as the girl was known to have won several beauty contests for children.

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For a long time, the father was the main suspect. In 1998, a grand jury voted to indict the parents for child abuse resulting in death and complicity in a crime. But the prosecutor at the time said there was not enough evidence to press charges against the couple. In 2008, prosecutor Mary Lacy publicly apologized to the family for suspecting them and JonBenet’s brother, Burke, who was 9 at the time of the murder. In recent years, JonBenet’s father and half-brother, John Andrew Ramsey, have called for the investigation to be reopened and denounced the lack of means put in place by the police to solve this case. Last June, John Andrew notably attacked the investigators publicly. Recalling that they had accused his father at the time of the crime, he had demanded an apology, saying “doubt that they will ever do it because it takes time and courage”.

In 2006, the family finally thought they had found the child’s killer. John Mark Karr, an American teacher arrested in Thailand, admitted to killing JonBenet. The 41-year-old had the ideal profile: psychologically disturbed, he had a criminal record containing a conviction for possession of child pornography and had married minors abroad. John Mark Karr said he was in love with the young victim, having drugged her, raped her, and accidentally killed her. However, John Mark Karr’s statements were inconsistent and incomplete. His ex-wife had even ended up providing him with an alibi: Lara Karr claimed that he was with her and their three children during the 1996 Christmas holidays in Alabama. DNA tests confirmed these doubts: Karr was then cleared and released.

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Another man, Gary Oliva, imprisoned for child pornography, also wrote a letter to one of his former high school friends in which he confessed to the murder of the 6-year-old girl in 2019. An accidental murder according to him. “I never loved anyone like I loved JonBenet and despite that I held her and let her slide and her head broke in half and I watched her die. It was an accident, believe me. She was not like the other children,” he wrote. In another letter, he said: “JonBenet completely changed me and made my evil side disappear in me. Just one look at her beautiful face, her glowing skin, her goddess-like body made me realize that I was wrong to kill the other children. But because of me, she died by accident.” But this man had been exonerated thanks to his DNA.

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