The Mysterious Death of JonBenét Ramsay
The case of JonBenét Ramsay, born August 6th, 1990 in Atlanta, Georgia, is one that shocked spectators at the time and has since left a mark in America and the true-crime community. The case that just recently had its 25th anniversary remains unsolved according to police. That, however, is largely argued against by many members of the true-crime community. Many believe the case to have been solved and the true murderers of beauty pageant winner, JonBenét, to have been under the police's nose the whole time. Before further understanding the multiple theories surrounding the girl's assassination, it is important to know the facts and the established timeline of the murder.
Our case begins in the winter of '96 as the little girl, daughter of John Bennett and Patricia "Patsy" Ramsay, is found missing. The mother, Patricia, claimed to have found a ransom note in the staircase demanding US$ 118,000 for the release of her daughter, to which she called the police and reported JonBenét as missing. Less than 8 hours later, the body of the child was found by her father in the basement of their house, with duct tape around her mouth and a cord around her neck.
The autopsy of the murder revealed that JonBenét had died of asphyxiation and had multiple injuries, including a fractured skull. There was also DNA from an unidentified man found in the girl's outfit and underwear which led police and the public to become even more perplexed. Inside the house, however, things became complicated. There were two pairs of footsteps around the crime scene but the outside had no tracks left in the stone and no sign of forced entry into the house.
One of the elements that drew the most attention to the murder was the contents of the ransom note. From containing useless and too revealing information to be unusually long, there were many issues with the note. "Mr. Ramsey: Listen carefully! We are a group of individuals that represent a small foreign faction. We respect your business but not the country that it serves.". FBI reports found the note to be badly written and uncommon relative to other notes they had worked with before, wondering why any criminal would give away so much information about themselves. Of course, this was not the only issue, it was discovered that the note had been written in the note block and sharpie belonging to Patricia Ramsey, which meant that the long note would have been written while the criminal was still in the house and right after writing the note the killer would have then murdered JonBenét, making the note useless. It is also important to highlight that there had been a draft written before the actual ransom note, proving that the perpetrator would have taken even longer inside the house to finish the note. All of this would have happened while the Ramsays were peacefully sleeping, making the intruder theory less reliable and the theory that the family were culprits even more plausible.
Following the case, multiple theories came to light, some involving the family themselves, a local man who had a suspicious past, and a criminal neighbor. The neighbor became one of the most recent suspects in the case as he had been previously arrested for child pornography and drug charges, where he was found to carry an image of Jonbenét. When asked about the image, he claimed that he carried it around because her murder had touched him deeply and he felt she was an exceptional girl, which he needed to build a shrine for. The case of the neighbor, Gary Oliva, became more suspicious as a high school friend claimed that during the day following JonBenét's death, Oliva had called him claiming he had "hurt a little girl". When further investigated, police found that how JonBenét had died was similar to how her neighbor had tried to murder his mother. Gary, however, was not a prime suspect because his DNA was not a match to any found in the scene.
The next suspect, a local man named Bill Mcreynolds, was one of the first main suspects due to his "closeness" to the family. The man had visited the JonBenét house 2 days before the murder and lost his daughter due to a kidnapping 22 years ago. Following this information, police also found it suspicious how his wife had written a play following a child getting assaulted and murder in a basement. McReynolds seemed to have an obsession with the little girl as he claimed he wanted to mix his ashes with a vile of glitter JonBenét had given him and even stated that her murder was harder on him than anything else since he had a true connection with her. He was ruled out due to no more evidence suggesting his connection with the murder.
Lastly, the main suspects of the case, her family. The main theory followed a fight, JonBenét and her older nine-year-old brother Burke, had right before her murder. This fight happened due to a pineapple bowl, which was later found to only have Burke and Patsy's DNA on it while Jonbenét would have been later found to have undigested pineapple in her stomach. The theory goes that Burke had found JonBenét eating his pineapple at night, leading to an argument between them to which he responded by striking her in the head with a heavy flashlight leading to a fractured skull. Originally the argument seems baseless, a nine-year-old boy hitting his lovely little sister just because of pineapple. What supported that theory were reports that Burke was jealous and truly hateful of his little sister, which he could be very aggressive towards. As seen that a year before he had hit her in the head with a golf club.
The rest of the theory then follows into two different parts. Following the hit on the head, some believed that Burke then panicked and used his train toy to continuously poke her unconscious body, matched to the autopsy. Once concluded that she was dead, the family then decided that staging a kidnapping and strangling done by outsiders would be better not only so they wouldn't lose another kid, but also so they could maintain their status. The second part of the theory follows that JonBenét did not die but was only unconscious; the parents however believed she died and proceeded to strangle the child to make the scene more believable, and that is when JonBenét truly died. The family's suspicions were concluded, however, as once again police could not find matching DNA in the crime scene.
Before ending this true-crime case, once more without true closure, it is important to highlight one "revolutionary" discovery made. In a CBS documentary made recently, Dr. Lee, an expert in DNA concluded that the DNA in JonBenét's underwear could have been left, not by the killer but by the manufacturing company. To prove that he tested other unopened underwear and found that there were traces of DNA left in the underwear. Due to this discovery, all the previously ruled out suspects due to lack of matching DNA have once more become genuine suspects, making the case even vaguer. Who do you believe to have been the culprit of this horrible murder?