JonBenet Ramsey's infamous 1996 murder is in the spotlight again as her father has spoken up about his late daughter's life as a child beauty queen. ABC reports that in John Ramsey's book The Other Side of Suffering he reveals the hardships he faced after his daughter's mysterious death. Yet some may not know the exact details of the case. Here is a breakdown of what exactly occurred on Christmas day in 1996 and why the 6-year-old's story captured the nation.
The Death of JonBenet Ramsey: During the year that JonBenet Ramsey was killed; a whopping 2,123 children were murdered. Yet Ramsey captured the public's attention and the investigation into her death became one of the most publicized cases in America. On Dec. 26, 1996, JonBenet's mother, Patsy, woke up to find that her daughter was not in her bed. A ransom note had been left which demanded money in exchange for her safe return. When police arrived, they searched the house but for a small portion of the basement. Hours passed as family and friends began to fill the home while the investigation began. Police attempted to figure out who took the young girl and where she was being held. Yet what they didn't know was that her lifeless body was locked away in the unsearched basement room.
When her father, John, went into the basement, he found her beaten and strangled. Her mouth had been tapped and her wrist and neck were wrapped with a cord. A stun gun had been used to immobilize her and she was sexually assaulted. The bizarre occurrence baffled police and sparked a media outrage that pointed the finger at her parents.
The prime reason why the case garnered so much attention was JonBenet's status as an all American pageant princess with millionaire parents. Furthermore, her murder occurred in Boulder, Colorado, an area that rarely saw crime. The lack of similar incidents in the area made for an inexperienced police force that mistakenly contaminated evidence and wrongly labeled her parents killers. Many found it easy to name Patsy as her daughter's murderer. She engaged in unethical practices, such as bleaching JonBenet's hair and entering her in numerous beauty contests, in which she wore a great deal of make-up.
The police were so intent on prosecuting her parents that they neglected to carry out the investigation properly. A startling Real Crime documentary revealed that they failed to question key neighbors, which included two pedophiles. They also never inquired about a series of mysterious burglaries near the Ramsey's home. The eerie crimes were all linked and believed to be committed by the same individuals. They all had two things in common. First, the robberies resulted in little or nothing being taken. Police concluded that the intruders were stalking families in the middle of the night. Second, the crimes ended after JonBenet's death.
In 2003, an unknown white male's DNA was found under the child's fingernails and on other parts of her body. This evidence, which cleared her parents, was not released for several years. After their daughter's death, her family plunged into poverty. Sadly, Patsy Ramsey died of cancer in 2006 never having learned who murdered her child. Two years after her death, the Boulder District Attorney's office officially cleared her parents as suspects.
Regardless of accusations and errors, no one has ever been convicted of the crime and the case has remained unsolved.