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JonBenét Ramsey

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JonBenét Patricia Ramsey
Born August 6, 1990
Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Died December 26, 1996
Boulder, Colorado, United States

JonBenét Patricia Ramsey (August 6, 1990December 26, 1996) was a beauty pageant contestant who was found murdered in the basement of her parents' home in Boulder, Colorado, United States, eight hours after being reported missing. The case drew national attention in the United States when no suspect was charged and suspicions turned to possible family involvement. The tantalizing clues of the case inspired numerous books and articles that attempt to solve the mystery.

On August 16, 2006, the case returned to the news when John Mark Karr, a 41-year-old [1] school teacher, reportedly confessed to her murder. On August 28, 2006, the district attorney, Mary Keenan Lacy, announced that Karr's DNA did not match that found at the scene, and no charges would be brought against him.

Contents

[edit] Life

JonBenét Ramsey was born at Northside Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia and moved with family to Colorado when she was one year old. Her first name is a combination of her father's first and middle names, John Bennett; her middle name is that of her mother, Patsy Ramsey, who enrolled her daughter in a variety of different beauty pageants in several states. In addition, she funded some of the contests in which Ramsey was involved. Patsy Ramsey was a former beauty queen, having held the title Miss West Virginia 1977; her sister was Miss West Virginia 1980. JonBenét Ramsey held a number of child beauty contest titles, including (in alphabetical order) America's Royal Miss, Colorado State All-Star Kids Cover Girl, Little Miss Charlevoix Michigan, Little Miss Colorado, Little Miss Merry Christmas, Little Miss Sunburst, and National Tiny Miss Beauty. John Ramsey, JonBenét's father, is a wealthy businessman, president, and chief executive officer of Access Graphics, a computer services company.

JonBenét's grave lies in Saint James Episcopal Cemetery in Marietta, Georgia, next to the grave of her mother.

[edit] Murder case

On December 26, 1996, Patsy Ramsey (according to her testimony) discovered that her daughter was missing after finding a two and a half-page ransom note demanding $118,000 inside the family residence. Despite specific instructions that the police and friends not be contacted, she telephoned the police and beckoned over family and friends. The local police conducted a cursory search of the house but did not find any obvious signs of a break-in or forced entry. The note suggested that the ransom collection would be monitored and JonBenét would be returned as soon as the money was obtained. John Ramsey made some arrangements for the availability of the ransom, but no preparation in order to obtain it.

In the afternoon of the same day, Boulder Police Detective Linda Arndt asked Fleet White, a friend of the Ramseys, to take John Ramsey and search the house for "anything unusual." John Ramsey and two of his friends started their search in the basement first. There in the wine cellar John found his daughter's body covered in a white blanket. Later that evening, the police authorized the removal of the body by issue of a search warrant. Typically, this procedure would be performed under consent of the parents.

The results of the autopsy revealed that JonBenét was killed by strangulation and a skull fracture. A garrote made from a length of nylon cord and the handle of a paintbrush had been used to strangle her; her skull had suffered severe blunt trauma; she may have been sexually assaulted. The official cause of death was asphyxia by strangulation associated with craniocerebral trauma. The other half of the paint brush was found in a tub of Patsy Ramsey's art supplies.[2] It was noted by experts that the construction of the garrote required a special knowledge of knots. Autopsy also revealed that the child had eaten pineapple only a few hours before the murder, of which her mother claimed to be unaware.

[edit] Clues

Police investigations within and around the residence discovered the following clues which were, by some, interpreted as evidence of intrusion:

  • Two dissimilar footprints in the wine cellar that did not match any of the shoes in the residence
  • A third footprint of an unknown person on the outer part of the window of the room by the wine cellar (John Ramsey said the window was malfunctioning)
  • A possible footprint on a suitcase, placed directly below the same window
  • A rope that was foreign to the residence found on the bed of the guestroom near JonBenét's room
  • Physical marks on JonBenét's body that suggested the use of a stun gun
  • Blood sample on JonBenét's underwear that did not match any known suspect
  • Blood on Barbie nightgown
  • Blood on white blanket

[edit] "Ransom note"

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Investigators determined that the lengthy ransom note was written on a pad of paper that belonged to the Ramsey family. A Sharpie felt-tip pen similar to the one used to write the note was found in a container on the Ramseys' kitchen counter, along with other pens of the same type. [1] According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, on the same pad of paper, a practice sheet of the ransom note was found. No fingerprints could be detected on the note. The text of the note had many odd features, including the fact that $118,000 was demanded - $100,000 in $100 bills and $18,000 in $20 bills.[2] Perhaps coincidentally, John Ramsey earned a bonus that year of $118,117.50. The police regarded the ransom price a suspiciously low amount of money in proportion to John Ramsey's income. The writer of the note claims "We are a group of individuals that represent a small foreign faction. We do respect your bussiness (sic) but not the country that it serves.". The parents have invariably held that the crime was committed by an intruder, and a group of investigators in the employ of the Ramsey family favor that theory.

were taken from a number of suspects who might have written the ransom note. Forensic analysis cleared everyone except for Patsy Ramsey, whose writing style bore some resemblance to the ransom note.[3] [4]

[edit] Later developments

In December 2003, forensic investigators extracted enough material from a mixed blood sample found on JonBenét's underwear to establish a DNA profile. The DNA belongs to an unknown Caucasian male. The DNA was submitted to the FBI's Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), a database containing more than 1.6 million DNA profiles, mainly from convicted felons. The sample has yet to find a match in the database, although it continues to be checked for partial matches on a weekly basis.

Later investigations also discovered that there were more than 100 burglaries in the Ramseys' neighborhood in the months before JonBenét's murder, and that 38 registered sex offenders were living within a two-mile radius of the Ramsey's home, an area that encompasses half the population of the city of Boulder.[3]

JonBenét's mother, Patsy Ramsey, died of ovarian cancer on June 24, 2006,[4] at the age of 49. She had been battling cancer off and on after first being diagnosed in 1993. She had a recurrence in 2003. She was aware at the time of her death that the Boulder County (Colorado) District Attorney's Office was investigating a suspect in Bangkok, Thailand.

[edit] John Mark Karr

Main article: John Mark Karr

On August 16, 2006, 41-year-old John Mark Karr, a former school teacher, was arrested in Bangkok, Thailand on five-year-old child pornography charges from Sonoma County, California. Authorities reportedly tracked him down using the Internet after he sent emails regarding the Ramsey case to Michael Tracey, a journalism professor at the University of Colorado.[5] Once apprehended, he confessed to being with JonBenét when she died, stating that her death was an accident. When asked if he was innocent, he responded, "No."

However, Karr's DNA did not match that found on JonBenét Ramsey's body. On August 28, 2006, prosecutors announced that no charges would be filed against him for the murder of JonBenét Ramsey.[6][7][8]

[edit] Defamation lawsuits

Several defamation lawsuits have ensued since JonBenét's murder. Lin Wood was the attorney for John and Patsy Ramsey and has prosecuted defamation claims on their behalf against St. Martin's Press, Time, Inc., The Fox News Channel, American Media, Inc., Star, The Globe, Court TV and The New York Post.

[edit] Speculation

Case speculation by experts, media and the parents has supported different theories. For a long time, the local police supported the theory that her mother had accidentally killed JonBenét in a fit of rage after the girl had wet her bed on the same night. Another theory was that John Ramsey had been sexually abusing his daughter and murdered her as a cover. John Ramsey's son Burke Ramsey was also targeted by speculation, and asked to testify at the grand jury[5]. In 1999, the Governor of Colorado, Bill Owens, told the parents of JonBenét Ramsey to "quit hiding behind their attorneys, quit hiding behind their PR firm."[6] Police suspicions were initially concentrated almost exclusively on the members of the Ramsey family, yet the girl's parents had no prior signs of aggression in the public record, nor any suspicious behavior towards their children.

The Ramseys have invariably held that the crime was committed by an intruder, and hired John Douglas, former head of the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit, to examine the case. While being paid by the Ramsey family he concluded that the Ramseys were not involved in the murder. He also concluded that it was unlikely that anyone would resolve the case. He detailed his arguments in his 2001 book, The Cases That Haunt Us.

With such contradictory evidence, a grand jury failed to indict the Ramseys or anyone else in the murder of JonBenét. Not long after the murder, the parents moved to a new home in Atlanta. Two of the lead investigators in the case resigned, and there have been accusations of a cover-up in the district attorney's office. The case remains unsolved.

'FM Doll', a song by Queen Adreena was inspired by the case of JonBenét Ramsey.

[edit] References

  • Hickey, Eric. Encyclopedia of Murder and Violent Crime.
  • M., Ronald and Stephen T. Holmes. Profiling Violent Crimes.

[edit] External links

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