Jonbenét Ramsey

In 1996, in Boulder, Colorado, six-year-old Jonbenét Ramsey was reported missing. This case ended up being one of the biggest cases in history and is still talked about today. The Ramsey family consisted of John Ramsey, Patsy Ramsey, their daughter Jonbenét, and their son Burke. At the time of the case, Jonbenét was a pageant girl aged six, while Burke was nine. The family of four was thought to be a perfect loving family, but come December, that all changed.

December 25th, 1996, Jonbenét was last seen at the Ramsey family Christmas party at 10 pm. She was put to bed around this time but had stayed up for most of the party. On December 26th, at around midnight, Scott Gibbson, a neighbor of the Ramseys, said he saw a light in the house near the kitchen. That same night at 2 am, another neighbor, Melody Stanton, claimed she heard screams at this time in the morning. At the same time, Melody’s husband said he heard metal dragging on concrete sometime after the screams. Then at 5:30 am, Patsy Ramsey found a ransom note by the stairs of the house. The mother, Pasty, then called Fleet, Priscilla White, John, and Barbra Fernien- some of her close friends. At 5:52 am, Patsy finally calls the police to report her missing child and the ransom note she found. At 5:59 am, Officer French arrives at the crime scene. Later at 8:00 am, four more officers arrive, and the parents bring in some friends to help search. At least 14 people are in the house (the crime scene) at this time. At 8:10 am, detective Linda Arndt arrives and begins her investigations, the only thing is she doesn’t secure the crime scene. At 10:30 am, John left the house without saying why. He is gone for about an hour until he finally came back home, saying that he had left to pick up the mail. However,  the mail is delivered to the house through a slot in the door, so where did he go if not to get the mail? At 1:00 pm, the detective tells the family they are conducting a search of the home, and John and Fleet decide to join in. At 1:05, five minutes into the search, the body of Jonbenét is found in a spare room in the basement. Her mouth and neck were found bound with duct tape. They immediately remove the tape and begins CPR despite her limp state. It’s determined that she had suffered a skull fracture and strangulation by a garrote. At 1:30 pm, more officers arrive, and they search the basement for any further clues. It’s noticed at 1:40 pm that John called his private pilot to prepare the plane to fly to Atlanta. Police decided to step in and instruct the family not to leave. Did they want to leave because they felt unsafe after the “break in” or did they want to flee the investigation? Five minutes later, the family leaves their home to stay the night at the Fernie’s home. At 2:30 pm, Burke, the nine-year-old brother, was interrogated, but no new information was gained because he said he had slept through the night. This case happened a long time ago, and many things went wrong, which could have affected how this case was solved. The first thing that should have been done differently was the handling of the crime scene, as it was not properly secured. The family should have been out of the house to prevent the destruction of evidence. The next thing is that the body was picked up and moved. Any fingerprint or other evidence was diminished. Moreover, years later, Melody Stanton, who reported hearing screams for the home, said that it was two nights before the murder if she heard anything at all. 

The Suspect List. 

The first suspects were the family including John, Pasty, and Burke. Following the family was Bill McReynolds. Bill said he had a deep loving connection with Jonbenét. Bill’s daughter had been kidnapped 22 years before Jonbenét’s murder, and Bill’s wife had written a play about a child who had been molested and then murdered in a basement. Jonbenét gifted Bill with a bottle of glitter before he underwent heart surgery, and Bill asked his wife if she would mix his ashes with that very same glitter if he were to die during surgery. No evidence ever linked him to the scene and he was ruled out. The next suspect was Gary Oliva, although homeless, his address was listed to be just a few blocks away from Ramsey’s home. Gary was arrested for drug charges in 2011, and during this arrest, he was searched and a picture of Jonbenét was found in his backpack. He had said this was because she was a “special girl” and that she “needed to be remembered”. He said that “she needed a shrine”. In 2016, he was arrested for child porn. A day after the arrest, in a call, he said “ I hurt a little girl, I hurt a little girl.” In Colorado, he strangled someone the exact way Jonbenét was, and he had also tried to strangle his mother with a telephone cord. He was eventually ruled out of the murder because of DNA evidence. The final suspect was John Mark Karr, a divorced father and elementary school teacher. John became a suspect 10 years after the killing had taken place because he confessed via email to killing her to a reporter. He stated her first reaction was “where am I” and he said “you’re in your basement” He was arrested for child porn on August 16th, 2008, in Banka, Thailand. Later, it was found that he was not even in Colorado during the murder, so he was ruled out of the investigation. 

The Theories. 

The first major theory that was created about Jonbenét’s murder was the Stun Gun theory. There were multiple sets of small marks found on Jonbenét’s face and body, almost identical to those that a Stun Gun would leave. But some experts disagree and say that the marks could have been caused by rocks or pebbles. The second theory was the pineapple theory. Burke Ramsey seemed happy and carefree after his sister’s death, and it was thought that he never even worried about his sister. This theory begins with a bowl of pineapple. Many believe that Jonbenét took a piece of pineapple from little Burke’s bowl, which cause him to get angry at her and he then hit her over the head with a flashlight. Burke was known to have a bad temper and was made angry easily. Burke had hit Jonbenét over the head years before the murder when he was upset with her. If Burke had struck her, it would have been the cause of the cracked skull and her death. The parents then covered the murder up. An undigested piece of pineapple was found in the body of the little girl, and Burke’s train sets match the marks made on her face as well.

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