April 14, 2003
by Ryan Ross
Copyright by Ryan Ross. 2003. All rights reserved.
Related Story: The Murder of JonBenét Ramsey by JJ Maloney and J. Patrick O'Connor
On July 9, 2008, Boulder County District Attorney Mary Lacy stated that DNA tests conducted by Bode Technology Group revealed that skin cells left behind on JonBenet Ramsey's long underwear point to a killer other than the girl's parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, or her brother, Burke. Mrs. Ramsey died of ovarian cancer in 2006 at age 49.
"To the extent that we may have contributed in any way to the public perception that you might have been involved in this crime, I am deeply sorry," Lacy wrote in an exoneration letter to John Ramsey, who now has remarried and lives in Michigan. "No innocent person should have to endure such an extensive trial in the court of public opinion."
Early in the investigation into the 6-year-old pageant star's brutal murder on Christmas night in 1996, Lacy said that Boulder police discovered male DNA in a drop of blood on JonBenet's underwear that did not match any members of JonBenet's immediate family. The tests conducted by Bode Technology Group, Lacy said, revealed the same DNA that was found previously in the drop of blood was present in three places on JonBenet's long underwear.
Lacy stated that Boulder investigators now hope they'll eventually find a DNA match in the ever-expanding national DNA databank, a sentiment echoed by John Ramsey. "I think the people that are in charge of the investigation are focused on that, and that gives me a lot of comfort," Mr. Ramsey said in an interview with a Denver TV station. "Certainly we are grateful that they acknowledged that we, based on that, certainly could not have been involved."
Even if a DNA match is eventually made, it does not mean that the DNA from this contaminated crime scene will reveal it to be that of JonBenet's killer, although it possibly could. For now, all that is known, is that it is not the DNA of John, Burke, or the late Patsy Ramsey. In the meantime, the JonBenet case will continue unsolved and will remain one of the most botched crime investigations in the annals of U.S. law enforcement.
It's time for closure. More than six years have passed since JonBenet Ramsey was killed. Most all the evidence is in. The principals have had more than enough time to ponder, scrutinize, and digest. The grand jurors have long since heard, deliberated, and gone home without a peep. The new district attorney isn't up to the job. The media are desperate for a climax — any climax.
The public — misled by assorted media jackals clamoring for microwave justice — pines for a murder trial that will never happen, all but resigned to an O.J.-esque outcome in which there is no closure, and where doubts and suspicions linger as long as memory allows.
Some have moved on. Others will perpetuate the hand wringing about how the system failed.
No one will be satisfied. And the truth will remain buried.
But there is a way out of the morass. The mysterious 1996 killing of beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey of Boulder, Colo., doesn't have to be another O.J. There is still time. The police blunders were not fatal. The right laws are on the Colorado books. Secret statements by prosecutors suggest the evidence is strong. All that's needed now is a strong Colorado governor willing to intervene by appointing a special prosecutor to take over the case.
Even if Gov. Bill Owens does appoint a special prosecutor, getting to the bottom of the mystery is not going to be easy. The key players all bring ample flaws to the table. The process has more potholes than pavement. And given the track record of events since the night JonBenet was killed, more blunders by those responsible for ensuring justice are likely.
But it can happen nonetheless, and it won't take a miracle.