Cold Case of JonBenét Patricia Ramsey

Cold Case of JonBenét Patricia Ramsey

Cold Case of JonBenét Patricia Ramsey

Cold case of JonBenét Patricia Ramsey, born on August 6, 1990, tragically lost her life at the tender age of six in her family’s residence in Boulder, Colorado. The incident occurred on December 25 or 26, 1996. A detailed ransom note, handwritten, was discovered in the home. John Ramsey, JonBenét’s father, made a heartbreaking discovery approximately seven hours after reporting her missing. He found her lifeless body in the basement of their house.

The young girl had suffered a fractured skull from a forceful blow to her head and had also been strangled. A garrote, a device used for strangulation, was found tightly fastened around her neck. The official autopsy report attributed JonBenét’s cause of death to “asphyxia by strangulation associated with craniocerebral trauma.”

The authorities ruled her death as a homicide. This high-profile case garnered significant attention globally, partly due to JonBenét’s mother, Patsy Ramsey, being a former beauty queen who had entered her daughter into various child beauty pageants. The investigation into JonBenét’s murder remains an open and unsolved case, continuing to be pursued by the Boulder Police Department.

Initially, the Boulder police held suspicions that Patsy Ramsey had authored the ransom note and that both she and John had orchestrated the staging of JonBenét’s body to conceal the true nature of her death. In 1998, however, the police and district attorney confirmed that JonBenét’s nine-year-old brother, Burke, was not a suspect in the case.

JonBenét’s parents, John and Patsy Ramsey

John and Patsy Ramsey made several appearances on televised interviews but were reluctant to submit to police questioning unless on their own terms. In October 2013, previously sealed court documents revealed that a grand jury, convened in 1999, had recommended filing charges against the Ramseys for allowing their child to be in a threatening situation.

Furthermore, John and Patsy were accused of impeding the prosecution of an unidentified individual who had committed the crimes of first-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death. Nevertheless, the district attorney determined that there was insufficient evidence to pursue a successful indictment against them.

In 2002, the DA’s successor took over investigation of the case from the police and primarily pursued the theory that an intruder had committed the killing. In 2003, trace DNA that was taken from the victim’s clothes was found to belong to an unknown male; each of the family’s DNA had been excluded from this match. The DA sent the Ramseys a letter of apology in 2008, declaring the family was “completely cleared” by the DNA results.Others, including former Boulder police chief Mark Beckner, disagreed with exonerating the Ramseys, characterizing the DNA as a small piece of evidence that was not proven to have any connection to the crime. In February 2009, the Boulder police took the case back from the DA and reopened the investigation.

National and international media coverage of the case focused on JonBenét’s brief beauty pageant career, as well as her parents’ wealth and the unusual evidence found in the case. Media reports questioned how the police handled the investigation. Ramsey family members and their friends have filed defamation suits against several media organizations.

Life and interment

Born on August 6, 1990, in Atlanta, Georgia, JonBenét Ramsey was the younger of two children of Patricia “Patsy” Ramsey (1956–2006) and John Bennett Ramsey (born 1943). Her older brother, Burke, was born in 1987. JonBenét’s unique first name was a combination of her father’s first and middle names, while her mother’s first name became her middle name. She began her education by enrolling in kindergarten at High Peaks Elementary School in Boulder, Colorado.

JonBenet’s family

Tragically, JonBenét’s life came to a devastating end, and her body was discovered on December 26, 1996, in her family’s residence in Boulder. Following her untimely death, she was laid to rest on December 31 at St. James Episcopal Cemetery in Marietta, Georgia. Notably, her final resting place was alongside her half-sister Elizabeth Pasch Ramsey, who had tragically passed away in a car accident nearly five years prior at the age of 22.


John Ramsey, a businessman, held the position of president at Access Graphics, a computer software company that later became a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin. He had previously gone through a divorce in 1978 and had two adult children from his first marriage who resided elsewhere. In 1991, John relocated to Boulder, where Access Graphics’ headquarters were situated, along with his second wife, Patsy, and their family.

Patsy Ramsey actively involved JonBenét in several child beauty pageants held in Boulder, resulting in her securing numerous titles such as America’s Royale Miss, Little Miss Charlevoix, Little Miss Colorado, Colorado State All-Star Kids Cover Girl, and National Tiny Miss Beauty. The media highlighted JonBenét’s participation in these pageants and reported on Patsy’s behavior as a “pageant mother” following the tragic murder.

Approximately six months after JonBenét’s passing, in the summer of 1997, the Ramseys relocated to a new residence in Atlanta after spending the summer at their vacation retreat in Charlevoix, Michigan. Sadly, Patsy passed away from ovarian cancer at the age of 49 in 2006. She was laid to rest beside her daughter.


According to statements that Patsy gave to authorities on December 26, 1996, she realized that her daughter was missing after she found a two-and-a-half-page handwritten ransom note on the kitchen staircase at the Ramsey family’s Boulder residence. The note demanded US$118,000 (equivalent to $220,177 in 2022). John pointed out to police first on the scene that the amount was nearly identical to his Christmas bonus of the prior year, which suggested that someone who would have access to that information would be involved in the crime.

Handwritten ransom note

Text of the ransom note

Mr. Ramsey,

Listen carefully! We are a group of individuals that represent a small foreign faction. We do respect your bussiness but not the country that it serves. At this time we have your daughter in our posession. She is safe and unharmed and if you want her to see 1997, you must follow our instructions to the letter.

You will withdraw $118,000.00 from your account. $100,000 will be in $100 bills and the remaining $18,000 in $20 bills. Make sure that you bring an adequate size attache to the bank. When you get home you will put the money in a brown paper bag. I will call you between 8 and 10 am tomorrow to instruct you on delivery. The delivery will be exhausting so I advise you to be rested. If we monitor you getting the money early, we might call you early to arrange an earlier delivery of the money and hence a earlier delivery pick-up of your daughter.

Any deviation of my instructions will result in the immediate execution of your daughter. You will also be denied her remains for proper burial. The two gentlemen watching over your daughter do not particularly like you so I advise you not to provoke them. Speaking to anyone about your situation, such as Police, F.B.I., etc., will result in your daughter being beheaded. If we catch you talking to a stray dog, she dies. If you alert bank authorities, she dies. If the money is in any way marked or tampered with, she dies. You will be scanned for electronic devices and if any are found, she dies. You can try to deceive us but be warned that we are familiar with law enforcement countermeasures and tactics. You stand a 99% chance of killing your daughter if you try to out smart us. Follow our instructions and you stand a 100% chance of getting her back.

You and your family are under constant scrutiny as well as the authorities. Don’t try to grow a brain John. You are not the only fat cat around so don’t think that killing will be difficult. Don’t underestimate us John. Use that good southern common sense of yours. It is up to you now John!



Investigators explored multiple theories regarding the specific dollar amount requested in the ransom, including the potential involvement of Access Graphics employees who might have been aware of John’s previous bonus. Additionally, they delved into the possibility that the ransom note contained references to Psalm 118, consulting religious experts to ascertain any potential significance.

The ransom note exhibited similarities to dialogue from various films, including Ruthless People, Ransom, Escape from New York, Speed, and Dirty Harry, which were considered possible sources of inspiration or influence.

The ransom note was unusually long. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) told the police that it was very unusual for such a note to be written at the crime scene. The police believed that the note was staged, because it did not have any fingerprints except for Patsy’s and authorities who had handled it, and because it included an unusual use of exclamation marks and initialisms. The note and a practice draft were written with a pen and notepad from the Ramsey home.

According to a Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) report, “There are indications that the author of the ransom note is Patricia Ramsey.” However, the evidence fell short of a definitive conclusion. Michael Baden, a board-certified forensic pathologist, who had consulted with both sides of the case, said he had never seen a note like it in his 60-year experience and that he did not think it was written by an outside stranger.

A federal court ruled it highly unlikely that Patsy wrote the note, citing six certified handwriting experts. The court bemoaned the existence of self-proclaimed experts–without credentials–trying to enter the case by accusing Patsy without scientific basis.

911 call 

The only people known to be in the house on the night of JonBenét’s death were her immediate family: Patsy and John Ramsey and their son Burke. The ransom note contained specific instructions against contacting police and friends, but Patsy telephoned the police at 5:52 a.m. MST. She also called family and friends. Two police officers responded to the 9-1-1 call and arrived at the Ramsey home within three minutes. They conducted a cursory search of the house but did not find any sign of forced entry.

Officer Rick French went to the basement and came to a door that was secured by a wooden latch. He paused for a moment in front of the door, but walked away without opening it. French later explained that he was looking for an exit route used by the kidnapper, which the closed inside peg ruled out. JonBenét’s body was later found behind the door.

With JonBenét still missing, John made arrangements to pay the ransom. A forensics team was dispatched to the house. The team initially believed that the child had been kidnapped, and JonBenét’s bedroom was the only room in the house that was cordoned off to prevent contamination of evidence. No precautions were taken to prevent contamination of evidence in the rest of the house.

Meanwhile, friends, victim advocates, and the Ramsey family’s minister arrived at the home to show support. Visitors picked up and cleaned surfaces in the kitchen, possibly destroying evidence. Boulder detective Linda Arndt arrived at about 8:00 a.m. MST, in anticipation of receiving further instructions by the kidnapper(s), but there was never an attempt by anyone to claim the money.

Discovery of the body

At 1:00 p.m. MST, Detective Arndt requested John Ramsey and Fleet White, a close family friend, to conduct a search of the house to identify any signs of unusual activity or disturbance. They initiated their search in the basement area. John proceeded to open a previously overlooked latched door, leading to the discovery of his daughter’s lifeless body in one of the rooms.

JonBenét’s mouth had been covered with duct tape, while a nylon cord was found tied around her wrists and neck. Additionally, her torso was draped with a white blanket. John carefully picked up his daughter’s body and brought it upstairs. Unfortunately, this movement of JonBenét’s body further compromised the integrity of the crime scene, resulting in the contamination of crucial forensic evidence for the subsequent forensic team.

Cold Case of JonBenét Patricia Ramsey

Each member of the Ramsey family willingly provided the police with samples of their handwriting, blood, and hair. Both John and Patsy participated in an initial interview that lasted over two hours, while Burke, JonBenét’s brother, was also interviewed within the first few weeks following the tragic event.


According to the autopsy findings, JonBenét’s cause of death resulted from both strangulation and a fracture to her skull. The official determination was “asphyxia by strangulation associated with craniocerebral trauma.” While there was no conclusive evidence of traditional rape, the possibility of sexual assault could not be completely ruled out. Although no semen was detected, indications of vaginal injury were present. The pathologist noted during the autopsy that her vaginal area appeared to have been wiped with a cloth. As a result, her death was classified as a homicide.

A garrote, constructed from a length of nylon cord and the broken handle of a paintbrush, was discovered tightly tied around JonBenét’s neck, presumably used as a strangulation instrument. Part of the bristled end of the paintbrush was found in a container containing art supplies belonging to Patsy. However, despite extensive searches conducted by the police in the subsequent days, the missing bottom third of the paintbrush handle was never located within the house.

During the autopsy, traces of “vegetable or fruit material, possibly pineapple,” were discovered, indicating that JonBenét had consumed pineapple a few hours prior to her death. Photographs taken on the day her body was discovered depicted a bowl of pineapple on the kitchen table with a spoon inside. However, neither John nor Patsy recalled placing the bowl on the table or feeding JonBenét pineapple. The police reported finding the fingerprints of JonBenét’s nine-year-old brother, Burke Ramsey, on the bowl. The Ramsey family consistently maintained that Burke slept throughout the entire night until he was awakened several hours after the police arrived.

Blood samples

In December 2003, forensic investigators extracted enough material from a mixed blood sample found on JonBenét’s underwear to establish a DNA profile. That DNA belonged to an unknown male person, and excluded the DNA of each of the Ramseys. The DNA was submitted to the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), a database containing more than 1.6 million DNA profiles, but the sample did not match any profile in the database. In October 2016, a report said that new forensic analysis with more sensitive techniques revealed that the original DNA contained genetic markers from two individuals other than JonBenét.

A. James Kolar, who was a lead investigator for the DA’s office, said that there were additional traces of male DNA found on the cord and paintbrush that Boulder district attorney Mary Lacy did not mention, and that there were six separate DNA samples belonging to unknown individuals that were found by the test. Former FBI profiler Candice Delong believes that the DNA, having shown up identically in several different places on multiple surfaces, belongs to the killer.

Former Adams County, Colorado, District Attorney Bob Grant, who has assisted the Boulder DA’s office on the case for many years, also believes that the DNA evidence is significant, saying that any resolution of the case would have to explain how the DNA showed up on several pieces of JonBenét’s clothing. Forensic pathologist Michael Baden said, “Trace amounts of DNA can get on places and clothing from all different, nonsuspicious means. There is no forensic evidence to show that this is a stranger murder.”


Various individuals, including experts, media commentators, and the Ramseys themselves, have put forth potential suspects in the case. Initially, the Boulder police primarily focused their attention on John and Patsy as the main persons of interest. However, as of October 1997, their index of individuals considered relevant to the investigation expanded to include over 1,600 people.

The resolution of the investigation and the development of plausible theories were hindered by several errors made during the initial stages of the investigation. These errors encompassed the loss and contamination of crucial evidence, a lack of experienced and technically skilled personnel working on the case, the sharing of evidence with the Ramseys, and delayed informal interviews conducted with the parents. These missteps contributed to the complexity and challenges surrounding the case.

Lou Smit was a detective who came out of retirement in early 1997 to assist the Boulder County District Attorney’s office with the case. In May 1998, he presented his findings to the Boulder police with other staff members of the DA’s Office, concluding that the evidence pointed away from the Ramseys. They were unable to successfully challenge the police department’s belief that the Ramseys were guilty. The DA’s office sought to take control of the investigation. Due to the animosity between the police and the DA’s office, and the pressure to obtain a conviction, Colorado governor Roy Romer interceded and named Michael Kane as special prosecutor to initiate a grand jury.

Two of the lead investigators in the case had opposing views. Both Lou Smit and Steve Thomas ultimately resigned — Smit because he believed that the investigation had incompetently overlooked the intruder hypothesis, and Thomas because the DA’s office had interfered with and failed to support the police investigation of the case.

A grand jury was convened beginning September 15, 1998, to consider indicting the Ramseys for charges relating to the case. In 1999, the grand jury returned a true bill to charge the Ramseys with placing the child at risk in a way that led to her death and with obstructing an investigation of murder, based on the probable cause standard applied in such grand jury proceedings. But Boulder County District Attorney Alex Hunter did not prosecute them, because he did not believe that he could meet the higher standard of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt that is required for a criminal conviction.

Mary Lacy, the next Boulder County District Attorney, took over the investigation from the police on December 26, 2002. In April 2003, she agreed with a federal judge who sat on a 2002 case that evidence in the suit is “more consistent with a theory that an intruder murdered JonBenét than it was with a theory that Mrs. Ramsey did”. On July 9, 2008, the Boulder District Attorney’s office announced that, as a result of newly developed DNA sampling and testing techniques (touch DNA analysis), the Ramsey family members were excluded as suspects in the case. Lacy publicly exonerated the Ramseys.

On February 2, 2009, Boulder police chief Mark Beckner announced that Stan Garnett, the new Boulder County District Attorney, was turning the case over to his agency, and that his team would resume investigating it. Garnett found that the statute of limitations for the crimes identified in the 1999 grand jury true bill had expired, and did not pursue review of the case against the Ramseys.

In October 2010, the Boulder police reopened the cold case. New interviews were conducted following a fresh inquiry by a committee that included state and federal investigators. Police were expected to use the latest DNA technology in their investigation. There was no new information gleaned from those interviews. It was reported in September 2016 that the investigation into JonBenét’s death continues to be an active homicide case, per Boulder Police Chief Greg Testa.

In 2015, Beckner disagreed with exonerating the Ramseys, stating, “Exonerating anyone based on a small piece of evidence that has not yet been proved to even be connected to the crime is absurd.” He also stated that the unknown DNA from JonBenet’s clothing “has got to be the focus of the investigation” at this point in time and that, until one can prove otherwise, “the suspect is the donator of that unknown DNA.”

In 2016, Gordon Coombes, a former investigator for the Boulder County District Attorney’s office, also questioned total absolution of the Ramseys, stating, “We all shed DNA all the time within our skin cells. It can be deposited anywhere at any time for various reasons, reasons that are benign.

To clear somebody just on the premise of touch DNA, especially when you have a situation where the crime scene wasn’t secure at the beginning … really is a stretch.” Steven E. Pitt, a forensic psychiatrist hired by Boulder authorities, said, “Lacy’s public exoneration of the Ramseys was a big slap in the face to Chief Beckner and the core group of detectives who had been working on the case for years.”


Two prevailing theories surround the death of JonBenét. The first is the family member theory, which initially drew the focused attention of the Boulder police towards the parents, John and Patsy Ramsey. Gregg McCrary, a retired profiler from the FBI, noted that statistically, there is a 12-to-1 likelihood that a family member or caregiver is involved in the homicide of a child. The absence of signs of forced entry, coupled with indications of staging at the crime scene, such as the presence of a ransom note, influenced the investigators’ suspicions.

The Ramseys’ level of cooperation in assisting the police in solving their daughter’s death was deemed inadequate. According to the Daily Camera, the Ramseys cited their apprehension that a thorough investigation into potential intruders would not be conducted, and expressed concern about being hastily designated as primary suspects in the case. As a result, their cooperation with the authorities was limited, creating additional challenges for the investigation.

One theory is that Patsy struck JonBenét in a fit of rage after a bedwetting episode, and strangled her to cover up what had happened, after mistakenly thinking she was already dead. However, Patsy did not have a known history of uncontrolled anger. JonBenét’s brother Burke Ramsey later said, “We didn’t get spanked, nothing of the sort, nothing close, nothing near laying a finger on us, let alone killing your child.” Theoretically, the strangulation could have been a “red herring” aspect to conceal other elements of the assault and killing.

Burke, who was nine years old at the time of JonBenét’s death, was interviewed by investigators at least three times. The first two interviews did not raise any concerns about him. A review by a child psychologist stated that it appeared that the Ramseys had “healthy, caring family relationships”. In 1998, Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner said during an interview with a news reporter that Burke Ramsey was not involved in the killing of his sister. In May 1999, the Boulder County District Attorney’s office reiterated that Burke Ramsey was not a suspect. The investigators had never considered him a suspect.

Burke Ramsey, who was nine years old at the time of JonBenét’s death

The Ramseys offered a $100,000 reward in a newspaper ad dated April 27, 1997. Three days later, more than four months after the body of their daughter was found, they submitted for the first time to separate formal interviews at the Boulder County Justice Center. In 1999, Colorado Governor Bill Owens spoke out, telling the Ramsey couple to “quit hiding behind their attorneys, quit hiding behind their PR firm”.

A Colorado grand jury voted in 1999 to indict the parents. The indictment cited “two counts each of child abuse” and said the parents “did unlawfully, knowingly, recklessly and feloniously permit a child to be unreasonably placed in a situation that posed a threat of injury to the child’s life or health, which resulted in the death of JonBenét Ramsey, a child under the age of sixteen.”

Among the experts who testified in the case were DNA specialist Barry Scheck and forensic expert Henry Lee. On October 13, 1999, Alex Hunter, who was the district attorney at the time, refused to sign the indictment, saying that the evidence was insufficient for prosecution. The public thought that the grand jury investigation had been inconclusive. In 2002, the statute of limitations on the grand jury’s charges expired. The grand jury’s vote to indict was not revealed publicly until October 25, 2013, when previously sealed court documents were released.

The Case of: JonBenét Ramsey, a show broadcast on CBS on September 18 and 19, 2016, used a group of experts to evaluate the evidence. The group theorized that Burke hit his sister in the head with a heavy object (possibly a flashlight) after she stole a piece of pineapple from his bowl, perhaps not intending to kill her. They suggested that the ransom letter was an attempt to cover up the circumstances of JonBenet’s death. On behalf of Burke Ramsey, his counsel filed defamation lawsuits against CBS, the producers of the program, and several of its participants, based on many of its claims.

The second theory is the intruder theory. The police and the prosecutors followed leads for intruders partly due to the unidentified boot mark left in the basement room where JonBenét’s body was found.

Several individuals emerged as early persons of interest in the investigation. Among them were Bill McReynolds, a neighbor who portrayed Santa Claus; Chris Wolf, a local reporter whose then-girlfriend implicated him as a suspect; Linda Hoffmann-Pugh, a housekeeper for the family; and Michael Helgoth, who tragically died by apparent suicide shortly after JonBenét’s death. Extensive DNA testing was conducted to search for a match to the DNA evidence obtained during her autopsy. The Ramseys, in a defamation lawsuit (Wolf v. Ramsey) in 2003, publicly identified an early suspect in the case. Judge Julie E. Carnes wrote:

[T]here is virtually no evidence to support [Wolf’s] theory that [the Ramseys] murdered their child, but abundant evidence to support [the Ramsey’s] belief that an intruder entered their home at some point during the night of December 25, 1996 and killed their daughter.
John Ramsey and his wife, Patsy, had been regarded with suspicion in connection to the death of their daughter, JonBenet.

Lou Smit, a detective in the case, assessed the evidence and concluded that an intruder had committed the crime. On the night JonBenét was killed, there had been two windows that were left slightly open to allow for electrical cords for the outside Christmas lights to pass through, a broken basement window, and one unlocked door. Smit’s theory was that someone entered the Ramsey home through the broken basement window.

Critics have questioned this theory, because there was an intact cobweb in the basement window. The steel grate that covered the window also had undisturbed cobwebs, and the foliage around the grate had been undisturbed. There were also cobwebs in the tracks of various windows, and dust and debris were on some sills. Smit believed that the intruder subdued JonBenét using a stun gun and took her down to the basement.

JonBenét was killed and a ransom note was left. Smit’s theory was supported by former FBI agent John E. Douglas, who had been hired by the Ramsey family. Believing that the Ramseys were innocent, Smit resigned from the investigation on September 20, 1998, five days after the grand jury was convened against the Ramseys. While no longer an official investigator on the case, Smit continued to work on it until his death in 2010.

Author Stephen Singular in his book Presumed Guilty (1999, revised 2016) refers to consultations with cyber-crime specialists to argue JonBenét attracted the attention of child pornographers and pedophiles affiliated with the child pageant scene. Singular further believes the investigation was overly-focused on the Ramsey parents, hampering investigation into alternate scenarios, and the Ramseys were not responsible for the murder other than perhaps unwittingly exposing their daughter to sexual predators. Singular speculates this scenario explains why the grand jury did not recommend indicting the Ramsey parents for murder, but for child abuse or endangerment for placing their daughter in a risky situation.

It was determined that there had been more than 100 burglaries in the Ramseys’ neighborhood in the months before JonBenét’s murder. There were 38 registered sex offenders living within a 2-mile (3.2 km) radius of the Ramseys’ home. In 2001, former Boulder County prosecutor Trip DeMuth and Boulder County Sheriff’s Detective Steve Ainsworth stated that there should be a more aggressive investigation of the intruder theory.

One of the individuals whom Smit identified as a suspect was Gary Howard Oliva, who was arrested for “two counts of attempted sexual exploitation of a child and one count of sexual exploitation of a child” charges in June 2016, according to Boulder’s Daily Camera. Oliva, a registered sex offender, was publicly identified as a suspect in an October 2002 episode of 48 Hours Investigates.

The Killing of JonBenét: The Truth Uncovered, broadcast by A&E on September 5, 2016, concluded that an unidentified male was responsible for JonBenét’s death, based on forensic DNA analysis of evidence. In the documentary, DNA and forensic scientist expert Lawrence Kobilinsky stated that “an unidentified male committed this crime”.

John Ramsey speaks with A&E’s Elizabeth Vargas.

The District Attorney’s office investigating pedophiles indicated to former Denver prosecutor Craig Silverman that the District Attorney’s office followed the intruder theory. The Ramseys developed a relationship with District Attorney Mary Lacy and her office, which was criticized by authorities such as the city’s mayor, Leslie L Durgin. Silverman said, “Once you have conceded the possibility of an intruder, I don’t see how any Ramsey could ever be successfully prosecuted.”

Gordon Coombes joined the office as an investigator under Lacy when they were testing JonBenét’s clothing for touch DNA. He also said that Lacy strongly supported the intruder theory and talked about it with the staff. Although he was not directly involved with the case, he said he was told not to voice opposition to the theory because he might lose his job. “It just seemed weird the whole premise of … this attempt to influence the entire agency,” he stated.

False confession

On August 15, 2006, a man named Alexis Val Reich, formerly known as John Mark Karr, was apprehended in Bangkok, Thailand, after making a false confession to the murder of JonBenét. Reich, a 41-year-old school teacher, claimed responsibility for drugging, sexually assaulting, and accidentally causing the death of JonBenét. However, authorities, as reported by CNN, stated that no evidence linking Reich to the crime scene was found.

Reich’s confession lacked substantial details and only included basic facts that were already publicly known. The assertion of drugging JonBenét raised doubts since the autopsy results did not indicate the presence of any drugs in her body. Additionally, Reich’s DNA did not match the DNA discovered on JonBenét’s body.

John Mark Karr, was apprehended in Bangkok, Thailand, after making a false confession to the murder of JonBenét

On October 26, 2006, Reich contacted Bill Hammons of Bill’s List via email, expressing a desire to find a literary agent to help publish a manuscript that could be deemed controversial.

Reich later sent emails under numerous pen names, including Daxis the Conqueror, Drk Prnz, and Alexis. Reich later came out as transgender and changed her legal name from ‘John Mark Karr’ to Alexis Valoran Reich (or Delia Alexis Reich, according to a Washington State drivers’ license). Samantha Spiegel (who gained a restraining order from Reich) alleged Reich only intended to undergo gender reassignment surgery to get closer to younger girls in a child sex cult called “The Immaculates”.

Defamation lawsuits

Beginning in 1999, Lin Wood, the Ramseys’ attorney specializing in defamation cases, initiated legal actions against various individuals and entities who had reported on the case. One of the early lawsuits was directed at Star magazine and its parent company, American Media, Inc., on behalf of the Ramseys’ son. In addition, the Ramseys and their friends pursued defamation suits against several unidentified media outlets. Another defamation lawsuit was filed in 2001 against the authors and publisher of the book JonBenét: Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation (2000). This particular legal case, involving Don Davis, Steven Thomas, and St. Martin’s Press, was ultimately resolved outside of court in the subsequent year.

John and Patsy Ramsey were sued in two defamation lawsuits arising from the publication of their book, The Death of Innocence (2001). These suits were brought by two persons named in the book who were said to have been investigated by Boulder police as suspects in the case. The Ramseys were defended in those lawsuits by Lin Wood and three other Atlanta attorneys, James C. Rawls, Eric P. Schroeder, and S. Derek Bauer. They obtained the dismissal of both lawsuits. U.S. District Court Judge Julie Carnes later concluded that “abundant evidence” in the murder case pointed to an intruder having committed the crime.

In November 2006, Rod Westmoreland, a friend of John Ramsey, filed a defamation suit against an anonymous web surfer who had posted two messages on Internet forums using the pseudonym “undertheradar” implicating Westmoreland in the murder.

During a September 2016 interview with CBS Detroit and in The Case of: JonBenét Ramsey documentary television program, forensic pathologist Werner Spitz accused Burke Ramsey of killing his sister. On October 6, 2016, Burke filed a defamation lawsuit against Spitz. Burke and his attorneys, who include Lin Wood, sought a total of $150 million in punitive and compensatory damages. Wood said he would also file a suit against CBS at the end of October 2016.

On December 28, 2016, attorneys representing Burke Ramsey filed an extra civil lawsuit accusing CBS, the production company Critical Content LLC, and seven experts and consultants of defaming his character. The lawsuit sought compensatory damages of $250 million and punitive damages of $500 million.

Cold Case of JonBenét Patricia Ramsey

In January 2018, a judge rejected CBS’s motion to dismiss the case, allowing the lawsuit to move forward. Then, in January 2019, Lin Wood announced that a settlement had been reached, bringing satisfaction to all parties involved in the lawsuit.

Till now in 2023 this murder mystery case remains unsolved murder and will it be a cold case forever?

Jeremy Jhordy

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