- The Washington Times
Monday, May 2, 2022

DENVER — Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is considering a plea from the father of JonBenet Ramsey to shake up the 25-year-old unsolved murder case by putting an independent agency in charge of advanced DNA testing instead of the Boulder Police Department.

The governor’s office said Monday it would review Justice for JonBenet’s online petition, which accuses the Boulder police of dropping the ball on DNA technology breakthroughs that could shed light on the six-year-old girl’s December 1996 murder.

“The State will review the petition and look into how the state can assist in using new technology to further investigate this cold case and to identify JonBenet Ramsey‘s killer and bring him or her to justice,” a Polis spokesperson said in an email to The Washington Times.

The review is backed by John Ramsey, who fueled renewed interest in his daughter’s case with an appearance Saturday at CrimeCon in Las Vegas, where he urged the public to sign the petition calling for the Democratic governor to intervene.

“If enough public pressure is on the governor … to do the right thing, they will do the right thing,” Mr. Ramsey told Fox News Digital in a video interview at the event. “That’s what we’re hoping this petition will accomplish.”

Mr. Ramsey also called for reclassifying child murders as federal crimes “so that all the resources of the federal government, the FBI, etc., could come in automatically,” saying that the Boulder police were “totally inexperienced.”

“That’s the one thing I’ll fault them for. They did not accept help from people who completely knew what they were doing and could have helped,” Mr. Ramsey said.

The department responded Sunday by saying that the Ramsey case is still a “priority,” adding that police have worked with “several outside forensic labs” while the Colorado Bureau of Investigation has “updated over 750 reference samples with the latest DNA technology.”

“This case has been under constant review with federal, state, and local partners,” said the department’s statement. “As recently as March 2022, the Boulder Police Department hosted another meeting with federal, state, and local agencies working on this case and in consultation with DNA experts from around the country. That collaboration will continue.”

The murder drew international attention in part because JonBenet was a much-photographed, highly decorated child beauty-pageant contestant, and in part due to the strange circumstances surrounding what has become one of America’s most notorious unsolved murders.

Her mother, Patsy Ramsey, called the police after discovering a ransom note the morning after Christmas saying JonBenet had been kidnapped. Her father found her body later that day wrapped in a blanket in the basement. She was killed by a blow to the head and had been strangled with a garrote.

Patsy Ramsey died of ovarian cancer at age 49 in 2006. Mr. Ramsey, 78, a former computer executive who founded Advanced Product Group, remarried in 2011 and now lives in Michigan.

Boulder Police Chief Meris Herold said that law enforcement has “always used state of the art technology as it has been at the forefront of this investigation.”

“We have a shared goal to bring justice — and hopefully some peace — to JonBenet‘s family and everyone who was impacted by her loss,” said Chief Herold. “Our investigation with federal, state and local partners has never stopped. That includes new ways to use DNA technology.”

The petition argued that “Boulder Police are working hard to placate the public by telling the media that they hope DNA will solve this case while, at the same time, doing very little to make that happen.”

“And it makes sense: the same two key investigators from 1996 still have control of the case. Isn’t it time for new perspectives and ideas?” reads the petition.

Suspicion centered for years on the parents, but in 2008, then-Boulder District Attorney Mary Lacy said they had been cleared, citing DNA from an “unknown male” on JonBenet’s clothing.

In 2016, an investigation by the Boulder Daily Camera and 9News Denver found that the DNA sample “could be a composite and not that of a single individual.”

Mr. Ramsey was interviewed at CrimeCon by former 9News reporter Paula Woodward, who wrote the 2016 book, “We Have Your Daughter: The Unsolved Murder of JonBenet Ramsey Twenty Years Later.”

He repeated that he did not kill JonBenet, and that neither did her mother nor her brother. Ms. Woodward asked why the audience should believe him.

“Based on what the media reported, I don’t know how you could believe otherwise,” Mr. Ramsey said. “We used to get letters from people that would say, ‘For years, I thought you were murderers of your daughter. I’m so sorry I felt that way.’ I’d write them back, saying, ‘That’s OK, how could you believe otherwise based on what you were being told?’”

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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