Colorado police announced that they had launched a new investigation into the decades-old unsolved murder case of six-year-old JonBenet Ramsey ahead of the 26th anniversary of her 1996 murder.
The Boulder Police Department announced that they would be working with the Colorado Cold Case Review Team, which would cast a fresh eye on the case and help them find answers to the mystery that has puzzled both police and the public for close to three decades.
The statement released by the Boulder police on Wednesday said that investigators working on the case had followed up on more than 21,000 leads from emails, tips, and letters. It continued to say that detectives had traveled to 19 states to interview more than 1,000 people about the murder.
JonBenet, who was only six years old when she was murdered, was a child beauty pageant queen. Her mother reported her missing from their Boulder family home on Dec 26, 1996. Her mother also found a mysterious ransom note demanding that the family pay $118,000 in exchange for her safe return.
Later that day, the girl’s father, John Bennett, found her lifeless body in the basement of their home. According to authorities, she had been strangled and brutally beaten, and her body had signs of sexual assault.
The only people known to be in the home when her body was found were her father, mother, and older brother Burke, who was nine years old at the time.
The ransom note looked like it was written in her mother Patsy’s handwriting, and because they were the only ones home, the public turned on JonBenet’s parents and accused them of murdering their six-year-old daughter. Police cleared them of the murder in 2008 when they found the DNA of another unidentified person on the child’s pajamas.
There have been several theories about the murder in the last two decades, including some theories that JonBenet was attacked by an intruder or killed by a pageant photographer charged with child pornography in 2019.
Despite all the speculation and media attention on the case, there was never a solid lead.
John Andrew Ramsey, JonBenet’s half-brother, has supported an online petition asking the Governor of Colorado to intervene in the investigation and put another agency in charge of the murder case’s DNA testing.
John Ramsey, 23 years old at the time of the murder and away from Colorado, said he wanted DNA evidence that the Boulder police had never tested to be transferred to another agency.
In their statement, the Boulder police said they would also be working with private DNA labs and the Cold Case team, which consists of forensic, analytical, and investigative experts across the state.
Maris Herold, the Boulder police chief, said that the department would never stop investigating the case until they found the killer.
Replying to a tweet sent out by the Boulder Police Department on Wednesday, JonBenet’s half-brother said that the move was positive progress in the case, but the police needed to do more work to catch the killer.
An autopsy of her body revealed that JonBenet died from blunt force trauma to her head and strangulation.