The JonBenet Ramsey Murder Investigation

Who Killed 6-Year-Old JonBenet?

JonBenet Ramsey
JonBenet Ramsey. Family Photo

On Dec. 26, 1996, JonBenet Ramsey's 6-year-old body was found in the basement of her Boulder, Colorado home after a ransom note was found demanding money for her return. Family members came under suspicion in the investigation, although a stranger's DNA was found on the girl's clothing. No one has ever been officially charged with a crime in the case, which remains unsolved.

Here are the latest developments in the JonBenet Ramsey murder investigation:

Chief: Cops Botched JonBenet Crime Scene

Feb. 25, 2015 - A former Boulder, Colorado police chief says his officers should have done a better job of securing the crime scene at the home where JonBenet Ramsey was found killed. Mark Beckner said a lack of manpower due to the Christmas holiday was partly to blame for the confusion at the scene.

In an online question and answer session, Beckner said detectives should have separated the parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, and taken full statements from each of them on day one.

Instead, when the couple "lawyered up" they were released and allowed to go home and were not formally interviewed again until five months later. Beckner called that decision a "big mistake."

During the online session, Beckner also criticized the Boulder district attorney's office for "getting too involved" in the investigation.

Beckner said that he believes the DNA found on the 6-year-old's clothing is the key to finding a suspect in the case, but he also said he does not think anyone will ever be convicted of the 1996 murder, due mainly to mistakes his department made that first day.

Previous Developments

Jury Indicted JonBenet's Parents, But D.A. Balked in 1999
Jan. 28, 2013
The grand jury investigating the death of JonBenet Ramsey indicted both her parents in 1999, but the district attorney refused to sign the indictment and prosecute the case. District Attorney Alex Hunter did not believe he had enough evidence to convict John and Patsy Ramsey for child abuse resulting in a death, according to an investigative report by a Boulder newspaper.

Police Plan Interviews in JonBenet Case
Oct. 4, 2010
Investigators have planned a new series of interviews in the unsolved JonBenet Ramsey case, but it may not be new evidence that has prompted the activity. An advisory committee, made up of investigators from several state and federal agencies, recommended the new round of interviews after meeting in 2009.

JonBenet Ramsey Case Returned to Boulder Police
Feb. 3, 2009
Saying they will use new technology, expertise, and an advisory task force to try to solve the crime, the Boulder Police Department has taken the reins again in the investigation of the JonBenet Ramsey murder. For the past six years, the investigation has been handled by the district attorney's office.

Ramseys Cleared in JonBenet Murder Case
July 9, 2008
The Boulder, Colorado district attorney has released a letter officially clearing members of the Ramsey family of any involvement in the December 1996 death of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey after newly discovered DNA evidence points to a male perpetrator not associated with the family or law enforcement. The DNA evidence, found on another piece of JonBenet's clothing, matches previous evidence found on her panties in 1997.

John Mark Karr Arrested in Domestic Dispute
July 7, 2007
The man who gained the national spotlight by confessing to the murder of JonBenet Ramsey has been arrested and jailed following a domestic dispute at his father's house in Sandy Springs, Georgia, near Atlanta.

Police said they arrested Karr after they received a 9-1-1 call reporting an argument between Karr, his girlfriend, and his father.

John Mark Karr Now Free to Roam
Oct. 5, 2006
John Mark Karr, the substitute elementary school teacher who falsely confessed to the murder of JonBenet Ramsey to get out of Thailand, is now a free man after child pornography charges were dismissed against him in California after prosecutors admitted they did not have enough evidence to go to trial. Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Rene Chouteau ordered Karr released immediately.

Karr Turns Down Pornography Plea Deal
Sept. 22, 2006
John Mark Karr, who gave a false confession in the JonBenet Ramsey case, has rejected a plea deal from California prosecutors that would have allowed him to walk out of jail and serve a probation sentence on child pornography charges.

His lawyer said Karr maintains his innocence and refuses to plead guilty to a crime that he did not commit.

Charges Dropped in JonBenet Ramsey Case
Aug. 28, 2006
Colorado prosecutors have decided not to charge John Mark Karr with the murder of six-year-old JonBenet Ramsey on December 26, 1996, after DNA tests failed to link the suspect to the crime scene evidence. "The warrant on Mr. Karr has been dropped by the district attorney," public defender Seth Temin said. "They are not proceeding with the case."

Arrest of JonBenet Suspect Raises Many Questions
Aug. 17, 2006
The arrest of 41-year-old John Mark Karr in Bangkok, Thailand for the murder of JonBenet Ramsey in 1996 and his statements to investigators have raised concerns about the validity of his confession. A news conference by Boulder, Colorado District Attorney Mary Lacy today revealed no insight into the investigation, as she refused to make any comments on evidence in the case.

Teacher Arrested in JonBenet Ramsey Case
Aug. 16, 2006
A man currently being held in Thailand on unrelated sexual charges has been arrested in connection with the murder of six-year-old JonBenet Ramsey in her Boulder, Colorado home almost ten years ago. The suspect, who authorities say has confessed to the murder, will be returned to the United States within the next week.

JonBenet Ramsey Investigator Changes Again
March 20, 2006
The lead investigator for the JonBenet Ramsey murder case is about to change again, but the new detective is one who once worked exclusively on the Christmas 1996 death of the six-year-old daughter of John and Patsy Ramsey. Tom Bennett, a retired detective from the Arvada Police Department, joined the Boulder's prosecutor's office in 2003 working exclusively on the Ramsey case, working 20 to 30 hours a week.

JonBenet's Killer Linked to Another Rape?
Dec. 20, 2004
Investigators in the JonBenet Ramsey murder case believe the intruder who killed the six-year-old may have struck again nine months later, sexually assaulting an eight-year-old girl, who was in the same dance class with JonBenet, in her Boulder, Colorado bedroom.

A CBS "48 Hours Mystery" report also says DNA evidence in the JonBenet case points to a male not associated with the Ramsey family. For most of the eight years since the murder, the investigation was focused almost exclusively on members of the Ramsey family.