North Carolina defense attorneys and prosecutors were stunned this week when Colorado law enforcement officers announced they were reopening the JonBenet Ramsey murder investigation. The six year old was killed in 1996.
Reports are that the investigation will include re-examination of physical evidence using new, more sensitive technology. Detectives are also expected to interview the victim’s brother, who was nine at the time of his sister’s death.
The case has puzzled police and fascinated the public for years, for a number of reasons. At the time of her death, news reports invariably included a picture of JonBenet in full pageant regalia: teased hair, a full face of makeup and a tiara. The details of the crime were sensational, as well: Her body was found in her family’s home almost eight hours after her parents had reported her missing. She had been bound, strangled and beaten. Strangest of all was the discovery of a two-and-a-half page ransom note demanding $118,000.
The list of suspects included at one time or another every member of the Ramsey family. It wasn’t until 2008 that her parents were officially cleared as suspects — two years after JonBenet’s mother died of cancer.
At least one man has confessed to killing JonBenet. A schoolteacher told a colleague in emails that he had been involved with the murder. He was arrested in Thailand in a blaze of publicity typical to the case, only to have the investigation lead nowhere — as the family said it would. Colorado investigators determined his DNA did not match the DNA found at the scene.
Prosecutors believe the murder was committed by a stranger who broke into the home. Police involved in the investigation have not commented on the reason for the new activity in the case. They say only that they will contact individuals (some not for the first time) who may have information regarding the case. They are, according to a police department representative, continuing to work the case.
Resource: Daily Mail “Police Hope to Quiz JonBenet Ramsey’s Brother as Beauty Queen Murder is Reopened” 10/6/10