Boulder, Colorado’s ex-police chief says JonBenet Ramsey’s murder crime scene was mishandled, reported ABC News Feb. 26. The murder of 6-year-old child pageant star JonBenet Ramsey on Christmas Day, 1996, has never been solved. Former police chief Mark Beckner, who came on the Ramsey case in 1997, says mistakes in the initial investigation are the reason why. Beckner gave an interview on the Reddit online community listing crucial things police failed to do.
The crime scene was not closed off. Police, short staffed for the Christmas holiday, were originally called in to investigate a possible kidnapping. Patricia (Patsy) Ramsey, JonBenet’s mother, didn’t know the girl was missing till she found a ransom note. Patsy called police. John Ramsey (JonBenet’s father) and mother were asked to look for anything suspicious. JonBenet’s body was discovered in the basement. Now a murder scene, evidence was already trampled. Beckner said even in kidnapping, the home should have been cleared immediately.
JonBenet’s parents were questioned together. Beckner cites inconsistencies in their stories and says John and Patsy Ramsey should have been questioned separately. The parents were under heavy suspicion in JonBenet’s death. They were officially cleared in 2008 in mismatched DNA. So was a suspect who confessed.
The ransom note was written after the murder, probably by Patsy Ramsey. Handwriting experts and investigators believed, but could not prove, that Patsy was the author of the 2.5 page ransom note. A practice copy was found. The note, which led Ramsey to call the police, was never submitted to the FBI.
In 1999 a grand jury intended to indict John and Patsy Ramsey (who has since died) for child abuse leading to murder. The grand jury accused them of covering up JonBenet’s murder and delaying the search for the murderer with the fake ransom note. Those documents were sealed and only released in 2013.
Beckner brought up the Ramseys odd behavior at the investigation. They were distant with each other. Patsy wondered why an armed police officer was present. Beckner says he has avoided saying who he thinks is responsible and will let the facts speak for themselves. He added that the Ramseys absence of motive (one of the things they were cleared on) is immaterial. They wouldn’t be a motive if she was accidentally killed and it was covered up.
Other investigators on the case say Beckner is just rehashing old news. Beckner says he never meant the Reddit interview to go public. It’s since been pulled.