JonBenet Ramsey's Parents and Brother Officially Cleared

Update: Here is the DA's official letter of apology to John Ramsey.(pdf)

The Boulder County District Attorney today issued a press release officially clearing John and Patsy Ramsey and their son Burke of involvement in their daughter's death.

DNA and genetic material found in JonBenet's underwear and longjohns was subjected to a new method of testing not previously available.

The method is "touch DNA." [More...]

One method for sampling for touch DNA is the “scraping method.” In this process, forensic scientists scrape a surface where there is no observable stain or other indication of possible DNA in an effort to recover for analysis any genetic material that might nonetheless be present. This methodology was not well known in this country until recently and is still used infrequently.

....The Bode Technology laboratory applied the “touch DNA” scraping method to both sides of the waist area of the long johns that JonBenet Ramsey was wearing over her underwear when her body was discovered. These sites were chosen because evidence supports the likelihood that the perpetrator removed and/or replaced the long johns, perhaps by handling them on the sides near the waist.

On March 24, 2008, Bode informed us that they had recovered and identified genetic material from both sides of the waist area of the long johns. The unknown male profile previously identified from the inside crotch area of the underwear matched the DNA recovered from the long johns at Bode.

The DA then checked for innocent sources.

We consulted with a DNA expert from a different laboratory, who recommended additional investigation into the remote possibility that the DNA might have come from sources at the autopsy when this clothing was removed. Additional samples were obtained and then analyzed by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to assist us in this effort. We received those results on June 27th of this year and are, as a result, confidant that this DNA did not come from innocent sources at the autopsy. As mentioned above, extensive DNA testing had previously excluded people connected to the family and to the investigation as possible innocent sources.

Bottom line:

The unexplained third party DNA on the clothing of the victim is very significant and powerful evidence. It is very unlikely that there would be an innocent explanation for DNA found at three different locations on two separate items of clothing worn by the victim at the time of her murder. This is particularly true in this case because the matching DNA profiles were found on genetic material from inside the crotch of the victim’s underwear and near the waist on both sides of her long johns, and because concerted efforts that might identify a source, and perhaps an innocent explanation, were unsuccessful.

It is therefore the position of the Boulder District Attorney’s Office that this profile belongs to the perpetrator of the homicide.

The Boulder District Attorney’s Office does not consider any member of the Ramsey family, including John, Patsy, or Burke Ramsey, as suspects in this case. We make this announcement now because we have recently obtained this new scientific evidence that adds significantly to the exculpatory value of the previous scientific evidence. We do so with full appreciation for the other evidence in this case.

On the villification of the Ramseys and an apology:

Local, national, and even international publicity has focused on the murder of JonBenet Ramsey. Many members of the public came to believe that one or more of the Ramseys, including her mother or her father or even her brother, were responsible for this brutal homicide. Those suspicions were not based on evidence that had been tested in court; rather, they were based on evidence reported by the media.

It is the responsibility of every prosecutor to seek justice. That responsibility includes seeking justice for people whose reputations and lives can be damaged irreparably by the lingering specter of suspicion. In a highly publicized case, the detrimental impact of publicity and suspicion on people’s lives can be extreme. The suspicions about the Ramseys in this case created an ongoing living hell for the Ramsey family and their friends, which added to their suffering from the unexplained and devastating loss of JonBenet.

For reasons including those discussed above, we believe that justice dictates that the Ramseys be treated only as victims of this very serious crime. We will accord them all the rights guaranteed to the victims of violent crimes under the law in Colorado and all the respect and sympathy due from one human being to another.

To the extent that this office has added to the distress suffered by the Ramsey family at any time or to any degree, I offer my deepest apology.

As I wrote in 2004 when evidence came to light about an intruder:

John and Patsy Ramsey were treated like criminals for six years. The public and the media lynch mob criticized everything about them, from the way they behaved to their "lawyering up." Even Governor Owens criticized them for "hiding behind their lawyers."

Put yourselves in the Ramseys' shoes. Your cherished daughter has just been murdered. Instead of being able to grieve, every move you make is met with criticism. The police label you as being "under the umbrella of suspicion" and stop searching elsewhere for the killer of your daughter. You are fodder for the cable TV talk shows night after night.

Watching talk show hosts like Dan Abrams and Geraldo Rivera now admit the Ramseys did not kill their daughter brings some measure of satisfaction to those of us, myself included, who defended the Ramseys on their shows night after night. An apology from the Boulder police, the media, and the public would be even better.

People sometimes fail to realize that when the wrong person is accused, the real killer remains at large and likely will strike again. Shortly after JonBenet's murder, Boulder's then-Mayor Leslie Durgin told the public:

"People in Boulder have no need to fear there is someone wandering the streets of Boulder looking for someone to attack. Boulder is safe,'' she said. "

She was wrong. If you live in Boulder, you better lock your doors at night. Unless he's moved, a killer is among you.

More evidence that always pointed to an intruder is listed here and here. Here is one of the many JonBenet newspages I created over the years.

Patsy Ramsey did not live to hear her name cleared or the apology. She knew in her heart she was innocent. Now the world knows.

Thank you Mary Lacy.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Finally. (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by masslib on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 04:54:20 PM EST

    Tragic (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by sher on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 05:06:02 PM EST
    there was no official clearance  before Patsy Ramsey's untimely death.

    About what was under the fingernails (5.00 / 6) (#6)
    by Nowonmai on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 06:12:06 PM EST
    According to CNN source it matched the new discovery.

    As for the "made themselves look guilty" comment: just how did they do that? By saying "We didn't do it!" and following the advise of their lawyer? Or what, going public and pointing out the way the investigation was being mishandled? That too often DAs don't care who they go after, or gets charged/goes to jail for a crime, as long as someone does, even if it's not the right someone?

    Or maybe their behavior didn't jibe with what you feel they should have behaved? Grief and shock make different people behave different ways. The media decided to make judgments on everything they said and did, and everyone lapped those up, nodding in agreement.

    They were exonerated, cleared, and formally apologised to. There is no "even IF they weren't". They weren't, period.

    the comment in response to this (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 08:46:47 PM EST
    had false information about the Ramseys and the evidence and has been deleted.

    How is Peter Boyles taking it? (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by ruffian on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 09:10:21 PM EST
    I may have to listen via the internet tomorrow morning.  I remember him absolutely slandering the Ramseys on Denver morning talk radio.

    Needless to say, what they went through is incredibly sad.  i hope John Ramsey and the rest of the surviving family have good lives from here on out.

    Peter is still in denial (none / 0) (#18)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 01:15:05 AM EST
    his latest today is that the DA issued the release to clear herself, not the Ramseys. He makes no sense. He's been invested in their guilt for 12 years and wouldn't change his mind even if there was a DNA match, a confession and a videotape.

    Peter... (none / 0) (#23)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 12:18:28 PM EST
    ...is in denial about a whole lot of things.

    Botched maybe (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Jlvngstn on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 08:44:18 AM EST
    But more important is the significance placed on previous cases and similarities which lead to profiling.  I remember on this site many idiots all pissed off that they "lawyered up" and assumed that they were guilty because they "lawyered up".  Most of the pundits and morons agreed that "why would they need a lawyer if they are innocent".  

    This is the textbook case of why anyone needs a lawyer, and a damned good one at that.  This is what happens when the police have a hypothesis and build the evidence to support that hypothesis, and it happens every darned day.

    Not only did they have to endure the loss of their daughter, they had to endure the scum sucking idiocy of the talking heads.  Funny, we hear all the time jokes about lawyers and how they are pond scum.  I hold the talking heads on the telly are you listening Nancy Grace in much lower esteem than even the worst of lawyers.

    Hooray for their legal team who finally have some vindication from science, not from good police work and not from fair treatment from the press.

    We will never know what happened due (2.66 / 3) (#4)
    by PssttCmere08 on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 05:32:09 PM EST
    to poor police work throught the entire time.  The Ramseys, in my opinion, made themselves look guilty, even if they weren't.  

    Not entirely fair (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by sj on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 09:22:25 AM EST
    How does one make oneself look "innocent" when actual innocence didn't work?   I'll grant you that the media coverage made them look guilty but

    A) they're not responsible for that and, in fact have no control over it, and

    B) people deal with grief and trauma in the only way they can.  And it's not ever fair to pass judgement on how someone else deals with pain -- especially how someone else deals publicly with pain.


    That was an ugly trial by media situation--always (none / 0) (#2)
    by jawbone on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 05:03:05 PM EST
    made me angry and sort of afraid of the idiocy of the MCM.

    Wonder how much coveage the MCM will give this news?

    What about the fingernails? (none / 0) (#5)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 05:54:39 PM EST
    Wasn't there DNA under her fingernails?  Does that match the new discovery?

    IIRC, police didn't control crime scene properly (none / 0) (#7)
    by wmr on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 07:55:39 PM EST
    Just going on memory, the father found the body and brought it upstairs and the police allowed mother to hold the body.  That messes up forensics.

    Sexual abuse? (none / 0) (#8)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 08:17:55 PM EST
    It's been widely reported that the autopsy showed evidence of long-term sexual abuse-- ie, old damage to the child's genitalia, erosion of the vaginal lining, etc.

    Is that true?  And if so, what's that about?  Would the theory be that whoever murdered the little girl was somebody who had access to her somehow and had been molesting her for some time prior to the murder?  Didn't they get DNA from everybody they knew of who had regular access to her and couldn't find a match?

    completely false (none / 0) (#10)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 08:48:01 PM EST
    And I've spoken to her pediatrician. That was media spin.

    But thank you for posting it as a question rather than a fact, unlike another commenter who posted false rumor as fact.


    Jeralyn....this was what was in the papers (3.50 / 2) (#15)
    by PssttCmere08 on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 09:35:59 PM EST
    If it was false, they didn't say so.  If you want to delete me, feel free, but that post wasn't just put up to further false rumors....just sayin'

    you alleged as fact (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 01:12:53 AM EST
    something that was a theory of the guilt mongers, never established and contradicted by experts.

    Discredited rumors are not allowed here.


    Just a question (none / 0) (#14)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 09:11:50 PM EST
    Was the autopsy ever made public?  I seem to recall having heard parts of it, at least, were posted on the Web some years later.

    Had the pediatrician seen the actual autopsy report, or was he/she just going on his/her personal knowledge of the child?  I would point out as gently as possible that a pediatrician confronting suggestions he/she had utterly missed signs of sexual abuse in a patient wouldn't necessarily be an entirely objective source of information.

    This whole case is impossible to make any sense of because of the complete admixture of facts and rumors in the reporting, and the fact that there don't seem to be any analysts/commenters who don't have a strong agenda either pro or con the Ramseys.


    yes the autopsy was made public (none / 0) (#19)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 01:18:39 AM EST
    You can read it here. You can view the photos here. (Warning: they are gruesome.)

    Everything (none / 0) (#11)
    by Lil on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 08:51:00 PM EST
    I've ever read about this case puts a lump in my throat. What a sad, horrific story. I hope they all have some measure of peace now, including the deceased, and I really hope they find the bastard who did this.

    Geraldo will be *so* disappointed (none / 0) (#12)
    by rdandrea on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 08:52:15 PM EST

    what i always found odd (none / 0) (#16)
    by cpinva on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 09:49:16 PM EST
    about this case was the utter botch job the local police made of it. given the high profile nature of the family, and the knowledge that the entire world would be watching their every move, you'd think they (the police) would have gone strictly by the book, to avoid this very thing from happening.

    that they failed to follow strict protocal is the primary reason boulder still has a murderer running around loose. shame on them!

    i hope the ramsey's are able to get on with their lives, and take some comfort from this very public exoneration and apology.

    They were inexperienced. (none / 0) (#20)
    by masslib on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 07:52:36 AM EST