In October 1999, our efforts toward justice for JonBenet Ramsey have landed photos in USA Today, Denver Rocky Mountain News, reporting on Fox news shows, video clips on CBS with Dan Rather, etc.  So, we submit to you:

The Clue that Breaks the Case

Some evidence in the JonBenet Ramsey murder points toward her parents, and other evidence seems to clear them. If the whole truth could be discerned, it would explain every piece of evidence, because real events produced every bit of the crime scene. Sometimes, a single key opens many doors, and one piece pulls the puzzle together. JonBenet’s murderer inadvertently put the key piece of evidence into the ransom note.

On Christmas night 1996, at 755 15th Street, in the Boulder Colorado mansion of her parents, John and Patricia Ramsey, JonBenet was murdered. Death resulted from both a severe blow to the head that fractured her skull across the length of her head, and by strangulation with a cord tightened with a broken stick around her neck. The six-year-old girl had also been vaginally assaulted prior to her death. Consider the following observations:

Much of the ransom note is inconceivable from the perspective of an intruder, such as the compliment of “respect” paid to the Ramsey business. But the clue that breaks the case is the phrase, “I advise you to be rested.” No theory of an intruder can explain that phrase, nor much of the above evidence against the Ramseys. However, that key phrase explains the evidence, both the damning and the exculpatory. And it shouts that the parents murdered their daughter and then worked to throw the police off the trail.

On that Christmas night, after Patsy put her son to bed, John began to sexually abuse his daughter. One form of destructive behavior led to another and at midnight, in a burst of anger and emotion, Patsy struck her daughter in the head, cracking her skull. They realized the severity of the wound, and that JonBenet was near dead. Neither wanted to be caught, so they began to conceal their crimes. First, they strangle her, which both gets rid of her, and makes what would have been an accidental death appear to be deliberate. Then they planned to dispose of any damning evidence, but realized that, without evidence pointing to someone else, they would be the only suspects. So, if they were to survive, the resourceful Ramseys would have to rework the crime scene to point to an intruder.

They decided to write a ransom note, which John began dictating to Patsy. As they wrote the note, they made mental notes about what evidence they must dispose of, and what evidence they could gather and plant to divert attention. Their note had to take into account that: it might take them hours to rework the crime scene; the neighbors may have already noticed the commotion and might watch the house or even call 911; John needed to leave the house to dispose of the roll of duct tape, the spool of cord, etc.; neighbors may notice them stirring in the house or might see John driving away or returning way past midnight.

Even though they risked being seen, they were not ready to dump their best alibi. They needed to tell the police that they were asleep all night, and heard nothing. Their desperation to avert justice demanded that they try that alibi. Thus, they planned to “wake up” at 6 a.m. and call police. However, a neighbor or even a police patrol might have seen John Ramsey up at 3 a.m. Their wording in the note guarded against that risk. If that worst-case scenario occurred, Patsy could then admit: “Yes, we found the note last night. We were afraid to call the police because of the death threat. John rushed out in desperation to find JonBenet, and I searched the house. Then when John returned without her, we reread the note, and realized that we had better go to bed to get the rest we needed for the next day. When we woke up, we realized that we needed help, so we decided to called 911. But we thought it better not to mention that we had been up desperately looking for her last night.”

With that pretext, they went to work. John found a pair of unused shoes, and made a footprint next to the body. He then took those shoes, the oversized underpants, and other damning evidence with him as he left the house around 1:30 a.m. He went out of find a public restroom, at a nightclub, a gas station, a diner, or even at a striptease joint or, preferably, an adult bookstore with video stalls. Somewhere along his journey he dropped the damning evidence in the trash. At the restroom, he used the panties that Patsy had recently purchased to pick up a pubic hair, and then rubbed a stain onto the underpants. Meanwhile Patsy decided to rewrite the ransom note, and she authored the final, personal, contradictory lines, “Don't try to grow a brain John. … Use that good, southern common sense of yours. It's up to you now John!” Patsy then saw the broken ends of the paintbrush that John had overlooked and she hid them among her art supplies. Later, Mr. Ramsey returned to the house, planted the lone pubic hair on the blanket, put the stained underwear on the body, and broke the basement window and disturbed the sill (which he later pointed out to Fleet White).

The unidentifiable DNA material under the fingernails was likewise collected by John, or by a few days of normal child’s play. That material did not come from an intruder, which would have suggested that JonBenet fought and struggled, getting the attention of her neighbors, but not her parents. To help explain to the police how they could have slept through the attack, Patsy Ramsey had taped their daughter’s mouth shut.

Some may think this plan too involved for the Ramseys to pull off. However, John had built a successful defense contracting business, and Patsy had long ago managed to become Miss West Virginia. Further, they had help. Book author and FBI criminal profiler John Douglas wrote Mind Hunter, which reads in part like the JonBenet case in the use of duct tape, ligatures, and similar phrases in its ransom note. Investigators found that hardback in the Ramsey’s bedroom.

After rechecking the crime scene, the Ramseys went to bed to rehearse their story. Neither slept that night, neglecting their own advice.