BOULDER, Colo. (KDVR) — It has been 26 years since JonBenét Ramsey was found dead. Her murder is considered by many to be one of the most notorious cold cases.
A new book, which is scheduled to be released on Feb. 28, claims DNA evidence was hidden in the case and it would have eliminated JonBenét’s family as suspects.
The book is titled, “Lou and JonBenét— A Legendary Lawman’s Quest to Solve a Child Beauty Queens Murder,” and is written by John Wesley Anderson.
“Now, for the first time in ‘Lou and JonBenét,’ Anderson tells the story of Lou Smit’s investigation and why the Smit family team now believes that the killer can be identified,” the book’s description explains.
Since JonBenét’s murder, questions have remained about DNA evidence found at the scene.
“Boulder police decided on the first day that either John or Patsy Ramsey killed JonBenét. They did not want to stray off of that. And for 26 years, they just ignore evidence that doesn’t coincide with what they believe,” Paula Woodward, a longtime investigative journalist who’s been reporting on the case since it happened.
Woodward said that the information about an unearthed DNA test, which was conducted shortly after JonBenét was killed, is not from a new document, it’s one that was ignored.
She said the DNA eliminates JonBenét’s mother, father and brother as the possible killer.
“They were all eliminated. The DNA did not match them,” Woodward said.
An alleged unredacted copy of the DNA results from a lead detective in the case, which is said to be revealed in the book by Anderson, claims Boulder police hid the results and waited months before sharing them with the district attorney.
We reached out to the Boulder Police Department about the allegations in the book.
“We recognize that many articles and books have been written about this tragic homicide. We have not read this newest book which, apparently, contains allegations from the late 1990s. At present, this active investigation continues to receive assistance from federal, state, and local partners. Boulder Police is working with multiple agencies, including the FBI, the District Attorney’s Office, Colorado’s Department of Public Safety, Colorado’s Bureau of Investigation, and several private DNA laboratories across the country,” Boulder Police said in a statement.
Timeline of JonBenét Ramsey’s murder investigation
The 6-year-old was found dead in the basement of her Boulder home on Dec. 26, 1996, after her family reportedly found a ransom note inside the home. An autopsy revealed Ramsey was strangled to death.
In November of 2022, John Ramsey, JonBenét Ramsey’s father, sent a letter to Gov. Jared Polis with a plea to let a private company test DNA evidence in the case.
“Solving the murder of my daughter will not fill the void in my heart but it will identify and remove a demented and dangerous person from our midst and, in doing so, potentially protect the lives of other children,” Ramsey wrote in part. “There is no higher responsibility of a governor than that. As an elected leader, but more importantly, as a father, I respectfully ask you to do the right thing.”
The governor’s office confirmed that it received Ramsey’s letter. The governor did not say if he’ll release the DNA but said investigators are talking with them, and the Boulder Police Department will be consulting with the Colorado Cold Case Review Team in 2023.
In Dec. 2021, BPD said it processed more than 1,500 pieces of evidence related to the murder of JonBenét.
At that time, the Boulder Police Department said “it was actively reviewing genetic DNA testing processes to see if those can be applied to this case moving forward.” BPD said nearly 1,000 DNA samples have been analyzed.
In 2019, Burke Ramsey, the brother of JonBenét, reached an undisclosed settlement in a $750 million lawsuit against CBS. The lawsuit said that Burke Ramsey’s reputation was ruined after a television series suggested he killed JonBenét.
In 2008, then-Boulder County District Attorney Mary Lacy wrote a letter to JonBenét’s dad saying new DNA evidence had cleared him, his wife and son. She formally apologized for the cloud of suspicion the Ramsey’s lived under for years.
“We believe at this point it is unlikely there will ever be a prosecution,” Boulder police said in 2008.
Ramsey’s mom, Patsy, died of ovarian cancer in 2006.
Highlighting cold cases in Colorado
The Problem Solvers are working to highlight cold cases in our state.
Here are some of the other cases we’ve highlighted:
- Cold case: Who murdered this young mom in 1985?
- Cold case: What happened to this woman who disappeared in 1990?
- Cold case: Who killed this 10-year-old boy in 1991?
- Cold case: Who murdered Stephanie Bauman 42 years ago?
- Cold case: Who murdered Jennifer Larsen 27 years ago?
- Cold case: Who shot David Williams to death in 2005?
- Cold case: Who murdered Maggie Long 1,651 days ago?
- Cold case: What happened to Elizabeth Miller 40 years ago?
- Cold case: Who kidnapped Christopher Abeyta 35 years ago?
- Cold case: Who killed JonBenét Ramsey 25 years ago?
- Cold case: Who killed Jessica Bejarano 15 years ago
- Cold case: Where is Terri Ackerman?
- Cold case: Who killed Richard Elliott at a grocery store 23 years ago?
- ‘Don’t ever give up hope’: Cold case: Who killed Edward Steinbach?
- Cold Case: Who killed Denise Davenport 37 years ago?
- Cold case: Who murdered James O’Neal Johnson 23 years ago?
- Cold case: Where is Jennifer Lynn Marcum?
- Cold case: Who murdered Daniel Lell in Aurora in 2013?
- Missing: Highlighting the search for people missing in Colorado
- 18 people remain unidentified in Denver since 1970
If you have a cold case you would like us to feature, please fill out this form or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System shows there over 20,000 open missing persons cases in the United States and over 300 in Colorado.