In the fall of 2016, several TV specials explored never-before-seen evidence surrounding the 1996 murder of six-year-old JonBenét Ramsey. While none of the specials presented airtight conclusions, they certainly opened the door to other possibilities of what happened to the former beauty pageant queen.
JonBenét was found brutally murdered in the basement of her house the day after Christmas. JonBenét’s father found JonBenét’s body with duct tape over her mouth and a cord wrapped around her neck. A mysterious ransom note was left in the house, demanding the seemingly random amount of $118,000.
There was no sign of forced entry into the Boulder, Colo. home, and authorities stated that the little girl had been sexually assaulted. At the time of her body’s discovery, only her parents and her then-nine-year-old brother Burke were home.
After the pageant queen’s body was discovered, the Ramsey family was put under intense scrutiny by investigators and the media. No evidence was found to incriminate them, and to this day no charges have been laid. (In 2008, the Ramseys were formally cleared of any wrongdoing in JonBenét’s death by then-District Attorney Mary Lacy, who cited trace DNA evidence.)
Many of the TV specials pointed the finger at Burke, claiming he was the only one who could have feasibly committed the crime.
Now, an unidentified juror — who was a member of the grand jury that chose to indict JonBenét’s parents, John and Patsy, for her murder — is set to speak out on a 20/20 special airing Friday on ABC.
The juror claims to have seen “secret evidence” that they believe points to JonBenét’s murderer, though the individual did not specify who they think it is. (That reveal will be saved for the TV special.)
The grand jury sought to indict the Ramseys in 1999, saying John and Patsy had “unlawfully, knowingly, recklessly and feloniously permitted a child to be unreasonably placed in a situation which posed a threat of injury to the child’s life or health.”
The grand jury also alleged that each parent “did… render assistance to a person, with intent to hinder, delay and prevent the discovery, detention, apprehension, prosecution, conviction and punishment of such person for the commission of a crime, knowing the person being assisted has committed and was suspected of the crime of murder in the first degree and child abuse resulting in death.”
It was never been clarified who this “person” was, and the 1999 documents weren’t released to the public until this past October.
In the end the Ramseys weren’t indicted anyway, after a Boulder prosecutor disagreed with the grand jury’s decision, claiming at the time that the evidence wasn’t compelling enough to win over a jury in court.
This week, the Boulder District Attorney’s office and the Boulder Police Department announced that they’re contemplating using new DNA testing in the case.
“With the emergence of new DNA testing technology, the Boulder Police Department is working with the Colorado Bureau of Investigations to determine if this new technology could further this investigation,” said the police department spokesperson. The department is specifically looking at “advanced” DNA testing kits, but didn’t elaborate further.
All male DNA found in JonBenét’s underwear did not match anyone in the family, including Burke.
The DNA profile has been entered into a national crime database but no matches have turned up, Boulder County District Attorney Mary Lacy said in 2008.
On 20/20 Friday, there will be a number of other interviewees, including Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett, Linda Arndt, the first detective to arrive on-scene at the Ramseys’ house on the night of the murder, Thumper Gosney (JonBenét’s friend) and former Boulder Police Chief Tom Koby. They will all be discussing the 1996 case, the “secret evidence,” and what, if anything, the new DNA testing can indicate.