Father of JonBenét Ramsey is pushing for new DNA testing

John Ramsey is threatening legal action if Colorado stands in the way of independent testing of case DNA

By Kelly McClure

Nights & Weekends Editor

Published July 28, 2022 6:06PM (EDT)

The grave of JonBenet Ramsey (Chris Rank/Sygma via Getty Images)
The grave of JonBenet Ramsey (Chris Rank/Sygma via Getty Images)

John Ramsey, father of murdered 6-year-old girl, JonBenét Ramsey, is seeking help from the state of Colorado in order to independently test DNA from the 1996 case, which has not yet been officially classified as a cold case. And if Colorado stands in the way of such testing, Ramsey is threatening legal action. 

In anticipation of the possibility that Colorado may ignore his request, Ramsey is readying a petition for his daughter's case DNA to be released by Colorado and, to-date, he's collected over 16,000 signatures, according to a report by Fox News

In a statement given to Fox News Digital on Wednesday, Ramsey commented on his plans for legal action should Colorado work against him saying "There was a case in Florida that I read about a couple years ago, and the family did exactly that and were successful. The judge said, 'Okay, you guys aren't calling this a cold case, and it's a cold case. Let's turn over the evidence and move on,' . . . "And that's our next step if we don't see any progress."

With no moves made on the case in 25-years, Ramsey hopes that new developments in investigative genetic genealogy (IGG) research can get him closer to one day finding the person, or persons, responsible for the death of his daughter. 

"It's had remarkable success," Ramsey said of IGG research in a quote to Fox News. "That's what they should be doing."

There's some back and forth as to the exact moment of JonBenét's murder, as it wasn't reported by her mother, Patsy Ramsey, until the morning of December 26, but the date on her grave lists December 25, 1996 and it's widely believed that she was killed shortly after the family returned home after attending a Christmas party that evening. According to the known timeline of events gathered from police interviews, Mrs. Ramsey woke up on the morning of December 26 and found a two-and-a-half page handwritten ransom note on the interior back stairs of their home asking for $118,000.00 in exchange for their daughter. That requested sum initially caused police to suspect the Ramsey's in the killing of their own daughter as it was the exact amount of Mr. Ramsey's Christmas bonus that year, and the note appeared to be in Mrs. Ramsey's handwriting, but they were both ultimately cleared. Shortly after the note was found, Mrs. Ramsey phoned police and when they arrived the body of JonBenét was found inside of the home. 

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Burke Ramsey, JonBenét's older brother, has also been suspected of having something to do with her murder, but he has also been cleared. In 2016 he was interviewed by Dr. Phil and maintained that he didn't kill his sister, and doesn't know who did, although he has theories.

"It was probably some pedophile in the pageant audience," Burke said during his 2016 interview. The image of JonBenét, as most know it, is that of a baby beauty queen, a competitive hobby encouraged by her mother, who died of ovarian cancer in 2006 and was herself a former pageant girl.

Several people have made false confessions to the murder of JonBenét, and in 2006 a man named John M. Karr was arrested, but all leads eventually turned out to be baseless. 

By Kelly McClure

Kelly McClure is Salon's Nights and Weekends Editor covering daily news, politics and culture. Her work has been featured in Vulture, The A.V. Club, Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitan, Nylon, Vice, and elsewhere. She is the author of Something is Always Happening Somewhere.

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