Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Profiling JonBenét Ramsey's Murder

Profile (cont.)

JonBenét Ramsey
JonBenét Ramsey

JonBenet was a 6-year-old female at home with her parents and older brother, Burke, in an affluent neighborhood, allegedly asleep in her bed. This environment put her at a very low risk for encountering a violence-prone stranger. The single variable that increased her potential risk for encountering a violence-prone stranger was her participation in beauty pageants, which increased her visibility and brought her into contact with many strangers. She stood out as she won awards and charmed audiences. Among the awards were the Colorado State All-Star Kids Pageant at age 4, the division title in America's Royale Tiny Miss contest at age 5 and Colorado's Little Miss Christmas award on December 17, 1996, just eight days before her murder. It is possible that these public exposures may have drawn the unwanted attention of a child molester attending the pageants. It's the sort of place a child molester might go to scope out children.

However, most child molesters are known to their victims and, instead of resorting to violence, they prefer using attention, affection and gifts to "seduce" a child over time. There do exist stranger-based child molesters who abduct and rape children, but they are far less common. They typically snatch quickly and then transport the child to an area that they perceive to be safe for them to molest and/or murder the child. Any stranger entering the Ramsey home with the intent of doing harm would be at an elevated risk for detection, and the longer one spent inside the home, the greater the risk.

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