Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Profiling JonBenét Ramsey's Murder

Discussion and Analysis (cont.)

JonBenét's Ramsey
JonBenét's Ramsey

Around 1:00 P.M. that afternoon, the detective in charge suggested that John Ramsey and his friend Fleet White look around the house. John proceeded directly for the white door at the far end of the basement that went into the boiler room, leading to the room where the body was placed. Fleet White had checked that door earlier and found nothing, as it was too dark. Reportedly, when John Ramsey opened the door, he began screaming. He picked up the body and carried it upstairs, thereby disrupting and contaminating the body and body recovery site. Once upstairs, the body was further contaminated when the detective moved it and as Patsy Ramsey fell across it, increasing the potential for hair and fiber transfer. A sweatshirt had also been laid over JonBenét's feet and further damaged the evidence collection process. Of interest is that JonBenét was still dressed in the clothing she had worn the day before, as was Patsy.

The autopsy determined that the cause of death was asphyxia by strangulation, associated with craniocerebral trauma. She had been strangled with a sophisticated garrote that used part of a broken paintbrush from Patsy Ramsey's paintbrush collection. Fragmented pieces of pineapple were found in the small intestine. Based on the condition of the recovered pineapple, experts estimated that JonBenét had eaten within hours of her death. The parents denied that JonBenét had any pineapple when she was home and apparently none was served at the party they had attended earlier that evening. However, crime scene photographs taken the day the body was recovered show a bowl with pineapple in it next to a glass with a tea-bag in the kitchen. Patsy Ramsey's fingerprints were found on the bowl and Burke's fingerprints were recovered from the bowl and the glass. No DNA testing was done on any of these items.

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