Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Profiling JonBenét Ramsey's Murder

The Crime Scene

It was the day after Christmas, December 26, 1996, at 5:52 in the morning, when JonBenét's mother, Patricia "Patsy" Ramsey, placed a 911 call. Her daughter had been kidnapped, she shouted, and there was a ransom note. In response to questions, she read part of the note and tried to make out who it was from. She insisted she needed help immediately.

Patricia "Patsy" Ramsey

The Boulder police sent over Officer Rick French to the scene at 755 15th Street shortly after 6:00 A.M Patsy Ramsey met him at the door. She was clearly upset, although her husband, John, seemed calmer and more in control. They had another child in the home, nine-year-old Burke, who was still in bed.

JonBenét Ramsey with Brother Burke
JonBenét Ramsey with Brother Burke

According to Patsy, she had gone into JonBenét's second-floor bedroom to wake her and prepare her for a planned trip and found her bed empty. Patsy went down a back staircase to the first floor, and on a lower step she found a three-page note, written in black felt-tip pen on white, lined legal paper and laid out with the pages alongside one another. She picked them up and started to read them, realizing at once it was a note about JonBenét. Directed to her husband, "Mr. Ramsey," the note demanded certain conditions, including that he not call the police and that he prepare to pay $118,000.

Then a patrol supervisor, Paul Reichenbach, arrived, as did four of the Ramseys' friends. The Whites had seen them the night before in their own home, for a Christmas dinner.

John Ramsey
John Ramsey

A crime-scene evidence team was called in and a trace put on the phone line for incoming calls. Reichenbach walked through the house, looking in each room. There were no signs of forced entry, although one friend, Fleet White, went on his own into the basement and did a cursory inspection; he noticed a broken window. John Ramsey said that he'd broken it a few months before when he'd forgotten his key and had not yet fixed it. More people arrived, including a minister, and Burke was removed to another location.

Basement Window
Basement Window

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