Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Murder of JonBenet Ramsey

The Book II

On the same day their book was released, John and Patsy Ramsey appeared on ABC's 20/20 program to discuss the book. They continued to assert that they had made every attempt to cooperate with the police investigation and had offered to undergo a lie-detector test to prove their innocence.

The following day, Chief Beckner told reporters that the Ramseys' claims of having been cooperative with police detectives investigating their daughter's slaying was a "smoke screen."

According to an account in the Ramseys' book, they cooperated on the following occasions:

  • Police questioned them both on December 27 and John again on December 28. Officers were with the Ramseys 24 hours a day from 6 a.m. December 26, the day JonBenet's body was found, through 2 p.m. December 29, when the Ramseys left for the funeral in Atlanta.
  • Police questioned Burke Ramsey on December 26. The conversation was tape-recorded without either parent present and without parental consent. A police psychologist interviewed Burke on January 6. Burke was interviewed again, over three days, in May 1998.
  • Handwriting samples were given by John (December 26, 28, January 5, 1997); Patsy (December 28, January 4, 1997, February 28, April 12, May 20), and Burke (December 28).
  • After the Ramseys returned from JonBenet's funeral in Atlanta, their attorneys offered to make them available for a joint interview January 18, 1997. The police declined this offer and stated in writing that such an interview would not "be helpful" because "the time for interviewing John and Patsy as witnesses who could provide critical information that would be helpful in the initial stages of our investigation has passed."
  • The police countered with an offer that the Ramseys come to the police station at 6 p.m. on a Friday night and subject themselves to an open-ended interrogation. That suggestion was rejected, in part because of the written statement above.
  • Patsy and John gave hair and blood samples, as well as fingerprints, immediately when the police requested them; so did all other members of the family. In February 1997, both Patsy and John voluntarily gave pubic hair samples.
  • Early in the investigation, the Ramseys offered to let the police search both of their houses, John's office, their cars and his airplane hangar, without a search warrant.
  • On April 11, 1997, John and Patsy Ramsey, with their attorneys, met with Peter Hofstrom of the DA's office and Tom Wickman of the Boulder Police Department. This meeting was held at Mr. Hofstrom's and Detective Wickman's request. An apology was given for the way the family had been treated. The Ramseys were asked to give additional interviews and continue their previous cooperation. John accepted their apology and agreed to move forward. No conditions were placed on the manner in which the interviews would be conducted.
  • On April 12, 1997, the Ramseys agreed to let authorities search their house again without a warrant; agreed to destructive testing of walls located at their home; agreed to identify Patsy Ramsey's prior writings; and agreed to make themselves available for separate interviews on April 23. The Ramseys also agreed to answer any questions put to them. On April 22, the Boulder police cancelled the interviews.
  • The Ramseys agreed to be interrogated by the Boulder police and district attorney's office on April 30, 1997. These interviews lasted two hours (John) and six hours (Patsy).
  • They were interrogated by the district attorney's office for three full days each in June 1998. No additional interviews were requested.
  • They signed more than 100 releases for information requested by the police, ranging from medical records to credit card records and even videotape rental records. The Ramseys provided all evidence and information requested by the police.
  • Burke Ramsey, John Andrew Ramsey and Melinda Ramsey Long all were subpoenaed and testified before the grand jury.
  • John and Patsy Ramsey offered to testify before the grand jury, but were never subpoenaed. The Ramseys asked to meet with the governor and his advisory council. The request went unanswered.
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