Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Murder of JonBenet Ramsey

The Media Circus

In June 2000, in what can only be described as the main event of what had become a media circus, the Ramseys challenged Steve Thomas to face them on national television and make his accusations in person. Thomas agreed and appeared alongside the Ramseys on CNN's Larry King Live.

It was the first time they had been face-to-face since Thomas, then a Boulder police officer, questioned them about their daughter's death. The meeting quickly disintegrated into a verbal shouting match, with Thomas exchanging accusations with the Ramseys as King struggled to maintain control. Finally, Thomas challenged the Ramseys on their offer to meet with Boulder investigators.

John Ramsey said they would be willing to go along with their investigators to share their findings and also ask their questions and asked, "Why do we have to prove our innocence?"

Thomas answered that evidence existed that pointed to them.

"Tell me one piece of evidence that's admissible in the court of law?" John Ramsey asked.

Thomas countered by telling Patsy Ramsey that there was enough evidence to arrest her for murder.

Patsy replied, "I wish I had," explaining that if she had been arrested, then she could have been exonerated in a trial.

Several days after the show, Lin Wood announced that John and Patsy Ramsey had agreed to meet with Boulder police only if detectives were willing to take a new approach to the probe of their daughter's slaying and not interrogate them. "If they are looking to interrogate John and Patsy, that will not happen. Those days are over," Wood said. "John and Patsy are ready and willing to meet with Boulder police if they are truly interested in a new approach...to clear the air and exchange information in the investigation of their daughter's murder."

To this day, John and Patsy Ramsey have lived up to their promise and continue to search for their daughter's killer. They have posted a composite sketch of a suspect compiled by the late psychic, Dorothy Allison, on their Internet site, with the attached message:

Psychic sketch
Psychic sketch

"Have you seen this man? This man may have been in the Boulder area in December 1996. ... We firmly believe that this most horrible of killers will be caught based on information provided by people who care about right and wrong. ... Please help, so another innocent child will not be a victim and another family will not suffer unbearable grief."

Allison, who claimed to have assisted police investigations, came up with her vision of the suspect during an April 1998 appearance on a network television show. She died on December 3, 1999. Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner declined to comment on the late psychic's work.

A public opinion poll then conducted by a local newspaper suggested that only one in eight Colorado residents believed that the results of recent polygraph tests showed that John and Patsy were not involved in the December 1996 death of JonBenet.

In answer to the results of that poll, Ramsey attorney Lin Wood commented that the poll accurately reflects the "anti-Ramsey" campaign that has been waged by the media since the day that JonBenet died.

JonBenet Ramsey
JonBenet Ramsey

But through it all, one important fact has been pushed further and further into the background: an innocent little girl was killed in a brutal manner and her killer is still at large.

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