There are so many strange, strange aspects to this case.
From JonBenét’s child beauty pageant background to the family inviting friends over to hang out at the crime scene while their daughter was missing to the ransom note, there is nothing straightforward about this case. To me, the evidence points to the murder being an inside job to cover up an accidental death. But the evidence doesn’t fit neatly one way or the other.
This article will explore arguments supporting the theory that JonBenét’s older brother Burke may have gravely injured JonBenét during a temper tantrum. Thinking JonBenét was already dead or knowing she was fatally injured, her parents finished the job and covered up the murder.
It is hard to believe these parents would be emotionally able to strangle their little girl with a garrote. I also don’t think it would have been the end of the world to bring JonBenét to the emergency room and simply say Burke’s temper got away with him and a tragic accident happened. A cover up doesn’t make sense to me… however it does seem more likely than any other scenario. Here’s the evidence:
[*] John Ramsey found the body in the home’s basement. This is consistent with how a father would act in a cover up. The old adage that the killer returns to the scene of the crime has some truth to it. A guilty person inserts themselves into an investigation as much as possible.
[*] John and Patsy Ramsey did not cooperate with police. They immediately hired a lawyer and were never completely forthcoming with investigators about what happened. If they did not know what happened to their daughter already, they would be desperate to cooperate in order to get answers.
[*] The ransom note is extremely weird. The note was written on a notepad and with a pen from the Ramsey’s house. After writing the note, the items were put away. An intruder would type the letter out ahead of time and bring it with them. They also wouldn’t clean up after themselves. The note demanded a sum similar to a bonus John Ramsey received which would indicate familiarity with the family’s finances. While it was never definitively proven, some investigators believe the note was in Patsy Ramsey’s handwriting.`
[*] Though the ransom note specified that no one should be contacted, Patsy Ramsey called the police at 5:52 am and then called a few family friends to invite them over for emotional support. A frantic mother warned that her missing daughter will be harmed if anyone is contacted might typically be more reticent to call the police or invite friends over.
[*] If the plan was to kidnap JonBenét and collect ransom money, why was she killed? If her death was accidental, why still leave the ransom note as extra evidence?
[*] When JonBenét’s body was discovered, it was covered by a blanket. This is something that is typically done when the victim is known by the murderer.
[*] Police found Burke’s fingerprints on a bowl of pineapple on the kitchen counter. Pineapple was one of JonBenét’s favorite snacks and it was found in her stomach in the autopsy, meaning she ate some shortly before her death. Some believe Burke shared a midnight snack of pineapple with JonBenét before her death, or JonBenét ate some of Burke’s snack, leading to a temper tantrum that resulted in a deadly injury for JonBenét.
[*] While being interviewed about the murder, young Burke covers his mouth when asked about the pineapple, one of the most common tells that someone is withholding information:
[*] One of the biggest pieces of evidence for the intruder theory is the existence of DNA from someone(s) not in the Ramsey family on JonBenét’s underwear. An investigator with the Boulder DA said, “We all shed DNA all the time within our skin cells. It can be deposited anywhere at any time for various reasons, reasons that are benign. To clear somebody just on the premise of touch DNA, especially when you have a situation where the crime scene wasn’t secure at the beginning … really is a stretch.”
[*] Statistically, when a child is killed he or she is most likely killed by someone in their immediate family.
[*] Patsy Ramsey’s initial call to 911 when she found the ransom note in her home has been widely criticized as being abnormal behavior for a mother finding her daughter missing. Suspiciously, Patsy does not say her daughter’s name in the call and referred to herself as “the mother”.
[*] People also believe they can hear Burke’s voice on the 911 call asking “what did you find?” though Patsy Ramsey’s story is that Burke was asleep in bed until later on in the morning.
[*] When he was told JonBenét was deceased, John Ramsey stated “It has to be an inside job.” While this doesn’t point a finger at Burke, it’s definitely strange and falls more into the “family did a coverup” theory than the intruder theory.
[*] John Ramsey called his personal pilot twice the day JonBenét was found dead.
[*] Strangely, when he found his daughter’s body and carried her up the stairs to where the police were, John Ramsey did not cradle her but held her away from his body. One of the detectives recalled seeing this and having a gut feeling John had murdered her.
[*] Interviews with Burke show that he has trouble speaking without smirking, which many feel is a form of duper’s delight.
[*] Others insist this is normal awkwardness to be expected of anyone who has had such an unusual childhood.
[*] Former Boulder police chief Mark Becker was in charge of the investigation. Here is what he believes happened:
“We know from the evidence she was hit in the head very hard with an unknown object, possibly a flashlight or similar type item. The blow knocked her into deep unconsciousness, which could have led someone to believe she was dead. The strangulation came 45 minutes to two hours after the head strike, based on the swelling on the brain. While the head wound would have eventually killed her, the strangulation actually did kill her. The rest of the scene we believe was staged, including the vaginal trauma, to make it look like a kidnapping/assault gone bad. I have avoided saying who I believe is responsible and let the facts speak for themselves. There are several viable theories.”