Will this case ever really go away? JonBenét Ramsey‘s family hopes not — at least not until the truth is discovered.
The eyes of the entire world turned to Boulder, Colorado in 1996 when the body of the 6-year-old beauty queen was discovered in her home the day after Christmas. Her skull had been fractured from a blow, and she had been strangled — a garrote was found still around her neck. Perhaps the most shocking aspect of the case was, despite the wattage of the spotlight, the real story remained — and remains to this day — hidden from view.
Who killed JonBenét is a true crime question for the ages — though one her father, John Ramsey, now 77 years old, hopes to have answered in his lifetime (sadly his wife, Patsy Ramsey, did not live to see the case solved — she passed away back in 2006).
John’s most recent hope comes from a brand new documentary called JonBenét Ramsey: What Really Happened? on the new Discovery+ streaming service. He and his son John Andrew Ramsey, JonBenét’s half-brother, told USA Today on the occasion of the doc’s release they hoped another look would “keep the case alive”:
“We’re hoping somebody will come forward with some information that will be helpful.”
So what can viewers find in the doc?
It turns out homicide detective Lou Smit kept an audio diary as he worked tirelessly to try to solve the murder. While he too did not live to see the case cracked, his tapes may yet move the investigation forward. Previously unheard excerpts of the audiotapes will be presented in the doc, along with context from Smit’s son and daughter. John said:
“I was not aware of the audiotapes. It’s a real asset to solving this case, still.”
For John, solving this case isn’t just about getting justice for his murdered daughter, but for himself and his late wife as well. He recalled painfully:
“The death of JonBenét took away my desire to live for a while. The actions of the police took away my ability to live normally and that, to some extent, continued for a long time in the way we were treated and assaulted.”
He says the police had the parents in their crosshairs from the beginning — and their misplaced focus kept them from finding the real killer:
“The police drew a conclusion immediately that day, the next day and then tried to find the evidence to prove it. And the evidence they were finding was, unfortunately for them, contradictory to their conclusion. But they never admitted that and struggled with that for years and spent millions of taxpayers’ dollars trying to prove otherwise.”
Remarking on Detective Smit’s commitment to the case, John Andrew points out:
“If he had thought for a moment that Dad or (his late wife) Patsy were capable of this murder, he would have pursued them to the end of this Earth. Lou was a true victims’ advocate, and that’s all you can ask for.”
Eventually, the Boulder District Attorney’s Office did officially exonerate the entire Ramsey family, including their son Burke Ramsey, whose infamously awkward TV interviews led many to suspect he knew more than he was telling. That was all the way in 2008, two years after Patsy passed away.
John admitted he could not watch the full documentary because that time in his life was so “hard to revisit,” but if YOU want to dive back into one of the most famous unsolved cases of all time, JonBenét Ramsey: What Really Happened? is streaming now.
[Image via Inside Edition/YouTube.]