JonBenét Ramsey's dad compares her case to how Golden State Killer was snared as he shares 'left-field' belief | The Sun
JONBENÉT Ramsey's dad is pleading with police overseeing his daughter's case to use the same investigative methods to catch her murderer as the cops who snared the Golden State Killer.
John Ramsey, 79, told The U.S. Sun that he believes forensic genetic genealogy will be the key to finally unmasking the "creature" who beat and strangled his daughter to death in the basement of his home in Boulder, Colorado, almost 27 years ago.
For 12 years, John and his late wife Patsy were considered the lead suspects in the murder of JonBenét.
However, they were eventually cleared of any wrongdoing in 2008 through a small sample of DNA evidence recovered from the tragic beauty queen's clothes and under her fingernails.
That DNA is believed to be male but has so far not been matched to anyone.
The Boulder Police Department (BPD) has voiced reluctance in recent years to test the DNA evidence they have in the case through fear of destroying it.
But John believes the department shouldn't waste any more time sitting on vital evidence, no matter the risk.
He has met with BPD twice this year to discuss his daughter's case.
During those meetings, he made two demands to Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold: test items of evidence not previously screened for DNA, including a garrote, and send all DNA yielded to a state-of-the-art genealogy lab to identify the culprit.
Forensic genetic genealogy (FGG) was famously used to capture Joseph James DeAngelo, otherwise known as the Golden State Killer, in 2018.
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The Golden State Killer was a serial rapist and murderer who terrorized California between 1974 and 1986, killing at least 13, before his trail went completely cold.
To catch DeAngelo, investigators compared DNA collected from the scenes of various crimes committed by the Golden State Killer to genetic profiles uploaded to online genealogical websites – such as Ancestry.com and 23andMe – that allow users to find long-lost relatives and trace their family tree.
Using that data, police built a reverse family tree for the suspect and eventually zeroed in on DeAngelo, a former police officer who had never previously been on law enforcement's radar.
In the years since, FGG has become an increasingly effective tool in helping to close decades-old cold cases.
John is hoping his daughter's case will soon be added to that growing list.
And much like in the Golden State case, John believes JonBenét's killer may come from "left of field," despite hundreds of people of interest being identified and screened by police over the years.
"One thing that really interested me about these old cold cases that have been solved using DNA genealogy databases is that the people found to be the killer came out of the left of field," said John.
"With the Golden State Killer, for instance, he was an ex-cop who was never a suspect, and it makes you wonder whether that could be the case for us someday."
John added that instead of Gary Oliva or John Mark Karr, two men who have repeatedly confessed to the murder, it may be someone totally inconspicuous.
"What if it's not the Gary Olivas or the John Mark Karrs, these guys who look very suspicious?
"But what if it's somebody totally out of left field that nobody's heard of or been suspicious of?
"I have a feeling that could be the case here."
A WARNING SHOT
More than anything, John said he wants to finally clear the cloud that's been hanging over his family's head for decades and finally get the "monster" who harmed his daughter.
He said he has been "encouraged" by his recent meetings with BPD and promised to offer them a clean slate to work from moving forward, insisting he's uninterested in relitigating the past.
But, he added, when the individual is eventually found, if it turns out they harmed any more children while police spent years going after him and Patsy, he won't hesitate to become BPD's worst enemy.
"There's this grey cloud that hangs over my family and that needs to be cleared," John told The U.S. Sun.
"Also, we don't know if this person [the killer] is in prison, dead, or still walking around out there somewhere, and obviously they're a very dangerous psychopath that preys on children.
"So, not only do I want to solve this to remove this cloud from my family's name, but more than anything I want to get this creature off the streets.
With the Golden State Killer, for instance, he was an ex-cop who was never a suspect, and it makes you wonder whether that could be the case for us someday.
"And I've said, if we find that since JonBenet’s death, this creature has killed other children, I'm going to be Boulder police's worst enemy," he continued.
"I will name names of the people who failed at their job and resulted in the death of other children.
"We don't know if that's the case, but it certainly seems possible.
"And if it is true, I will name names and say, 'The blood of these children are on your hands. You failed at your job, miserably.'"
Until such a time, John has promised to give Boulder PD the time, space, and his full support to finally solve his daughter's case.
It was John who requested to meet with Chief Herold earlier this year and the department accepted.
He and his eldest son, John Andrew Ramsey, first met with Boulder PD in January. They met Herold and her deputy chief for a second time in June with the addition of Boulder District Attorney Michael Dougherty.
In meetings of years gone by, John and his son had never felt as though the department was aggressively pursuing anyone other than John Sr. or Patsy.
But this year's meetings felt different, John said, with law enforcement less "cold" and hostile than they have been previously.
"It was encouraging," said the elder Ramsey.
"They didn't really tell us much in the way of the investigation, but they said they were fully committed to solving the case and that they've had several meetings with a number of different people, though didn't tell us who they were.
"The key for me is that they finally brought in new leadership from outside the department, and that's significant because in the past, we've been through about three different police chiefs in 25 years and they've all been promoted from within the department.
"You can't promote someone in a dysfunctional organization to lead it and hope it can be changed. That just doesn't work.
"But we met the chief and assistant chief and I was impressed with them both."
John added: "My hope is that they are doing what they say they're going to do, and that they will take seriously the requests we've made as to what we think needs to be done – and I’m going to give them time to do that.
"It's a clean slate […] and if they do what we've discussed, I really believe we could finally get some answers.
"If it doesn't produce a result, and they've done everything they possibly can, then that's all we can ask."
FRESH EYES NEEDED
Later this year, a long-awaited review of JonBenét's case will be carried out by the Colorado Cold Case Review Team, with the cooperation of BPD.
The planned collaboration, which will bring fresh eyes to the case for the first time, was announced in November 2022.
John's biggest criticism of BPD all along has been the department's unwillingness to accept outside help from the likes of the FBI or even the larger, better-resourced Denver Police Department.
While he welcomed the collaboration with the cold case review, he still believes the department should hand the case over to the FBI and send their DNA evidence to a genealogy lab.
"That's been my criticism of Boulder PD all along, that they refused help from people that could've helped them – and that's really the second tragedy in this case," he said.
"I was told by experienced homicide detectives that this case wouldn't have been difficult to solve had they had the right resources in the very beginning.
"There's been lots of help that's been offered over the years from people that have the experience to solve this and they've always refused that help.
"And that's foolish at a minimum, and criminal at worst."
He continued: "We've seen wild success stories with these genealogy labs involving some very old cases […]
These labs can use the DNA to basically do a reverse family tree and narrow that down to someone who was in Boulder in 1996 that fits the profile.
"The key is, they have to go to one of the two or three cutting-edge DNA labs in the country – not the government labs.
"We were told by the FBI [that] the government does not have the latest technology yet, so you've got to go to an outside lab […] and that's what we hope they do."
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The Boulder Police Department has been contacted for comment.
The department routinely declines to comment on the case, stating only: "This is an open and ongoing investigation, we’re unable to give any interviews or comment on specific aspects of this crime."
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