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JonBenét Katie Meadows

pieces of paper at the bottom of the stair case. Skimming the first and reading that her daughter had been taken she flew into a panic. Screaming, Patsy ran back up the stairs into JonBenét’s bedroom and found it empty. Her wails grew louder as she ran to Burke’s room, though the boy was sleeping safe in his bed, and at this point John woke up and his hysterical wife directed him towards the ransom note. Despite explicit instruction on the note not to involve police at the risk of JonBenét’s life, Patsy called 911. “We have a kidnapping [...] There’s a note left and our daughter is gone.” After hanging up she called several of the Ramsey’s close friends to come over immediately, even the pastor from her church, and they arrived along with Boulder county police—a thoroughfare of people treading through what was a fresh crime scene. After an extremely brief search through the Ramsey’s expansive home, the group gathered to await a promised phone call from the kidnappers at 10am. When the call never arrived, John and his friend were instructed to look through the house again. Moments later a scream was heard through the house as John ran up the stairs carrying his daughter’s body wrapped in a white sheet having found her on the floor of the wine cellar. He placed her on the floor as Patsy ran over and threw herself over JonBenét’s body, pleading with Jesus to bring her back to life. Autopsy results concluded JonBenét died from strangulation via a “garotte” fashioned from string and a broken paintbrush, however a blow to her head that happened up to two hours prior to this was fatal and would have killed her had the strangulation not come first. There were also signs of sexual assault with the same paintbrush, and further indications of ongoing sexual abuse. The Ramsey’s behavior after JonBenét’s death was definitely strange. In the case of a child’s disappearance, or murder, suspicion always falls on family members and it is considered routine to investigate them to eliminate them as suspects. By all accounts the Ramsey’s actions after calling 911 ensured that the crime scene was compromised and, from the beginning, the Ramseys were non-compliant with law enforcement and wouldn’t agree to be interviewed until three months after JonBenét’s murder. While they refused to co-operate with police they did a round of highly publicized television interviews,

On December 26, 1996, six year old JonBenét Ramsey was found brutally slain in the cellar of her parent’s lavish home. For many the case is infamous and has become synonymous with unsolved crimes, in particular because JonBenét’s murder had enough salacious detail to hold mainstream interest in a post-OJ America that lusted for a new scandal. The images of a young, pretty, white, blonde girl dolled up in frilly dresses and makeup were destined for the tabloids, with her family being alleged of creating a paedophile’s dream in their daughter. Twenty years later, the question of who killed her remains polarizing. For me my interest comes from reading true crime tales online; though I’m loathe to admit it, I am an avid reader of Reddit’s r/UnresolvedMysteries/ and often find myself lost in a late night black hole of Wikipedia pages. Along with my morbid fascination comes a strange sense of familiarity with JonBenét: we were a similar age and both grew up in the 90s, we both enjoyed singing and crafts, we both were young when we felt pressure to be who we were not, and we both endured horrible things. But I survived and JonBenét didn’t, and now I feel an obligation to her story. JonBenét Ramsey was a vibrant and happy girl and those who knew her would say she was always making others smile. Born August 6, 1990, she lived with her family in the quiet town of Boulder, Colorado. JonBenét’s father, John Ramsey, owned a successful computing company that had just made its first million. Her mother, Patricia ‘Patsy’ Ramsey, was a former beauty queen from West Virginia and she hoped to pass on her love of pageants to JonBenét, who at the age of six had already won several child pageants. JonBenét’s older brother, Burke, was a diligent boy scout and fascinated with planes. From the outside the Ramseys were the perfect family: wealthy, well-liked, and successful. They had many friends and it was rare to hear a bad word about them, except perhaps from those jealous of what they assumed to be the Ramsey’s perfect suburban lives—that was until JonBenét was murdered and the decades-long story of intrigue and public fascination in the hunt for her killer began. The official story for the night of December 26, 1996, is as follows: Patsy woke up shortly before 6am as the family had plans to fly out later that day to visit John’s older children. Descending the stairs she noticed three

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Misc | Issue 24  
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