More than 25 years after the murder of little JonBenet Ramsey, a petition drive announced Saturday by her father has sparked a response from the police agency that has investigated the case since 1996.
JonBenet was 6 years old when she was reported missing on Dec. 26, 1996. Her murdered body was found in the basement of her family’s home in Boulder, Colorado, along with a ransom note demanding $118,000. The girl had suffered a massive blow to the head and died of strangulation, officials determined.
Suspicion has fallen on a number of people, but no one has been convicted in her death.
On Saturday, during an appearance at CrimeCon 2022 in Las Vegas, John Ramsey, JonBenet’s father, announced that he was circulating a petition calling for Colorado Gov. Jared Polis to let an outside agency conduct DNA testing, which in effect would take the case away from the Boulder Police Department, Fox News reported.
“We can’t let the murder of a child be left up to local police,” Ramsey said. “They’re just big enough that they think they know everything, and they don’t.”
The petition tells Polis, “You have the power. Given the lack of progress by the Boulder Police, we the undersigned petitioners ask you to move DNA decisions in this case away from the BPD to an independent agency so that JonBenét has a last chance at the justice she deserves.”
“It’s a petition to hopefully get the state of Colorado to intervene and have the items from the crime scene that could be tested for DNA that haven’t been tested,” Ramsey said, according to KDVR-TV in Denver.
“It’s going to take a lot of help to get that moving again. But you know, the government is very reactive and we’re talking about politicians. We want them to do the right thing,” he said.
The Boulder Police Department responded with a statement on Sunday saying it was “aware of the recent request involving the homicide investigation of JonBenet Ramsey and wants the community to know that it has never wavered in its pursuit to bring justice to everyone affected by the murder of this little girl.”
The department said its officers have followed up on more than 21,000 tips and spoken to more than 1,000 people.
“As recently as March 2022, the Boulder Police Department hosted another meeting with federal, state, and local agencies working on this case and in consultation with DNA experts from around the country. That collaboration will continue,” it said, adding that “due to the huge advances in DNA technology,” it has continually updated its search for a match to samples from the scene of the crime.
“We have a shared goal to bring justice — and hopefully some peace — to JonBenet’s family and everyone who was impacted by her loss,” Police Chief Maris Herold said.
“Our investigation with federal, state and local partners has never stopped,” he said. “That includes new ways to use DNA technology. We’ve always used state-of-the-art technology as it has been at the forefront of this investigation. Every time the DNA technology changed, we worked to make sure the evidence could be tested.
“This investigation has always been and will continue to be a priority for the Boulder Police Department.”
Ramsey on Saturday used words such as “arrogance,” “pride” and “ego” to describe the department.
@GovofCO we wouldn’t be calling for help if we hadn’t exhausted all avenues at the local level. Forensic science has made a quantum leap in the last 5 years. Lets use tech for good and catch a child killer. #jonbenetramsey #boulderhttps://t.co/66s6NRrdbD
— John Andrew Ramsey (@JRamsey_Truth) May 1, 2022
Polis’ office issued a statement in response to the petition.
“The state will review the petition and look into how the state can assist in using new technology to further investigate this cold case and to identify JonBenet Ramsey’s killer and bring him or her to justice,” the statement said.
Mitch Morrissey, a former Denver district attorney, said Polis should not heed the petition.
“I hope Jared Polis has the sense to leave it in the hands of experts who have been working on this case for over 20 years,” he said, according to KDVR.
“A bunch of people signs a petition that does not understand the techniques and difficulties in this case. I know the BPD understands it,” Morrissey said.