Anyone who was alive in the '90s will remember the emotions and suspense surrounding the death and investigation of six-year-old JonBenét Ramsey. The pageant queen was found unresponsive in the basement of her family home on Christmas, 1996.
Despite multiple theories, investigations, and criminal charges, the case remains unsolved. Even though the JonBenét case has remained in the public eye, we still have a lot of questions. Check out all the unanswered questions and find out if we'll ever learn the truth about JonBenét.
Was She Really Ever 'Missing'?
The shock and suspense began in the early hours of December 26, 1996, when JonBenét's parents reported her as missing. Nearly eight hours later, JonBenét's father John found her lifeless in the basement.
Why wouldn't her parents or police think to check the entire house before beginning a missing person investigation?
How Did The Police Bungle The Crime Scene That Badly?
Not only did both the parents and police fail to conduct a thorough search of the house, they completely bungled the crime scene. There were no restrictions on who could come in and out of the house. The Ramseys had multiple friends over to console them.
The DNA evidence is largely considered to be contaminated because of too many people at the scene.
How Did A Local Santa Claus Become A Major Suspect?
One of the first suspects was a local shopping mall Santa Claus. According to the Ramseys, he had given JonBenéta a card that said: "You will receive a special gift after Christmas." It was suspicious, but he was quickly cleared.
Did The Ramseys Know About Their Bad Neighborhood?
The Ramsey family was an average, wealthy family who lived in a good neighborhood in Boulder, Colorado. But apparently, it wasn't good enough. The neighborhood had 38 registered sex offenders at the time of JonBenét's murder.
Many believe this is why the police began to suspect a sexual element to the case.
Was A Stun Gun Was Involved?
One of the wounds on JonBenét’s body seemed to be consistent with a stun gun. Initially, people thought that an attacker subdued her with a stun gun.
A secondary investigation showed that the marks could have been made by a railroad toy nearby in the basement. Both ideas have been ruled out by experts, but many people still use them to prove their theories.
Was JonBenét Abused Beforehand?
Some people believe that the fact JonBenét visited her pediatrician 27 times in the last three years of her life was a sign of abuse. But her doctor did not consider the number of visits "excessive" and said he did not suspect any sexual abuse.
Why Did The Ransom Note Request Such A Specific Amount?
When the Ramseys called the police, they mentioned a ransom note that demanded $118,000 for the safe return of JonBenét. Coincidentally, that number is the same amount of money that John received in a bonus that year for work.
This initially led police to believe that the kidnapping was a personal attack against John and his wife, Patsy.
Why Would Patsy Write The Ransom Note?
After JonBenét was found and police began to investigate the ransom, they became certain that it was Patsy who wrote and 'found' the note on the stairs. A handwriting expert said the note was consistent with her writing.
It's clear to many that someone would only write the ransom note if they knew what happened to their child.
Why Did So Many Crime Scene Items Belong To The Ramseys?
Not only did the ransom note line up with Patsy's handwriting, but the paper and pen used were from the Ramsey home. Some people even believe that a “rough draft” of the note was found in the house that proves she wrote it.
Was The Evidence Planted?
One of the major theories was that JonBenét's murder and the ransom note was the work of an intruder. But evidence like the untouched cobwebs by the basement window and a large piece of glass on the window that should have been pushed away makes it hard to believe an intruder broke in.
Many believe someone planted the note and window story to make it seem like a random attack.
Can We Trust Any Of The DNA Evidence?
It's not only the ransom note and basement window that is questionable. The early DNA tests revealed multiple unknown samples, but the scene had been contaminated.
Even though it was contaminated, none of the samples in 1996 matched any of the Ramseys or anyone who handled the body.
Why Would The Original Detective Quit The Case?
The initial lead detective on the case, Steve Thomas, quit the case in 1998. He was upset that the District Attorney refused to let him investigate John and Patsy Ramsey.
If the first person to be heavily involved in the case quits over a dispute, there must be something suspicious going on.
Is JonBenét Katy Perry?
Of all the theories on who killed JonBenét, the strangest is that she's still alive. Back in 2014, a YouTuber floated the idea that pop singer Katy Perry is actually JonBenét. The theory is based on the fact they look similar, but that's about it.
Why Would Someone Falsely Admit To The Murder?
Ten years after the death of JonBenét, a teacher came forward claiming that he was the murderer. John Mark Karr gave gruesome details to the police, but they later found evidence that Karr was in Georgia at the time of her murder.
Karr probably just wanted his 15 minutes of fame. His claim doesn't get us any closer to the truth.
Why Does The Bowl Of Pineapple Matter So Much?
Over the years, one of the key pieces of evidence that emerged was a bowl of pineapple and condensed milk that was sitting on the kitchen table. The bowl is so important because the contents were found in JonBenét's stomach, which means it was the last thing she ate.
That means JonBenét was awake in her house before her death.
What Would Make Them Turn To Burke Ramsey?
The bowl of pineapple also had fingerprints on it from JonBenét's brother Burke. That means that Burket and JonBenét were likely awake together in the house at night.
A CBS documentary suggested that JonBenét took some of Burke's late-night snack. Then Burke got angry and hit her with a flashlight that was on the kitchen counter.
Has Burke Ever Spoken Publically About His Sister?
The allegations against Burke have held up in public, but privately, we have no idea. According to theories, Burke may have been jealous of JonBenét and even had a habit of smearing his feces on her belongings. He has been interrogated by police three times. He spoke publically for the first time in 2016 on Dr. Phil.
What Do Wild Animals Have To Do With The Case?
Animal hairs were found as evidence on JonBenét's body and with the fibers on the inside of the duct tape covering her mouth. These animal hairs made some people believe that an animal like an owl or a beaver broke in and killed her.
The theory fails to explain how the animal could have used duct tape or a rope though.
Were Any Of The Press Leaks True?
One of the reasons the JonBenét case was so popular was that it was a major tabloid story. Paula Woodward was a reporter who worked on the case since day one. She told a documentary that, "Not a single leak was true."
According to Woodward, everything from snow around the house to allegations of pornography was "leaked" to the press.
Will We Ever Find Out The Truth?
More than 20 years later, and it seems like we have more questions than answers in the case of JonBenét Ramsey. Still, some of the original investigators have held out hope.
The original District Attorney Stan Garnett has said he knows who the killer is, and "If we can ever file a case in open court, I’ll tell the world.” It looks like we'll have to keep patiently waiting for justice for JonBenét.