The brutal murder of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey on Christmas night in 1996 shocked America to its core. Just as the Lindbergh baby kidnapping and murder seven decades earlier had seared the nation's consciousness, this murder of a beautiful and talented child in a wealthy Boulder, Colorado home --renewed every parent's worst nightmare. It has been nearly three years since this violent crime occurred and no one has been brought to justice.
At 6:48 p.m., Dec. 23, 1996, a 911 call was placed from the Ramsey home to the Boulder Police Department. The call was terminated before a police dispatcher could speak to the caller. Six minutes later the police called the Ramsey home, but got a voice-mail message, so a police officer was dispatched to the house. No police report was filed, so one must presume the officer was told that the call was in error, and was satisfied with the explanation. At the time of that call, the Ramsey's were having their annual Christmas party, complete with a Santa who passed out presents to neighborhood children. With so many people in attendance, anyone could have inadvertently dialed 911 but in retrospect, self-styled experts on the case conclude too easily that JonBenet made the call.
Two days later, all four Ramseys went to the home of Fleet White, Jr., and Priscilla White for Christmas dinner. Ramsey and White, a retired oil executive, were best friends. The White's 6-year-old daughter was JonBenet's best friend. Both families were prominent in Boulder.
At the time of that Christmas dinner, things were beginning to look up for the Ramseys. For all their wealth, they'd had their share of misfortune. Patsy had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1994, and for a time had been bald because of chemotherapy. In January 1992, John Ramsey's daughter, Elizabeth Ramsey (from a previous marriage) was killed in a car wreck. So, as the Ramseys sat down to dinner at Fleet White's house on Christmas, they were privileged in many ways, but had also known their share of adversity. The Ramseys arrived home about 10 o' clock that night and her father put JonBenet to bed.
Shortly after 5:45 am on the morning of December 26, 1996, Patsy phoned the Boulder police in a panic about a ransom note she says she found on a staircase leading to the kitchen. The note demanded $118,000 for the return of JonBenet. Police arrived at the Ramsey home to monitor incoming phone calls. A cursory search of the house was made, including the basement. One small storeroom in the basement was skipped when John Ramsey reportedly said it had been painted shut.
The police left a few hours later to obtain a warrant to search the house for evidence of a break-in. When they returned, they were surprised to find what appeared to be a young child lying under the Christmas tree. It was JonBenet. She appeared to be dead, and appeared to have been dead for a period of time.
John Ramsey told Detective Arndt that he had found JonBenet in the wine cellar in the basement, underneath a blanket, with a piece of tape covering her mouth. John Ramsey had removed the tape from her mouth before he carried JonBenet upstairs to the first floor. There appeared to be a piece of cord loosely tied around JonBenet's right wrist. There were bloodstains in the crotch of her panties, but not on her skin. In addition, there were dark fibers on her skin, in the vaginal area, that caused police to believe her body had been wiped down with a cloth. Apparently, during the police's absence John Ramsey and a family friend searched the house themselves.
Fingers of suspicion were pointed quickly in the direction of John Ramsey. The foregoing search warrant affidavit was filed the same day JonBenet's body was found, and the resulting search warrant was the instrument by which her body was removed from the house (normally a body would be removed with consent). In addition to the body, the...