20 Years of JBR

Part 1

It was a gloomy Saturday morning here in Western PA when I began this. It was the kind of foggy, cool morning that makes you realize fall is well on it’s way. This is my favorite time of the year. There’s pumpkins to carve, fall scented candles to burn, and beautiful colored leaves to collect and take home. I am left feeling grateful to experience it all. I get to see my children dress up for Halloween. I get to watch them jump into a pile of leaves (and wash those same leaves out of their hair in the tub). I see the beauty and feel the warmth of this life. The happy feeling I have for this time of my life is a stark contrast to the sadness that I’m going to write about. Isn’t it strange how we can feel opposite things at the same time depending simply on the switching of the gears in our minds…

JonBenet Ramsey was killed in the basement of her home on Christmas day 1996. This year is the 20th anniversary of her death. I had just turned 11 when you couldn’t turn on the T.V without hearing about her brutal beating and strangulation. I have literally grown up with this event. I’ve known details about a little girl from Colorado for 19 years. It’s both tragic and sad how the unsolved murder of 6 year old JonBenet made her a celebrity. I often think about her as a 26 year old girl in today’s world. Then I think about my own daughter. What I wouldn’t give for my daughter to see 26….

When I originally started to write about JonBenet, I was under the impression that there couldn’t possibly be anyone who doesn’t know about this case. Because, whether you were watching 20 years ago, or whether you just turned the T.V. on last week, you will still hear about her death. But then, I’m informed that there actually is someone who has never heard of JonBenet Ramsey. That someone is my brother. He’s 24 which would have made him 4 when she was killed. He was too young to remember much more than what he ate for lunch or what toy he played with before bed. Now, he’s studying to be a surgeon and has zero time to watch the news, read a tabloid, etc. So, there it is. Not everyone knows. And as far as I can tell, he was spared from this terrible story. Unfortunately for him, there’s people out there like me who can’t let it go. Now, for him and others, here’s me not letting it go.

JonBenet Ramsey, 6, her older brother Burke,9, and her parents Patsy and John Ramsey lived in Boulder, Colorado. They were a very wealthy family and had a number of friends. John was the president of a computer system company based in Boulder that would become part of Lockheed Martin. Patsy was a stay-at-home mom who got her daughter involved in beauty pageants at a young age. Neither parent had any criminal record. Below is the Ramsey house.


During the early morning hours of December 26, 1996, mom, Patsy, found a ransom letter on the stairs near their kitchen. It indicated that their daughter was taken and that she would be returned safe in exchange for $118K. The letter indicated that the family should not contact law enforcement if they wanted to see their daughter alive. However, Patsy did call the police. Initial searches by law enforcement of the home both on the interior and exterior were done. However, neither signs of forced entry nor JonBenet were found. Approximately 8 hours after Patsy had initially made the call to the police, a Boulder police detective asked the father, John, to search the house again with one of his friends. They began this search in the basement. After searching portions of the basement to no avail John entered the “wine” room. The body of JonBenet was on the floor in this room covered in a white blanket that she favored. She had a garrote around her neck, her mouth was covered with duct tape, and her wrists had been tied above her head. John picked up the body of his daughter and carried her upstairs. The autopsy results indicate that JonBenet was killed by strangulation and a skull fracture.

I tried to leave my own opinions out of the facts of the murder. After all, don’t you want to form your own opinions? Don’t you want to dive headfirst down that rabbit hole on your own terms, at least, initially? The research others have done online on this case is overwhelming. You could spend weeks scrapping through it and just end up even more confused. This is one such rabbit hole. As a side note: I have just summed up the death of a human being in a medium length paragraph. That is not lost on me.

In part 2, I’ll tell you my opinion. You didn’t ask. But that’s okay. I’m a fan of sharing.


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