Did Burke Ramsey Kill JonBenet Ramsey? Dr. Phil Didn't Hold Back In His Season Premiere
The night JonBenét Ramsey was killed there were only three other people known to have been in the house: her father John, her mother Patsy, and her nine-year-old brother Burke. The presence of a fourth, unknown person who may have taken her life is unconfirmed, so it's not exactly a surprise that suspicion turned to the people in the house – including Burke, even though he was only three years older than JonBenét. The family faced a lot of public scrutiny, although none of them were ever charged with involvement in JonBenét's death, and the case remains unsolved. Regardless, public allegations surrounded Burke, which will undoubtedly lead people to ask: did Burke Ramsey kill JonBenét? When asked for comment, Burke's representation, L. Lin Wood, said the following:
"In May of 1999, the Boulder District Attorney and the Boulder Police Department publicly confirmed that Burke Ramsey was not a suspect or even a possible suspect. Any statement conveying that this young man was involved in the brutal murder of his sister - his life's best friend - is unquestionable false and defamatory. Conveying this false accusation for TV ratings is unconscionable and will result in litigation in the future as it has in the past. There is no legitimate journalistic or First Amendment value in broadcasting false accusations against Burke."
During the second episode of Dr. Phil's season premiere, he ended the episode with some incredibly strong questions pointed toward Burke Ramsey. The questions all pertained to the 29-year-old's relationship with his sister before her death, but of course, for dramatic effect, the show cut the episode before Burke was able to speak for himself.
Ultimately, based on DNA evidence that exonerated Burke (along with his parents), Burke was never found to have any part in JonBenét's death. While the case remains unsolved, Burke was never charged nor formally connected to the crime, so the theories behind this are strictly that, theories with nothing linking Burke to the crime. It was never proven that anyone in the family was responsible for her death. Despite theories, suspicions, and speculation, no one has yet been convicted of JonBenét's murder. Even 20 years later, it's still a mystery. And that may be why people are so interested in Burke Ramsey's memories of that day and everything that followed.
On Christmas Day 1996, the day of the murder, both Burke and JonBenét attended a holiday party with their parents. The car ride home was the last time Burke remembered seeing JonBenét alive, according to an interview with police from 1998 recently shown in the A&E documentary The Killing of JonBenét: The Truth Uncovered. This tracks with the story told by his parents: that after being brought home both children were put immediately to bed. According to John and Patsy, Burke was asleep the night of the murder and did not wake up until after police were called the following morning.
The completely unproven theory that Burke may have been involved in the murder seems to stem from a book written by investigator James Kolar called Foreign Faction: Who Really Kidnapped JonBenét? There are some alleged pieces of evidence that contradict Burke having been asleep the entire night and morning. For one, former district attorney Bob Grant explained to Josh Mankiewicz in the Dateline special the phone call that still peaks interest. "Some say it’s [JonBenét's brother] Burke. Some say, 'I don’t know.' Some say it may not even be a voice. It’s a piece of evidence that has a number of different conclusions.” Burke's fingerprints were also found on a glass on the table beside a bowl of pineapple; the pineapple is an important clue because it was undigested in JonBenét's stomach, so she had to have eaten it an hour or so before her death. If those fingerprints imply that Burke and JonBenét had a snack before bed, then they did not go to sleep immediately upon returning home.
Burke's behavior after the murders has also been criticized. In the taped interview from 1998 (two years after the crime) Burke claimed to have stayed in his room the day of the murder while police were in the house because he was afraid. His demeanor in the tapes faced its own scrutiny as to how a child would react to the trauma of his sister being killed in their home. Reacting weirdly to a horrible situation does not necessarily mean someone was involved in that situation, but more so might speak to the fact that everyone grieves and reacts to shock in different ways.
Whatever theory you subscribe to, no one has been convicted of this crime and the family was officially cleared of involvement. The truth of what happened that night is still unknown. However, perhaps Burke will able to shed some light on it when he sits down for his three part interview with Dr. Phil, which will air on Sept. 12.