Did Patsy Ramsey Kill JonBenet? Despite Evidence, Public Scrutiny Existed Until Her Death

The CBS docu-series The Case Of: JonBenét Ramsey premieres on Sunday, September 18th with the hopeful goal of shedding new light on the 20-year-old murder case of the 6-year-old pageant queen. Investigators who worked on the original case will team up with new experts to comb back through all the evidence and try to solve the discrepancies, potentially revealing who her murderer might have been. In the 1997 investigation, Ramsey's parents, John and Patsy, were massively scrutinized by the public and the media for any possibility that they had played a role in their daughter's death. One of the biggest targets of those never substantiated theories was the young girl's mother. But did Patsy Ramsey kill JonBenét? Despite evidence to the contrary, people still suspected her.

In a statement to Romper, Ramsey family attorney L. Lin Wood dismissed any rumors that the family was involved in JonBenét's death, writing,

In terms of the accusations against John and Patsy Ramsey, the Boulder District Attorney, Mary Lacy, publicly exonerated them in 2008 based on irrefutable DNA evidence. She apologized to the family and assured them that in the future, they would be correctly treated as victims. The days of Ramsey accusations should have ended then and there.

This murder case, in particular, had a mountain of bizarre evidence that seemed too strange to be real — like a two-and-a-half-page-long ransom note asking for almost exactly the amount of money that John Ramsey had earned in his Christmas bonus that year, according to 48 Hours, in exchange for JonBenét's safe return.


In 2008, new DNA evidence was released from the case that exonerated John, Patsy, and their son Burke from any involvement in JonBenét's death. Updated methods of DNA collection found trace evidence of an unidentified male's DNA on the long johns JonBenét was wearing the night of her murder. It matched the DNA from the drop of blood inside her underwear, which was collected earlier in the investigation, and prosecutors surmised it was "almost definitely that of the killer," according to a 2008 New York Times report. This DNA matched none of the Ramsey family members, exonerating them all, and, more or less, clearing up any conspiracy theories that they had a hand in their daughter's death.

In 2013, however, unsealed court documents revealed that a grand jury did secretly vote to indict Ramsey's parents in 1999. According to the documents, both John and Patsy were indicted for Child Abuse Resulting in Death and Accessory to a Crime. But the district attorney at the time refused to file charges against them. Eventually, the family moved to their summer home in Michigan to avoid the hometown scrutiny in Boulder, Colorado, which was the site of the murder. Patsy Ramsey died of ovarian cancer in 2006, just two years before DNA evidence cleared her name.