Romper

Who Is Bill McReynolds? The JonBenet Ramsey Suspect Had Ties To The Family

Barry Williams/Getty Images News/Getty Images

It was nearly 20 years ago when the mysterious JonBenét Ramsey murder case shocked, and mortified people around the world. JonBenét was a 6-year-old beauty queen who was found dead in her family's home in Boulder, Colorado in December of 1996. Shortly after Ramsey was found dead, investigators pursued a number of suspects, including the 6-year-old's parents, Patricia and John Ramsey — but the couple weren't the only suspects on the investigators' radar. So who is Bill McReynolds? The family friend, who died in 2002, was considered in JonBenét's murder.

According to a 1999 New York Post article, McReynolds was a retired journalism professor and a close friend of the Ramseys. McReynolds played Santa Claus at a Christmas party at the Ramsey house a few nights before JonBenét was killed. His wife, Janet McReynolds, was also reportedly present at the party.

Other connections between McReynolds and the Ramsey family have apparently been a cause for concern for investigators. The Guardian reported that McReynolds had allegedly given JonBenét a Christmas card which reportedly stated that the 6-year-old would be receiving a "special present" after Christmas. Additionally, the McReynolds' 9-year-old daughter was reportedly abducted on Dec. 26, the same day JonBenét was found dead, only years prior in the 1970s. Another eerie-sounding connection theory, is that Janet McReynolds had allegedly written a play about a young girl who had molested, tortured and killed in a basement in 1976. Romper attempted to reach out to original representatives for the McReynolds, but was unsuccessful.

According to a CNN report in 2006, Trip DeMuth, an original prosecutor on the case, said that McReynolds' alleged Christmas card to JonBenét was particularly concerning:

The McReynolds were reportedly cleared of charges after submitting DNA samples, CNN reported.

It's certainly a mysterious, and heart-breaking case that has long raised many questions about the young girl's death. And 20 years later, the conversation will likely continue on a mainstream level. Following the success of shows recounting murder cases and trials like, The People v. O.J Simpson, and Making A Murderer, both CBS and Lifetime are bringing JonBenét's story to TV this year.

CBS will air a six-hour, three-part documentary series called The Case of: JonBenét Ramsey in September, The New York Times reported. Lifetime will present a TV movie called Who Killed JonBenét? sometime this fall.

JonBenét Ramsey's 1996 murder case remains unsolved.