JonBenet Ramsey case: father to pursue legal action if Colorado ignores request for independent DNA testing

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FIRST ON FOX – John Ramsey, father of JonBenet Ramsey, plans to pursue legal action if the Colorado government ignores his petition to allow an independent agency to conduct DNA testing on evidence in his 6-year-old daughter’s 1996 murder case.

Ramsey said he will likely submit the petition, which has garnered more than 16,000 signatures since he initially unveiled it in April at the 2022 CrimeCon convention, at some point this week. If government officials do not respond after it is submitted, Ramsey will “absolutely” seek legal action.

“There was a case in Florida that I read about a couple years ago, and the family did exactly that and were successful. The judge said, ‘Okay, you guys aren’t calling this a cold case, and it’s a cold case. Let’s turn over the evidence and move on,'” Ramsey told Fox News Digital on Wednesday of potentially submitting a lawsuit or court order. “And that’s our next step if we don’t see any progress.”

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He added that he has representation on standby if the case does come to that point.

The murder that shocked America: On December 24, 1996, JonBenet Ramsey a child beauty queen was brutally murdered in her home in Boulder, Colorado.

The murder that shocked America: On December 24, 1996, JonBenet Ramsey a child beauty queen was brutally murdered in her home in Boulder, Colorado. (Polaris/Discovery+)

The Boulder Police Department (BPD) in Colorado has not yet officially labeled JonBenet’s murder a cold case.

In short, the Ramsey family believes BPD has been holding on to evidence in the 25-year-old case for too long. With new advancements in investigative genetic genealogy (IGG) research, the Ramseys believe they will have more success testing more than 250 of evidence for DNA to potentially build a profile of the suspect in their daughter’s murder than they would with Boulder officials who are currently on the case.

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If they are able to build a more complete DNA profile of the suspect(s), that information can then be compared to millions of DNA profiles uploaded to public databases showing people’s unique genetic codes.

“It’s had remarkable success,” Ramsey said of IGG research. “That’s what they should be doing.”

JonBenet Ramsey in an undated family photo.

JonBenet Ramsey in an undated family photo. (John Ramsey)

He added that he was “encouraged” that an independent agency can help “solve” the case, but police would have to give their permission first. Part of the issue is that given the age of the case, there is a limited amount of DNA to be tested. DNA eventually disappears if it is tested too many times.

JonBenet’s mother reported her missing to police when she was 6 years old on the morning of Dec. 26, 1996, after finding a lengthy ransom note demanding $118,000 in exchange for JonBenet. John Ramsey found her body later that same day in the basement of her home.

An autopsy revealed that JonBenet died of strangulation and a blow to the head. The Boulder City Medical Examiner reported an 8 1/2-inch fracture on her skull. Authorities have not convicted any suspects in the case.

IGG experts like CeCe Moore, chief genetic genealogist of Parabon Nanolabs, are confident that the case can be solved if handed over to independent researchers.

The 1996 JonBenet Ramsey case is still considered an active and ongoing investigation.

The 1996 JonBenet Ramsey case is still considered an active and ongoing investigation. (Ramsey family collection/ Discovery+)

“I would love to be invited to work this case with Boulder,” Moore told Fox News Digital in a Tuesday interview. 

“If there is a DNA sample, no matter how small, we would certainly like to give that a try,” she continued. “But they need to be very, very careful where they send that DNA, and they should really make sure it’s someone with a really good track record.”

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Moore has cracked more than 200 cold cases dating back to the 1960s. She was initially interested in helping adoptees find their biological families and said people began approaching her looking for help solving criminal cases around 2009 and 2010. More than a decade later, she said, she and Parabon have established “an unrivaled track record.”

In response to Moore’s comments, BPD said that because the Ramsey case is still active and ongoing, the Department is “limited” in what they can say.

JonBenet Ramsey was mysteriously murdered in her family's Boulder, Colorado, home in December 1996.

JonBenet Ramsey was mysteriously murdered in her family’s Boulder, Colorado, home in December 1996. (Ramsey family collection/ Discovery+)

“[B]ut we can say that the Boulder Police Department regularly meets with multiple entities regarding this investigation, to include private labs, the FBI, CBI, the District Attorney’s Office and others,” a spokesperson said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “In this ever- and quick-changing field of DNA analysis and testing, we are constantly speaking with these investigative stakeholders to evaluate how best to proceed given legal and scientific rules and limitations.”

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The spokesperson added that “due to the length of time since this crime first occurred, Boulder Police must be extremely cautious with the handling of evidence and analysis.”

“The Boulder Police Department has spoken with members of the Ramsey family in the past few years who have provide information to investigators.  Detectives have never stopped investigating leads that continue to come in and having the DNA tested daily in CODIS,” the spokesperson said.

John Ramsey is confident that an independent genetic genealogy research agency could successfully test evidence in his daughter's murder case and potentially build a suspect profile. 

John Ramsey is confident that an independent genetic genealogy research agency could successfully test evidence in his daughter’s murder case and potentially build a suspect profile.  (Fox News)

Ramsey, who has lived in Atlanta with his family since his daughter was murdered in his Boulder home more than two decades, ago, says he has not met with Boulder police in three years.

The father of five, including JonBenet, described some comments from signers on his petition as “touching.”

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“Let’s get this solved. It’s just…crazy. A young child was murdered. Nothing’s happened. We’ve got to do better in this country,” Ramsey said. “So, I was really encouraged by the sentiments that I read in the comments. And quite frankly, quite re-energized. We’ve been fighting this battle from almost the beginning to try and get this case handled by competent people.”

BPD said in a December 2021 statement marking the 25-year anniversary of JonBenet’s homicide that they have processed more than 1,500 pieces of evidence and “reviewed or investigated more than 21,016 tips, letters and emails.” The Department also said that due to advances in DNA technology, “multiple suspects have been run through the system to check for matches” and that investigators have updated more than “750 reference samples with the latest DNA technology.”