Who Killed JonBenét Ramsey?

By Kennedy Kostos and Josie Kennedy

On December, 26th, 1996, six-year-old pageant star, JonBenét Ramsey, was found dead in the basement of her family’s home in Boulder, Colorado. Her father, John Ramsey, discovered her body in one of the back rooms of the basement cellar. However, prior to finding her body, JonBenét’s mother, Patricia (Patsy), stumbled upon a three-page ransom note that demanded $118,000 for the safe return of JonBenét. Clearly her return wasn’t so safe, for her body revealed that it was strangled, and that it had suffered from a fatal blow to the head. Her autopsy also showed that it had endured years of sexual abuse. This isn’t the worse part. To this day, detectives have not been able to figure out who committed the murder. Instead, they discovered various pieces of evidence indicating that JonBenét was never actually taken from her home. This evidence has led to the creation of many theories about her murder, four of which are discussed in this article: John Ramsey, Patsy Ramsey, Burke Ramsey (JonBenét’s brother), and convicted pedophile, Gary Oliva.

John Ramsey (father):

Theories have arisen about John Ramsey having killed his daughter ever since the day the body was found. Once police forces had showed up at the house and did not immediately find anything suspicious, John decided to search the house on his own. He went to the basement and discovered his daughter’s deceased body. He carried her upstairs (even though he was instructed by police to not touch any possible evidence), and covered her with a blanket. This whole act was extremely suspicious. One, because upon the decision to search his house, John Ramsey went straight to the part of the basement that no one had been in years—a very suspicious decision. Two, people also find it very odd that he carried the body upstairs, and covered it with a blanket. It is viewed that he did this because he knew that it would tamper with any physical DNA evidence. Some believe that John was sexually abusing his daughter one-night (because of the years of sexual abuse showed by the autopsy), and accidently killed her in the process. So to save himself, he had his whole family cover up for his crime.

Patsy Ramsey (mother):

Conspiracists also have reason to believe JonBenét’s mother, Patsy, is responsible, mainly because of the skeptical ransom note. Again, Patsy was the one who found the note on the banister of the staircase. But once detectives looked more closely, they were able to figure out that the note was written on the same paper as the stock from the Ramsey’s stationary located inside the home, in addition to being written with one of Patsy’s own pens. Even more suspicious however, is the fact that after looking closer at the writing of the note, handwriting specialists found something rather trifling: the scrawl almost exactly matched Patsy’s. This evidence leads many to think that Patsy got in an argument with JonBenét over some issue, accidentally murdered her daughter in the process, and forged the ransom note to cover up her crime.

Burke Ramsey (brother):

Burke Ramsey, JonBenét’s brother, was nine-years-old when his sister was murdered. However, don’t let his age fool you. Burke has been accused time and time again as being the one who committed the crime. Reason being that the night before JonBenét was found dead, both Burke and JonBenét were eating bowls of pineapple in the kitchen (known thanks to the autopsy). However, this isn’t what detectives found weird. Instead, they found that the weapon used to fracture JonBenét’s skull, was in fact a flashlight from the Ramsey’s kitchen—a flashlight that was located right next to the bowl of pineapple. Theorists believe that Burke and JonBenét got in an argument that ultimately resulted in Burke smacking his sister on the head with the flashlight. Apparently Burke had a history of fighting with his sister, ultimately leading people to believe that one time, Burke went a little too far.

Gary Oliva (pedophile):

Around the time of JonBenét’s death, a known sex offender by the name of Gary Oliva, was living close to the Ramsey’s home in Boulder. The reason that some believe he was the murderer, is because not long after the crime occured, one of Oliva’s long-time friends, came forth with an allegation that supported Oliva’s part in the murder. His friend said that Oliva called him saying that he had “hurt a little girl.” Additionally, a few years later when police were searching for evidence for another sex crime Oliva committed, they found a picture of  JonBenét in his backpack—a rather suspicious coincidence.

Who Killed Her?

Although various pieces of evidence point to all these suspects, a DNA test conducted in 2008, cleared all the above people as being the possible murderers. However, the fact that the Ramsey’s had their annual Christmas party a few days prior to JonBenét’s death (meaning multiple people were in their house) could account for any possible misreading of DNA. This doesn’t dismiss the fact that there are still many unanswered questions surrounding this murder. Maybe it was John Ramsey, who accidentally took the sexual abuse of his daughter a little too far. Or was it Patsy? She easily could have forged the ransom note to cover up an argument in which she killed JonBenét. But it could also be Burke, who had a history of physically hurting his sister. Even the convicted pedophile, Gary Oliva, is suspect. Until we know anything for sure, all we can do is remember a little girl who will eternally remain six. A girl, who was so violently taken from her life on Earth, leaving us all with one question: who killed JonBenét Ramsey?