There are two types of murder cases: ones that are closed, ending the mysteries involved in them and ones that remain open, bothering generations of investigators. The murder of six years old Jonbenet Ramsey remains an open case, even after 15 years. The crime scene to any investigation is vital, as it is where investigators find leads and clues to capturing the culprit. The crime scene in the Ramsey case was the Ramsey resident, specifically the wine cellar. The girl’s body was wrapped in a white blanket, her neck and wrists were wrapped in nylon cord, and her mouth was covered by duct tape. The weapon used to strangle the girl was a self-made garrote made from a paintbrush handle and tweed cord.
The bristles belonging to the paintbrush handle were found in the mother’s supplies, away from the immediate crime scene. Another piece of important evidence was the pineapple which was in a bowl in the kitchen and was also found in the victim’s stomach. The fingerprints on the bowl belonged to the victim’s nine years old brother. Also, the snow outside the house doors was cleaned away and an already broken basement window could have been the entry point for the criminal. The most confusing evidence was the blood found on Ramsey’s underwear, since she did not show indications of rape. The DNA still remains unidentified, belonging to a man.
The search for Jonbenet Ramsey started and ended in her house. The police started by trying to find unusual things in the home and found the body. Working in accordance with the conventional police procedures, the investigators started from the closest location and worked their way out. They did not need to go further as the body was found. The mistakes related more to the investigation than the reporting. For instance, the crime scene was not sealed off and friends and family members were able to tamper with it.
As for the ransom note, the culprits specifically asked for $118,000, addressing all demands to Jonbenet’s father. They demanded that Mr. Ramsey follow their directions carefully, which were mainly to not inform authorities and how to withdraw the money from the bank. Furthermore, the criminals gave a calling time during which they would provide directions for what to do next. The end of the note is threatening and frightening, as the kidnappers repeatedly say that they will kill Jonbenet violently if Mr. Ramsey does not listen to them. According to the police, the handwriting of the note was unique, yet some investigators matched it somewhat to Mrs. Ramsey. However, that later proved false as she could not have written the note as it was written after the murder, contrary to the belief that Mrs. Ramsey planned it ahead of time. However, there was not much progress achieved on the note as the investigation was roughly handled by the Boulder police.
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I personally do not believe that anyone in the family could be a suspect, because their reactions along with circumstances do not show that they were the likely criminals. The Ramseys had no record of extreme family instability or suffered financially, so there was no issue of insurance or abuse history. As for John Mark Karr who falsely admitted to the murder in 2006, his story, facts and DNA did not match with the crime and his claim was dismissed as an attention seeker. Therefore, I strongly believe that the suspect is one who knew the family closely, was attracted to Jonbenet because of her pageant involvement and who knew about the broken basement window. The sad thing is that the killer most probably sympathized with the family and remained close by as support throughout the investigation and is someone who got very lucky by escaping notice because of a clean exterior reputation.
This murder case and trial was highly publicized by the media, who strongly split public opinion throughout the investigation. From the start, the police worked with the media to make the Ramsey primary suspects. This showed a lack of balance and objectivity from their side as not all options were explored. The police simply stopped pursuing other suspects because the body was found inside the house. As for the media, it received prompts for scandalizing the story which involved linking the child with parental abuse, sexual abuse, child pornography and the evil of beauty pageants. However, after further evidence (mainly the unknown DNA), the District Attorney issued apologized to the family, freeing them as suspects. The media was not limited to reporters asking questions and printing articles. Many writers took advantage of the case to write books and opinion pieces on the case, further splitting public opinion and providing various theories and hypotheses.
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