The Death of Jon Benét Ramsey
We have spoken of the various imaginative, speculative and trashy treatments of this awful case before:
Disclaimer: TVC has a keen interest in but no actual knowledge of, this matter. Apart from an individual who appears to have confessed to the crime in order to be extradited from a Thai jail, no one has admitted guilt nor been charged. Patsy Ramsey is now deceased and she always denied involvement in the killing, as have John and Burke Ramsey. We are discussing possible solutions on a mere speculative basis. We are not asserting a solution but postulating a possible one.
Jon Benét’s older brother Burke (9 at the time of her death at Christmas 1996) has given a televised interview. What has prompted this after 20 years is unclear, and whether it is against a raft of advice, who knows? Steve Thomas, the detective on the case who spectacularly resigned two years into the never-ending investigation, quoted from To Kill a Mockingbird in his memoir of the affair: “Just remember that one thing does not abide by majority rule, Scout – it’s your conscience.”*
There has always been a conceptual problem with the two most popular theories: one or both parents, or an evil outsider. The evil outsider is easy to visualize but hard to reconcile with the facts: no apparent signs of external entry to the Ramsey house; no signs of snow or other contamination left inside; no apparent logic to the crime itself, and the bizarre and infamous ransom note (never followed up in pursuit of ransom, sitting ill strategically with the murdered child in the basement) and its copious contents, awash with references and information unlikely to be known outside the inner circle.
As for Mum and Dad? There has never been any evidence of abuse or perversion, no sign that John and Patsy Ramsey were anything other than doting parents. True, the pre-teen beauty pageants and refrains of “I want to be a cowboy’s sweetheart” are disturbing, but only ex post facto, and more as a point in favour of the malign outsider theory. We understand there is also DNA evidence that tends to incriminate an outsider.
Which returns us to the ransom note. It seems likely that the author was Patsy Ramsey, and once you decide to believe that, you have to search for guilt from within the house.
If we exclude premeditated murder, could there have been some cruel accident?
There were two possible causes of death – a massive blow to the right side of the skull, and strangulation with a garrotte. The second cause was the most sensational, and deemed consistent with premeditation. But the coroner did not determine which was to be the actual cause of death.
What if some accident – or more deliberate but not premeditated act – had caused a fatal blow to the girl’s head? Could the application of the garrotte be post mortem, part of an elaborate cover-up (along with the ransom note, the hysterical 911 call, the subsequent accusations and manoeuvering) to protect someone?
If we acquitted Mr and Mrs Ramsey, but held them responsible for the cover-up, what would their motivation be? Whom would they seek to protect?
On the horrible dawn when Jon Benét was still missing, at 5.52 am, Patsy called 911 to report a kidnapping. She referred to the note, though not in any detail. Detective Thomas writes of the Audio-enhanced tape of the end of that call:
Patsy apparently had trouble hanging up the telephone, and before it rested in the cradle, she was heard to moan, “Help me, Jesus. Help me, Jesus.”” Her husband was heard to bark, “We’re not talking to you.” And in the background was a young-sounding voice: “What did you find?” It was Jon Benet’s brother, Burke. The Ramseys would repeatedly tell us that their son did not wake up at any point throughout the night of the crime. We knew differently.*
In a recent televised investigation of the case, it was suggested that the enhanced 911 call reflected these words from Patsy: “What did you do? Help me Jesus.”
Everyone is presumed innocent, but the contentious CBS special essentially postulates that an elaborate but highly flawed scenario was painted, to lovingly cover up something wrought by a loved one with no legal criminal responsibility.**[*Steve Thomas, Jon Benét, Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation.] [**Apparently, the age of criminal responsibility in Colorado is, currently, 12 years.]