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What New DNA Testing Could Reveal About The Murder Of JonBenét Ramsey 26 Years Later

Photo: Change.org / Wikimedia Commons
JonBenet Ramsey, JonBenet Ramsey's grave

The death of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey on Christmas day 1996 is perhaps one of the country’s greatest and most high-profile unsolved mysteries. 

The Ramsey family, once wrapped up in suspicions they were responsible for JonBenet’s death, has continued to fight for justice. JonBenet’s father, John Ramsey, has fought to try to find the answers behind his daughter’s death.

Most recently, the 78-year-old has called on the state of Colorado to independently test DNA from the case using new technology not available at the time of JonBenet’s death.

What DNA evidence exists in JonBenet Ramsey’s murder?

Unidentified DNA was found in JonBenét’s underwear and touch DNA was discovered on the waistband of her long johns. 

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KDVR reported that as of December 2021, the Boulder Police Department said they processed more than 1,500 pieces of evidence related to the murder of JonBenet.

“At that time, the Boulder Police Department said ‘it was actively reviewing genetic DNA testing processes to see if those can be applied to this case moving forward,’” the outlet noted.

They also shared BPD’s claim they have analyzed nearly 1,000 DNA samples in the case to date.

Among the DNA evidence in the case is evidence collected from the Ramsey home and from JonBenet’s body and belongings, as well as DNA samples collected from the family, family friends who came to the home on the day of JonBenet’s disappearance, friends they saw at the Christmas party the night before, and household employees.

DNA evidence has been used to clear suspects in JonBenet’s murder.

ABC News reports that all members of the Ramsey family, as well as 200 other potential suspects, were excluded as the possible murderer in this case as a result of then-newly discovered touch DNA found on JonBenet's long johns. 

The touch DNA was traced to an unknown male, the male also responsible for DNA found in two spots of blood found in the 6-year-old’s underwear.

How will new testing help solve JonBenet Ramsey’s murder?

The testing John has in mind is investigative genetic genealogy (IGG) research. According to the Oxford Sciences Journal of Law and the Biosciences, “the technique involves uploading a crime scene DNA profile to one or more genetic genealogy databases with the intention of identifying a criminal offender’s genetic relatives and, eventually, locating the offender within the family tree.” 

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The technique was famously employed in capturing the Golden State Killer in 2018 after four decades. John believes the case can deliver a breakthrough in JonBenet’s case 25 years in the making. 

Police are hesitant to overturn DNA evidence to the Ramsey family.

The Boulder Police Department released a statement in response to John’s public pleas.

“The Boulder Police Department is aware of the recent request involving the homicide investigation of JonBenet Ramsey and wants the community to know that it has never wavered in its pursuit to bring justice to everyone affected by the murder of this little girl,” the statement begins.
BPD note that “detectives have followed up on every lead that has come into the department, to include more than 21,016 tips, letters and emails and traveling to 19 states to interview or speak with more than 1,000 individuals in connection to this crime.”

“As recently as March 2022, the Boulder Police Department hosted another meeting with federal, state, and local agencies working on this case and in consultation with DNA experts from around the country,” they continued, adding. “That collaboration will continue.”

John is prepared to take legal action against the state of Colorado if the case’s designation is not changed to cold so that further investigations can take place, FOX News reports.

The bereaved father has also started a Change.org petition with over 23,000 signatures calling on Colorado Governor Jared Pollis to allow DNA evidence to be released by the Boulder Police Department to an independent agency for testing.

What happened to JonBenet?

JonBenet’s parents, John and late wife Patricia Ramsey, put JonBenet and older brother Burke to bed on Christmas Eve 1996 after attending a party at a neighbor’s home. The following morning, Patricia called 911 frantically after finding a ransom note demanding $118,000 — the amount of John’s annual bonus — in exchange for their daughter.

Boulder Police responded to the call and began working their investigation at the Ramsey’s home.

In a sweep of the home hours later, John found his daughter’s body in a back room of the basement of their home. Her mouth was duct taped shut, and she was wrapped in a blanket.

An autopsy would reveal that JonBenet died of strangulation and an 8.5-inch skull fracture. 

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Angela Andaloro is a writer who passionately explores all things entertainment, parenting, and true crime. Follow her on Twitter here.

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