The Peculiar “Kidnapping” of JonBenét Ramsey

JonBenét Ramsey – Courtesy of

No true crime discussion is complete without the mention of JonBenét Ramsey’s tragic murder December of 1996. A 6-year-old beauty queen from Boulder, Colorado, Ramsey was discovered in the basement of the Ramsey household, hours after her family found a ransom note left by her supposed kidnappers. Skull trauma and strangulation were cited as her cause of death, but there was also evidence of sexual assault. There were several peculiar happenings about this case: first of all, the ransom note was highly suspicious. It was three pages long, asked for $118,000 which just happened to be the amount Mr. Ramsey had received in a bonus, used strange language, was written inside the house, and promised a call which never came. Not to mention that fact that JonBenét had not been kidnapped. The police even admitted to not thoroughly searching the house upon receiving the 911 call, since the ransom note gave them no cause to believe she was in the house.

The “break-in” was also highly suspicious. It appeared that the perpetrator had attempted to sneak in through a back window, stepping on a suitcase in order to enter the basement. However, there were no footprints in the snow leading into the window and a spiderweb was found undisturbed. The Ramseys claimed the suitcase wasn’t theirs, but DNA samples on a blanket within the suitcase matched Ramsey’s half-brother, who was not in Boulder at the time. Several suspects were accused, including a Christmas party Santa Claus (who claimed he wanted his ashes mixed with a vial of glitter given to him by Ramsey), and schoolteacher John Mark Karr (who was arrested, but found to have not been in the country at the time). The DNA discovered on JonBenét’s clothing belonged to an unidentified man, who is still unknown despite comparisons to over 1.5 million DNA samples. Other suspects included a local sex offender, the electrician, and the housekeepers.

Perhaps one of the most popular theories is that JonBenét’s younger brother, Burke, murdered her in an outburst, which then motivated his parents to attempt a cover-up. First, pineapple was found in her stomach from the kitchen counter, which included Burke’s fingerprints. Burke also had a past of disturbing behavior, such as smearing feces on the wall of JonBenét’s walls and bed. Then there were two small pokes in her back, previously thought to be the work of a stun-gun, but more recently hypothesized to be linked to one of Burke’s toy train tracks. Burke has denied all claims, leaving the case with few conclusive leads. Hence, it remains unsolved.

Each detail confuses the story more and more, but they captured the country upon its release. The most popular crime stories include a child or woman as the victim or suspect, a highborn or well-known victim or suspect, some doubt about the guilt of the suspect, and possible promiscuous sexual behavior by the victim or suspect. The JonBenét Ramsey case has all four. 

Who Killed JonBenet Ramsey? 8 Possible Suspects 


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