The mysterious unsolved death of six-year-old JonBenet Ramsey in her Boulder, Colo., home has never lost its power to fascinate the public. And many believe that JonBenet's mother, Patsy Ramsey, might have killed the little beauty pageant queen.
Now, after numerous TV specials have already aired to mark the twentieth anniversary of JonBenet's murder on Dec. 26, 1996, Lifetime has produced its own two-hour documentary focusing on Patsy.
"JonBenet's Mother: Victim or Killer?" airing Nov. 5 on Lifetime follows the network's TV movie "Who Killed JonBenet?" In the second of the two JonBenet specials, viewers will see new interviews with investigators, journalists who followed the case, and friends of Patsy who weigh in on her life before and after her daughter's shocking death.
During the show, the talking heads attempt to answer an impossible question: Who was Patsy Ramsey-- a tragic victim or cold-blooded killer?
"Her life was a stage and everything that Patsy did was with purpose," her friend Marcia Shurley says of the wife and mom who died of cancer in June 2006 after almost a decade under suspicion.
The shocking case gripped the nation right after Christmas 1996. Patsy had made a 911 call to report her daughter kidnapped. After police arrived, Patsy and her wealthy husband John showed them a ransom note they said had been left on their stairs of their home.
Later, John discovered their daughter's body in the wine cellar. Investigators determined JonBenet had suffered a blow to the head and had also been strangled with a garrote.
Quickly, the Ramseys, and especially Patsy, came under the scrutiny of the Boulder police department.
The Lifetime special notes that the public looked askance at Patsy, a former Miss West Virginia, partly because she put her tiny blonde daughter in child beauty pageants.
Video of JonBenet prancing around in teased hair, heavy makeup, and outrageous, some said sexualized, costumes, horrified many, but for the new documentary, Patsy's friend and beauty pageant chaperone Betty Smith tells Lifetime it was an "absolutely normal" look.
And friend Shurley insists, "I would never, in a million years, say that Patsy was a stage mom. She exposed her daughter to it and her daughter really picked up on it and loved it and wanted to do it."
But Patsy's longtime pal Linda McLean confides on the show that her heart sank when she saw the Ramseys' notorious New Year's day, 1997, CNN interview, in which the frenzied mother implied an intruder had killed JonBenet.
Patsy dramatically cried, "I would tell my friends to keep--keep your babies close to you. There's someone out there."
McLean, who maintains Patsy was innocent of any involvement in the crime, didn't like the vibe of the CNN appearance.
Others wonder if Patsy had rehearsed the appearance, as she had acted out dramatic scenes years before in the talent portion of her own beauty pageant competitions.
During the Lifetime show, viewers will see investigators and journalists explore the police theory that Patsy had struck her daughter with a blunt object out of frustration over JonBenet's bed wetting.
The combative mother is also shown in a controversial police interview in which she snaps at a detective who confronts her about the bed wetting theory, "You're going down the wrong path, buddy....Quit screwing around asking me about things that are ridiculous and find the person that did this!"
Although the idea of Patsy being a stage mom who snapped is persuasive to some, other show experts raise the intruder killer theory, especially due to a 2008 test that showed foreign DNA on JonBenet's long johns. It didn't match anyone in the Ramsey family.
There's much more on "JonBenet's Mother: Victim or Killer?" It airs Nov. 5 on Lifetime.