A special four-part series:

Part I   Part II  Part III  Part IV

Most people are so tired of the JonBenet Ramsey case, they don't want to hear anything about it until there's an arrest. But judging from the pace of the investigation, that's not going to happen anytime soon.

Binder books of interviews, boxes of lab reports and blueprints of the house where the six-year-old was killed are in storage. The case is now almost as old as the little girl was when she died.

"This is what I would consider a cold case," said forensic scientist Henry Lee, a lead consultant on the Ramsey investigation. "We have all kinds of problems and no luck."

The Boulder police department has two detectives assigned to the case part-time, but often weeks go by with no action. There's no work being done on the original physical evidence at the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, but unmatched DNA found under Jon Benet's fingernails and in her underwear has been sent to a separate lab for more sophisticated tests.

"There's still testing going on and they still have a reasonable explanation for the foreign DNA," said Lee.

The foreign DNA under JonBenet's fingernails may be explained by contamination from the nail clippers used in the autopsy. But Lee still sees one key question remaining.

"Is this an accidental death? Or is this a homicide?"

If JonBenet was killed because a near-fatal accident led to a cover-up, police believe the parents were involved. If this was an intentional murder, it's a case for an intruder.

First-year Boulder District Attorney Mary Kennan, who promised to look at the case with fresh eyes, won't talk publicly about an ongoing investigation. She has been in office nearly five months now, but has only met with the Boulder police once.

Kennan has never spoken with the grand jury prosecutor Michael Kane, long considered the person with the best chance of cracking the case. Kane, now in private practice in Pennsylvania, was asked to return his county-owned computer to the D.A.'s office.

Former detective Lou Smit is the only person actively working on the investigation. He believes that John and Patsy Ramsey are innocent.


Smit is going public in one of the most sensitive murder investigations in the country. He says Jon Benet's parents are being unfairly targeted for the murder of the six-year-old beauty queen, and that he's got the photos to prove it ...