It has been 10 years since John Ramsey found his 6-year old child, JonBenet, dead in the basement of their Boulder home. Despite the fact that police conducted an exhaustive investigation, the case officially remains unsolved.
Among the more notable police officers who investigated the Ramsey murder was former detective Steve Thomas, a veteran police officer who had received over a hundred commendations. Thomas, who was logged in as having worked more overtime hours on the case than any other police officer, resigned nearly two years into the investigation and publicly announced that he believed JonBenet's mother, Patsy Ramsey, was responsible for the little girl's death.
Although authorities never officially commented on Thomas’ argument, many law enforcement sources have confirmed that Thomas was merely revealing the conclusion of the Boulder Police Department’s investigation. After former District Attorney Alex Hunter convened a grand jury to investigate the case further in 1998, the law enforcement community’s suspicion of Patsy Ramsey increased, but Hunter decided not to file charges because he did not believe there was enough evidence to obtain a winning verdict.
Despite the fact that a panel of pediatric experts concluded that JonBenet was a victim of long-term sexual abuse, current District Attorney Mary Lacy publicly announced in 2003 that she believed the little girl was murdered by an intruder. Her theory stems from the fact that minuscule particles of foreign DNA were found in JonBenet’s underpants — DNA that renowned forensic expert Henry Lee believes is the result of contamination and totally unrelated to the crime.
Lacy was so convinced an intruder committed the crime that she arrested an otherwise innocent man earlier this year and charged him with the murder. Only a few days after extraditing 41-year-old John Mark Karr from Thailand, forensic tests prompted Lacy to drop charges against the man, leaving the case cold once again.
The most revealing fact that came from the Karr debacle was that there were several details in his arrest warrant that didn’t add up. Lacy’s primary reason for arresting Karr was that he allegedly had inside knowledge of the case that only top investigators and the killer could know. But by the time the warrant was made public, it turned out that the "inside knowledge" had been widely published in local newspapers and supermarket tabloids.
As a result, Lacy quickly came under fire by a number of law enforcement officials and media commentators. Among the many officials who quietly expressed criticism were federal agents who have repeatedly advised Boulder investigators that they suspect Patsy Ramsey and do not subscribe to the "intruder theory." Their suspicions stem from years of analysis and comparison of Patsy’s handwriting with the text and handwriting of the three-page ransom note found in the Ramsey home.
Although the Boulder Police Department and former DA Hunter did an effective job investigating JonBenet’s murder, Lacy’s blind faith that the crime was committed by an intruder now makes it virtually impossible for the case to move forward under her leadership.
The FBI is in a position to assign highly skilled investigators who have spent decades specializing in child murders to JonBenet’s case. Federal prosecutors who have the financial and legal backing of the United States government can effectively consider a long-term strategy that will not be impeded by local taxpayers or politicians.
The murder of JonBenet Ramsey remains one of the most heartbreaking and cruel child murders ever in America. She was known in her community as a warm, loving child who showed unique signs of talent, intelligence and even compassion. Her murder, like all child murders, is a tragedy that should not be forgotten.
On Tuesday morning, it was reported that Mary Lacy has requested another $40,000 to hire a new investigator to research the Ramsey case. Unfortunately, history has proven that she is not equipped to succeed. It’s time for Lacy to relinquish control of the Ramsey case — along with her ego — and invite the federal government to take over. JonBenet deserves nothing short of the very best. It’s time to turn this case over to the FBI.
Jeffrey Scott Shapiro is an investigative reporter who has covered the JonBenet Ramsey case for a number of different media outlets for nearly 10 years.