Boulder Police Again in Charge of JonBenet Investigation

The investigation of 6-year-old beauty pageant contestant JonBenet Ramsey's slaying has been returned to local police, who say they will apply new technology and expertise in hopes of solving the 12-year-old case.

The decision, announced Monday, came six years after police transferred the probe to prosecutors at the district attorney's office, amid criticism of how it was handled.

"Some cases never get solved, but some do," Police Chief Mark Beckner told the Camera newspaper in Boulder. "And you can't give up."

JonBenet was found bludgeoned and strangled in the basement of her Boulder home in December 1996, and her story became a media sensation for years.

L. Lin Wood, an attorney for JonBenet's father, John Ramsey, said the decision was a "positive sign in terms of my hope that the Boulder Police Department will take not only a new review in terms of a cold case review, but that it will go in this time with an objective review."

Wood and Ramsey have been critical of previous police efforts, saying they unfairly focused on the family and ignored other evidence.

Patsy Ramsey, JonBenet's mother and John Ramsey's wife, died in 2006 after a long battle with cancer.

Beckner said he and newly elected District Attorney Stan Garnett agreed that police should lead the investigation again. Beckner said he has invited a team of veteran investigators from state and federal agencies to join an advisory task force to "explore all possible theories about what happened the night JonBenet was killed."

The group will meet in the next few weeks to review the evidence and identify additional testing that might be done.

Beckner said he wants to go into the first meeting with no preconceived notions.

"We are open to all possibilities," he said.

Garnett's predecessor, Mary Lacy, last year cleared Jonbenet's family in the slaying, citing DNA evidence. Beckner informed John Ramsey of the change in the investigation in a letter, but gave no hint that police would back away from that finding.

"Nor could any objective investigation back away," Wood said. "(The DNA evidence) is compelling if not conclusive."

Lacy did not run for re-election because of term limits. No phone listing could be found for her.

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