Out­line of events since Jon Benét’s body was dis­cov­ered on Dec. 26, 1996.

The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE -

Dec. 25: John and Patsy Ram­sey say they last saw their 6-year-old daugh­ter alive at bed­time at the fam­ily home in Boul­der’s ex­clu­sive Chau­tauqua neigh­bor­hood. JonBenét’s 9-year-old brother, Burke, also is at home that night. Dec. 26 • Patsy Ram­sey gets up to make cof­fee around 5:30 a.m. and re­ports find­ing a 2-and-a-half-page note on a back stair­case of the house. The note says JonBenét has been kid­napped and de­mands $118,000 in cash. • The Ram­seys call po­lice, who be­gin an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into what they be­lieve is a kid­nap­ping. • That af­ter­noon, John Ram­sey searches the home and dis­cov­ers JonBenét’s body in a spare room in the base­ment that was used to hide Christ­mas presents. She has a skull frac­ture and has been stran­gled with a gar­rote, and her mouth has been cov­ered with duct tape. Dec. 30: Po­lice take blood and hair sam­ples from John Ram­sey and other mem­bers of the fam­ily. Po­lice also say that John An­drew Ram­sey and Melinda Ram­sey — JonBenét’s adult half-sib­lings — were out of town the day of the mur­der.


Jan. 1 • John and Patsy Ram­sey grant an ex­ten­sive in­ter­view to CNN in which Patsy Ram­sey pro­claims “there is a killer on the loose.” John Ram­sey calls the idea that he or other mem­bers of his fam­ily could have com­mit­ted the crime “nau­se­at­ing be­yond be­lief.” • Five de­tec­tives from Boul­der fly to At­lanta, where the Ram­sey fam­ily pre­vi­ously lived. Jan. 3 • In­ves­ti­ga­tors an­nounce that the ran­som note ap­pears to have been torn from a tablet of pa­per found in the house. If au­thor­i­ties are cor­rect, this means that JonBenét’s killer wrote the note af­ter ar­riv­ing at the house. • John and Patsy Ram­sey re­turn to Colorado af­ter JonBenét’s funeral. Feb. 13: Boul­der Po­lice chief Tom Koby and Boul­der County dis­trict at­tor­ney Alex Hunter hold a news con­fer­ence, at which they vow that the killer will be brought to jus­tice. Hunter an­nounces the for­ma­tion of an Ex­pert Pros­e­cu­tion Task Force, in­clud­ing foren­sic ex­pert Henry Lee and DNA ex­pert Barry Scheck. Both Lee and Scheck were part of the O.J. Simp­son de­fense team. March 7: Sources tell The Den­ver Post that hand­writ­ing ex­perts from the Colorado Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion de­ter­mine John Ram­sey did not write the ran­som note. But their anal­y­sis is in­con­clu­sive as to whether Patsy Ram­sey au­thored it. March 13: Vet­eran homi­cide de­tec­tive Lou Smit joins the Ram­sey mur­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Smit, a re­tired in­ves­ti­ga­tor from El Paso County, is best known for crack­ing the mur­der case of Heather Dawn Church in Colorado Springs. April 3: DNA test­ing be­gins at Cell­mark Di­ag­nos­tics in Mary­land. This is a se­cond round of test­ing of DNA in the case. The ini­tial round was con­ducted at the Colorado Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion labs. April 18: DA Hunter for the first time pub­licly iden­ti­fies John and Patsy Ram­sey as the fo­cus of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion. April 30 • Po­lice con­duct their long-awaited “for­mal in­ter­views” with John and Patsy Ram­sey — more than four months af­ter JonBenét was found mur­dered. • Patsy Ram­sey is in­ter­ro­gated for 6-anda-half hours. Her hus­band later is in­ter­ro­gated for ap­prox­i­mately two hours. • Po­lice re­lease no state­ment about the con­tents of the in­ter­views. May 1: John and Patsy Ram­sey, in a rare in­ter­view with re­porters, de­clare their in­no­cence. “I did not kill my daugh­ter,” John Ram­sey states. His wife states: “Let me as­sure you that I did not kill JonBenét.” May 14: The much-an­tic­i­pated re­sults of ad­di­tional DNA tests are de­liv­ered to Boul­der au­thor­i­ties. Sources tell The Den­ver Post there are “no sur­prises” in the re­port.


Jan. 15: John and Patsy Ram­sey refuse to sub­mit to an­other round of in­ter­views un­less they can re­view the ev­i­dence, a con­di­tion un­ac­cept­able to po­lice. Jan. 16: Gov. Roy Romer re­jects a re­quest by two friends of the Ram­sey fam­ily to ap­point a spe­cial prose­cu­tor in the mur­der case. Jan. 29: More than a year af­ter their daugh­ter was mur­dered, the Ram­seys turn over to po­lice the cloth­ing they were wear­ing the night be­fore JonBenét was found dead. Feb. 6: Friends of the Ram­seys join to form an “in­vestor group” to buy the cou­ple’s Boul­der home. The 15-room Tu­dor-style house at 755 15th St. is put un­der con­tract for $650,000. The ad­dress is changed to 749 15th St. in 2001 at the re­quest of a ten­ant who is ne­go­ti­at­ing to buy the home. March 12: Af­ter look­ing for the killer of JonBenét for 15 months, po­lice say the best bet for solv­ing the mur­der is a grand-jury in­ves­ti­ga­tion and for­mally call for such a probe af­ter con­fer­ring with DA Alex Hunter. June 3: Mark Beck­ner, the lead in­ves­ti­ga­tor in the case, re­ports that he is ex­cited about test re­sults re­cently re­ceived on ev­i­dence taken from the Ram­sey home. The case now in­cludes 1,058 pieces of ev­i­dence. June 23: Al­though he will be­come Boul­der’s new po­lice chief, Cmdr. Mark Beck­ner says he will re­main “con­nected” to the Ram­sey in­ves­ti­ga­tion but warns that the city’s most no­to­ri­ous case has no “magic an­swers.” June 24 • John and Patsy Ram­sey re­turn to Colorado for in­ter­ro­ga­tion by dis­trict at­tor­ney’s in­ves­ti­ga­tors and are re­port­edly ques­tioned to­gether and sep­a­rately. • For the first time, the pros­e­cu­tion con­ducts an ex­ten­sive in­ter­view with their son, Burke, now 11. Aug. 6 • In a sting­ing, eight-page res­ig­na­tion let­ter, an an­gry de­tec­tive Steve Thomas says Hunter’s of­fice is “thor­oughly com­pro­mised” and has “crip­pled” the case. Thomas charged crit­i­cal ev­i­dence had not been col­lected and main­tained that other ev­i­dence wasn’t tested. • Romer later asks four area DAs whether he should in­ter­vene in the case. Aug. 12 • Re­veal­ing that the case is headed for a grand jury, Romer says he wants to help Hunter, not re­move him from the case. He in­vokes a state statute that al­lows for “spe­cial deputies” to as­sist the DA. Aug. 19: Fleet White, who was with John Ram­sey when he found his daugh­ter’s body, re­news his plea for some­one other than Hunter to in­ves­ti­gate the case. Aug. 20: Sources tell The Den­ver Post that an en­hanced ver­sion of the 911 call Patsy Ram­sey made the morn­ing she found the ran­som note in­cludes Burke’s voice in the back­ground. That would con­tra­dict ear­lier state­ments by the Ram­seys that their son was asleep un­til po­lice ar­rived. Sept.16: Five months af­ter they were cho­sen, Boul­der County grand ju­rors be­gin their in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Sept. 24: In­ves­ti­ga­tor Lou Smit re­signs, say­ing au­thor­i­ties are fo­cus­ing too heav­ily on JonBenét’s par­ents. In his let­ter, he says the Ram­seys did not kill their daugh­ter and a “very dan­ger­ous killer is still out there.” Sept. 27 • Ram­sey fam­ily lawyer Hal Had­don de­mands Boul­der po­lice shift their fo­cus from his clients. • On ABC’s “20/20,” for­mer de­tec­tive Steve Thomas gives his first in­ter­view since his res­ig­na­tion, call­ing the case “very dis­heart­en­ing.” Oct. 13: Grand jury be­gins hear­ing foren­sic ev­i­dence, in­clud­ing anal­y­sis of hand­writ­ing, DNA and hair and fibers found at the scene. Oct. 20: John Ram­sey re­turns to Colorado for a de­po­si­tion in a civil case filed against him and the Na­tional En­quirer by pho­tog­ra­pher Stephen Miles. Miles has ac­cused Ram­sey and the pa­per of li­bel and slan­der af­ter two 1997 ar­ti­cles la­beled him a pe­dophile and used an un­named source who said Ram­sey be­lieved the pho­tog­ra­pher killed his daugh­ter. Dec. 1: The Den­ver Post re­ports the grand jury will meet just once in De­cem­ber and then take the rest of the month off. Dec. 3: It’s learned that five Ram­sey fam­ily mem­bers have been asked to pro­vide DNA sam­ples to au­thor­i­ties. The five are not con­sid­ered sus­pects. Sources say au­thor­i­ties want the DNA to see if it can be linked to un­matched DNA found in the Ram­sey home.


Feb. 18: Lawrence Schiller’s book “Per­fect Mur­der, Per­fect Town” of­fers new in­sight and de­tails into the in­ves­ti­ga­tion. The book de­scribes the feud be­tween po­lice and pros­e­cu­tors the mo­ment the in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­gan. March 17: Five al­ter­nate grand ju­rors who had been hear­ing ev­i­dence in the case since Septem­ber 1998 are sent home. March 18: Boul­der po­lice De­tec­tive Linda Arndt, the first de­tec­tive at the Ram­sey house on Dec. 26, 1996, re­signs. She has en­dured sting­ing crit­i­cism and ridicule be­cause of what she did and didn’t do once she ar­rived on the scene and later sues her then-boss po­lice chief Tom Koby for not pub­licly com­ing to her de­fense and for not let­ting her de­fend her­self. April 8: A six-month ex­ten­sion of the grand jury’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion is granted. May 19: Burke, now 12, is se­cretly ques­tioned by the grand jury. The next day Boul­der au­thor­i­ties pub­licly af­firm he’s not a sus­pect, only a wit­ness. Sept. 13: Arndt ap­pears on “Good Morn­ing Amer­ica” claim­ing she knows what hap­pened the night JonBenét was killed. In the five-part in­ter­view she says she knows who killed the girl but does not re­veal the name. Sept. 23: Af­ter al­most four months off, the grand jury re­turns to work. Dur­ing the time off, in­ves­ti­ga­tors were col­lect­ing ad­di­tional DNA ev­i­dence. Sept. 30: John Ram­sey’s grown chil­dren, John An­drew Ram­sey and Melinda Ram­sey Long, tes­tify be­fore the grand jury. They had been pub­licly cleared as sus­pects in March 1997. Oct. 13: DA Alex Hunter an­nounces af­ter the grand jury has com­pleted its work that his team doesn’t think it has “suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence to war­rant fil­ing of charges.” In 2013, doc­u­ments are re­leased that show a grand jury in­dict­ment in 1999 ac­cused John and Patsy Ram­sey of two counts each of child abuse re­sult­ing in death in con­nec­tion with their daugh­ter’s death. The charges al­lege that the par­ents per­mit­ted the girl to be placed in a dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tion that led to her death and ac­cused them of help­ing her killer. Be­cause Hunter re­fused to sign the doc­u­ments, the Ram­seys were never of­fi­cially in­dicted or pros­e­cuted.


June 24: Patsy Ram­sey dies af­ter bat­tling ovar­ian cancer for more than a decade. Aug. 15: John Mark Karr, a 41-year-old ele­men­tary-school teacher, is ar­rested in Thai­land af­ter con­fess­ing he ac­ci­den­tally killed JonBenét while at­tempt­ing to sex­u­ally as­sault her. The case against Karr col­lapses later in Au­gust. DNA test re­sults proved the tip­ping point in elim­i­nat­ing Karr as a sus­pect, de­spite his public state­ments that he had been present dur­ing her death. Those re­sults, cou­pled with a lack of ev­i­dence plac­ing Karr in Boul­der at the time of the mur­der, lead Boul­der County DA Mary Lacy to drop the case.


July 9: Armed with new DNA ev­i­dence that points to an un­known male as JonBenét’s killer, Lacy pub­licly ex­on­er­ates the child’s par­ents and im­me­di­ate fam­ily. In a let­ter hand-de­liv­ered to John Ram­sey, Lacy says she is con­fi­dent that a “touch DNA” anal­y­sis done by a pri­vate lab has de­ter­mined that ge­netic ma­te­rial left on the waist­band of long johns JonBenét was wear­ing when her body was found matches the DNA left in her un­der­wear.


Septem­ber • TV pro­grams from A&E, Doc­tor Phil, Date­line NBC and CBS News air in ad­vance of the 20th an­niver­sary of JonBenét’s mur­der. • Boul­der Po­lice Chief Greg Testa says in a Sept. 1 video­taped state­ment that he wouldn’t do in­ter­views about the case to main­tain the in­ves­ti­ga­tion’s in­tegrity. He points out that the depart­ment has pro­cessed 1,500 pieces of ev­i­dence, took 200 DNA sam­ples, in­ter­viewed more than 1,000 peo­ple in eight states and in­ves­ti­gated more than 20,000 tips, let­ters and e-mails. Oc­to­ber: • Foren­sic ex­perts who ex­am­ined the re­sults of DNA tests ob­tained ex­clu­sively by the Daily Cam­era and 9News dis­pute for­mer DA Mary Lacy’s con­clu­sion that a DNA pro­file found in one place on JonBenét’s un­der­pants and two lo­ca­tions on her long johns was nec­es­sar­ily the killer’s. The ex­perts say the ev­i­dence showed that the DNA sam­ples came from at least two peo­ple in ad­di­tion to JonBenét — some­thing Lacy’s of­fice was told, but that she did not men­tion in clear­ing the Ram­seys. Dec. 13: Boul­der po­lice and pros­e­cu­tors plan a new round of DNA tests on key ev­i­dence in the un­solved 1996 mur­der of 6-year-old JonBenét Ram­sey, the Daily Cam­era and 9NEWS re­port. Boul­der County DA Stan Gar­nett and Testa con­firm that they and mem­bers of their staffs dis­cussed the is­sue with Colorado Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion ad­min­is­tra­tors, who are on the verge of un­veil­ing new, more so­phis­ti­cated DNA tests than their lab has ever used be­fore. The Den­ver Post

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