The peo­ple.

Bi­ogra­phies of key fig­ures in the case.

The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE - By The Den­ver Post

JonBenét Ram­sey

The 6-year-old child beauty pageant queen was found bru­tally mur­dered in the base­ment of her fam­ily’s Boul­der home on Dec. 26, 1996. The girl’s death be­came a me­dia sen­sa­tion and her beam­ing face was plas­tered on news­pa­pers, mag­a­zines and tabloids while na­tional TV shows fea­tured videos of the girl per­form­ing in pageants. JonBenét’s death re­mains un­solved 20 years later.

John Ram­sey

The fa­ther of JonBenét dis­cov­ered his daugh­ter’s body in a spare room in the base­ment in the af­ter­noon hours af­ter his wife called po­lice to re­port the girl had been kid­napped. At the time of his daugh­ter’s death, Ram­sey was pres­i­dent of Ac­cess Graph­ics in Boul­der. In 2008, armed with new DNA ev­i­dence that points to an un­known male as JonBenét’s killer, Boul­der Dis­trict At­tor­ney Mary Lacy took the ex­tra­or­di­nary step of pub­licly ex­on­er­at­ing her par­ents and im­me­di­ate fam­ily in her death. John Ram­sey and his then-wife Patsy both had re­peat­edly de­nied that they had any­thing to do with their daugh­ter’s death. Ram­sey, now 73, re­mar­ried in 2011. Al­though he rarely grants me­dia in­ter­views, he ap­peared on the “Dr. Phil” talk show in Septem­ber with his son, Burke, and talked about his hope that his daugh­ter’s mur­der will be solved.

Patsy Ram­sey

The mother of JonBenét called po­lice shortly be­fore 6 a.m. on Dec. 26, 1996, to re­port she had found a ran­som note and that her daugh­ter was miss­ing. The 2 1/2-page ran­som note from “a small for­eign fac­tion” de­manded the odd sum of $118,000 to spare JonBenét from be­head­ing. De­tec­tives quickly de­ter­mined the note had been writ­ten on a pad of pa­per found in the Ram­seys’ house with a Sharpie pen also found in the house. In­ves­ti­ga­tors took writ­ing sam­ples from dozens of peo­ple in­clud­ing John, Patsy and their son Burke. Hand­writ­ing ex­perts from the Colorado Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion elim­i­nated John Ram­sey as the au­thor of the note, but couldn’t do the same for Patsy Ram­sey. Al­though they col­lected at least at least five hand­writ­ing sam­ples from Patsy, along with “his­toric” sam­ples she had pre­vi­ously writ­ten be­fore her daugh­ter’s death, in­ves­ti­ga­tors could nei­ther elim­i­nate her as the writer nor def­i­nitely say she was. Patsy Ram­sey died of ovar­ian cancer on June 4, 2006.

Burke Ram­sey

The brother of JonBenét was 9 at the time of his sis­ter’s death. Al­though his par­ents orig­i­nally told po­lice he was asleep when his mother re­ported her daugh­ter had been kid­napped, his voice can be heard in the back­ground of an en­hanced record­ing of the 911 call. In Septem­ber, Burke Ram­sey was in­ter­viewed by TV host Phillip C. McGraw dur­ing a three-part seg­ment of the “Dr. Phil” show in which both he and his fa­ther ex­pressed hope that the case would ul­ti­mately be solved. In Oc­to­ber, Burke Ram­sey filed a $150 mil­lion defama­tion law­suit against a Michi­gan foren­sic pathol­o­gist who told a Detroit-area me­dia out­let that Burke Ram­sey killed his sis­ter.

Alex Hunter

The Boul­der County dis­trict at­tor­ney when JonBenét was killed, Alex Hunter first pub­licly iden­ti­fied John and Patsy Ram­sey as the fo­cus of the mur­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion in April 1997. In Oc­to­ber 1999, Hunter an­nounced the grand jury had com­pleted its work and that his team did not think it had “suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence to war­rant fil­ing of charges.” In 2013, Daily Cam­era re­porter Char­lie Bren­nan and the Re­porters Com­mit­tee for Free­dom of the Press sued for the re­lease of doc­u­ments that showed the 1999 grand jury had voted to in­dict John and Patsy Ram­sey of two counts each of child abuse re­sult­ing in death in con­nec­tion with their daugh­ter’s death. The charges didn’t di­rectly ac­cuse the Ram­seys of killing the girl. In­stead they al­leged that the par­ents per­mit­ted JonBenét 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. Hunter re­tired in 2000 af­ter serv­ing in that role for 28 years. He has stayed out of the spot­light since then and did not ap­pear in any of the TV pro­grams that fo­cused on the 20th an­niver­sary of JonBenét’s death.

Mary Lacy

Af­ter head­ing up the sex-as­sault unit for the Boul­der County Dis­trict At­tor­ney’s Of­fice for 10 years, Mary Lacy was elected dis­trict at­tor­ney in 2000, re­plac­ing Alex Hunter. In 2008, armed with new DNA ev­i­dence that she said pointed to an un­known male as JonBenét’s killer, Lacy took the ex­tra­or­di­nary step of pub­licly ex­on­er­at­ing the child’s par­ents and im­me­di­ate fam­ily. In Oc­to­ber, foren­sic ex­perts who ex­am­ined the re­sults of DNA tests ob­tained ex­clu­sively by the Daily Cam­era and 9News dis­puted 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.

Tom Koby

Boul­der Po­lice chief Tom Koby faced in­tense crit­i­cism of how his depart­ment han­dled the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into JonBenét Ram­sey’s death — specif­i­cally the fail­ure by of­fi­cers to se­cure the crime scene or find JonBenét’s body in the first hours af­ter her mother called 911. Koby, who be­came Boul­der’s po­lice chief in 1991, was in turn highly crit­i­cal of me­dia cover­age of the case. When Koby an­nounced his re­tire­ment plans on Nov. 19, 1997, he said he would de­lay his de­par­ture for 13 months be­cause he wanted to give him­self enough time to de­cide whether the mur­der could be solved. In May 1998, he moved to the city man­ager’s of­fice where he con­tin­ued work­ing on se­lected projects un­til he of­fi­cially re­tired at the end of the year.

Lou Smit

A vet­eran homi­cide de­tec­tive from El Paso County, Lou Smit joined the Ram­sey mur­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion in March 1997. Be­fore join­ing the Ram­sey case, Smit was best known for crack­ing the mur­der case of Heather Dawn Church, a 13-year-old girl who was ab­ducted and killed by a se­rial killer who lived a mile away from her home in Colorado Springs. Like the Ram­seys, the Churches were con­sid­ered prime sus­pects in their daugh­ter’s death. Smit re­signed in Septem­ber 1998 say­ing John and Patsy Ram­sey were in­no­cent and that au­thor­i­ties failed to ac­knowl­edge a “very dan­ger­ous killer is still out there.” He also re­leased crime scene pho­tos that he said bol­stered his the­ory that an in­truder killed the girl. On his deathbed in Au­gust 2010, Smit re­mained fo­cused on the Ram­sey case rather than the about 200 mur­der cases he’d solved dur­ing his sto­ried, 30-year ca­reer. Al­though he was un­able to find the killer, Smit said he be­lieved one of his great­est achieve­ments was help­ing keep the girl’s in­no­cent par­ents out of pri­son. He also re­mained con­vinced that DNA found on her clothes and body would even­tu­ally solve the case.

Mark Beck­ner

Named lead in­ves­ti­ga­tor in the Ram­sey case in June 1998, Mark Beck­ner suc­ceeded Tom Koby as Boul­der po­lice chief. At that time, he warned the mur­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion had no “magic an­swers.” When Beck­ner re­tired in March 2014, he said his depart­ment did the best it could by get­ting the grand jury to is­sue in­dict­ments against John and Patsy Ram­sey in 1999. For­mer Boul­der Dis­trict At­tor­ney Alex Hunter de­clined to pros­e­cute the par­ents. In Fe­bru­ary 2015, Beck­ner par­tic­i­pated in an “Ask Me Al­most Any­thing” ses­sion on­line for Red­dit. He didn’t re­al­ize his com­ments would be public and dis­cussed de­tails about the Ram­sey case in­clud­ing the source of the DNA found on JonBenét’s cloth­ing, whether an in­truder could have com­mit­ted the mur­der and whether a stun gun was used.

Steve Thomas

Af­ter spend­ing 20 months in­ves­ti­gat­ing JonBenét’s mur­der, Steve Thomas re­signed in Au­gust 1998. In April 2000, he pub­lished “JonBenét: In­side the Ram­sey Mur­der In­ves­ti­ga­tion,” in which he blamed Patsy Ram­sey for her daugh­ter’s death. He the­o­rized that af­ter the girl wet the bed and her mother ac­ci­den­tally killed her dur­ing “some sort of ex­plo­sive en­counter in the child’s bath­room.” He be­lieved that Patsy Ram­sey cooked up the kid­nap­ping, wrote the ran­som note, tied the cord – loosely, ac­cord­ing to Thomas – around JonBenét’s wrists, wrapped a cord around the child’s neck and put duct tape over her mouth, then care­fully wrapped her in a blan­ket to cover up what Thomas be­lieves ini­tially was an ac­ci­dent. He also dis­missed as ab­surd the Ram­seys’ ar­gu­ment that Boul­der po­lice failed to look at other sus­pects.“If they’re in­no­cent, they did the great­est dis­ser­vice by not co­op­er­at­ing,” he said in an in­ter­view about the book.

Linda Arndt

As the first de­tec­tive to ar­rive at the Ram­sey house on Dec. 26, 1996, Linda Arndt en­dured sting­ing crit­i­cism and ridicule be­cause of what she did and didn’t do once she ar­rived on the scene. Amid es­ca­lat­ing na­tional crit­i­cism of how po­lice han­dled the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, then-po­lice chief Tom Koby took her off the case in May 1997. Al­most a year af­ter she was re­moved from the case, Arndt sued Koby ac­cus­ing him of vi­o­lat­ing her pri­vacy by por­tray­ing her in a false light and of vi­o­lat­ing her right to free speech by not al­low­ing her to speak on her own be­half. In Septem­ber 1999, Arndt ap­peared on “Good Morn­ing Amer­ica” and claimed she knew

what hap­pened the night JonBenét was killed. In the in­ter­view, which ran in five in­stall­ments, Arndt said she knows who killed JonBenét but wouldn’t re­veal the name.

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