Former Boulder, Colorado Police Chief Mark Beckner, who headed the JonBenét Ramsey murder investigation during his tenure, recently conducted an interview with Reddit. Beckner provided new insights into JonBenét Ramsey’s murder and the subsequent investigation. Beckner stopped short of identifying who he believes killed JonBenét, though his answers leaned toward a family member. He was apparently unaware that his answers would be posted online and visible to anyone to read. Though the webpage has been removed, there are cached versions on the interview still available online HERE.
Beckner openly acknowledged the mistakes made by the police in this case. Beckner indicated that if things could be done over, the police should have, “…done a much better job of securing and controlling the crime scene. We also should have separated John and Patsy and gotten full statements from them that day… Had the police found the body early on, as they should have, I believe the initial course of the investigation would have gone differently.” Like most unsolved crimes, police errors resulted in loose ends, unanswered questions, and inevitably, speculative theories.
JonBenét Ramsey was found dead in the basement of her family’s Boulder, Colorado home on December 26, 1996. She was only six years old. According to the autopsy, she was strangled and struck in the head. Suspicion swirled around her parents, but they were never formally charged. The case drew international attention due to JonBenét’s youthful beauty contrasted with the brutality of the crime. Her parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, were standoffish and defensive with the police rather than cooperative and grief-stricken.
In 2006, there appeared to be a huge break in the case. John Mark Karr confessed to killing JonBenét Ramsey in an email with a professor from Boulder. Even though his statements were inconsistent with the facts of the case and there was nothing connecting Karr to JonBenét’s murder, then Boulder District Attorney, Mary Lacy, had him arrested. During the Reddit interview, Beckner referred to the arrest as “…embarrassing.” He went on to say, “I’m thankful the police department had nothing to do with that, other than helping prove he was not the killer.” Karr was never formally charged with the murder after the DNA from the case exonerated him.
Beckner also strongly disagreed with Mary Lacy’s decision to exonerate John and Patsy Ramsey based on the DNA evidence. Beckner indicated that the partial DNA evidence was miniscule and likely unrelated to JonBenét’s murder. Beckner further stated that Mary Lacy made up her mind about the Ramseys’ innocence based on her belief that a mother could not kill her child, regardless of numerous examples to the contrary.
Though the case contained many strange and confusing elements, the ransom note provides the most insight into what happened to JonBenét. Beckner did not convey any specific theories on the ransom note, but he did acknowledge the unusualness and inconsistencies within the note. There was nothing about the ransom note that conveyed authenticity. The killer or accomplice took the time to write a two and a half page ransom note while in the Ramsey house with a pen and paper from the home. There was no attempt to collect the ransom money or remove the body from the house. The note was written, not to collect a ransom, but to deceive the authorities.
Why would someone write a deceptive ransom note? Who would risk leaving additional evidence behind when there was no kidnapping? Who would gain from the authorities believing an intruder came into the house and attempted to abduct JonBenét?
The ransom note creates many questions, but there is little in the note to indicate an intruder wrote it. Though the ransom note provides compelling evidence that eliminates some theories, it does not definitely identify the killer. As Beckner stated, the case will likely remain unsolved unless there is a confession.
*This post was written by John W. Taylor, Author of Umbrella of Suspicion: Investigating the Death of JonBenet Ramsey. To read more about John, visit his website at TrueCrimeWriting.com.