Twenty-five years after JonBenet Ramsey was found dead in her own home, Boulder police are hoping advances in DNA technology will provide new clues in one of the nation’s most notorious unsolved homicides.
The 6-year-old girl was reported missing on Dec. 26, 1996, after her family reported finding a ransom note demanding $118,000 inside their home in the 700 block of 15th Street.
JonBenet’s body was found in the basement shortly after that, with examiners saying she had been hit in the head, strangled and sexually assaulted.
While the Daily Camera learned in 2013 that a grand jury voted to indict John and Patsy Ramsey on charges of child abuse resulting in death and accessory to the crime of first-degree murder, no charges were ever actually filed in the case.
Every anniversary brings renewed interest in the cold case, and ahead of the 25th year since JonBenet’s death Boulder police updated the public on the investigation.
“The BPD Major Crimes Unit has received, reviewed or investigated more than 21,016 tips, letters and emails and detectives have traveled to 19 states to interview or speak with more than 1,000 individuals in connection to this crime,” the release stated.
Much has been made in recent years about whether advances in DNA technology could help move the case forward. Boulder police in the release said investigators have analyzed more than 1,000 DNA samples.
“Thanks to the huge advances in DNA technology, multiple suspects have been run through the system to check for matches,” the release stated. “(The Colorado Bureau of Investigation) has updated over 750 reference samples with the latest DNA technology. The Boulder Police Department works closely with CBI on future DNA advancements.
“Additionally, Boulder police have worked with CBI to ensure the DNA in the system can be compared correctly to new DNA samples that have been uploaded to ensure accuracy. That DNA is checked regularly for any new matches.”
Boulder police did not comment on the status of the DNA sample found on JonBenet, after a Daily Camera and 9News investigation found forensic experts believed the sample could be a composite and not that of a single individual.
“As the department continues to use new technology to enhance the investigation, it is actively reviewing genetic DNA testing processes to see if those can be applied to this case moving forward,” the release stated.
Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty said his office will also continue to stay up to date with Boulder police on the case.
“As with any unsolved homicide, particularly that of a child, it is a tragic case,” Dougherty said. “For that reason the Boulder Police Department continues to review and analyze every lead that comes in as well as any advances in DNA technology.
“If the Boulder Police Department were able to identify or arrest the murderer then our office would certainly prosecute the case,” Dougherty added. “In every unsolved homicide and every cold case homicide we are absolutely committed to doing everything we can to reach the right result for the victim and the community.”