I never thought I'd see it. When I covered the JonBenet Ramsey murder and the unending aftermath that started a decade ago, I reached only one firm conclusion about the case -- I just knew that no one would ever be arrested.
Missteps by the police, the apparent wariness of John and Patsy Ramsey, and sheer time seemed to make it impossible for anyone to ever be locked-up for this crime.
Every suspect I heard about was soon discounted by the authorities. Every new lead turned to trash. Every suspicion seemed to lead back to the family or someone very close to them, and yet police could simply not find enough proof to level a charge. The winter of the killing turned to spring, then to summer, then to fall and then winter came again, and still I was stalking the streets of Boulder and filing reports on the horrible murder of a six-year-old girl.
I took to ending many of my stories with a simple statement; something like this: "For all the months of investigation, this is all we know -- a six-year-old girl was killed in her home on Christmas night, and no one has yet spent a day in jail for her murder."
I thought it was a line that captured what really mattered. Beyond the hype and tabloid coverage and prurient interests that swirled around the death of a little beauty queen, I felt I should always point out that she was first a little girl. It was her house. No one was being charged. And that is inherently tragic. I thought it was a line that would last forever.
The man who has been arrested, no one should forget, has not been convicted of this crime and we haven't even heard his side of the story yet. The book on JonBenet's murder is far from closed. But a new chapter has been opened and that is an enormous surprise.
A colleague in New York asked me years ago the perennial question: When will someone be arrested?
I took out a coin, taped it to the top of her computer, and said, "I'll bet you this quarter that it never happens. If it does, take the quarter. Meanwhile, I'll always know I've got 25 cents waiting for me in New York."
I hope she took it today. Best quarter I ever lost.