JonBenet Ramsey case still unsolved after 2 years
Grand jury to reconvene in JanuaryDecember 26, 1998
Web posted at: 3:20 p.m. EST (2020 GMT)
(CNN) -- Two years after her death, JonBenet Ramsey still does not rest in peace.
The 6-year-old beauty pageant princess was found beaten and strangled in the basement of her family's Boulder, Colorado, home on December 26, 1996, launching an investigation that has yet to reveal a killer or a motive.
Her mother, Patricia Ramsey, phoned police early on the day after Christmas to report that she had found a ransom note demanding $118,000 for JonBenet's safe return. Eight hours later, JonBenet's father, John, found his daughter's body.
Days of investigation turned into weeks, weeks into months, and still the murder remained unsolved.
Both the police and the district attorney in Boulder have come under fire in the search for JonBenet's killer.
The police were criticized for failing to keep family members and friends from wandering around the Ramsey home before the body was found -- to protect possible evidence -- and for focusing too much attention on the Ramseys, who they say remains under an "umbrella of suspicion."
The district attorney has been accused of being too soft on the family.
The Ramseys no longer live in Boulder, where a grand jury is hearing evidence in the case. Now 1,400 miles away in Atlanta, the parents are expected to appear before the grand jury when it reconvenes after a holiday break, probably some time in January.
"They have wanted to go to the grand jury," said Linda McLean, a family friend who wrote the book "JonBenet's Mother: The Tragedy and The Truth!"
"And they want to say, 'We didn't do it. Here's what happened,'" McLean said.
Parents maintain their innocence
What happened is one of the nation's most perplexing murder mysteries. Patricia Ramsey reportedly found the handwritten ransom note on a back stairway. The writer claimed to represent a "foreign faction" and demanded money for JonBenet's return.
The police arrived shortly before 6 a.m. A detective arrived at the home by 8 a.m., and everyone waited for a phone call from the supposed kidnappers.
About 1 p.m., John Ramsey found his daughter's body in an out-of-the-way basement room. According to the police report, JonBenet was covered with a blanket, her wrists were tied above her head, her mouth was covered with tape and a nylon cord was wrapped around her neck.
An autopsy showed she had suffered a blow to her head, and may have been sexually molested.
John Ramsey removed the tape from JonBenet's mouth and carried the body upstairs.
The kidnapping case became a murder case. A month later, District Attorney Alex Hunter said the parents were "the obvious focus of the investigation." The Ramseys denied involvement in their daughter's murder.
A year after the murder, Hunter said the Ramseys were still "under an umbrella of suspicion." And still the Ramseys maintained their innocence.
Even the course of the investigation came under fire.
In September, detective Lou Smit resigned from the district attorney's office, saying he was convinced the Ramseys were innocent and Hunter was determined to prosecute them.
Also last fall, Detective Steve Thomas, a Boulder Police investigator, left the force, accusing Hunter of protecting the Ramseys.
'Nobody talks very much about this'
Theories about JonBenet's death abound: the kidnap note was real and an intruder did the deed; one or both parents killed the daughter, and wrote the kidnap note themselves; the parents are covering for someone else, a relative or friend, who killed the girl.
Investigators have asked five family members -- not including the parents -- for fingerprints, palm prints and DNA samples. Those family members say they'll cooperate.
Meanwhile, John Ramsey has started a new computer business, and the couple's 11-year-old son Burke is enrolled at a private school.
"They do normal things ... but it isn't normal because all around are these pictures (of JonBenet)," said Linda McLean of Parkersburg, West Virginia, a close friend of Patricia Ramsey. "Nobody watches the television. Nobody talks very much about this."
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