Gov. Jared Polis’s office has agreed to review a new petition calling on the Colorado governor to transfer decisions involving DNA evidence in the unsolved JonBenét Ramsey case from the Boulder Police Department to an independent investigatory agency.
The petition on Change.org, titled Justice for JonBenét Ramsey, has the public backing of the slain 6-year-old’s father and half-brother.
“The state will review the petition and look into how the state can assist in using new technology to further investigate this cold case and to identify JonBenét Ramsey’s killer and bring him or her to justice,” Melissa Dworkin, a spokeswoman for the governor, said in a statement Monday.
DNA evidence found on JonBenét’s clothing has never been connected to a suspect in the Christmas 1996 killing at the Ramsey family’s Boulder home.
The petition asks that modern technology be applied in testing the genetic material in hopes of finally linking it to a suspect, citing the recent DNA-driven arrests and convictions in both the decades-old Golden State Killer murders in California and the Hammer Killer attacks in metro Denver.
John Ramsey announced the petition while speaking at the CrimeCon2022 Event in Las Vegas on Saturday, Fox News reported.
“We can’t let the murder of a child be left up to local police. They’re just big enough that they think they know everything, and they don’t,” Ramsey said, according to Fox News.
JonBenét’s half-brother, John Andrew Ramsey, has promoted the petition on Twitter, tweeting directly at Polis: “We wouldn’t be calling for help if we hadn’t exhausted all avenues at the local level,” he wrote. “Forensic science has made a quantum leap in the last five years. Let’s use tech for good and catch a child killer.”
The Boulder Police Department responded in a statement that investigators have “followed up on every lead” and said the agency “never wavered in its pursuit to bring justice to everyone affected by the murder of this little girl.”
Boulder police pushed back on the petition, citing years of experience in working on the Ramsey case. The investigation “has been under constant review,” officials said, and as recently as March, Boulder police met with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, along with DNA experts from around the country.
“We’ve always used state-of-the-art technology as it has been at the forefront of this investigation,” Chief Maris Herold said in the statement. “Every time the DNA technology changed, we worked to make sure the evidence could be tested.”
Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty said in the statement that JonBenét’s death was a tragedy and that his office will “work tirelessly to secure justice.”
The murder case captivated the nation after the 6-year-old was reported missing on Dec. 26, 1996, and her parents John and Patsy reported they had found a ransom note inside their Boulder home demanding $118,000. JonBenét’s body was later found in a basement storeroom, with evidence showing she had been hit in the head, strangled and sexually assaulted.
The Ramseys initially were considered by Boulder police to be under an “umbrella of suspicion,” but were publicly cleared in 2008 by then-District Attorney Mary Lacy, who cited DNA evidence in the case that matched an unknown male.
The Daily Camera newspaper reported in 2013 that the grand jury that had investigated the case more than a decade earlier had voted to indict JonBenét’s parents on charges of child abuse resulting in death, but that the DA at the time, Alex Hunter, refused to sign the indictment and disbanded the panel without ever telling the public about the secret vote.
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