JonBenét Ramsey detectives have promising leads on killer of beauty queen

Over a quarter of a century on from the death of child beauty queen JonBenét Ramsey, investigators say they are following up a number of "very promising" leads to her killer’s identity.

In 1997, renowned detective Lou Smit was asked to come out of retirement to help solve the Ramsey case.

He had challenged the original theory that JonBenét’s mother Patsy Ramsey had been responsible for the six-year-old's murder and her husband had helped her cover it up.

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Instead, Smit said that DNA evidence pointed to an intruder breaking into the house and carrying out the sexually-motivated murder.

Smit maintained that that "the Ramseys did not do it" and said there was "substantial, credible evidence of an intruder and a lack of evidence that the parents are involved".

But the ace detective, who cracked some 200 murder cases during his career, died in 2010. Since then a team of volunteers including his daughter, Cindy Smit-Mara, and former law enforcement officer John Anderson, has been continuing his work.

They say they are regularly receiving tips and leads but the core of their investigation is a detailed set of notes left behind by Smit.

"He carefully compiled and prioritised his investigative notes in an extensive spreadsheet and PowerPoint presentation," Anderson and Smit-Mara told The US Sun.

"Many of those leads are very promising."

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The investigators believe that DNA traces left at the crime scene by an intruder will eventually help crack the case.

JonBenet was strangled with an improvised nylon cord garrote that was apparently made by the killer shortly before her death. DNA evidence from it has yet to be tested with the latest techniques.

Alexis Valoran Reich, also known as John Mark Karr, confessed to her murder but his claims were dismissed due to a lack of DNA evidence.

According to a 2008 report from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, there were traces of DNA from an “unidentified male” that was not apparently consistent with other samples from an unknown male found on her underwear.

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The Boulder Police Department still treats JonBenét’s murder as an active investigation.

In response to criticism that they were too slow to use the latest forensic DNA technology to identify JonBenét’s killer, they responded: "The Boulder Police Department regularly meets with multiple entities regarding this investigation, to include private labs, the FBI, CBI, the District Attorney's Office and others.

"In this ever- and quick-changing field of DNA analysis and testing, we are constantly speaking with these investigative stakeholders to evaluate how best to proceed given legal and scientific rules and limitations".

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"Due to the length of time since this crime first occurred," the statement continued, "Boulder police must be extremely cautious with handling of evidence and analysis.

"The Boulder Police Department has spoken with members of the Ramsey family in the past few years who have [provided] information to investigators.

"Detectives have never stopped investigating leads that continue to come in and having the DNA tested daily in CODIS."

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