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DNA From JonBenet's Clothes Given to FBI

post #1 of 4
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DENVER (AP) - A sample of male DNA found on JonBenet Ramsey's underwear has been submitted to FBI investigators seven years after the 6-year-old was slain in her parents' home, the family attorney said Friday.

``The Ramseys have a lot of hope that the DNA will solve the case,'' said their lawyer, L. Lin Wood.

The DNA sample was taken from two drops of blood on the garment, which has been in storage with authorities since the investigation began into the child's murder.

JonBenet, a competitor in child beauty contests, was found beaten and strangled in the basement of her parents' Boulder home on Dec. 26, 1996.

Earlier DNA tests on the blood indicated it was from a male who was not a member of the Ramsey family. At the time, the DNA sample wasn't of a high enough quality to compare against a national databank of DNA, the attorney said.

Within the last few months, the Boulder District Attorney's office was able to get a high quality sample of DNA from the garment to send to the FBI, Wood said.

Phone lines at the district attorney's office were continuously busy Friday and no one could be reached for comment.

``I do believe the single most important evidence in the case is the DNA,'' Wood said in a telephone interview from his office in Atlanta, where John and Patsy Ramsey now live.

The DNA will be compared with other samples in the FBI's national databank to see if it matches men convicted of violent crimes or samples from other unsolved crimes, Wood said.

Wood accused Boulder police of not aggressively pursuing the DNA because it appeared to have been from someone outside the Ramsey family. The Ramseys have long contended that an outsider killed their daughter, and they have accused police of ignoring that possibility.

Police declined to comment, referring questions to the district attorney's office.

District Attorney Mary Keenan took over the case this year after a five-year investigation by police failed to result in arrests or indictments.

I hope they catch the sicko who did this, I really don't know if her parents had something to do with it, whether they did or not, I just hope that whoever killed this poor girl gets what they deserve.
post #2 of 4
I'm happy to see that the case is actively being pursued. There was so much speculation at the time about the parents' involvement (my pet theory was that her brother hit her over the head while the kids were squabbling, and she was so badly injured that the parents covered it up so that his life wasn't ruined, too), but also about shoddy police work.

Report: JonBenet evidence could point to intruder

JonBenet Ramsey
January 11, 1998
Web posted at: 6:48 p.m. EST (2348 GMT)
BOULDER, Colorado (CNN) -- DNA found on the body of JonBenet Ramsey does not match that of either of her parents, which could point to an intruder as her killer, according to an article in the latest edition of The New Yorker.

The article, written by investigative journalist Lawrence Schiller, also says that fiber evidence and shoe prints found at the scene where the child beauty queen was slain also point away from the parents as possible suspects in her death.

Schiller quoted Boulder County District Attorney Alex Hunter as saying that with the current evidence, he could not make a case against the parents, John and Patsy Ramsey.

Hunter is also quoted as saying police may not have pursued the idea that an intruder killed JonBenet because "the cops became so convinced that the Ramseys did it that they've never been able to look at the evidence objectively."

Police have said the Ramseys "remain under an umbrella of suspicion" in their daughter's death. The Ramseys have vehemently denied any part in the murder.

Police taking swabs from others to check DNA
The 6-year-old girl was found dead in the basement of the family's Boulder mansion on December 26, 1996. She had been beaten and strangled. Though no charges have ever been brought in the case, and the Ramseys have steadfastly maintained their innocence, the parents have been the primary focus of the investigation into her death.

But after learning that DNA found on the body doesn't match with that of JonBenet's parents, police are now taking swab samples from inside the mouths of others who might have possibly been involved, The New Yorker reported.

"Even though it is a long shot, if a swab sample did provide a DNA match to the DNA taken from JonBenet's body, then police would be able to connect a second person to the murder," Hunter is quoted as saying.

The New Yorker also reported that dark fibers found on the body did not match clothing found in the house, and two types of footprints, including one near the body, did not match any footwear belonging to the parents.

In a telephone interview with CNN, Boulder police spokeswoman Leslie Aaholm refused to confirm or deny any of the details in The New Yorker's report.

Time report: Flashlight turns up among evidence
Meanwhile, Time magazine, in its latest issue, is reporting that a heavy flashlight, with a rubber coating, has mysteriously turned up in a police storage area where evidence from the Ramsey case is being kept.

Police have long felt that such a flashlight could have been used to inflict a head wound on JonBenet, and a similar flashlight was spotted on the kitchen counter of the Ramsey home the morning after JonBenet's body was found, according to Time. But the flashlight then disappeared.

The flashlight that turned up in the storage area does not belong to a police officer, Time said. It has been sent to a Colorado Bureau of Investigation lab for analysis.

DA says he may exhume JonBenet's body
In his New Yorker article, Schiller also shed new light on one of the most curious recent developments in the case -- the theory that a stun gun might have been used on JonBenet prior to her death.

One of Hunter's investigators found marks in autopsy photographs that could have been left by a stun gun. And although the parents have denied ever owning such a weapon, Schiller quotes a police source as saying that an instructional videotape for a stun gun was found in the Ramsey home.

According to The New Yorker, Hunter is considering having JonBenet's body, which is buried in Georgia, exhumed to determine if a stun gun might have been used.

"Every rock must be turned over, and if that means swabbing everyone's mouth or exhuming JonBenet's body, that's what the police will have to do," Hunter is quoted as saying. "I don't want the public to think everything's been done, if in fact, in effect, everything hasn't been done."

Aaholm confirmed that videotapes were taken from the house but did not know if one of them involved instructions on use of a stun gun. She said police have no plans to exhume the body.

Reuters contributed to this report.
post #3 of 4
That case was botched, from the get-go. The crime scene was so hopelessly contaminated, any halfway-good defense attorney would be able to challenge the evidence.

On average, the Boulder PD deals with one murder per year and they simply do not have the experience necessary to investigate one properly.

In addition, the police immediately fixated on the Ramseys, to the exclusion of almost anyone else.
post #4 of 4
Oh, I agree. The thing is, the Boulder PD was apparently offered help by the Boulder County Sheriff's Dept. and Denver PD. The FBI was already involved, and the state police would have helped. They decided to handle it themselves. I'm afraid this might be another "Bob Crane" case. On the other hand, the German police, with the help of advanced DNA tests and databases, have managed to solve several 20 - 30-year-old cases recently that everyone considered "unsolvable". There's an interesting synopsis of the case here:
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