From Jonbenet Ramsey Wiki
Jump to navigationJump to search

Crime Scene[edit]

(See The House)

The body was found in the wine cellar. Urine-stains indicated that death may have occurred on the carpet just outside of that cellar. It is not known where in the house the assault began. The perpetrator must have entered the kitchen area at some point as that is where the pen was kept. Other areas of possible relevance to the investigation are: JonBenet's bedroom (specifically JonBenet's bed), the dining room and the basement.


Objects known to be related to the crime:

  • The ransom note: Three sheets of paper torn from Patsy Ramsey's notepad. Describes a kidnapping for ransom by a militant "foreign faction".
  • The pen: The Ramseys' pen used to write the note. Found in the cup the Ramseys normally stored it in.
  • The "garrote": A 20-inch piece of cord tied around the victim's neck with a broken paintbrush from Patsy Ramsey's paint set tied to one end.
  • The wrist-cord: A piece of cord tied around the victim's wrists. The loops were loosely tied over the sleeves and there was 15 inches of cord between the two loops.
  • The tape: A piece of black tape had been placed over the victim's mouth.
  • The blanket: JonBenet's body was covered or wrapped in a white blanket.
  • The paint tote: The source of the paintbrush used in the garrote, located near the wine cellar door.

Objects suspected to be related to the crime:

  • The basement window A broken window which John Ramsey said he broke months earlier (possibly on multiple occasions). John Ramsey claims the window was open "an eighth of an inch" when he first went to the basement, but says he shut it.
  • The DNA: Trace amounts of unidentified DNA.
  • Burke's baseball bat: A baseball bat which Burke said was his but his parents claimed not to recognize.


The autopsy report identified:

  • Small abrasions on the neck, face, legs, and back

Experts were consulted on various injuries.

Time of Death[edit]

Timeline of Christmas night depicting the likely sequencing of the injuries, based on analysis of the body.

As of 2015, the official estimate of time of death was around 1:00 AM, according to Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner.[1]


"Contrary to several media reports over the past few days, the autopsy report on JonBenet Ramsey does not and has never contained information on the estimated time of death. I have not been able to determine the original source of the statement that the report contained the estimated time of death, but it certainly did not come from this office. The time of an "unwitnessed" death is very difficult to determine with any precision, and at best is an estimate based not only on autopsy findings but also on investigative information. I consider estimation of time of death to be an interpretive finding rather than a factual statement, and it is not this Office's practice to include this estimate as part of any autopsy report. As has been stated in the past, it would also be inappropriate for me, as a potential expert and material witness, to make interpretive statements prior to testifying in court." John E. Meyer, M.D., Boulder County Coroner.

Victim's Clothing[edit]

(See Clothing)

When JonBenet's body was found, she was wearing the same shirt and hair-ties she had worn to the Whites' Christmas party the previous evening. She was also wearing a pair of underwear that were several sizes too big for her, and a pair of boys' long johns.

The shoes, pants, and vest she had worn to the Whites' party were all up in her room, strewn on the floor and on the second bed.

Fiber Evidence/Hair Evidence[edit]

In 1997 Boulder Police sent some evidence to Skip Palenik, who owns and operates Microtrace laboratory, who had custody of it for nearly 10 years.[2]

"I examined the particles left behind on her clothing," he said. "It was just a very small sample, picked up by evidence technicians using tape." Palenik, 60, wrote a report about the particles, which he declined to discuss because of the case. The report went to the Boulder County district attorney's office and the Boulder Police Department in 1997.

Matched hairs and fibers:

  • An axillary hair collected from the blanket (originally thought to be a pubic hair) was DNA-tested and determined to be consistent with Patsy Ramsey and her maternal line.[4]
  • Fibers believed to be from John Ramsey's collared black wool shirt (worn on the night of the killing) were found in JonBenet's underpants.
  • Fibers from Patsy Ramsey's jacket (worn on the night of the killing) were found on the blanket
  • Fibers from Patsy Ramsey's jacket (worn on the night of the killing) were found on the tape. (Four red and black fibers).
  • Fibers consistent with the sham and duvet (found in the suitcase) were found on JonBenet's shirt, according to Lou Smit in 1998. However, in 2001 the FBI said this was false.[6]
  • JBR hair on golf club (???????) not confirmed. check this out.

Other hairs and fibers:

  • Vaginal area: During the vaginal examination, small dark colored fibers were found on JonBenet’s external labia. Dr. Meyer stated that it appeared that JonBenet’s pubic area may have been cleaned, or at least wiped by someone using a towel or piece of clothing. Small dark blue fibers, consistent with a cotton towel, were recovered from the vaginal area.
  • Brown
  • Blue
  • Fibers on the tape: Cellmark found, red, blue, pink, purple and brown cloth fibers, and animal fur, probably beaver.
  • Items from which hair(s) or fiber(s) were recovered: [incomplete]
  • Items from which trace evidence was recovered: shirt (#5), long johns (#6), neck cord (#8), tape (#15), white blanket (#16), nightgown (#17), comforter (#18), sheet (#19), sheet (#20), black comforter (#22), black velvet blanket (#23), golf club (#26), shards (#28), sheet (#29), sheet (#30), carpet (#63), carpet (#64), rope (#66), carpet (#69), wrist-cord (#166), shirt (#172), blanket (#173), black and white tights (#175), blouse (#176), blanket (#177), duvet from suitcase (#178-D), pillowcase (#251), Barbie doll (#404), Barbie doll (#405)

We would find that a number of visitors had used the bed while the child was elsewhere. The hair could have come from any of them, or it could have been transferred through some other contact, such as in a washing machine or dryer.

Blood and Urine[edit]

Traces of JonBenet Ramsey's blood were found on:

  • shirt
  • long johns
  • underwear
  • cord (garrote)
  • tape
  • blanket
  • nightgown

Traces of creatinine (indicative of urine) were found on:

  • Shirt
  • long johns
  • underwear
  • cord (garrote)
  • white blanket
  • nightgown
  • comforter
  • sheet (x 2)
  • carpet (x 2)
  • blanket
  • pillowcase
  • toilet paper

Handwriting Analysis[edit]

(See Handwriting analysis)

Four handwriting experts were consulted by the Boulder Police Department. Two believed Patsy Ramsey wrote the ransom note though none were willing to testify in court. None could eliminate Patsy Ramsey as the writer.

Two handwriting experts were hired by the Ramseys' defense team and subsequently retained by the District Attorney's office. Both stated there were differences between Patsy Ramsey's writing and the note, and said it was unlikely she wrote it. Though neither could eliminate Patsy Ramsey as the writer.

At least four board-certified handwriting experts have commented publicly on the note, stating they were willing to testify that Patsy Ramsey wrote it.


(See Fingerprints/Footprints)

Over 240 fingerprints were found in the home. According to the CBI and FBI, "almost all" were matched to people by early 1997. Known fingerprints and footprints include:

  • Ransom note: 1 fingerprint from police analyst Chet Ubowski
  • Notepad: 5 fingerprints from Patsy, 1 from police officer Whitson, 1 from police analyst Chet Ubowski
  • "Garrote" handle: No prints found
  • Tape: No prints found
  • Pineapple bowl: 1 fingerprint from Burke, 1 fingerprint from Patsy
  • Wine cellar door: 2 palm prints from Patsy, 1 palm print from Melinda Ramsey
  • West patio door: 1 fingerprint from John, 1 fingerprint from Barbara Fernie
  • Wine cellar floor: 1 Hi-Tec footprint from Burke

DNA Analysis[edit]

(See DNA)

Only some DNA testing reports have been released. There is no public list of which items have been tested for DNA. Based on limited information we know:

  • DNA from JonBenet Ramsey was found on:
  • Some profiles contained mixtures of JonBenet Ramsey's DNA and additional DNA markers which remain unidentified (note that a "full DNA profile" generally consists of at least 13-markers, though 10 markers is the minumum requirement for submission to CODIS):
    • One bloodstain from underwear contained JonBenet's DNA and an additional contributor (enhanced to a 10-marker profile after multiple rounds of testing) - the additional contributor has been named "unidentified male 1" and has been submitted to the national CODIS database.
    • The top-right area of the long johns contained Touch DNA (low quantity) including JonBenet's DNA and several additional contributors, one of whom was consistent with "unidentified male 1".
    • Another bloodstain from underwear contained JonBenet's DNA and an additional contributor (too weak to be compared to other samples)
    • The bloodstain on the "garrote" contained JonBenet's DNA and an additional 7-marker male profile (NOT consistent with "unidentified male 1" or any other contributor to another sample).
    • The bloodstain on the wrist-cord contained JonBenet's DNA and an additional 6-marker male profile (NOT consistent with "unidentified male 1" or any other contributor to another sample).
    • Fingernails from her right hand contained JonBenet's DNA and two additional contributors, one male, one female (too weak to be compared to other samples)
    • Fingernails from her left hand contained JonBenet's DNA and one additional male contributor (too weak to be compared to other samples)
  • Some profiles contained mixtures of JonBenet Ramsey's DNA and additional alleles which have been identified:
    • Three areas on the nightgown contained Touch DNA (low quantity) including JonBenet's DNA and an additional male contributor consistent with Burke Ramsey
    • One area on the nightgown contained Touch DNA (low quantity) including JonBenet's DNA and an additional contributor consistent with Burke Ramsey and Patsy Ramsey

Interpreting the DNA Evidence[edit]

There is no scientific way to determine how or when a piece of DNA was deposited. Multiple theories have been put forward to explain how unidentified DNA ended up on evidence:

  • Some speculate that an intruder or intruders deposited some or all of the different unidentified DNA profiles on Christmas night
  • Some speculate that incidental transfers prior to the crime could have resulted in the presence of those trace amounts of foreign DNA.
  • Some speculate that poor evidence-handling by the Boulder Police may have led to contamination of evidence after the crime.
  • Some suggest that at least some of the unidentified profiles thought to belong to one person may in fact belong to multiple people.

Witness Testimony[edit]

Before the Crime

  • Fleet and Priscilla White
  • Susan Stine

Night of the Crime

  • Neighbor


  1. Mark Beckner AMA.
  2. https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-2006-08-25-0608250225-story.html
  3. Thomas, Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation
  4. Kolar, Foreign Faction
  5. "The Colorado Bureau of Investigation labs ran comparison tests and reported that four fibers that had been discovered on the tape were chemically and microscopically consistent with the fibers of Patsy’s jacket." described as "red and black" in schiller - were identified by FBI Special Agent Douglas Deedrick.
  6. Lou Smit claimed to have seen a CBI report indicating that "fibers from the sham and duvet [found inside the suitcase] were on the outside of the shirt" which JonBenet was wearing when found. However, "FBI examiners said the fibers on JonBenet came from a source other than the pillow sham and comforter -- but none of them matched anything else [taken as evidence from] the house".https://web.archive.org/web/20010612211138/http://rockymountainnews.com/drmn/local/article/0,1299,DRMN_15_408302,00.html