Ramsey Scandal Revisited

Deena Mueller

Child molester? Yes. Freak? Yes. But killer? No. John Mark Karr may have been a pedophile, but he was not the killer of six year-old beauty queen, JonBenet Ramsey. (Breath. I know it’s a shocker!) Ever since he was extradited from Thailand after publicly confessing to the 1996 murder, Karr has created a media frenzy. And the public could not be more interested; a young, beautiful girl slain in a gruesome manner apparently makes for sensational news. That says something about our culture’s obsession with the suffering of others. Karr’s claim that he had sexual relations with Ramsey launched Boulder, Colorado police into their most extensive and most expensive DNA testing ever. Then a week ago Tuesday, they announced that the DNA didn’t match and Karr was no longer a suspect in the case. The good news, for those who find Karr as creepy as I do, is that he will now be tried in California on five separate counts of child pornography. That, I assure you, is a crime of which he is guilty.It seems as though Karr was just another fanatical weirdo looking for his fifteen minutes of fame. Still, for one fleeting moment it seemed as though the world might finally know who killed little JonBenet. Pam Paugh, the JonBenet’s aunt, lamented about the shock she felt when she first heard that there was a suspect under custody, and the letdown when she realized that the murder would remain unsolved. Karr was the first arrest in the ten years since the brutal slaying in the basement of the Ramsey’s Colorado home on Christmas Eve, 1996.Since that night the Ramsey family undergone a great deal: tears, fear, anger and accusations. This past June, Patsy Ramsey, the victim’s mother, passed away after battling stage four ovarian cancer. The recent confession gave remaining members of the Ramsey family false hope in gaining closure by answering the question: Who killed JonBenet Ramsey?Or do they already know the answer to that question?John and Patsy Ramsey were never above suspicion in the case. Their behavior was, in my opinion, not very advantageous or compliant with the Boulder Police’s search. Consider this situation. When his son was murdered, John Walsh, the host of TV’s America’s Most Wanted submitted to a lie detector, or polygraph test, immediately. He claims that by doing so, the police didn’t have to waste time investigating him as a suspect and were able to focus on finding the real killer. While Walsh waited only days to take the polygraph test, the Ramseys waited four years. Even when they did take the test, controversy remained. The first test came out inconclusive, meaning there was not sufficient evidence to clear or convict them of involvement in the killing. Also, they would not consent to take the test with either the FBI or the Boulder Police Department. Instead, they hired a private contractor to administer the polygraph test.Lie detectors do have a 97% accuracy rating, but that leaves room for error. Additionally, polygraph tests can be forged especially after four years of practice. The Ramseys did passed the test on a second attempt. I do not believe the Ramseys did kill their daughter, but I do think they may have more knowledge about it than they let on. In fact, a common theory speculates that John and Patsy covered up the murder perpetrated by JonBenet’s brother, Burke Ramsey. Burke Ramsey was three years older than his sister. Many, including child psychologists, believe that Burke suffered from a lack of attention from his parents. While I doubt any nine year-olds have the thought processes to participate in premeditated murder, I do believe in the possibility that they were playing a game that turned into tragedy. Either way, one month later, Burke was out of state at boarding school, where he has hardly been heard of since. He has never taken a lie detector test; so I would not expect to see him charged in the near future. It seems that the Ramseys went out of their way to make sure that Burke would not be a suspect. Besides, I imagine that his age at the time of the murder will make any polygraph test too flimsy to hold up as evidence. While the possibility of a complete stranger coming into the house and killing her is still viable, it seems most likely that one of JonBenet’s three family members are actually responsible for the six-year-old’s death. I don’t think we’ll ever find JonBenet’s killer. Like many of the other nearly 2,000 chidren who were killed that year, the case will probably go cold before it is solved. Unless the United States ever requires mandatory DNA to be on file, it will be nearly impossible to find a match. JonBenet’s murder will serve as a reminder of the ever-changing, more violent world in which we now live and her case will continue to attract a cult like following including fanatics such as John Mark Karr, who end up squandering our tax dollars on bottles of champagne during his extradition flight to the US.