JonBenet Ramsey case: Police and DA's Office reviewing recommendations from cold case team

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Dec. 28—Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify the timing of the Boulder police announcement, and the statement by John Andrew Ramsey.

Boulder police announced Thursday that the Colorado Cold Case Review Team had completed its digitalization and review of all evidence connected to the JonBenet Ramsey case.

According to a release, the review was conducted to provide "additional investigative recommendations and determine if updated technologies and/or forensic testing might produce new intelligence or leads to solve the case."

According to the release, the Boulder Police Department and Boulder County District Attorney's office are now "reviewing and prioritizing" the recommendations made by the team.

Boulder police spokesperson Dionne Waugh said the team had digitalized "thousands of information files, bringing together more than 21,000 tips, over 1,000 interviews conducted across 17 states and two foreign countries, and samples from more than 200 different individuals, including handwriting, DNA, fingerprints, and shoeprints."

In total, the case file consists of nearly 2,500 pieces of evidence and roughly 40,000 reports, with more than one million pages documenting the investigation, the release said.

The department also said that DNA testing continues to be a focal point but the slow progression with the limited amount of DNA evidence available to be tested.

"DNA testing was previously completed, but the science behind DNA testing continues to rapidly evolve," Waugh wrote. "The Boulder Police Department is working with leading DNA experts from across the county to ensure the latest forensic techniques are used to analyze remaining DNA samples. The evidence has been preserved and will continue to be ready for testing when there is proven and validated technology that can accurately test forensic samples consistent with the evidence available in this case."

The review team included Colorado law enforcement agencies such as the FBI, Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Boulder County District Attorney's Office and public and private forensic laboratories with expertise in cold case homicide investigations, according to Waugh.

The review coincided with with the reassignment of a detective who had long held primary responsibility for its investigation.

Boulder police said earlier this year that the November 2022 reassignment of Cmdr. Thomas Trujillo had no connection to the Ramsey case. It did, however, generally coincide with the department's agreement — just after Trujillo's reassignment — to welcome greater involvement by other investigating agencies. Trujillo was assigned to the detective bureau at the time of JonBenet's December 1996 death and was one of two lead detectives on the case.

"This is the opportunity we have sought for a very very long time," JonBenet's half brother John Andrew Ramsey said in a statement Thursday. "The Cold Case Review should be the beginning of a comprehensive effort to identify and capture JonBenet's killer. DNA tech and organizing files is great but finding the killer will likely require a dogged determination. I applaud the work to date and trust the BPD and DA Michael Dougherty to stop at nothing to find the killer of 6-year-old JonBenet. It can be done."

JonBenet was reported missing in a phone call by her mother, Patsy Ramsey, early on the morning of Dec. 26, 1996, when she said she found a ransom note demanding $118,000 for the child's safe return on a staircase inside their home in the 700 block of 15th Street in Boulder.

JonBenet's body was recovered from the family's basement several hours later. The Boulder County Coroner determined she had suffered a fractured skull, been asphyxiated with a garotte and was sexually assaulted.

The Daily Camera learned in 2013 that a grand jury had voted in October 1999 to indict both her parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, on charges of child abuse resulting in death and accessory to the crime of first-degree murder — an indictment not announced at that time. No charges were ever actually filed in the case, however, based on then-District Attorney Alex Hunter's decision that there was insufficient evidence to support a conviction.

Patsy Ramsey died in June 2006, after a long battle with cancer.

In the 2022 release, Boulder police said detectives have investigated leads stemming from more than 21,000 tips, letters and emails and traveled to 19 states to interview more than 1,000 individuals.