The 1996 murder of tiny pageant princess JonBenét Ramsey was such a shocking story that it made the national news over in Scotland. A cute little girl, murdered in her own home at Christmas is not something that is easy to ignore, and I remember watching the news and waiting for ‘the bad guy’ to be caught and prosecuted. Of course that never happened, the crime was never solved. Every so often there seemed to be hints that more information had been discovered but still there was no perp, no arrest, no justice for that little girl.
I was listening to Undisclosed Season 2 recently while out walking my dog and I suddenly realized that the host of the addendum was talking about JonBenét and I had to rewind to make sure I was hearing it correctly. Jim Clemente was investigating the case, and had made a documentary. I had to watch. I had to know if there really was new evidence.
So, I tuned in and sat glued to the show. Now, maybe I’m becoming something of a true crime snob, but I didn’t really like the format of this one. I can’t quite put my finger on the exact reasons, but some of it felt too rehearsed and manufactured, and maybe it was the editing but it seemed like Jim and Laura put words into the mouths of their experts and especially the 911 operator who took the call the night of the murder.
I would have much preferred for them to let everyone say what they thought they heard with NO input from each other, just to see if they could agree without influencing each other. Also I was amazed that they played those loud scratchy noisy recordings and stated that they could make out enough words to form sentences – I was disappointed I couldn’t hear it clearly and obviously for myself before they told us what they/we were hearing. The only thing I can say with a degree of certainty is that I think the 911 phone call audio did have people talking after Patsy thought she had hung up and it did not seem like hysterical panic about a missing child.
I also thought I was going to be watching the team as they worked through the evidence and brainstormed all their ideas, but the show felt more like that had already been done and to a certain extent they were just presenting their conclusions on each point. Maybe the two part show is just to small an amount of time to really go through everything carefully.
I remember at the time thinking the intruder story made very little sense, the ransom note seemed completely fake, and the way the family acted and interacted with the media was definitely off. I still hold the same view on each of those points. Although having lived in America for the past 18 years I have noticed that rushing to discuss your family tragedy on live TV is not the bizarre, unique action I was once believed. Americans seem to enjoy claiming their 15 minutes no matter the circumstance (sorry America.)
Was it normal for them to be awake so early? The call to 911 was placed before 6am on a holiday, aren’t most families worn out after the excitement of Christmas day? I know my kids are usually wiped out after a hard day of opening gifts and running around fueled by Christmas candy. Why was Patsy up so early? If they thought JonBenét may have been kidnapped, why did they not tear the house apart looking for her? If I honestly thought one of my kids was missing, I wouldn’t think twice about waking the others up to ask if they knew anything and to help me look – after I’d already searched the obvious places myself. And if it was dark out I’d have every light in every room turned on. It would have been dark at that hour in Colorado in December right?
Why did the police not search the entire house as soon as they arrived? I know they’re initially thinking kidnapping, but even if they didn’t expect to find the child, wouldn’t they want to look at all possible ways into and out of the house? The decision not to interview the parents immediately was bizarre, were any of the lead detectives and investigators friends with the Ramsey’s? Was there a feeling they had to go easy on them? Were they intimidated by the Ramsey’s social status, did the Ramsey’s wield actual power in their hometown?
Can any evidence be tested for DNA now?
As much as I agree that Burke acted strangely in some of the video clips shown, I have to also say that some of the conclusions drawn by Jim and Laura felt like they were inferring what they wanted to infer, instead of watching with an unbiased eye.
An angry 9 year old boy, with a history of hitting his little sister with a golf club, is most definitely capable of swinging a heavy flashlight with enough force to do damage. If that’s what he did, I don’t think there was intent to kill. He wanted to hurt her or pay her back for whatever infraction had riled him, but I don’t think he intended to cause her death. Did he show any remorse after the golf club incident?
Did anyone open the blue suitcase in the basement? I know the theory was that it was used as a step up for the intruder to exit through the window, or at least it was placed there to stage the area to look like that’s what had happened. But if Burke had accidentally killed his little sister, might it be possible that he thought he’d get in trouble with his parents and therefor decide he should run away? I babysat a little boy once, who having gotten into an argument with the morning shift babysitter (I was the afternoon shift) decided he had to run away from home. The first thing he did was grab a suitcase from his parents closet, and pack his school books and a sweater. Might it be possible that Burke was the one who had move the suitcase and opened the basement window with the intention of leaving before he got yelled at for what he’d just done?
Ugh this show was gotten under my skin, because I don’t like that the mystery of who killed JonBenét remains unsolved. I wanted a definitive answer with irrefutable evidence. I bet that’s a plea offered up by police men and women, prosecutors and jury members the world over. All of this of course is just my random thoughts as I watched the show and remembered the news all those years ago. I’m not a detective, I don’t even play one on TV.
Most importantly, I really want justice for that little girl. I want JonBenét to finally rest in peace.