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News / Nation & World

Colorado police reexamine DNA evidence in JonBenet Ramsey case

By Carol McKinley, The Gazette
Published: December 21, 2021, 8:17am

DENVER — The day after Christmas will mark 25 years since 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey was found dead in the basement of her parents’ Boulder home, setting off a firestorm of national media attention.

Her killing has never been solved, but for the first time, Boulder police are acknowledging that they are looking into what they describe as “genetic DNA testing processes to see if they can be applied to this case moving forward.” The development was announced in a news release Monday.

At issue is unidentified DNA found in JonBenet’s underwear and touch DNA discovered on the waistband of her long johns. Investigators said the DNA doesn’t match any of the persons of interest in the case.

So far, the profiles have not had a positive hit in the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System. The database, known as CODIS, includes genetic profiles from more than 20 million known offenders and arrestees and has helped in 545,000 investigations.

In Monday’s news release, Boulder police said they have analyzed nearly 1,000 DNA samples, including 750 reference samples through the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

In the last 25 years, according to the release, Boulder Police Department’s Major Crimes Unit has also received and reviewed or investigated 21,016 tips, letters and emails, and traveled to 19 states to check out 1,000 suspects in the case.

JonBenet’s older brother, John Andrew Ramsey, who has met with detectives in charge of the case several times in the last two years, wants police to do more.

“What the Boulder police have done to date is not enough,” Ramsey told The Denver Gazette. “What our family wants is results. We don’t care who gets us to the finish line, whether it’s the Boulder police, great. If it’s another agency, great. Whatever it takes to find JonBenet’s killer.”

Ramsey thinks the case can be solved through DNA. On the other hand, Boulder police have consistently said DNA is only one part of the criminal investigation and not the smoking gun.

In 2016, a Georgia man named John Mark Karr was arrested in Thailand after months of investigation into an email confession he made to a University of Colorado professor. The case was dropped by then-District Attorney Mary Lacy because his DNA did not link him to JonBenet’s murder.