Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Murder of JonBenet Ramsey

The Confession

On September 10, 2001, the case leapt back into news when The Daily Camera reported that an email dated August 8 had been sent to Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner from an informant, stating that an AOL subscriber had allegedly posted a message on an Internet bulletin board claiming to have witnessed the 1996 slaying of JonBenet Ramsey.

In response, the Boulder authorities contacted the Loudoun County police in Virginia, where AOL's Internet service is based, and requested that a search warrant be filed to "seek information that may lead to the identity of the subscriber."

AOL spokesman Nicholas Graham confirmed that the warrant had been served and complied with within days of the request.

After extensive investigations, the Boulder police later announced that the supposed "confession" was nothing more than a hoax, the work of a 14-year-old Ohio girl.

Boulder detectives, who had traveled to the girl's home to investigate the claim, told CNN that she and her parents had been "cooperative" and no charges would be laid.

Police Chief Mark Beckner later told the media, "We never thought that this was legitimate because what was being reported didn't match the evidence."

The "informant," Susan Bennett, was the same woman who sent two DNA samples of "possible murder suspects" to Boulder authorities earlier this year. Bennett manages a web site devoted to the Ramsey case.

Bennett claimed she had an online conversation with the girl, who told her "she had been abducted by three men after she overheard their plan to murder JonBenet. The men then forced her to go inside the Ramsey home and watch as they undressed JonBenet, assaulted her, then dressed her."

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