Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Murder of JonBenet Ramsey

The Case Goes Cold

"People's eyes glaze over when you start talking about the First Amendment and privacy," Wood says. "But if we allow the media to try people outside of the judicial system, without any boundaries or limitations, everyone is at risk. Serious journalists need to start asking themselves: Do I want to be judge and jury for this person?"'

John Ramsey tried to have the last word when he told a TV interviewer, "When you've lost a child, nothing else matters... You're rendered as low as you can possibly be without dying," he said. "Our focus was laying JonBenet to rest properly, and that's all that mattered during that time." Patsy Ramsey added, "I don't know who will want to read it, but if they do, it's going to be there as best we can portray what we've been through in two and a half years," she said.

Governor Owens had his own views on the matter. "If they're innocent, they're sure not acting like they are."

Regardless of ongoing rumors to the contrary, as the months progressed, the JonBenet Ramsey murder investigation showed definite signs that it was winding down.

Among other things, the police case files pertaining to the case were placed in storage; the lead grand jury prosecutor, Michael Kane, moved to the East Coast; and case detectives were reassigned to other duties. Finally, after spending more than $500,000 on the case, Boulder District Attorney Alex Hunter announced that his office had run out of money for the case and had no immediate plans to seek additional funding. "We are making no request at this time," said Bill Wise, first assistant district attorney. "That is not to say that we may not have to go back before the commissioners and make a request, but I cannot predict if that will happen."

In addition, when asked if the department had spent any money on the case in recent months, police spokeswoman Jennifer Bray said, "I can't imagine any costs have been incurred at all. Any expense would be very small. The room that detectives had been using is being turned into the major crimes unit's room."

Bray also said that Ramsey investigation files have been "stored away in a secure location." The last four detectives assigned exclusively to the case have been assigned to more recent cases.

It appeared that the investigation had finally run out of steam regardless of the statements made by the key players after the grand jury handed down its decision in October:

"We are not going to quit on this case." (Alex Hunter October 14th)

Mark Beckner
Mark Beckner

"From the police perspective, this will remain an open, ongoing investigation ... This case is not dead in the water." (Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner — October 14th)

"The right people are now working the Ramsey case.... And I am confident that each day brings us closer to the day when you (the killers) will reap what you have sown." (Governor Bill Owens — Oct. 27th)

Up until that time, the city of Boulder and the state of Colorado had spent a combined total of $2,063,456.42 over three years investigating the murder of JonBenet Ramsey. Of those funds, only a miniscule $25,500 remained, which was used to keep grand jury special prosecutor Michael Kane on retainer even though he had moved to Pennsylvania and to keep Hunter's spokeswoman, Suzanne Laurion, on his staff in a reduced capacity.

In mid-November, Boulder County commissioners approved Alex Hunter's $2.9 million budget request for the year 2000, none of which was allocated to the Ramsey investigation.

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