JonBenet Ramsey Death Gets Fresh Look With New Round of Interviews

Police launching new round of interviews in hopes of solving 14-year-old case.

ByClayton Sandell and Sarah Netter
October 04, 2010, 7:23 AM

Oct. 4, 2010— -- Investigators hoping to solve the 1996 killing of 6-year-old pageant queen JonBenet Ramsey have launched a fresh round of interviews with witnesses that could provide the clue they've been missing all these years.

Among the potential witnesses police have contacted is the little girl's brother, Burke Ramsey. Now 23, he was 9 when his sister's body was found in the family's Colorado basement, beaten and strangled.

Ramsey family attorney Lin Wood recently told the Boulder Daily Camera newspaper that a police detective "met with Burke and gave him a card and said, 'If you want to talk to us, here's how you would contact me.'"

Larry Schiller, author of a book on the case, "Perfect Murder, Perfect Town," and a contributor to the Daily Beast news website, said the new investigation comes likely as part of a police mandate to reopen cold cases every few years.

"This is a case that embarrassed an entire community," he said, pointing to the inexperience of the Boulder Police Department in 1996. "They live under the shadow of this case."

At one point or another, every member of the Ramsey family, including Burke Ramsey and their parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, has lived under a cloud of suspicion. The family was officially cleared as suspects in 2008, two years after Patsy Ramsey died of ovarian cancer.

"I think there's always a chance with technology and confession," Schiller said of finding the killer. "I think there's a very, very big chance that the killer has passed on and no longer exists."

Schiller theorized that police are interested in speaking to Burke Ramsey not as a suspect but as someone who may have a childhood memory from that day that could be triggered by a new investigation.

"I think it's a matter of can they corroborate something they know about or that they suspect may lead them to a solution," Schiller said of the potential witnesses.

Investigators, he said, will also likely go back to the physical evidence in the case.

"Modern technology, what was missed, is there a witness that may have said something down the road that now has more meaning," he said. "It's a step-by-step process."

Ramsey Family Accused for Years of Killing JonBenet

Schiller said he hopes investigators this time will finally stop focusing on the family as suspects, a path, he said, that tainted the case from the beginning.

John Ramsey told ABC News' Barbara Walters in 2006 that he knew some people still thought either he or his wife killed their daughter.

"I have no doubt of that because of the massive number and the frequency and the duration of the accusations that were thrown at us in the beginning," he said.

Police were briefly buoyed by a confession from a man named John Mark Karr, who said he loved JonBenet and killed her accidentally. But subsequent DNA tests revealed Karr was not the killer.

JonBenet was reported missing the day after Christmas in 1996. Her mother placed a frantic 911 call to report a kidnapping and a ransom note was found in the house. Her body was found in the basement later that day.

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