25 Years Later, JonBenét Ramsey's Dad Is Hopeful New Documentary Will "Keep the Case Alive"

Nearly 25 years after JonBenét Ramsey's infamous and still unsolved death, the case of the 6-year-old pageant queen is back in the news again. Read on for her father's hopes for the new project.

By Samantha Schnurr Jan 11, 2021 6:51 PMTags
Watch: Will the JonBenet Ramsey Case Ever Be Solved?

Nearly 25 years after JonBenét Ramsey's death, the 6-year-old child pageant queen's untimely passing is in the headlines once again. 

The unsolved case, a longtime subject of public curiosity, speculation and press attention, is now the focus of another documentary, JonBenét Ramsey: What Really Happened?, streaming on the newly launched Discovery+. According to a trailer for the project, viewers can expect to hear previously unreleased audio from Lou Smit, a homicide detective who kept an audio diary while working on the case. 

While Lou has since died, his daughter and son are set to appear in the documentary, according to USA Today, along with JonBenét's dad, John Ramsey, and half-brother, John Andrew Ramsey. "I was not aware of the audiotapes," John Sr. recently told USA Today in an interview. "It's a real asset to solving this case, still." 

The father has mourned his daughter's death for more than two decades, but he continues to hold onto hope, including with this new project. As he told the website, he hopes it will "keep the case alive. We're hoping somebody will come forward with some information that will be helpful."

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Even though much time has passed, revisiting his daughter's death remains a painful subject for the 77 year old, one that also conjures up memories of the treatment he and his late wife, Patsy Ramsey, faced. 

"The death of JonBenét took away my desire to live for a while," he told USA Today. "The actions of the police took away my ability to live normally and that, to some extent, continued for a long time in the way we were treated and assaulted."

John Sr. did not mince words about how the couple was allegedly unfairly targeted by authorities. "The police drew a conclusion immediately that day, the next day and then tried to find the evidence to prove it. And the evidence they were finding was, unfortunately for them, contradictory to their conclusion," he told USA Today. "But they never admitted that and struggled with that for years and spent millions of taxpayers' dollars trying to prove otherwise."

In 2008, the Boulder District Attorney's Office exonerated the Ramsey family, including John Sr., Patsy and their son, Burke Ramsey.  

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"What the police did to our family," John Andrew said, "is a massive miscarriage of justice, and it needs to be documented, it's history, it's the unfortunate truth. It shouldn't happen again. It shouldn't happen to another family."

In a statement to E! News, the Boulder Police Department said, "This is an open homicide investigation and we have no new statement to release on this ongoing investigation. We would encourage anyone with information about JonBenet Ramsey homicide to contact the Boulder Police Department Tipline at 303-441-1974 or BouldersMostWanted@bouldercolorado.gov. Those who have information but wish to remain anonymous may contact the Northern Colorado Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Tips may also be submitted through the Crime Stoppers website at crimeshurt.com. Those submitting tips through Crime Stoppers that lead to the arrest and filing of charges on a suspect(s) may be eligible for a cash reward from Crime Stoppers."

JonBenét Ramsey: What Really Happened? is streaming now on Discovery+.