JonBenét Ramsey Wiki: The Unsolved Murder of a 6-Year-Old Pageant Winner

JonBenét Ramsey was a typical six-year-old. She loved cats, pigtails, and standing on her head. But the tragically short life of the girl is anything but typical. The bizarre December 26, 1996 murder of JonBenét remains an unsolved mystery. This JonBenét Ramsey wiki provides information about her life, her love of beauty pageants, her family, and the ongoing murder investigation.

JonBenét Ramsey Wiki: Family Life

JonBenét Patricia Ramsey was born on August 6, 1990 in Atlanta, Georgia.

About JonBenét Patricia Ramsey
Age6 Years
BirthAugust 6, 1990 Atlanta, Georgia
DeathDecember 26, 1996 Boulder, Colorado
SiblingsBurke Hamilton Ramsey, Elizabeth Ramsey (half-sibling), Melinda Ramsey (half-sibling), John Andrew Ramsey (half-sibling)
ParentsPatricia "Patsy" Ann Ramsey (née Paugh), John Bennett Ramsey

She was named after her father, John Bennett Ramsey, and her mother, Patricia “Patsy” Ann Ramsey (née Paugh). The name JonBenét uses a French pronunciation: zhawn ben-AY.

JonBenet Ramsey

JonBenet Ramsey; Photo:

She had one older sibling, brother Burke, who was born in 1987.

John married Patsy Paugh in 1980 at Atlanta’s Peachtree Presbyterian Church.

Patsy was the 1977 Miss West Virginia and she was also a Miss America contender.

Patricia Paugh 1977

Patricia Paugh; photo: Miss West Virginia Scholarship Organization, Inc.

John had been married previously. In 1966, he married Lucinda Pasch, a college classmate from Michigan State University. The couple had three children, Elizabeth, Melinda, and John Andrew.

John and Lucinda divorced in 1977. It has been alleged that the reason for the split was an affair John had been having with a co-worker.

JonBenét and her brother Burke were born into a life of opportunity. Their father is a well-known American businessman who, in 1989, founded the Advanced Product Group. It merged with two other companies to become Access Graphics, a computer services company. John seized control of the new company and relocated it to Boulder, Colorado in 1991.

It was here that John purchased the family’s 7,000-square-foot, three-story, Tudor-style mansion in the upscale neighborhood adjacent to Chautauqua Park for around $500,000.

Over the next two years, Patsy spent $700,000 remodeling and redecorating the home. The house was listed on the Boulder Christmas tour, as well as the home tour. Patsy would greet visitors at the door with JonBenét and Burke at her side, all of them wearing matching sweaters.

Ramsey Home in Boulder, Colorado

Ramsey home in Boulder, Colorado; photo: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

JonBenét had a massive bedroom with wall hangings, toys, stuffed animals, and a bright, colorful bedspread. On display were JonBenét’s trophies, sashes, and medals. Her bedroom had a well-appointed en suite bathroom. An outside door from her room led to a large balcony that overlooked the family’s lush property.

On January 8, 1992, John’s oldest daughter, Elizabeth, 22, was killed in a traffic accident near Chicago. A few months later, John’s father also died.

In the summer of 1993, Patsy was diagnosed with metastasized ovarian cancer. In 1995, the cancer went into remission.

By 1996, John’s business was booming. On December 20 of that year, Access Graphics celebrated its first billion-dollar year. The Boulder Chamber of Commerce named John “Entrepreneur of the Year.” At the time, his net worth was reportedly around $6.4 million.

JonBenét Ramsey Wiki: Profile of a Happy Child

A Typical All-American Girl

JonBenét Ramsey was an outgoing child who loved being the center of attention. According to her stay-at-home mom, JonBenét “loved pigtails, she loved kitty cats, she loved blue jeans, she loved standing on her head. She was really good at standing on her head.”

JonBenét Ramsey also loved her family, friends, and church. But not necessarily in that order.

Her mother recounted that one time, JonBenét had asked her, “How much do you love me, mommy?” Patsy had replied, “JonBenét, I love you and Burke and daddy more than anything else in this world.” JonBenét had then turned to her mother and said, “You’re not supposed to love anyone more than Jesus.”

Patsy said about this conversation, “So, she knew the truth. She is with Him now, and we’ll be together one of these days.”

Patsy said that JonBenét also loved school.

“She was excited about school. She had her hair in braids, said she was wearing them in pigtail braids. She had an Atlanta backpack that her grandma gave her, and she wore a little kitty-cat outfit with a little kitten on the front and she just tripped right in there. She was really excited about going,” she said. “That was kindergarten—she never made it to first grade.”

Beauty Pageant Winner

Being so outgoing and vivacious—and blessed with bright green eyes, bouncy blonde hair, and an infectious smile—it’s not a total surprise that JonBenét followed in her mother’s footsteps. She started to enter beauty pageants when she was only four years old.

Not only did JonBenét enter the pageants, but she won. By age six, JonBenét had been crowned Little Miss Charlevoix, America’s Royale Miss, National Tiny Miss Beauty, Little Miss Christmas, Colorado State All-Star Kids Cover Girl, and Little Miss Colorado. JonBenét had also won more than a dozen talent and personality awards.

More good things were expected to come JonBenét’s way. Word on the pageant circuit was, “This one’s going all the way.”

JonBenét Ramsey

JonBenét Ramsey; Image:

JonBenét Ramsey Wiki: A Little Girl’s Death

Christmas 1996: What Happened?

Christmas 1996 was as exciting as it could be for the Ramsey children.

Christmas was one of JonBenét’s favorite times of the year. And her family went all out, adorning the outside of the house with lights and ornaments and lavishly decorating the inside with different Christmas trees in every room.

On December 22, JonBenét performed at a local mall, where she sang “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” danced, and played a plastic saxophone.

On Christmas morning, JonBenét and Burke snuck downstairs early to see what Santa had left. Burke recalled seeing an electric train set, and he said that JonBenét had gotten a big dollhouse. Both of them also received new bikes.

Burke & .JonBenét Ramsey

Burke & .JonBenét Ramsey at Christmas; Photo:

That Christmas, JonBenét also received a doll. Her mother had sent a picture of JonBenét to a doll company so they could make a doll that supposedly looked like her. When JonBenét opened it, Patsy looked at the doll lying in the box and noted that it looked like JonBenét in a coffin.

That evening, the entire family had Christmas dinner at the home of their best friends, Priscilla and Fleet White Jr., a mile or so away.

They returned home around 10:00 p.m. John took the already sleeping JonBenét up to her bedroom and Patsy helped tuck her into bed.

According to what the couple have told authorities, it was the last time they saw their daughter alive.

John Ramsey Finds JonBenét’s Body on December 26

Patsy said that on the morning of December 26, 1996, she walked down the back staircase from her bedroom to the second-floor landing, just a few steps from JonBenét’s bedroom. She continued from the second floor to the first floor, down a small spiral staircase.

It is on one of the bottom steps of the staircase that she found a three-page ransom letter. In it, the supposed kidnappers wrote that they had JonBenét and that, if the parents wanted to see her alive, they had to come up with $118,000.

Patsy called 911 at 5:52 a.m. Police arrived minutes later and searched the home.

Officer Rick French checked the basement and came to a door locked by a wooden latch. He failed to investigate what was on the other side. If he had, he would have found the lifeless body of JonBenét Ramsey.

At 1:00 p.m., detectives asked John Ramsey and his family friend Fleet White Jr. to search the house. The two descended into the basement, where John opened the latched door and found JonBenét.

Her body was hidden under a white blanket. She had a nylon cord around her neck, her wrists were bound above her head, and her mouth was covered with duct tape. The little girl had been bludgeoned and strangled.

The Autopsy

According to police, the killer broke into the house through a basement window, snuck up to her bedroom, and carried her into the basement. There, JonBenét was bound and her mouth was covered with duct tape.

According to the autopsy conducted by Dr. John E. Meyer, JonBenét was murdered by strangulation and a skull fracture. The official cause of death was “asphyxia by strangulation associated with craniocerebral trauma.” The report also showed some damage to JonBenét’s hymen, suggesting that she had been sexually assaulted.

Meyer noted that on JonBenét’s right wrist was a gold bracelet with the name “JonBenét” on one side and the date “12/25/96” on the other.

JonBenét Ramsey Wiki: Suspects in Her Murder

The murder of JonBenét Ramsey remains unsolved, but there have been several suspects put under the microscope.

The Parents

While John and Patsy Ramsey are the most notable suspects in the case, in 1999, Boulder County District Attorney Alex Hunter said he would not pursue charges against the couple, due to a lack of evidence.

John & Patricia Ramsey

John & Patricia Ramsey; Photo: .Erik S. Lesser/Newsmakers

DNA evidence taken from JonBenét’s clothing eventually cleared both John and Patsy of her murder. The DNA came from an unknown male and, at the time, could not be matched to anyone.

In 2008, the district attorney issued a formal apology to Patsy and John Ramsey, exonerating them of any criminal wrongdoing related to the murder of JonBenét. That was too late for Patsy, who had died of cancer in 2006.

The Brother

Suspicion also fell on JonBenét’s brother Burke, but the police never named him as a formal suspect.

Read more: Burke Ramsey Wiki: The Older Brother in JonBenét’s Shadow

Years later, when Burke was asked about who he thought killed JonBenét, he said, “I kinda always thought it was a pedophile who saw her in one of the pageants and snuck in [to our house]. Who knows?”

Burke Ramsey

Burke Ramsey During Interview with Dr. Phil; Image:

Bill McReynolds

Two nights before JonBenét’s murder, Bill McReynolds was at the Ramseys’ house dressed as Santa Claus. It is alleged that at that time, McReynolds gave JonBenét a card that read, “You will receive a very special gift after Christmas.”

McReynolds claimed that he was innocent. He died in 2002.

New Suspects

A year before JonBenét’s murder, Keith Schwinaman pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault of a child in an unrelated case and, incredibly, he was given a four-year deferred sentence.

Fast forward to 2003 and in a plea deal, Schwinaman accepted a 32-year prison sentence for criminal sex acts he perpetrated on three women from 1993 to 1996.

“If you look at JonBenét’s murder and Schwinaman’s crimes for just the methods of operation, a lot of similarities fit,” said retired Boulder police Detective Bob Whitson. “But what we didn’t have was any physical evidence against him.”

Schwinaman had tied up two of his victims with nylon rope and taped another victim’s hands behind her back. In one instance, Schwinaman broke through a window before attacking his victim.

Why was there a lack of evidence against Schwinaman in the JonBenét Ramsey case? Whitson said that Schwinaman always wore gloves while committing his crimes.

There may be some merit to the accusations against Schwinaman. His ex-partner has said that she can’t provide an air-tight alibi for Schwinaman on the night that JonBenét was murdered.

Another new suspect is Glen Meyer. Meyer, who has since died, was interviewed during the initial investigation into JonBenét’s murder. His wife, Charlotte Hey, 85, has gone on record as saying that she believes her late husband was responsible for the murder.

“I believe my husband killed JonBenét. I knew he was capable of it,” she said. “When I asked him if he murdered her, he would just smile at me. He wouldn’t deny it.”

More recently, forensic experts have compared Meyer’s handwriting to the ransom note, with one expert claiming that the handwriting was a “perfect match.”

JonBenét Ramsey

Ransom Note Found in Ramsey Home December 26, 1996

JonBenét Ramsey Wiki: More Recent Developments

CBS Airs Docu-Series about the Case

In September 2016, CBS aired an explosive documentary series about the JonBenét Ramsey case. It laid out evidence to suggest that Burke Ramsey, JonBenét’s older brother, was responsible for her death.

In a 2016 interview with CBS Detroit, forensic pathologist Dr. Werner Spitz said there was reason to believe that Burke, who was nine at the time, hit JonBenét over the head with a heavy flashlight, accidentally killing her.

Burke, who was 29 at the time of the documentary’s airing, did not take kindly to the way he was portrayed in the series. Burke filed a $150.0-million defamation lawsuit against Spitz, claiming that Spitz had “attacked and permanently harmed” his reputation.

On December 28, 2016, Burke Ramsey filed another civil lawsuit, accusing CBS, the production company Critical Content LLC, and seven experts and consultants of defamation of character. He is seeking $250.0 million in compensatory damages and $500.0 million in punitive damages.

John Ramsey May Allow JonBenét to Be Exhumed

Science has come a long way since JonBenét Ramsey was savagely murdered in 1996. Modern techniques have been used to solve a number of old crimes, including, most recently, the assaults and murders committed by the Golden State Killer.

Michael Dougherty, the current district attorney for Boulder County, has formed a special task force to investigate 34 missing persons and murder cases, including the death of JonBenét Ramsey. JonBenét’s father has said that he may give authorities permission to exhume JonBenét’s body.

“I am very pleased the new district attorney is setting up a cold-case team,” said John. “That is often the only way older cases are solved. I’m hoping JonBenét’s case is the first one they work on.”

JonBenét Ramsey's Grave

JonBenét Ramsey’s Grave; Photo: