Thursday, August 24, 2006

Doubts Still Remain

Like Azaria Chamberlin before her, JonBenet Ramsey
eventually became a punchline to tasteless jokes.The awful truth of a six-year-old's slaying was cheapened by thousands of hours of media coverage and countless conspiracy theories, most of which blamed her own parents for killing her. The little girl was barely buried before her strange life was exhumed -- her rich parents, their enormous house, their private jet, the bizarre world of child beauty pageants.
JonBenet's final hours must have been awful. Her body was found in the basement of her own home, wrapped in a blanket, her hands taped above her head. A garotte around her neck had been tightened with a broken paintbrush and she had been sexually abused. Her skull was fractured and someone's skin was under her fingernails.
Even before her body was found, whispers began about the involvement of family members. A handwritten ransom note was found at the foot of the staircase. It was three pages long and full of inside knowledge about the family, as if the author had all the time in the world to write it.
Police said it had been written on the Ramsey family's stationery with one of Patsy Ramsey's pens.
JonBenet's father, John, found his daughter's body. A relative swore he screamed "Oh my God" before he switched on the basement light.
A basement window was broken, but it didn't seem to allow enough room for an intruder. There were no footprints in the snow leading to the window. The killer must have known his way around the enormous house to find his way to JonBenet's bedroom and to the basement without being detected.
The ransom note asked for $A154,000 -- precisely the amount of money awarded to John Ramsey as his end-of-year bonus.
And then there were the bizarre beauty pageant images of a sexualised child -- videotapes of JonBenet wearing too much makeup and adult clothes, dancing across the stage like a 19-year-old cheerleader.
It all created a sensational story for the media that descended on the hitherto quiet city of Boulder. Police investigating the only murder in Boulder that year were overwhelmed, and the 804 other children murdered in the US in 1996 were forgotten as America clamoured for information on JonBenet.
Ramsey family acquaintances sold trivial details to an unscrupulous press. Journalists, hungry for anything fresh on an over-exposed story, ran unsourced articles detailing trivialities.
Evidence in favour of the Ramseys was often glossed over -- the investigating police had failed to seal off the crime scene and for eight hours family, friends and police trod all over crucial evidence that might have pointed to an intruder. A piece of DNA on JonBenet didn't match any of her relatives'. Handwriting experts said the ransom note wasn't written by a relative. There was a handprint on a basement doorframe that didn't match the Ramseys'.
Friends and neighbours weren't immune from the speculation; eventually, most shunned the Ramseys. At JonBenet's funeral, a relative accused Patsy of killing JonBenet. John and Patsy sold their home and fled to another state.
And earlier this year, Patsy died of ovarian cancer.
JonBenet Ramsey would have been 15 years old this year.
It might have been the age at which she would probably have cringed at the childhood beauty pageant photographs and trophies that once filled a room in her family's home.
I still stick to my opinion of this guy they have in custody, he didn't do it.

till next time, Michelle.


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