JonBenet Ramsey Homicide Investigation Update—December 2023
BOULDER, Colo. – On December 26, 1996, 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey was reported missing after her family reported finding a ransom note inside their home in the 700 block of 15th Street. She was later found inside the home deceased. Her death has been ruled a homicide.
Recently, the Boulder Police Department (BPD) convened a panel of outside experts (Colorado Cold Case Review Team) to review the JonBenet Ramsey homicide investigation. The purpose of the review was to generate additional investigative recommendations and determine if updated technologies and/or forensic testing might produce new intelligence or leads to solve the case.
The Colorado Cold Case Review Team spent the past year preparing for the review. The team is comprised of professional, investigative, analytical, and forensic experts from across Colorado, including the FBI, Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Boulder County District Attorney’s Office, and numerous other entities (including public and private forensic laboratories) with expertise in cold case homicide investigations. An intensive effort digitized all evidence to create a comprehensive and searchable database containing thousands of information files, bringing together more than 21,000 tips, over 1,000 interviews conducted across 17 states and two foreign countries, and samples from more than 200 different individuals, including handwriting, DNA, fingerprints, and shoeprints. The case file consists of nearly 2,500 pieces of evidence and roughly 40,000 reports, with more than one million pages documenting the investigation. A fresh inventory of all collected evidence was made available for investigative review, which would not have been possible without the assistance of the FBI.
BPD and the Boulder District Attorney are currently in the process of reviewing and prioritizing the team’s recommendations. To preserve the integrity of the investigation, the specific recommendations will not be made public at this time. However, we are committed to following the recommendations generated from this cold case review.
DNA testing continues to be an investigative focal point. DNA testing was previously completed, but the science behind DNA testing continues to rapidly evolve. The Boulder Police Department is working with leading DNA experts from across the county to ensure the latest forensic techniques are used to analyze remaining DNA samples. The evidence has been preserved and will continue to be ready for testing when there is proven and validated technology that can accurately test forensic samples consistent with the evidence available in this case. Detectives are actively taking steps to prepare the evidence for testing when possible.
“I am grateful for the Cold Case Review Team’s independent assessment and the recommendations provided regarding this tragic case,” Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold said. “We will continue to pursue all leads and explore technology advancements to identify JonBenet’s killer. I also commit to providing the community and family with investigative updates as new evidence emerges.”
District Attorney Michael Dougherty concurred, saying, “I am grateful for the hard work and collaboration of the multi-agency group that reviewed the entire case file and presented the case to the Cold Case Review Team. Also, I sincerely appreciate the time, expertise, and input provided by the members of the Cold Case Review Team. As with any cold case homicide in Colorado, the overarching goal is to look at the facts and evidence with fresh eyes and an open mind, armed with the latest developments in forensic science. The presentation and discussion generated helpful recommendations. Importantly, it also ensures that everything possible is being done to solve this tragic murder.”
Anyone with information related to this investigation is asked to contact our tip line at 303-441-1974 or by email at BouldersMostWanted@bouldercolorado.gov
We are not conducting any media interviews at this time. Previous news releases on this case can be found on our website at https://bouldercolorado.gov/jonbenet-ramsey-homicide