JonBenet Ramsey Murder: Did Boulder Police intentionally withhold DNA evidence findings?

3D render of a police line tape against defocussed background

Last year information surfaced that Boulder Police had long been in the possession of DNA evidence that proved neither John nor Patricia (Patsy) Ramsey kidnapped nor killed their 6-year-old daughter JonBenet Ramsey, on Christmas Day, 1996. Despite having these DNA results on record, Boulder Police continued to publicly pursue the parents of murdering their Pageant Queen daughter in the basement of their Boulder, Colorado home. Moreover, allegations persist the Boulder District Attorney’s office also purposely hampered prosecutorial efforts in the case.

News of the potentially damaging update in the JonBenet Ramsey cold murder investigation comes as a new book chronicling the inside story of the botched Boulder Police investigation into her murder hits the bookshelves. In Lou and JonBenet, A Legendary Lawman’s Quest to Solve the Murder of a Child Beauty Queen, author and former El Paso County, Colorado Sheriff John Wesley Anderson, reveals evidence uncovered by legendary homicide detective Lou Smit. Smit was an investigator on the Ramsey Task Force, serving under Anderson as his Captain of Detectives. 

Anderson’s book details the unyielding detective work performed by Smit and Anderson as they sought to solve JonBenet’s killing. Murders were rare in the expensive neighborhood where the Ramseys lived, so Boulder Police were not too experienced with handling cases of this complexity. 

Citing the need for additional investigators on the Ramsey murder case, the Boulder District Attorney’s office hired Smit. However, not long into the investigation, Smit became disgruntled with the prosecutor’s insistence the Ramseys were involved in the case. He was frustrated that their obstinance excluded anyone else as a potential subject.

RW “Pete” Peterson, a Colorado private detective who agreed with Smit that an intruder killed JonBenet, was interviewed for an article about the case by the Ranchos Santa Fe Review in 2012. He, along with Smit, invested untold hours investigating the murder, and he came to the same conclusion as Smit – an intruder had perpetrated the crime. Still, “’The Boulder Police Department was only fixated on the parents in the Jon Benet case and would not listen to anything else,’” he was quoted as saying in the article. 

If it is true Boulder Police withheld DNA evidence proving the Ramseys had nothing to do with their daughter’s kidnapping or death, they intentionally prevented them from being vindicated publicly. In fact, the Boulder PD continued to pursue the Ramseys as primary suspects. Patsy Ramsey died of ovarian cancer in 2006.

According to Boulder Criminal Defense Attorney David Moorhead, of The Moorhead Law Group, “Any potentially exculpatory evidence that was withheld by prosecutors concerning a person of interest raises potential issues of police misconduct. Because there have never been any criminal charges brought against any of the Ramsey family members, the rules regarding ‘discovery’ have never been violated. Nevertheless, ethical considerations are raised if prosecutors withheld that information from the Ramseys and allowed the cloud of suspicion to hang over them for nearly three decades.”

Referring to Anderson’s new book, detailing Smit’s investigation into the Ramsey murder, Moorhead said, “According to the author, the DNA findings were given to a Boulder detective roughly three weeks after JonBenet’s death – but he waited months before sharing them with prosecutors, and police spent years with the parents under suspicion despite the findings.”

This 26-year-old cold case continues to baffle and intrigue the masses. 

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