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Why the Murder of JonBenét Ramsey Became a National Obsession: Anatomy of a Shocking Crime

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“There was not one instance of physical or sexual abuse,” Smit, who was played by Kris Kristofferson in Perfect Murder, Perfect Town, told the Denver Post before he died in August 2010. “You just don’t turn into something overnight. Usually you have some inkling. John would call his kids when he was on the road. His ex-wife said he was a good father.” (Ramsey had two adult children from his previous marriage to Lucinda Pasch. Their eldest daughter, Elizabeth, died in a car crash in 1992.)

Smit stated that detectives had failed to perform certain tests that could have either further implicated or exonerated the Ramseys, and cited a number of procedural issues that occurred in the earliest days of the investigation.

“You only have one shot to do that right,” he said. “The house should have been totally shut. The crime scene was screwed up.” Smith theorized that the killer got into the Ramsey house on the evening of Christmas day and, after killing JonBenét, probably intended to remove her body from the house in a suitcase that was found near a broken basement window. Unlike some, Smit thought there were signs of forced entry by that window. (John Ramsey had said he broke the window beforehand a while back.)

Smit told the Post that the killer’s name was probably in the case file somewhere thanks to one of the thousands of tips police received, and that likely the perpetrator was in prison by then for another crime.

“But if you’re stuck on one thought of who did it you’re not going to solve it,” he said, rejecting the theory that the murder was staged, as it was expressly to make it look like something it wasn’t (such as the work of a sexual sadist instead of the result of domestic abuse).

“There’s no bad guy here, the police didn’t intentionally bungle [the investigation], it just happened that way,” Grace told E! News. “And I don’t believe that case will ever, ever be solved—but I can tell you this,” she added, referring to the renewed examination of the case at the time and what it insinuated, “Burke Ramsey did not kill his sister.”

And yet A. James Kolar, lead investigator on the case for the Boulder District Attorney’s office between 2005 and 2006, resists the theory that an intruder was responsible.

Referring to the new DNA samples found in JonBenét’s underwear that had led to the Ramseys being cleared, Kolar wrote in his self-published Foreign Faction: Who Really Kidnapped JonBenét?: “I don’t think we should be letting the course of the investigation be run by one single artifact that may or may not necessarily be involved in the actual crime of the kidnap or murder.”

JonBenét: Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation author Steve Thomas, an investigator on the case until August 1998, insisted in his book that “the little girl was killed by a family member, whom I believe to have been her panicked mother, Patsy Ramsey, and that her father, John Ramsey, opted to protect his wife in the investigation that followed.” He surmised that Patsy lost her temper because the 6-year-old had wet her bed and she slammed her against a hard surface in the bathroom while cleaning her up.

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