No Justice For Jon Benet Ramsey

All crime reporters have a story from their past they cannot shake, a case that either touched them on a profound personal level or remains mysteriously unsolved. This time of year, I think of a story I covered 20 years ago this week, which remains with me for both reasons: the Christmastime death of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey in Boulder, Colorado. As the mother of a daughter, I can’t help it. Every year, visions of Jon Benet’s beautiful face and her obvious potential come flooding back to me.

Ahead of the sad anniversary of her death, you probably noticed a flood of articles, programs and amateur conclusions about the case, each mentioning a mysterious two-and-a-half-page handwritten ransom note the Ramseys say was left behind by the killer (or killers).

That is the one piece of evidence I think is a key to solving the crime. (Another prime bit of evidence is the unknown DNA of a male left behind on JonBenet Ramsey’s panties and pajama leggings. But so far, no suspect has emerged. More sophisticated DNA testing is expected soon.)

Typically, Ransom Notes Are Not Three Pages Long

The phrases and words in the ransom note provide tantalizing clues as to its authorship, and some forensic document examiners have opined that it was likely written by a woman. Nurturing phrases like “I advise you to be rested” are what experts call “maternalistic” language. They report finding six such statements in the note. Before her death, Patsy Ramsey vehemently denied she wrote it.

Various forensic examiners and various television networks have ruled out John Ramsey as the author of the note. They have also concluded that Patsy Ramsey could not be excluded as the writer — this after they compared the note with extensive handwriting samples the couple provided for police shortly after the murder. Additionally, the tablet the note was written on and the pen used to write it were identical to items discovered inside the Ramsey home. And a “practice draft” of the letter was found crumpled up nearby.

Retired FBI profiler Jim Clemente recently hosted a CBS special on the case, and his experts determined it would have taken more than 21 minutes for someone to write that lengthy note, which is “twenty-one-and-a-half minutes that they stayed in the house longer than they needed to.” That’s not typical criminal behavior.

I recently spoke with Cina Wong, one of the forensic examiners who has studied the ransom note extensively. In 2000, the Ramseys’ lawyer got her disqualified from testifying on behalf of a man who filed a $50 million defamation case against them after they named him as a suspect in their book, “The Death of Innocence.” But Wong is eminently qualified; she has become internationally recognized during her 25-year career and has testified under oath in some 60 cases. Her discoveries are persuasive.

First, after studying the awkward-looking writing at the beginning of the note, Wong says she saw that the writing style changed after the first few paragraphs. This, she says, is evidence the writer was deliberately disguising his or her handwriting. Wong then referred to a “master pattern” chart that listed all the different ways the author wrote each letter. She noticed the writer’s distinctive letter “q” looked just like the number 8, and there was unique spacing of letters within certain words.

Wong Discussed Her Findings on ABC’s 20/20

“Basically,” she told me during a telephone call, “whoever has handwriting that matches all of these patterns is your ransom-note writer.” Interestingly, Wong says, the master pattern was developed by the Ramseys’ own handwriting expert for the above-mentioned lawsuit, and the 101 pages of the Ramseys’ handwriting samples came from their attorney.

Wong quickly determined that John Ramsey’s writing had no similarities to the ransom note. Patsy Ramsey, on the other hand, wrote the letter “c” in a compressed way that almost resembled the point of an arrow. The same was seen on the ransom note. Patsy wrote five distinctly different styles of the letter “e,” and all five were seen on the ransom note. Patsy penned three different styles of the letters “a,” “d” and “h,” and all were seen on the ransom note. Patsy’s letter “q” looked just like the number 8.

“In all, I found 200 similarities between Patsy Ramsey’s handwriting and the ransom note,” Wong told me.

Does that mean Ramsey is, indeed, the person who wrote the note? Experts like Wong don’t speak in absolutes. She only said, “It is highly probable that she wrote the ransom note.” Make of that what you will.

The mystery continues, and justice for JonBenet Ramsey remains elusive.




  1. Lillie Vaden on December 28, 2016 at 8:21 pm

    Diane, thanks for posting more info on the Ramsey case, there will always be wonder, doubt, on this case, but the hand writing analysis cinched it for me, love, Lil

  2. Diane Dimond on December 28, 2016 at 9:25 pm

    Facebook Friend Greg D’Angelo wrote:

    Look no further then her brother……

    • Diane Dimond on December 28, 2016 at 9:59 pm

      Here’s my problem with accusing brother Burke. Almost immediately after the murder the Ramseys sent Burke off to stay with their friends, the Whites, across the street. Is that something parents who were covering up for their murderous 9 year old son would do? Wouldn’t they fear that the child might inadvertently blab or outright confess to the crime? And it wasn’t long before Burke was sent to Georgia to stay with family while his parents stayed behind in Boulder. Again, if you’re covering up for your child do you send him away where anyone (even cops!) could question him about what happened in that house that night/morning? Yes, the parents could have put the fear of God into the child – but still it is quite a risk.This has always bothered me about the “Burke Theory.” ~ DD

  3. Diane Dimond on December 28, 2016 at 9:26 pm

    Facebook Friend Virginia Barnhill-Moody writes:

    Yes every news channel are carrying the same thing .They still think the parents did it . I feel sorry for the family having to go through it so many times through the last 25 years !

  4. Diane Dimond on December 28, 2016 at 9:26 pm

    Facebook Friend Becky Marple Bozic writes:

    I think either Patsy or the son hit her in anger and it “accidentally” caused her death.

  5. Diane Dimond on December 28, 2016 at 9:30 pm

    Facebook Friend Lenore Riegel writes:

    If you couldn’t prove who killed that little girl, no reporter could. But I’ll bet you have a private opinion. Love to hear it someday.

  6. Diane Dimond on December 28, 2016 at 9:36 pm

    Facebook Friend Bill Voinovich writes:

    STILL THINK Mom and DAD were heavily involved…….

  7. Diane Dimond on December 28, 2016 at 9:36 pm

    Facebook Friend Chad Perry Tate writes:

    I agree. They definitely had MAJOR involvement in this crime.// I still believe the parents.. BOTH PARENTS.. were VERY MUCH involved.

  8. Diane Dimond on December 28, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    Facebook Friend Ginnie Oleskewicz Schwartz writes:

    So sad, I am afraid I feel the brother did it and the parents covered it up or tried to….just my opinion…

  9. Diane Dimond on December 28, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    Facebook Friend Catherine Falk writes:

    Exactly-doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that one out! I thought that from the minute the murder unfolded it was the brother hands down and the parents covered it up!

  10. Diane Dimond on December 28, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    Facebook Friend Kenny Davis writes:


    • Diane Dimond on December 28, 2016 at 9:45 pm

      Yes. That pineapple left on the kitchen table is intriguing. But even more interesting to me, Kenny, was the glass of tea with a tea bag in it sitting next to it. That indicates to me that an adult was likely there when the treat was served. An adult would put on the kettle to heat the water – probably not a nine year old boy. Yet the Ramseys said they had no idea how the pineapple got there. Still, I think, the author of that note is more important. ~DD

  11. Diane Dimond on December 28, 2016 at 9:38 pm

    Facebook Friend Debra Garnett writes:

    Yes…me too…Merry Christmas in heaven.. Jon-Benet’re remembered baby girl!

  12. Diane Dimond on December 28, 2016 at 9:38 pm

    Facebook Friend Jim Jimbo Svetic writes:

    The brother did it !!
    The mother wrote the ransom note ! The father listened to the attorneys !! //The father should have never moved the body.

  13. Diane Dimond on December 28, 2016 at 9:38 pm

    Facebook Friend Chris Wilkinson writes:

    That creepy Burke..

  14. Diane Dimond on December 28, 2016 at 9:38 pm

    Facebook Friend Dawn Dix writes:

    We have to meet one day for lunch to discuss! Remember how obsessed my sis-in-law is with this, let’s make it a new year’s resolution. Would love to put our heads together

  15. Diane Dimond on December 28, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    Facebook Friend Sharon Rager writes:

    Yes, Patsy must have written the letter and most likely they were covering for Burke and changed the scene around and somehow were able to avoid the first responders from searching the room where she was found – or some strange thing happened between this child and parent(s) and all they saw to do was to cover up with so called red herrings and confusion. I do believe that the loved their little daughter very much……

  16. Diane Dimond on December 28, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    Facebook Friend Bob Hughes writes:

    Maybe you’d know if it weren’t for the dipshit Boulder Police. Will never know 100% for sure except for on FB and all the professional guilt detectors.

  17. Diane Dimond on December 28, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    Facebook Friend Patti Petow writes:

    The brother! Mom and Dad covered up for him.

  18. Diane Dimond on December 28, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    Facebook Friend Kenny Davis writes:

    But if Burke did do it in a.moment of rage..Ramseys had big money. They coulda got him off with therapy. I don’t get it .unless they thought they would be charged instead..hmmm

  19. Diane Dimond on December 28, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    Facebook Friend Roy Palmer writes:


  20. Diane Dimond on December 28, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    Facebook Friend Christine Baird Blasbichler writes:

    I don’t think the family had anything to do with it. Sadly, it will probably never be solved.

  21. Diane Dimond on December 28, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    Facebook Friend Loretta Shumpert writes:

    Burke was only 9 years old! A child. A child cannot do a murder and have an entire department not realize it was him!

  22. Diane Dimond on December 28, 2016 at 9:50 pm

    Twitter pal preesipreesi@preesi writes:

    @DiDimond I think Patsy wrote the note, but the bro did the deed

  23. Diane Dimond on December 28, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    Twitter Pal fulltimemaHeather Green@fulltimema writes:

    @DiDimond This case haunts all of its. I’m not saying it isn’t possible, but it makes no sense for Patsy to have killed her. She adored her.//The injuries so grievous, I don’t see a child inflicting, and relationship good between sibs. No history.//The fact that BPD didn’t protect the scene when they KNEW they had at min a kidnapping is the reason this thing remains unsolved.//But I’m with you Diane, I’ll never stop turning this case over and over…there’s got to be a crack in it somewhere…

    • Diane Dimond on December 28, 2016 at 9:55 pm

      Actually, Heather, there have been reports that before the murder brother Burke had picked up a golf club in a fit of rage over a childhood dispute and struck his sister in the face with it … I have not independently confirmed that but if its true your claim that there was no “history” of conflict doesn’t fly. ~ DD

  24. Diane Dimond on December 28, 2016 at 9:54 pm

    Twitter Pal suzyq1234casuzy cue@suzyq1234ca writes:

    @DiDimond just curious, did parents take lie detector Tests? Results of said tests? Heart says can’t be family

  25. Christy Hurst on December 29, 2016 at 2:38 am

    I swear that Burke had something to do with Jonbenet’s murder. He hated her, spread feces on her belongings in her room, etc. There were deep seeded mental problems there with Burke. He may have hit her in the head with that flashlight and not even realized that he killed her. I think the parents found her dead and set about covering up the death. Burke had no idea that he was the cause…who knows what kind of psychosomatic medication he was on at the time? I just can’t help but think that it was an inside job and one of the family members did it. I don’t think it was an intentional murder. I think it was an accident but the cover up created more questions.

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