Jon Benet Ramsey – The Little Girl Who Never Got Justice

 

The Murder of Jon Benet Ramsey’s still plays on the minds of many Americans as the killer was never reprimanded and the case was never solved. The former child beauty queen, aged 6, was found dead in her family’s basement a day after Christmas 1996, the story soon made headlines because of the young age of JonBenet and the curiosity of her death. JonBenet was encouraged to compete in many beauty pageants by her mother Patsy who was once Miss West Virginia Pageant. The study of the JonBenet murder case and its facts are still important to this day because all who followed the case in 1996 still want to see justice for the life of this innocent child.  This case has become a precedent for police on how not to handle a crime scene as it was infamous in its mishandling of the scene and evidence which is a major contributing factor of why this case has never been solved.

What do we know about the John Benet case?

The timeline
On the 25th of December 1996 JonBenet goes to bed and this is that last time her parents claim to have seen her alive. Then at 5:30am the next morning Patsy, Jon Benet’s mother said she woke up to make coffee and found on the staircase a 2 and a half page ransom note that says that Jon Benet has been kidnapped. The note requested 118,000 in cash for her safe return home and makes several other threats. The Ramsey’s state that they then immediately called the police. Linda Arndt was the first detective on the scene arriving just after 8am and she begins going through the processes in place for a kidnapping. Linda Arndt was reportedly the only detective at the Ramsey’s house for much of the day and has been widely criticized in the press for botching the investigation.  At 1:01 p.m., Arndt instructed John Ramsey and his friend Fleet White to search the house again even though it had already been gone through by officers earlier in the morning. According to ABC News, Arndt said she told them not to touch anything. John Ramsey found JonBenet’s body in the spare room of the basement. JonBenet was found with her wrists bound and duct tape over her mouth, she had been strangled with a garrotte later found to be fashioned from string and a paintbrush from the Ramsey’s residence. Then at 10:45pm that night JonBenet’s body is removed from the scene by the Boulder Country Coroner Staff.

 

The cause of death

After examination, the cause of JonBenet’s death was officially listed as asphyxiation by strangulation associated with craniocerebral trauma, per a death certificate obtained by the Associated Press. It is also believed that she was sexually assaulted.

The key evidence

 

  • 911 call. The call that Pasty made to 911 the morning she discovered the ransom note and that JonBenet was missing is a key piece of evidence in the JonBenet Murder case as it is when Pasty asks for the police to come to the house. Many analysis (a) of this call conclude that Patsy’s language was unusual, as she used words that distanced herself from the situation such as “I am the mother” instead of “I am her mother” and many have speculated that it is strange that she hung up after saying what she wanted to say when most people view being on the phone to 911 as a lifeline and only hang up when help arrives.

 

  • Ransom note. The Ransom note the Ramsey’s claim to have found on their staircase is another key piece of evidence as it would’ve been written by either the perpetrator of the crime or someone who knows who the that person is. The Ransom note to this day is one of the most unusual pieces of evidence in the case as it was discovered that it was written from a pad of paper and with a pen from the Ramsey Residence, also dubbed unusual by the Generation WHY podcast is the length of the 2 and a half page Ransom letter that would’ve taken approximately 20 mins to write, meaning that if the perpetrator was an intruder they would have to risk 20mins of being inside the house to write this letter. The language in the letter, analysed by Mark McClish, contradicts what it is stating for example “We are a foreign faction” meaning a group of people yet the letter contains the wrong pronouns for group with the usage of I “I will call you…”.

 

 

Theories
Anyone familiar with the case has their own theory about who killed Jon Benet, here are the top three theories.

 

Intruder
The Intruder theory believed by many but investigated and pursued specifically by Private Investigator Lu Smit is based on the finding of a small piece of packing material found in the basement room near JonBenet body that he believes was dragged in by an intruder who got into the house through a basement window. This theory is also believed because the male DNA found underneath JonBenet fingernails doesn’t match DNA samples taken from John Ramsey. Smit also believes that the intruder used a baseball bat that was found near the boulder home which has fibres from the crime scene to beat JonBenet.  Smit Theories that the killer broke in while the family were out at friends for dinner and then spent time inside the house, got familiar with the layout and in this time wrote the ransom note on the Ramsey’s stationery.

Burke
The theory that Jon Benet’s older brother Burke, who would’ve been 9 at the time, killed his sister in a moment of anger and that Patsy and John Covered it up to protect their son is a theory believed by many. Popular CBS series The Case of JonBenet Ramsey re-creates and investigates the JonBenet Ramsey case with this theory. CBS shows viewers that 9-year-old Burke could have carried out the skull injuries inflicted on JonBenet by demonstrating with a boy of similar strength to Burke, a test skull and similar weapon that Burke had to strength and capability to commit the crime. Autopsy results show that JonBenet last food item was pineapple – not disclosed by Ramsey’s – and that pineapple was Burkes favourite food, Investigators had found that Burke had covered JonBenet walls and Christmas presents with faeces showing his dislike for her and a claim was made that a year and a half before JonBenet died Burke had hit her with a golf club. In CBS’s Documentary series, their theory is based on these facts and they claim that on the night Jon Benet was killed she stole a piece of pineapple from Burke. The theory goes on to even insinuate that and in a moment of sibling anger Burke lashed out a bludgeoned JonBenet with a hefty family torch and then that the parents fabricated a ransom note and moved the body to draw suspicion away from Burke.

 

Patsy

Another popular theory is that Patsy, Jon Benet’s mother, killed her accidentally in a fit of rage after discovering JonBenet had wet the bed then went on to cover it up with the ransom note and 911 call. This theory, believed by the Boulder Police department and investigators who were first on the scene, is based on the belief that Patsy was the author of the ransom note. Handwriting experts found similarities in the handwriting and believed that the ransom note was written by a woman. The police department was accused by the public and the Ramsey’s of centring their investigation solely on the belief that the ransom note was fabricated and the fact that the ransom note was written with Patsy’s Stationary and pen. The police department attempted to get the Ramsey’s indicted but this came up empty. In 2008 the police publically cleared Patsy and John of any wrongdoing.

The Media’s Effect

The media hindered the investigation as it presented facts and bias to the public which in turn lead to compromising the case and creating unnecessary pressure on the Boulder Police Department.  Supermarket tabloid The Globe published stolen crime scene photos and many reports made themselves prevalent in the Ramsey’s lives in a bid to gain more information and publish it. The media sensationalised the case and exposed every detail available, each outlet with its own bias and perspective on who the killer was, influencing the public. Bob Grant, Adams County D.A. and an advisor to Boulder D.A. Hunter commented “Thanks to an overabundance of tabloid journalism and the legitimate press too, everybody’s got an opinion. Everybody thinks they know whodunit and how.”  The media also pointed out the flaws within the case and the mishandling of the crime scene on the part of the police department which in turn undermined the department.

The media also exploited Jon Benet’s pageantry videos where she is seen dancing near provocatively and in make-up suited to a woman three times her age. These videos inadvertently oversexualized the 6-year-old and reinforced the bad reputation of Patsy and John which created a nationwide bias against the Ramsey’s.

The media has made it hard for the people of America to get past the tragedy as they keep being reminded of it.  With a recent interview on Dr Phil with, now grown up Burke and event more recent documentaries such as Lifetime’s Who Killed JonBenét?, 16   years after the miniseries Perfect Murder, Perfect Town: JonBenét and the City of Boulder on CBS, American’s keep being reminded of the case and the obsession continues. The media can still pump out this regurgitated information, because the strange story still fascinates humanity and we want answers and better yet justice for her death.

The case of JonBenet was and still is relevant to New Zealanders as the case was broadcast on Television in New Zealand back in 1996 and articles about the case are still being published in recent times in New Zealand media such as Stuff, NZ Herald and Woman’s Day. There has also been a documentary about the JonBenet case that was released this year, January 2017, on New Zealand Netflix that re-ignites New Zealanders’ curiosity about the JonBenet case and as a result the aforementioned media outlets have released an abundance of articles to satisfy this curiosity. This case may also interest New Zealanders because of the theory of child abuse as New Zealand, unfortunately, has a high amount of child abuse resulting in death cases with statistics showing that on average one child in New Zealand is Killed every five weeks. Statistics show that during the year 1 July 2016 – 30 June 2017 there were reported 14,802 substantiated findings of abuse (including emotional, physical, sexual abuse & neglect).

Overall this case has left questions such as “Why was the crime scene so mishandled?”, “Why was the Ransom note so strange?” and most importantly “Will it ever be solved?”. These questions are left because of the bias that was presented by the media right at the start of the case and the mishandled crime scene by the Boulder Police Department the day of the homicide.  The bias is that the family killed JonBenet. This bias lead to a public judgement of the Ramsey parents and I also believe lead to a narrow-minded investigation of the case that avoided pursuing other avenues. Investigating the JonBenet case, gathering the evidence and considering the theories has left me baffled. There is no clear explanation for her death and the strange factors around it complicate the issue further. The JonBenet case has left the nation and perhaps the globe more questions than answers such as this reinforce the tragedy of the death of young JonBenet.

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Podcasts

At present my current obsession is listening to as many podcasts that catch my interest as I can. I stumbled upon podcasts when I was hungry for knowledge and an easy way to stomach it. I was talking to one of my friends and he was going on about all the details of this film and his knowledge was unlimited and I thought to myself I wish I knew as much about something as he knows about this film. So, I’ve decided that I will learn more.

I started my podcast binge with the classic, the most well know podcast, Serial.  Serial is an investigative podcast that delves deep into a homicide case of a teenage girl with her ex Adnan convicted and serving jail time. Journalist and Radio personality Sarah Koenig calls Adnan regularly and speaks to many people to get a clearer picture of the truth. It really is a captivating and curious podcast that make you question what you know and it has helped me to understand a whole lot more about the judicial process in America. I thoroughly enjoyed the way Sarah tells the story and presents the facts I listened to this podcast any chance I got, in the car, in the shower and as I was falling to sleep, so I finished it so quickly.

The next podcast I become engulfed by was Limetown. Limetown is a fictional podcast that follows the path of investigative journalist Lia Haddock as she tries to uncover the reasoning for the sudden and complete disappearance of the residents of a town called Limetown. I was so satisfied with this podcast as the story line was so clear, spooky and fascinating. The creators of the podcast said that they approached it like a feature film and you can tell for sure.

My most recent podcast discovery is Crash on my Couch a podcast updated weekly and hosted by YouTubers Arden Rose and William Darbyshire who happened to be in a relationship with each other. They talk about the weird and wonderful with segments that cover treasure hunting, freaky animals and interesting aspects of Japanese culture. Crash on my couch is an easy to listen to and easy to relate to podcast that gives you trivia to break the ice for the next awkward encounter you may face. Their conversation is also so effortless and makes for real laugh out loud moments.

I’m hoping to keep podcast listening as a priority in my life instead of doing what I usually do – binge and get sick of. So, I am determined to keep at it and excited for the podcasts I am yet to discover.

Ramble #3

Don’t settle.

Don’t settle for half cooked pancakes that are still soggy in the middle.

Don’t settle for friends who are only around when the sun is shining.

Don’t settle for a job that makes you more stressed than satisfied.

Don’t settle for mediocre love just because you think that this is as good as it gets.

Shopping Ethically

The moment I bought my little green wallet from Trade Aid, I felt like a humanitarian! It said inside that my purchase would help a woman in India to better her situation. But if I’m being honest to myself would I have really cared if it didn’t? I would have still bought the wallet regardless and almost every day I make purchases that are not ethical.  But when you do make a charitable or ethical purchase– a bandana for child cancer or a ribbon for breast cancer-  that item will undoubtedly mean a lot more to you. So, does that mean you buy the item to feel good about yourself or to actually do something good?

And when it comes down to it what really is shopping ethically? Is it only buying handmade clothes from your local because you know 100% where it comes from? Or Is being an ethical shopper making the decision to buy less with the idea to combat consumerism?

On man defined it as “someone who looks for products which, above all, are both friendly to the environment and the people who produce them. They have clear expectations of how they expect a company to behave and expect ethical companies to conform to ethical standards”.

But it’s hard isn’t it, to look away when we all get swamped with enticing ads with even more enticing prices, and we see ads everywhere now from television to YouTube to Instagram to even our much-loved series, apparently, the number of ads we see a day comes to approx. 1,600! That’s insane. One way I recommend adopting a more ethical lifestyle is also adopting the idea of minimalism, now I’m not saying you must live in a white house that only contains a bed but more the idea of simplifying, not making purchases for the sake of buying something but really analysing why you need that item. Buying from op shops and donating to op shops is a personal favourite alternative of mine as it not only gives clothes a second life, they money you spend also usually goes to a charitable cause.

An incredibly helpful tool that can help you to be more informed about the brands you’re buying from is the app Good on you. Good on you is a super handy search engine that gives you an ethical rating on any brand you search up so that you can make your own decision on whether you want to support it or not.

We all should be aware of how we impact the world and strive to make a change.

Download the app.
Research your brands.
Know your impact.
Change your habits.

Dive

I dive off jagged rocks
thistles to my toes.
Darkness engulfs my thoughts
Poison.
Not struggling for air
I let the oxygen leave my lungs,
eyelids close.
The thoughts I think
burn
my
soul
wet my cheek.
Remnant shards of light
fade moment by moment.
A creature of despair, a fabrication,
pulls my limp body deeper … deeper…
my soft cries inaudible.
In this place, I have made for myself.
If only a hand would
                                            reach
                           down
              and
                           pull
                                     me
                                              out.
If only someone could
shake me
make me believe …
I can endure and overcome.

Miss Representation

Today I want to talk about a documentary called Miss Representation. This afternoon I was flicking through Netflix trying to find something good to watch, which of recent I have found to be increasingly difficult, anyone else agrees?, anyways Miss Representation caught my eye and so I watched it. This documentary, directed by Jennifer Siebel Newson, delves into the devastating effects of the media’s representation of woman and how this stunts woman empowerment and the individual women’s want to be a leader. It bluntly brings to light how the media puts the idea into a girls mind that their value lies in their appearance, sexuality and youth. I really felt like I gained a new perspective on what the media is portraying of women and I can now see how at every turn we women are being told that we have to be ‘pretty’ to do well in life. Also the women we know as empowered such as Madonna or Angelina Jolie have had to use their looks and physical appeal to be heard and other important women who are doing just as important work as they are, are completely under-represented as they aren’t viewed as ‘sexy’. I was shocked by how Hollywood has throughout generations generally kept women as minor characters or if they are starring in the film we see their motive revolves around getting the guy e.g. Chick flicks. We also see in movies such as Jurassic World the lead female character throughout the film looking unrealistically put together throughout the entire ordeal of being chased by dinosaurs not to mention she is wearing heels the ENTIRE time which is so far fetched and shows that in even family films the female is sexualised in some form.

Anyways Miss Representation is a good watch, can’t say as much for Jurassic World but that’s a whole other story.

If you want to find out more about Miss Representation and what Jennifer and her team is doing to try and combat inequality visit the project’s website:

The Representation Project

Being Ginger

I just watched a documentary on Netflix called “Being Ginger” it stars and is directed by a ginger, Scott P. Harris, who we see try to find love and discover self confidence within himself etc….but lets get to the point. What I found really interesting was that he, a man that finds himself at an disadvantage when it comes to attractiveness (because of his hair), is very looks orientated in his view of the woman he meets during his documentary.  He says things like she was “extremely beautiful” and “cute” and does not mention characteristic traits, which pretty much dumbfounds me, as he seems to want people to disregard his looks and like him for his personality while he himself cannot do that.

I found him as a person very odd as he seems to have this inner conflict of complete vanity alongside an insecurity that roots from childhood torments. Despite not really liking the guy I thoroughly enjoyed the documentary as it really brings to light how tough it can actually be to be a ginger which is greatly overlooked and commonly joked about.

I do really respect the lengths Scott P. Harris goes to film this.  For instance, at one point he is wearing, in a populated area, a sign that says “looking for woman who like gingers. Seriously”  and whilst that itself is a grand feat he also has to cope with this awful woman who really lays into him about how unattractive he is.

I liked how at the end of this film I was still thinking about it, thinking about how horrid people can be because of hair colour and also thinking about how I and people around me view/treat gingers.

Overall I enjoyed this human interest documentary and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in people.

Side note: I found his scruffy haired friend Ben and his humour an absolute treat, so definitely watch this documentary till the credits to catch some more of the humour he sneaks into the film.

Ramble #2

I’ve fallen into an infrequent and draining sleeping pattern. I’m always tried. Currently unalert on autopilot not deciding anything but moving slowly and undirected. My memory is wavering and my thoughts jumbled.

Wake me up.

Pinch me.

I feel as though I have taken the bench on existence. Watching life. Not participating.

Maybe I’m in a rut.

I guess I’ll try something different tomorrow.