Justice for JonBenét Ramsey: A fresh look at the unanswered questions

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DENVER — More than 20 years after the death of JonBenet Ramsey grabbed the world’s attention, the case is still a hot topic whenever it arises, especially in Colorado.

The person responsible for killing the 6-year-old girl was never brought to justice and unanswered questions and rumors still surround the case. ABC’s 20/20 revisited the crime on Friday and included insight with veteran Colorado journalist Paula Woodward, who covered the case extensively and wrote a book in 2016 titled “We Have Your Daughter: The Unsolved Murder of JonBenet Ramsey Twenty Years Later.”

Woodward also sat down with Denver7 Investigates to discuss some of those unanswered questions that still remain.

“There’s no accountability for the mistakes that were made,” Woodward told Denver7 Investigates.

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Paula Woodward

Ramsey’s body was discovered Dec. 26, 1996 in her Boulder home, after her parents had called police to report that she was missing and that a ransom note had been found. Experts have, in the past, pointed blame for the handling of the case with every detail being heavily dissected.

As for what kept people riveted during the investigation, Woodward points to other factors, such as JonBenet’s participation in beauty pageants, that also drew interest to the crime.

“Twenty-four years later, I would say it’s never been about the death of a little girl,” she said. “It’s about all the things that contributed to it. … Especially the child beauty pageant videos and pictures.”

Woodward’s book, titled “We Have Your Daughter,” dives into the investigation and some of those questions that remain unanswered.

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“This story is one of the top stories I’ve covered. It had so many unanswered questions. But I wanted to find out how many backroom deals were done on this story,” she said. “Why did people behave so badly — the police, the district attorney’s office, the media — why were they so obsessed with convicting the Ramsey’s when the evidence wasn’t there.”

Woodward said she believes that JonBenet’s killer can be found through DNA, but she isn’t sure if the Boulder Police Department, which has controlled the case, is doing that.

“This little 6-year-old innocent, sweet, lovely girl has no chance of her case being solved if somebody doesn’t move forward and examine and look at the DNA,” Woodward said.

Woodward is often recognized when out in public and says she still is asked about this case more than any other. The most common question is “who did it?”

“That’s the question and I’ve never answered it. … I don’t know who did it. … I just don’t like all that was done wrong on this case from day one,” she said. “I wish that someone would take enough initiative to say ‘Hey, this was really wrong. Let’s see if there’s anything left to do.’ And I think what is left to do is follow the DNA.”