Decade Of Mystery: John Ramsey Speaks

JonBenet's Father Breaks His Silence Since His Wife's Passing, The Karr Arrest

For the past eight years, Michael Tracey has been a consultant to 48 Hours, giving the program access to his material.

In his interviews, Tracey gave the Ramseys a chance to explain the most controversial aspect of the case: how JonBenet ended up in beauty pageants.

"We had friends over with their kids, and the kids would disappear. And the next thing you know, they'd be coming downstairs. They'd have on costumes," John Ramsey told Tracey.

"We had a big costume trunk that was my trunk when I was growing up. And it was full of you know, it was full of hats and old dresses and scares and feather boas and old high heeled shoes and you know, just dress up things. All little girls have those little dress up trunks. And they would put on plays," Patsy Ramsey recalled.

Patsy Ramsey had once been crowned Miss West Virginia, and JonBenet wanted to be on stage, just like her mother. "She would say 'Mommy, when can I do that? I wanna do something like that,' and I said, 'No, no, no. You're too young,'" Patsy Ramsey recalled.

But the Ramseys knew that Patsy had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, so they re-considered.

No matter what the Ramseys did to explain themselves, they were still suspects in the eyes of the public and the police, who continued to focus almost exclusively on them, particularly Patsy.

The umbrella of suspicion remained for years.

"They totally focused on our family to the exclusion of other leads, real facts and real evidence," John Ramsey says.

Then in 2002, Michael Tracey got a lead that he believed might solve the case. It began with an anonymous message on his computer screen.

"The e-mail was basically 'I'd like to talk to professor Tracey.' And so I replied and I said, 'I hear you want to talk, so lets talk,'" he recalls.

The international manhunt to catch a killer began with that e-mail trail. The sender refused to identify himself, signing the e-mail, "December 25th, 1996." But it was clear he was obsessed with the murder of JonBenet Ramsey.

"There was a very interesting – and I'm using that quite carefully – imagination behind the person sending these e-mails. And the reason why that was important was, it kind of jived with my own sense of the kind of person who killed JonBenet," Tracey says.

Something about the wording of the e-mails struck a chord with Tracey: "listen carefully" the sender wrote – the very same words the kidnapper used to begin the ransom note for JonBenet.

John Ramsey tells Moriarty he knew nothing about the sender of the e-mails, other than "just very bizarre, abnormal comments about the case and JonBenet and just very strange."

Tracey shared some of the e-mails with John Ramsey. "But you now, whoever did this is a very strange person, and so we never discounted something just because it was strange," Ramsey says.

Then, as the sixth anniversary of the murder passed, a particularly eerie e-mail was sent, mentioning the nickname of Patsy's mother.

"He referred to Patsy's mother's nickname: Neddie. And that was unusual that someone would know that. I went to a book that we'd written about it. To see if we ever mentioned that in the book. And we had not," Ramsey recalls. "That added fuel to the fire in my mind."