Their faces are instantly recognizable, but John and Patsy Ramsey are famous in a way no one would want.
Although they have never been publicly called suspects or charged with the 1996 death of their daughter JonBenet, they are resigned to a painful reality.
"We could find the killer tomorrow, he could be arrested, convicted and jailed, and there'd still be 20 per cent of the population would think that we had something to do with it," says John.
48 Hours Investigates is taking a fresh look at the Ramsey case: finding new evidence and new leads, and reporting on the Ramseys' personal story, and their thoughts on what happened in their Boulder, Colo., home on Christmas night in 1996. 48 Hours Investigates will also report on never-before-seen videotapes of the police interrogation of both John and Patsy Ramsey. Erin Moriarty reports.
In a rare interview, the Ramseys agreed to a completely unrestricted discussion of the case with Erin Moriarty.
"Did your daughter have a bed-wetting incident that night? Did you get up, did you get angry and did you hurt her?" Erin Moriarty asked them.
"No, I did not," Patsy responded.
"What is your reaction when you know many people think that's what you did?" Moriarty asked.
"They are wrong," said Patsy. "I don't know what else to say. How else do you say no except no. No means no."
Over the last several months, 48 Hours Investigates has spent a great deal of time with the Ramseys. This summer, John and Patsy Ramsey sold their million-dollar home in Atlanta and moved to a smaller townhouse just down the road. "Life has never been the same," says Patsy. "And it has basically ruined us financially and emotionally and everything else. So, we're scaling back."
John Ramsey, once the head of a billion-dollar software company, hasn't worked for four years. In February, Patsy found out her cancer had returned. Nine years ago, she learned she had Stage Four ovarian cancer. She made what she hoped was a full recovery. But earlier this year, she had to again go through debilitating chemotherapy treatments. The most recent CT scan in July was negative. "I feel fabulous. I feel just marvelous," she says.
Almost from the moment the body of JonBenet was discovered, Boulder police believed John and Patsy killed their daughter and then staged a kidnapping, complete with a rambling two and a half page ransom note, to cover it up.
"They've never investigated this case, other than to investigate the family. They have never investigated this case," John says.
Even after a Boulder grand jury decided in 1999 not to indict the Ramseys, they were then, and remain to this day, the prime suspects.
While testifying under oath last November, Boulder police chief Mark Bechner admitted what he had never before said publicly: "Internally John and Patsy are considered suspects" in JonBenet's death.
Why are they the prime suspects in the eyes of the Boulder Police? "I asked Mark Beckner that," Patsy says. "I said 'What is it? Tell me what it is, that makes you think I killed my beautiful, precious child?' And, he said, 'Well, well…it's just a lot of little things.' I think he really doesn't know."
Because police didn't have enough evidence, sources within the investigation tell 48 Hours, they tried to psychologically break the Ramseys, hoping one or both would confess.
That strategy, John Ramsay claims, included a relentless campaign of leaks by some in the department, fed mostly to the nation's tabloids, that had a devastating effect on public opinion.
"They convinced the public of guilt," says Lin Wood, John and Patsy Ramsey's attorney. "Based on false information leaked by the Boulder Police Department."
It started in March of 1997, newspapers, quoting anonymous police sources said there were no footprints leading into the Ramsey's home. The truth was, there wasn't enough snow to leave footprints.
The Ramseys believe the Boulder Police continue to ignore evidence pointing to other suspects. John Ramsey says a killer or several killers remain free.