What happened that December night in Boulder? For almost everyone, that remains a mystery. Whether because they have something to hide, or because they are worried about unfair police suspicions, the Ramseys have said very little about what they heard and saw during those hours. This interview is the only time the Ramseys have told their version of events in public.
Patsy says she tucked her daughter in. Then, the couple says, they went to sleep. Patsy says that she went downstairs first the next morning, December 26, and that when she reached the bottom step, she found a bizarre three-page ransom note saying her daughter had been kidnapped. She says she screamed to her husband.
John: "Somebody asked me later what was, what was the worst moment in all of this, and that was the worst moment. Was suddenly realizing that someone had your daughter, your child. And has taken her. And she was gone and we didn't know where she was."
Then, they say, they called the police.
Patsy: "And, you know, I was just frantic on the phone, you know, they've kidnapped our daughter, our daughter's been kidnapped."
But the ransom note had explicitly warned "speaking to anyone about your situation such as the police or the FBI will result in your daughter being beheaded." Later on, people would ask how could they have made that call if they really thought their daughter had been kidnapped and would be killed if they did the wrong thing.
John: "Well, I can remember Patsy saying what shall we do, it says not to call the police, it had no... We had no choice, I mean I would have gone mad sitting there, hoping someone would call, I would have gone absolutely mad. It was going through my mind was how do we, okay, what do we do? Do we set up roadblocks, can we close the area?
John: "I would call up the National Guard if I could, that's what you were trying to have accomplished, how do we shut this city down?"
When the police arrived at the house an initial search turned up nothing. Some eight hours later, John did another search.
John: "I was asked to take a friend and go through the house and see if there was anything that looked unusual or out of place. And we started in the basement."
John Ramsey says his search ended when he found his daughter JonBenet in a storeroom.
John: "There was a white blanket and her... her eyes were closed. I feared the worst but yet I'd found her. And she was back in our safe protection again. And um, I, er, I, I don't know, you, you, I was just coming through this panic emotion, all I could do was scream."
Then John Ramsey picked up his daughter's body, carried it upstairs and laid it down in front of the family Christmas tree.
Patsy: "We walked into the living room and, and she was there. And John said she was gone."
In the interview, John and Patsy Ramsey gave, pretty much unchallenged, their version of thmurder investigation. According to the Ramseys, they were not uncooperative with the police or the district attorney's office. They gave hair and DNA samples, and hand writing samples to compare with the infamous ransom note. The Ramseys say the police were out to get them.
John: "Yes. I'm mad now. I'm getting very mad at, at looking back at what's done to us, to my family, what hasn't been done to solve this crime. I'm angry."
John: "They were there to hang us. And we became very suspicious, defensive, untrusting."
Both the Boulder Police and the District Attorney's office declined 48 Hours' requests for an interview. The Ramseys say they began to mistrust the investigators shortly after their daughter's murder, when they were told by a friend that police were playing hardball with their daughter's body.
John: "[The friend said] 'Your daughter was ransomed twice last week, once by the kidnapper and once by the police, and here's what happened. They refused to release her body for burial unless you submit at first to an interrogation to the police department.' And we said, 'Oh boy, the worm has turned, what are these people about?' And it changed the whole chemistry and how we looked at the police. They were not there to help us."
Some believe the negative feeling toward the Ramseys came from the images of their daughter's participation in beauty pageants. The theory was that parents who put their six-year-old daughter on stage in a sexy costume could not be trusted.
Patsy: "It's just people you know, they're trying to find something. They tried to zero in on something: 'Oh, hey, here she went to the doctor more than twice a year, so let's pick on that. Oh he traveled to Amsterdam, must be pornography.' You know, I mean it's sick, sick, sick, sick."
In the interview, the Ramseys said they feel particularly persecuted by rumors of sexual and physical abuse leveled against them. The autopsy suggested that JonBenet had been sexually assaulted that night in addition to being bludgeoned and strangled. But after more than two years of investigations by the police and by the media, no history of physical or sexual abuse by either John or Patsy Ramsey has ever been uncovered.
Tracey asked the couple how they felt about being accused of sexually abusing their daughter.
John: "Well it's, it's disgusting to even have to respond to that. It's absolutely false, how to be more strong about that. Nothing could be further from the truth, absolutely utterly false."
Patsy: "Terribly false, I mean it's, you can't even put it into words how to respond to it. It's just false, absolutely false."
John Ramsey says his entire family was besieged. Police looked to his older son from a previous marriage, first as a suspect and then to answer questions about whether he had been abused by his father. Police have cleared the son, John Andrew Ramsey. He spoke off camera for th documentary, as did his sister Melinda Ramsey, who was also questioned by police.
John Andrew: "There was never any abuse of any kind, physical, emotional or mental, zero. Absolutely none in my family. I think that's one of the most hurtful rumors. So, my father is nothing but the loving caring father that you'd hope for."
And then there was the theory that Patsy Ramsey killed her daughter in a fit of anger that night because JonBenet had wet her bed.
Patsy: "You know it is so minuscule inÂ… does someone actually think I would kill my child because she wet the bed? I mean I have lived through stage four cancer. In the grand scheme of things bed wetting is not important."
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