Whether or not you believe they are guilty, it is a fact that the Ramseys' lives have been turned upside down. Their daughter JonBenet was brutally murdered. On top of that, a number of investigators in the case suspect that one or both of them were involved in the murder. And unless there is some stunning development that proves their innocence, many Americans will continue to think that the Ramseys are murderers and liars.
Given this situation, it is not surprising that the couple has largely avoided the media. But last year, they agreed to be interviewed for a British documentary. 48 Hours obtained exclusive rights to the more than five hours of talks, which took place over two days.
Although the Ramseys placed no restrictions on the questions asked, the interviews were hardly confrontational. "I came back from that interview, and my family would say, what are they like, do they have horns?" says Michael Tracey, a journalism professor who made the documentary. "And I said, you know, they appear to be just ordinary folk." Tracey, who says he doesn't have an opinion on who killed JonBenet, agrees with the Ramseys that the media in this case turned into a lynch mob: "Whether or not they killed JonBenet, the story that was told was that John, either John or Patsy or both, killed JonBenet."
John: "I don't care if they believe me or not. My life has been ruined by the loss of my child. What I can tell America is there is a sick madman in your midst that you haven't caught yet. Wake up."
Patsy: "Could be you tomorrow."
John: "This could happen to any one of you."
Patsy: "It's frightening, I can't believe we're..."
John: "Think of going to sleep, thinking your children are safe in bed, that you're going to get up in the morning and have a wonderful day with them, and you get up and find one of them murdered. You could be sitting here. We're no different than you. We love our children; you love your children. You should be frightened by what's happened to us."
Polls say that most Americans believe John and Patsy Ramsey were involved in JonBenet's death. They have always denied it.
Patsy: "I can't believe we're even having to answer this question, I mean, it's just so ludicrous. All I know is we didn't do it. I don't know what happened, God knows, and he's not telling."
John: "You remember the Frankenstein movies when the people are out with torches, coming up the hill to find Doctor Frankenstein. That's how we feel, that's who's out there coming at us. These people with torches...yeah, yeah, get 'em, get 'em, get 'em."
That may be the one fact in this story that no one disputes. The media did descend like a mob on the Ramseys from the beginning. Television, newspapers, especially the tabloids found, in the wealthy parents, a convenient target. The shocking murder of a six-year-old girl in this house in Boulder, Colorado, the ay after Christmas 1996, has become the great American whodunit, with the parents, the Ramseys as the main characters.
John: "We're no different than any normal American family and look what's happened to us... It could happen to you. It's scary."
The Ramseys have never been charged, or officially even been called suspects, but they say they felt great pressure from the Boulder authorities. And the media hounding was relentless.
John: "We've been chased all the time."
The Ramseys decided to escape Boulder and flew to Atlanta, their old hometown, to bury their daughter. They bought a house and John Ramsey, a successful businessman, started a new company. Their son Burke, who was nine when his sister was murdered, entered a private school. Of course, the Boulder Police didn't forget about them, and neither did the media.
John: "There were hidden cameras at the grave site. There were reporters in the bushes. So we had, I have never felt comfortable just going out and spending time at the grave side."
During the interview, Tracey, now a consultant for 48 Hours, asked a question many have wanted to ask the Ramseys since the day of the murder.
Tracey: "Did you ever consider each other?"
Patsy: "Absolutely not."
Justice For JonBenet: Home
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