JonBenet Ramsey Case: Lawsuit Seeks Release Of Ramsey Parents' Indictment In Slaying

A press advocacy group, along with a reporter from the Boulder Daily Camera, have filed a lawsuit against Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett that seeks the release of the secretly-voted-on indictment of the Ramsey parents by the grand jury in the 1999 slaying case.

At the beginning of 2013, The Daily Camera first reported that the grand jury voted to indict JonBenet's parents John and Patsy Ramsey in 1999 on charges of child abuse resulting in death, but the prosecutor at the time, then-District Attorney Alex Hunter, refused to sign the indictment.

Hunter told media back in 1999 that he did not believe his office had enough evidence to file any charges, though the Ramsey family remained prime suspects for years before finally being absolved in 2008.

"Knowing and reckless" child abuse resulting in death is a Class 2 felony charge that could have resulted in up to 48 years in prison for the Ramsey parents.

Daily Camera Reporter Charlie Brennan and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press filed the lawsuit in Boulder District Court Wednesday. "The plaintiffs believe... that the indictment is a criminal justice record that reflects official action by the grand jury, and accordingly that it is subject to mandatory disclosure upon request," the complaint reads. Brennan and the RCFP also argue that the indictment should be made public in the interest of government transparency.

The Daily Camera is not participating in the lawsuit.

On Dec. 26, 1996, 6-year-old JonBenet was found bludgeoned and strangled to death in the basement of her family home. A ransom note from an anonymous group of individuals "that represent a foreign faction" asking for $118,000 in exchange for the safe return of JonBenet was found just hours before, but no call ever came from a kidnapper and it was never linked to a murderer.

The entire Ramsey family was cleared of any involvement in the murder of JonBenet back in 2008, thanks to then newly discovered DNA evidence, according to 9News. Patsy Ramsey, JonBenet's mother, died 2 years earlier in 2006 of ovarian cancer. Tragically, she was still considered a possible suspect when she died.

Beginning in 2010, investigators reopened the case and launched a fresh round of interviews with witnesses that could provide more insight into the murder, according to ABC News, but nothing fruitful came of those interviews.

The DNA evidence still points to an "unexplained third party" that serves as a vague lead for authorities still pursuing the case, TIME magazine reported.

Boulder police have tested more than 150 DNA samples and investigated nearly the same amount of potential suspects in their ongoing investigation, but none have ever been linked to the crime.

After all these years, Boulder police have received thousands of tips about her murder and still receive several monthly. DA Garnett said in 2011 that he personally gets two or three tips a week from all over the world. The ones that have potential are passed along to Boulder police's Major Case Unit. There have been plenty of false leads as well, including most famously John Mark Karr -- who bizarrely admitted to being with JonBenet the night of her death, but DNA evidence later cleared him of any wrongdoing in this case.

For a thorough timeline of the case's major moments, visit The Daily Camera's interactive timeline of events from 1996 through 2012.

It remains one of the most notorious murders in U.S. history and a decade and a half later there is still no justice for JonBenet. If she were alive today, JonBenet would be 23-years-old.



JonBenet Ramsey Case