Home / National News / A Look Inside the Mistakes in JonBenet Ramsey Investigation Noted by Former Police Chief


(DENVER) — The former Boulder police chief said mistakes were made in the initial handling of the JonBenet Ramsey murder case that transfixed a nation two decades ago.

Mark Beckner gave a lengthy interview on Reddit this week revisiting the case and plainly detailing mistakes he felt the police made in the early days of the case.

The unusual murder case drew nationwide attention, as no one was ever arrested or charged in the case. JonBenet Ramsey, 6, was found murdered in the basement of her family home on Christmas Day. The 6-year-old beauty queen was reported missing hours earlier by her parents after a ransom note was found in their home.

For years, investigators tried to unravel what happened to the young girl and whether the murderer could have been a family member or an intruder. Amid intense media speculation, the girl’s family strongly maintained their innocence, and in 2008 the Boulder County District Attorney cleared them of any wrongdoing via DNA testing.

Nearly 20 years after the murder, Beckner spoke about the case and what he wishes he could change about the early investigation and what he thinks might have happened the night the girl was killed.

Early Mistakes

Beckner said first off, the police officers should have shut down the crime scene immediately and taken statements from JonBenet’s parents. Since the crime happened on Christmas Day, Beckner said there were fewer people available to get to the scene.

Beckner also said one key mistake was not getting full statements from parents John and Patricia Ramsey the day of the crime.

The former police chief said that the girl’s parents seemed to show unusual behavior but clarified that could have been due to a number of reasons.

A spokeswoman for the Boulder Police said Thursday that the mistakes cited by Beckner have been addressed in subsequent years.

“Those problems were acknowledged early in the investigation and over the years by Mark Beckner when he was chief….That information is not new,” Public Information Officer Kim Kobel told ABC News, clarifying that the Ramsey case remains open but not active. “It’s still an open investigation….We still get tips and leads.”

Wrong Suspect

There appeared to be a major break in the case when a teacher, John Mark Karr, confessed to killing JonBenet. A subsequent investigation found that Karr could not have committed the crime.

Beckner said he was wary of Karr’s confession from the beginning.

Loose Ends

Beckner noted in the Reddit talk that there were multiple parts of the crime that appeared odd to investigators, including a lengthy two-and-a-half-page ransom note.

Beckner also said that law enforcement believed the note was written after the murder and there was never an intent to kidnap the girl. Instead, he said he believes that the case was always a murder staged to look like a botched kidnapping.

In an interview with the Daily Camera newspaper, Beckner later said he didn’t realize his comments would be open to anyone and he regretted doing the question-and-answer session.

“I talked to the organizer and my impression was that this was a members-only-type group that talked about unsolved mysteries all around the world,” Beckner told the Daily Camera.

He later deleted his comments from Reddit. Beckner did not respond to a request for comment from ABC News.

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