The Pageantry Tragedy | JonBenét Ramsey
Episode 13

The Pageantry Tragedy | JonBenét Ramsey

Rasha and Yvette dig into one of the most famous true crime cases of all time: the murder of JonBenét Ramsey. But this week, we take a new spin, looking into the dangers of child beauty pageants.

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In The Episode

Trevor Young 00:03

You're listening to Facing Evil, a production of iHeartRadio and Tenderfoot TV. The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are solely those of the individuals participating in the show, and do not represent those of iHeartRadio or Tenderfoot TV. This podcast contains subject matter which may not be suitable for everyone. Listener discretion is advised.

Rasha Pecoraro 00:27

Hello everyone and welcome back to Facing Evil from Tenderfoot TV and iHeartRadio. We are your hosts. I'm Rasha Pecoraro.

Yvette Gentile 00:35

And I am her amazing sister Yvette Gentile.

Rasha Pecoraro 00:40

Yes, you are. Pat on the back for you.

Yvette Gentile 00:45

You guys. I think I'm like, you know, here in San Francisco we've been having a heatwave, which doesn't happen often. So I feel like I'm going a little goofy. Like with heat stroke.

Rasha Pecoraro 00:57

More than normal?

Yvette Gentile 00:59

Yeah, a little bit more than normal.

Rasha Pecoraro 01:01

How's it in LA, Trevor?

Trevor Young 01:03

It's not, not great. Though I'm told it's worse in other parts of the country right now, like the South and parts of Texas and Georgia and places like that. It's like been hitting the hundreds already. So...

Rasha Pecoraro 01:15

Oh, my goodness. 

Trevor Young 01:16

Relatively speaking, I guess mild, like we've been in the 80s or so.

Rasha Pecoraro 01:20

Oh, my gosh, well, here in Portland it's a heatwave for us and it's only in the 70s. So putting the lesbian in the closet to record this podcast is not very nice, but whatever. It's fine.

Yvette Gentile 01:30

And Rasha you're, you are actually in a closet recording this?

Rasha Pecoraro 01:34

I am. I'm actually in a closet recording this quite literally, but not figuratively. Because we know I'm out loud and proud. Well, with all of that being said, Trevor, can you take us through today's case?

News Clip 01:48

25 years since the death of charm beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey police are still no closer to finding her killer. Explain to me what's going on. Okay. This bizarre ransom note "We have your daughter" found inside the family home in Boulder, Colorado.

Archival 02:10

I did not have anything to do with it. I love that child with my whole of my heart and soul.

Trevor Young 02:19

JonBenet Ramsey was a six year old child beauty pageant competitor who was killed on Christmas of 1996. This became what was likely the biggest news story of 96 and 97. And it's since become one of the most talked about and researched murder cases of all time. The circumstances surrounding JonBenet's death were mysterious. JonBenet lived with her parents and brother in Boulder, Colorado. In the early morning hours of December 26 her parents called local police to say that she was missing. They said someone had abducted her and left behind a ransom note. But then, later that morning, JonBenet was found strangled to death in the basement of their house. Many thought that someone in the house was responsible, and that the note was just a fake to divert blame. But others thought that because JonBenet was so visible as a child beauty pageant star that some crazed fan had broken in and killed her while they slept. However, it was never solved. Her killer was never identified. There was an attempt to investigate the family, but it never went anywhere. And since then, true crime sleuths online have famously dedicated countless hours to gathering additional information and exploring multiple theories. And so what actually happened to JonBenet? How was her life as a child beauty pageant star a factor in her death? And why has the case attracted so much attention in circles online and in pop culture?

Yvette Gentile 03:54

I mean, to me saying that this is a famous case is really an understatement. Because this case right here is probably, this story was true crime before true crime was a thing.

Rasha Pecoraro 04:11

This case permeated the media and was all over TV, newsstands, at the time, you absolutely could not avoid it. It was a huge, horrific, tragic historical event. So why that is? I mean, that's the question that we're here to talk about today. Right? Like, why was everyone so obsessed?

Yvette Gentile 04:32

Yeah, and, you know, I have to admit, I was, I was a little bit skeptical of doing this case, because, as you just said, it's so overdone. It's such a huge case, and everybody knows about it, but for me, like I really wanted to talk about it because when I was 16 and when I was 23, I was in the pageant industry. So I was kind of obsessed you know, when I heard it about this story of this little girl JonBenet, who's five years old, doing pageant after pageant after pageant, and I know for me, it was hard. And I watched how mothers like, were obsessed with their children. 

Rasha Pecoraro 05:17

I don't think mom was like that with you, per se, right?

Yvette Gentile 05:19

No mom wasn't like that at all. But yeah, I guess, you know, to put little girls in these beauty pageants at that age, it just doesn't seem right to me.

Rasha Pecoraro 05:29

I have to tell a little story too, right? Because you're saying, you know, it's kind of weird, you know, for five year olds or six year olds or just little tiny little people being in these pageants. When I was pregnant with our daughter, I would tease Vanna all the time because Toddlers and Tiaras was huge, you know, the reality TV show. And it had all these girls like JonBenet that were on this, these reality shows. So I used to be like, Hey, babe, you know, we have a girl, we're gonna put her you know, in all these pageants, and she's like, Oh, hell no, we will get divorced. Nope nope nope. H to the E to the L L. No. And I mean, I think I look at this case differently becoming a mom. Like, our child is now 10-years-old, but back when this happened, I was a teenager, but it still captivated everybody. And the biggest issue, especially doing research for this case, that I feel that there is just an overwhelming amount of misinformation out there and crazy theories and just horrible takes on what actually happened to little JonBenet. And most of that bystander speculation is incredibly hurtful and disrespectful to the family. And I think, you know, with Yvette and I, you know, being connected to one of the most infamous unsolved murders in America, like, we know how that can hurt. Like, we know how misinformation happens. And it can just affect people

Yvette Gentile 06:59

And the ramifications of that. 

Rasha Pecoraro 07:01

Yeah, and I feel bad for the Ramseys, which we are gonna get more into. I think there's a lot of well meaning people out there, but I think a lot of times it does a lot of harm. I mean, this case still isn't solved.

Trevor Young 07:13

Yeah, I think part of that was, you know, around this time, it was like, late 90s. And so internet's like just starting to be a thing. And I think where we get a lot of misinformation these days is through like unchecked sources on social media and the internet. Back then, though, think about it, there wasn't really like any checks and balances for like, what was real, what wasn't, like it was kind of like the wild, wild west of early internet days. And so like this was really like the first kind of test case for like how people would like, talk about something like a true crime case in chat rooms and all these things that were completely unregulated and unchecked for accuracy. So it's not surprising to me that there is so much inaccuracy and misinformation out there about this case, I think a lot of those like theories started back then. And they've just kind of like solidified over the years, and have made their way into things like Murderpedia and all these things online now. So yeah, that doesn't certainly doesn't excuse the issues that causes it's just interesting to think about why that is. 

Rasha Pecoraro 08:15


Yvette Gentile 08:16

I have to agree with you. But before we get into it, I mean, I have to say that, as we know, this is a super detailed case, right? Compared to some of the other cases where we don't have a whole lot of information. This one is, I mean, there's ton of it out there. So what we're going to do is we're going to have to split this up into two parts. So this is going to be part one, and part two, we're going to do next week. So Trevor, let's get us started and why don't you tell us some of the background on the family?

Trevor Young 08:46

Yeah, so about the Ramseys. JonBenet's parents were John and Patsy Ramsey. Patsy herself was, in fact, a pageant girl. She was actually crowned Miss West Virginia in 1977, and even participated in the Miss America competition shortly thereafter. John and Patsy met in Atlanta in 1979. And then they got married the following year, in 1980. John had his own software company, which is how he made money. And that was pretty lucrative, enough so that Patsy got to just stay at home and mostly focused on volunteer work. They had their first son together named Burke in 1987. And then JonBenet Ramsey came around three years later on August 6, 1990. Then in 1991, the Ramseys moved all the way over to Boulder, Colorado, which is where most of the story takes place. So in Boulder, they bought this massive 15-room, kind of fake Tudor style house, which also featured a basement with a wine cellar, like pulled out all the stops.

Yvette Gentile 09:51

Yeah, and I was also reading in the People Magazine article that they were notorious for lavish living. You know, obviously we, we can tell that they have a lot of money. So they had, you know, neighbors and all sorts of people coming in out of the house, like nannies and cleaners and gardeners all the time. Right? Because like you said earlier, it's a big house. 

Trevor Young 10:14

Yeah, it was. It was like a big production to run the house. 

Rasha Pecoraro 10:16

Yeah. Right. I mean, so that's already maybe a security risk because they have people coming in and out so often. I mean, all of those people have access to the home, they have keys, but also around 1995, that's when Patsy began signing JonBenet up for child beauty pageants. And little JonBenet won a bunch of them. She won Little Miss Colorado, America's Royal Miss and National Tiny Miss Beauty.

Yvette Gentile 10:45

I mean, that's a lot like held back to back. 

Rasha Pecoraro 10:47

It's a lot. 

Yvette Gentile 10:50

Anyhow, to my understanding, it was Patsy's obsession, having her daughter compete in these pageants. So she always was hiring photographers, you know, and different type of people coming in and out of the house. And it really, I mean, if you look closely at it, it totally seems like Patsy was living, or trying to live vicariously, through JonBenet.

Trevor Young 11:17

Do you think that that's something you saw when you were growing up in the pageant world? Like did you see other mothers who were like, kind of also vicariously living through their daughters? That sort of thing?

Yvette Gentile 11:27

Yeah, I mean, absolutely. Because like I said, you know, I was a teenager in one. And then I was 23 in another, a young lady. And I would say, and this is interesting, I saw more obsessed mothers in the girls that were older. 

Rasha Pecoraro 11:42

Oh, really? 

Yvette Gentile 11:43

Yeah. So I saw it all. Yeah. And to your question, Trevor, on both ends of the spectrum, I saw mothers that were, you know, you could see them behind the stage, like, you know, doing the dance moves that, you know, their daughters were doing, whether it be a teenager or someone who was 23. So, yeah, it's a thing. 

Rasha Pecoraro 12:07

Yeah. And I think, at least for us, like growing up in Hawaii, like, I think the little keikis, like the little kids weren't so much involved in pageants like JonBenet was, I don't know if that came a little bit later, you know, in the, you know, later in the 90s. But needless to say, Patsy had JonBenet in everything. So when you're competing in pageants, you're not only like competing for, you know, like Little Miss Boulder or whatever. Like, there's so many photos and videos out there of JonBenet that are a little disturbing.

Yvette Gentile 12:38

I would say very, not a little.

Rasha Pecoraro 12:41

Yeah, yeah. And there's even a video that I know, like now we would say it went viral, but at the time that that wasn't a thing. But everyone saw that video of JonBenet dancing around kind of being flirtatious and super provocative. Like, she's six, she doesn't know that, like that, someone's telling her to do that. You know, or five, I should say five years old. 

Yvette Gentile 13:01


Rasha Pecoraro 13:02

And of course, we've seen dozens of photos of her in heavy makeup. I mean, she looked like a beautiful little drag queen.

Yvette Gentile 13:11

Well, she looked like, if you think about it, she looked like, like her mom, how Patsy wore a lot of makeup. You know what I mean? So like, that's what she was portraying onto her daughter. 

Rasha Pecoraro 13:21


Trevor Young 13:22

So I like to think that this sort of thing has gone out of style a little bit, or at least out of fashion in recent years, just because I don't see as much of this anymore. It feels like a very 90s thing. But, you know, hopefully maybe cases like JonBenet turn people off of this, I don't know. So meanwhile, things were pretty tough on the Ramsey parents in the early 90s. On January 8 of 1982, Elizabeth, who was one of John's daughters from his first marriage, died in a car accident in Chicago. And then his father also died that year in 1992. And then the following year, in 1993, Patsy was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. And by that point, it had actually spread to her lymph nodes. So she underwent chemotherapy, which as you can imagine, caused hair loss, nausea, months of illness, and fatigue. She was able to beat it, however, and her cancer did go into remission in 1995. So that was good news. And it seemed like things were looking up for the Ramseys. But then the following year, on Christmas of 1996, things went very, very wrong. And we'll talk about that right after we take a quick break.

Rasha Pecoraro 14:38

So let's talk about when things started to go terribly wrong. A couple of things happened leading up to Christmas of that year. On December 6, 1996, JonBenet participated in the Lights of Christmas Parade in Boulder, where she appeared on a Little Miss Colorado parade float and JonBenet's grandmother was there and she actually would later say that some creeper, some creepy man kept approaching the float, and it made her and everyone very uncomfortable. So that's one thing, right. And, you know, I've done my share of parades, you know, all pride parades, but you definitely, you can see the creepers out there. Then on December 17, JonBenet won Little Miss Christmas at a Denver child beauty pageant. So we just need to keep those two little events in mind as we continue talking about the details.

Trevor Young 15:33

And so on December 23, the Ramseys hosted a Christmas party at their home with about 30 guests in attendance. One weird thing is that a 911 call was placed from their home around 10pm that night, but it is later dismissed as a drunk guest making the call. We don't have any record of that so hard to verify. It's just one of the things you'll hear about online. Also important, there is a neighbor by the name of Bill McReynolds who plays Santa Claus at said party. And remember that name because Bill McReynolds would initially become a suspect in JonBenet's murder. Once again, just hang on to that.

Yvette Gentile 16:13

Yes, yes. Okay, so now it's Christmas Day and the Ramseys, they go to a Christmas party hosted by their family friend, whose name is Fleet White. And they eventually go home and John puts JonBenet and Burke to bed. So at around 10pm they go in to check on JonBenet and they see that she's sound asleep. And John claims that this is the last time that he sees her alive. And then Patsy, I guess she goes to bed around 10:30pm.

Rasha Pecoraro 16:49

And then a couple hours later, just after midnight on what's now December 26, neighbor Scott Gibbons reported seeing a light on in the Ramsey's kitchen. And at 2am neighbor Melody Stanton allegedly heard a scream from the Ramsey's home. So again, these are those nuggets, right. So her husband said he then heard the sound of metal on concrete sometime after she heard that scream. But it's important to note that years later, Melody actually backtracked on those statements, on her own statements, stating she actually heard the noise two nights prior, if at all, which again, this is kind of the start of all that misinformation when you have witnesses recanting what they say.

Trevor Young 17:38

Right. So then at 5:30am that morning, John supposedly wakes up. The family was actually scheduled to fly to Charlevoix, Michigan for a vacation later that day. So John's getting ready. And then Patsy supposedly wakes up very shortly after John. At roughly 5:45am, Patsy heads downstairs to the kitchen, and she sees a note on the backstairs leading to the kitchen. She picks it up and realizes it's a handwritten ransom note. And here's what part of the note said, quote, "you will withdraw $118,000 from your account. $100,000 will be in $100 bills, and the remaining $18,000 in $20 bills", end quote. So strangely enough, that was the exact amount of John's Christmas bonus, that $118,000. The note also said not to call police or they would harm JonBenet in some way.

Yvette Gentile 18:31

This is the most bizarre ransom note. Like ever. 

Rasha Pecoraro 18:36

And it was really long.

Yvette Gentile 18:37

It's really long. And you know, the way that they ended it's signed "victory" and the initials SBTC. It doesn't make any sense. Like if, if I'm thinking about this, and they want $100 bills, and then they want $18,000 in $20s. Like to me that, that's weird. That's like someone who doesn't have a lot of money.

Rasha Pecoraro 19:00

Oh, to ask for hundreds and 20s? And it's also odd that it's the exact number that John just got as a, you know, holiday bonus.

Yvette Gentile 19:09

Right? So of course your mind goes to like, Okay, well, it's obviously somebody that John worked with, right, or somebody close to them that knew that he was getting this exact amount. Also, Patsy reportedly screamed and ran up to JonBenet's room, which was empty. She and John went to check on their son Burke, and they claim that he was still asleep in bed. But at roughly 5:52am Patsy called 911 totally ignoring the notes instructions not to call the police. 

Rasha Pecoraro 19:42


Yvette Gentile 19:42

Here's a clip from that recording of that call.

Archival 19:47

911 Emergency police Explain to me what's going on. Okay. A note was left in your daughter is gone? How old is your daughter? How long ago was it? I don't know. 

Rasha Pecoraro 20:14

So between 5:52 and 5:59am we know that Patsy calls family friends Fleet and Priscilla White and also John and Barbara Fernie. So at 6am Boulder police officers Karl Veitch and Rick French arrive at the Ramsey home, and Detective Linda Arndt arrive shortly after them. So Officer French was the first to search the home and he apparently paused by the very door that JonBenet was later found behind, but he didn't end up opening it.

Trevor Young 20:45

So here's something about that from the police report. French said that he didn't check that door to the basement because he was looking for other doors that a supposed kidnapper most likely would have used. He also noted that the door latch was on the wrong side for any door that might lead outside. So he just went ahead and walked right past it.

Rasha Pecoraro 21:05

Right, and then when Detective Linda Arndt arrived, she reportedly failed to secure the crime scene and this, I think, is a huge, huge mistake, I think, that she made. And at 10:30am, John Ramsey went missing for at least an hour, and he was supposedly leaving the house to pick up mail. But that was later determined that this could not have been true because the family's mail was delivered through a slot in the front door. However, as a devil's advocate, I will say it was the day after Christmas, maybe he was going to pick up a package at the post office. I don't know, but needless to say, Where were you dude?

Trevor Young 21:44

It's a long time to disappear. 

Rasha Pecoraro 21:45


Yvette Gentile 21:46

That doesn't make sense. 

Rasha Pecoraro 21:47


Yvette Gentile 21:48

Okay, so get this, at 1pm, Detective Arndt tells John Ramsey and his friend Fleet White, who is not a police officer. 

Rasha Pecoraro 21:57

Neither of them are.

Yvette Gentile 21:58

Yeah, to do a top-to-bottom search of the house. Like what? So then five minutes later, John and Fleet, they open the door to the wine cellar in the basement. And they find JonBenet's body.

Trevor Young 22:16

Yeah, so two weird things for me. Obviously, one thing is that it takes them so long to find the body in a pretty like well traveled part of the house, I feel like, which is a wine cellar. The other weird thing is, of course, that they like let John Ramsey A) freely roam around, but B) like, find the body. 

Rasha Pecoraro 22:34


Trevor Young 22:34

It's almost like if you answered a like domestic abuse call, like a 911 call and you show up and like the person's girlfriend is either like hurt or killed. You don't just like let that guy, like the boyfriend or whoever like roam around, or maybe even go like help find the girlfriend that, you know, he's possibly...

Rasha Pecoraro 22:53

It's a crime scene. 

Yvette Gentile 22:55

Yeah, this is not a game. It's, this is a real life crime scene.

Trevor Young 22:59

Right. So John and Fleet White, they find JonBenet. And when they find her, her mouth is covered in duct tape and her head is bludgeoned and it looks like she had also been strangled with a garrote, which is basically like a wire or a cord that you use to choke people out. So John reportedly ripped off the duct tape, and he grabs her, he carries her upstairs, and he sets her down on the floor in front of everybody. So it's not exactly clear why, but Detective Arndt then picked up the body, once again, and moved it to the living room and set it down near the Christmas tree. And then Patsy, who is apparently too stunned to hold herself up or even walk, kind of stumbles over as friends, like help her and carry her to the body. And the police reports say that she then throws herself also on top of JonBenet's body and is sobbing over the body. So what we're seeing here is a lot of potential contamination of evidence of JonBenet's body, of the scene. I mean, things have been moved around so much, the body has been touched and handled by so many people already and nobody's even examined it. So that's a huge problem.

Yvette Gentile 24:10

But that just goes to show that that particular detective, like she was in charge, she was the first one on the scene, like you don't have, you know, normal people, civilians, so to speak, go in and do your work. That just doesn't make sense. I mean, I do understand the emotion of Patsy throwing herself over JonBenet because that is, you know, that's her child. But still, like they should have left her, you know, where she was.

Rasha Pecoraro 24:39

Yeah, being a mom, it makes me sick to think about it.

Trevor Young 24:42

Yeah, and I guess the last thing I'll say about that is, you know, a lot of people talk about why this case hasn't been solved. And there are a lot of things you can attribute to it. But I think this moment right here is probably like, number one. Why we don't have much is because so much of what we could have gleaned from this crime scene is just like immediately ruined.

Rasha Pecoraro 25:03

Completely contaminated. 

Yvette Gentile 25:04


Rasha Pecoraro 25:06

Well, a few more crazy things happen that day that are, that we have to point out, these, these little nuggets. At 1:40pm, John Ramsey called his pilot about their personal plane. And he allegedly asked the pilot to prepare the plane for the family to go to Atlanta. But law enforcement put the kibosh on that and instructed the family not to leave town for good reason. 

Yvette Gentile 25:32


Rasha Pecoraro 25:34

Right? And so the Ramseys heed the request, and they end up going to stay at a friend's house because their home is now a crime scene.

Yvette Gentile 25:41

Right. And they should not be leaving. 

Rasha Pecoraro 25:44

Yeah. There's a lot of things that shouldn't have happened that day, but they did. 

Yvette Gentile 25:47

Okay, so it's 2:30pm and the authorities are interviewing little Burke now. And he's saying that he slept through the night and he doesn't recall anything. He didn't hear anything. He didn't see anything. At 10:45 JonBenet's body was removed from the Ramseys home and Detective Arndt, we go back to Detective Arndt, who let everybody walk around the house, is the last to leave the house.

Trevor Young 26:16

Right. Of course, that's not really the end of this case. But we do need to take another break. So we'll talk about some of the things that came to light after we come back.

Rasha Pecoraro 26:30

Okay, so let's pick it back up on December 28. So that day the Ramseys go to the Boulder police station and Patsy, John, and Burke all give their hair, blood, and handwriting samples to the Boulder police. The next day the Ramseys all fly to Atlanta and on New Year's Eve they hold JonBenet's funeral in Marietta, Georgia, with over 200 friends and family in attendance. JonBenet is laid to rest next to her half-sister and John's daughter Elizabeth, who died in a car wreck in 1992. On January 1, 1997, John and Patsy did an interview for CNN, which I vividly remember, here's a short clip for us to listen to.

Archival 27:19

When you return to Boulder, you will sit down with the Boulder police. Absolutely, absolutely. We want them to know everything possible. Everything. Whatever they want, whatever anyone wants, we will cooperate.

Rasha Pecoraro 27:39

So throughout the interview, Patsy kept putting forth the idea that a home invader was responsible for the killing. She kept saying things like, a killer is on the loose. And she kept saying, people in Boulder should lock up their homes tight. I do remember her repeating those two things several times in the interview.

Trevor Young 28:00

Right. So then the next day on January 2, a team of investigators from Boulder fly to Atlanta to again question the Ramseys. And apparently, understandably, the investigators were very shocked to see that the Ramseys went on TV to talk about this because a couple days earlier, they had claimed to be too upset, too emotional, to even talk to the police about it, like they were completely locked up, you know, when police tried to talk to them, and here they are, you know, maybe a week later, fully opening up about it to the whole country, the whole world.

Rasha Pecoraro 28:32

I wonder if the attorney told them to do it to save face or something?

Yvette Gentile 28:35

 Possibly, right?

Trevor Young 28:36

Well, maybe. The other thing is like, you know, they didn't want to talk to police. Maybe they were like faking being upset. Like the fact that they would not be that upset a week later, only a week later signifies that maybe they weren't actually that upset or that they're not as upset as they were leading on to police earlier. So I don't know. But then on January 3, the Ramseys return to Boulder, Colorado. And that same day, investigators revealed that the ransom note was written on stationery from within their own house.

Yvette Gentile 29:07

Oh shit. Right. So I mean, so of course the investigators are now wondering like, Okay, did the parents actually write the note? Right? 

Rasha Pecoraro 29:19


Yvette Gentile 29:20

Did they or did they not? That is the question. So two months later on March 7, they have an expert handwriting analysis reveal that John could not have written this particular ransom note, but Patsy has not been ruled out. So we still don't know.

Trevor Young 29:42

Yeah, well, either way, the next day on March 8, investigators travel to the Ramsey's vacation home in Michigan. And there they try and find some unrehearsed writing samples that they can use for more handwriting analysis. So the idea there being that, you know, you can like fake your handwriting if you're like under pressure, like if you know cops are trying to like check your handwriting. Maybe you could like, do it differently to throw them off.

Rasha Pecoraro 30:09

Right, right, right. 

Trevor Young 30:10

Maybe they would find again unrehearsed samples in this other house. So then on April 19, the Boulder District Attorney officially names John and Patsy Ramsey as the prime suspects in JonBenet's murder. So they are really honing in now on the parents as having done this.

Rasha Pecoraro 30:28

But apparently this does not faze the Ramseys at all. On April 27, they actually ran an ad in The Daily Camera offering a reward of $100,000 for any information that can help with the investigation. And on May 2, the Ramseys finally address the accusations against them in an interview with local news station News Nine. So we don't have the audio, but John said, quote, I did not kill my daughter, I will miss her dearly for the rest of my life, end quote. And Patsy simply said, quote, I did not kill JonBenet, end quote. The couple insisted the supposed killer would be found with Patsy saying, quote, God knows who you are, and we will find you.

Yvette Gentile 31:12

So on July 10, the Ramseys purchased a new home in Atlanta. And they actually ended up buying a home not far from where Jon Benet was buried, and that's in Marietta. So obviously, they wanted to be close to their little girl, right.

Trevor Young 31:31

So real quick, let's talk about the autopsy. On July 14 of 1998, JonBenet's official autopsy report was unsealed. And so the autopsy confirmed a deep ligature around the victim's neck and another around the right wrist. There was also evidence that she had been bound and strangled. And it also says that blood and abrasions were found in the girl's vaginal area, which is important. Also, she was struck in the head violently enough to cause bleeding, and there was an eight and a half inch fracture to her skull. So this suggests she died by asphyxiation, technically, but she was also bludgeoned and possibly sexually assaulted.

Yvette Gentile 32:10

And I thought this detail was very weird because it also turns out that that handle of that particular weapon that was used to kill JonBenet, it was made from one of the handles of Patsy's paint brushes. So you know, this is the thing, is somebody's trying to frame them or did they really do it? 

Rasha Pecoraro 32:33

Right. I don't know, but all my insides are all wrapped in knots, like Trevor, I'm, I'm thankful that you can read through that without like, pausing because I, whew, just knowing what was done to little JonBenet just breaks my heart. So months go by without any developments. But on January 15, 1998, the Ramseys announce that they were not going to cooperate anymore, they refused to give any further interviews to the police until they themselves were allowed to review the evidence again. On March 12, which is now 15 months since the murder of little JonBenet, a grand jury is called and by this point the police investigation has not garnered enough evidence to successfully convict anyone. 

Trevor Young 33:20

Right. So the date of the grand jury is set for September 15 of 1998. But before that happens, something else comes to light. On August 20, police realize that Burke, who's JonBenet's brother, can actually be heard in the background of Patsy's initial 911 call. So originally, the Ramseys had said that Burke was asleep that morning when everything went down, when they were searching for JonBenet, and that he didn't even wake up until after the police showed up. But police were able to enhance the audio of that 911 call. And then they were able to pick up Burke's voice supposedly, in the background of the call.

Yvette Gentile 34:05

And so just one month later, the grand jury would finally begin. And this is where evidence and more would be revealed and explored. And this is where we're going to pick up next week. Because, as we said, there is so much to talk about in this case. We want to talk about the evidence, the discrepancies in this very, very bizarre case and then we're going to go through some of the popular theories as to what happened.

Rasha Pecoraro 34:40

And for this episode, we're actually going to forgo our usual Imua, which is our call for hope and healing, which we typically like to do at the end of each episode. But since this is a two-parter, we are going to leave you hanging so you'll get the Imua next week. But we will leave you with this simple question -What actually happened to JonBenet Ramsey? That will be our focus point for next episode.

Yvette Gentile 35:08

So until next time, that is our show for today. We'd love to hear what you thought about today's discussion and we're really curious to think what you all thought about this case. So please find us on social media for Facing Evil Pod or email us at

Rasha Pecoraro 35:27

Until next time, aloha.

Trevor Young 35:45

Facing Evil is a production of iHeartRadio and Tenderfoot TV. The show is hosted by Rasha Pecoraro and Yvette Gentile. Matt Frederick and Alex Williams are executive producers on behalf of iHeartRadio with producers Trevor Young and Jesse Funk. Donald Albright and Payne Lindsey are executive producers on behalf of Tenderfoot. TV, alongside producer Tracy Kaplan. Our researcher is Claudia Dafrico. Original Music by Makeup and Vanity Set. Find us on social media, or email us at For more podcasts from iHeart Radio or Tenderfoot TV, visit the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.


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