Child murders should be investigated as federal crimes, not left up to local police.

Today John Ramsey, father of JonBenet Ramsey, unveiled a petition to Colorado Governor Jared Polis to advance his daughter’s murder case to allow an independent agency to conduct DNA testing in the case rather than the Boulder Police Department (BPD).

All of Ramsey’s statements concerning the BPD’s handling of his six-year-old daughter’s 1996 murder case make painfully familiar points for me. I remember talking to my therapist about the JonBenet case soon after it happened and distinctly remember her almost angrily shaking her head and saying “these suburban police departments . . . ” This was not someone in Michigan, but two time zones away.

Ramsey also made the case that child murders should be investigated as federal crimes and not left up to local police who are “just big enough that they think they know everything and they don’t.” Ramsey said “The Boulder police were totally inexperienced, and I don’t blame them for that, I fault them for not accepting help from people who knew what they were doing.”

Ramsey faulted the department for its “arrogance,” “pride,” “ego” and inexperience at the time his daughter was killed. Sound familiar? You do know that Robert Robertson, Michigan State Police commander of the OCCK Task Force 1977-1978 had never worked on a murder case in his life before he took over the investigation of the serial murder of four preteens, right?

Ramsey asked “Why they won’t test the DNA samples that should be tested for DNA, I don’t know. It’s baffling.” Yes, it is especially baffling when you consider the work being done by Othram Labs,, and Bode Technology, Also, take a listen to this  (A Bit of Optimism with Simon Sinek, Episode 48, interview with David Mittleman of Othram).

What people don’t understand is that law enforcement has to work with and cooperate with a third-party lab. They have to be educated about what is available today, this minute, to test or retest evidence for DNA and use genetic genealogy to guide further detective work. They need to understand that the work their state labs are doing is by no means cutting edge, usually serves merely to extinguish valuable evidence, and that these labs have found DNA that was previously missed by state labs and which has resulted in convictions. I can make all the videos I want to send to Othram and send my saga to Bode. If the state police won’t cooperate, won’t step in to the 21st Century, won’t allow the copious evidence–the actual evidence, not the state lab paper results–in the OCCK case to be retested by a lab that has done this for hundreds of other law enforcement agencies around the world, we stand still.

In some ways, just as in the OCCK case, the failure to test is not that baffling. Anyone with a passing familiarity with the JonBenet Ramsey case has some idea what the Boulder PD put the Ramsey family through. I suspect they are in no particular hurry to see if further DNA testing will yield actual answers. The Colorado state lab, just like the Michigan state lab, is incapable of performing the cutting edge testing that is being done by third-party labs to solve cold cases around the country. Accept this and retest all of the evidence in the Ramsey case and the OCCK case. If they won’t do it in child murder cases, they have no business having jurisdiction over these crimes.

Do the DNA testing and then report to your constituents–the people you work for. If there is no viable DNA, you owe the public that answer. If there is DNA, keep the public apprised. None of your NDA, secrecy bullshit. You have the built-in excuse that this type of testing did not exist back in the day. But that excuse is wearing thin in the face of your consistent failures to ask for help and provide ALL the evidence to a lab that knows what it’s doing in the (ice) cold case arena.

Governor Polis, I am one of your grateful constituents. I implore you to find a way to get the Boulder police to advance the DNA testing in JonBenet’s case. Please do not ignore this father’s petition. Address it however you can. It’s time for the BPD to take every step to solve or close this case; it is a stain on the city. Failure to act only intensifies suspicion. And maybe Governor Whitmer can take some inspiration from you and take on the MSP in the OCCK case.

2 Comments on “Child murders should be investigated as federal crimes, not left up to local police.”

  1. Mary DeYoung says:

    An on-line petition to move the case can be found at:

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