JonBenét Ramsey murder investigation being reopened for DNA testing

This week, the district attorney of Boulder, Colorado announced that prosecutors would be reopening the DNA portion of the JonBenét Ramsey murder investigation using the latest technology. JonBenét was 6 years old when she was found murdered in her family’s basement on Christmas day in 1996, and the identity of her killer has never been discovered.

DA Stan Garnett and Boulder Police Chief Greg Testa announced on Tuesday that their teams discussed the possibility with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation ahead of Thanksgiving this year and determined that they would conduct additional DNA tests on the Ramsey case, as well as other unresolved cold case homicides, using the latest DNA technology.

“DNA is an area of forensic science that is really changing month-to-month, and as a result, when you had test that was done five years ago, 10 years ago, 20 years ago, you want to make sure that you’re checking back in and using the latest techniques on the things that are tested,” Garnett told ABC’s Denver affiliate KMGH/7News.

On Wednesday, Garnett announced that despite how he’d “always felt that the Ramsey case is not really a DNA case,” he and his team “want to make sure.”

“We have an obligation on every case to make sure that we’re doing up to the date analysis so that the evidentiary of the case is thorough and as sound as possible,” Garnett added.

After initially being suspects in the murder of their own daughter, John and Patsy Ramsey were exonerated in 2008, although Patsy had died of ovarian cancer in 2006. However, then-Boulder County District Attorney Mary Lacy has faced criticism for her exoneration letter, in which she did not mention DNA evidence of a third person found on JonBenét underwear and long johns, which contained JonBenét’s own DNA, that of an unknown male, and a third unknown individual, found by Virginia-based forensic laboratory Bode Technology.

In her 2008 exoneration letter, Lacy described only evidence of the unknown male: “The match of male DNA on two separate items of clothing worn by the victim at the time of the murder makes it clear to us that an unknown male handled these items.”

Garnett has told ABC the same articles of clothing will again be tested for skin cells of suspects in the absence of traditional forms of DNA, such as saliva or blood. However, Garnett did not seem optimistic that new technology would magically create new evidence that has not been uncovered over the course of the past 20 years, telling ABC, “I don’t anticipate that there’s going to be any dramatic developments from this next round of testing.”