Former Boulder Police Chief Admits To Mistakes In JonBenet Ramsey Investigation

In a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” this week, former Boulder police chief, Mark Beckner, answered a few questions from Redditors on the subject of the JonBenet Ramsey investigation. While he did not become deeply involved with the murder investigation until approximately September of 1997, his observations have shed a new light on failures in the initial days of the investigation.

Unfortunately, Beckner mistakenly thought the environment would be secure and his answers would not leak out into the rest of the world. When they did, those comments suddenly were deleted from the reddit discussion. Fortunately, some news outlets were able to access the comments before they were deleted.

Related: JonBenet Ramsey Crimeline

One of the most significant comments to come out of the event was Beckner’s assertion that police erred in not separating the Ramseys and getting full statements from both Patsy and John on the day JonBenet’s body was found. According to Beckner, the department was short-staffed due to the Christmas holiday.

“It was the Christmas holiday and we were short staffed, we faced a situation as I said earlier that no one in the country had ever seen before or since, and there was confusion at the scene as people were arriving before we had enough personnel on the scene.”

Beckner lamented that they did not interview the Ramseys immediately that day, and were not able to interview them until May of 1997, five months after the murder and about that long after they’d retained lawyers. If the Ramseys were involved in JonBenet’s death, could this error have given the girl’s parents enough time to get their story straight? We may never know for sure.

In a comment about the district attorney’s office and grand juries that can only echo loudly in the wake of the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases, Beckner stated that:

“They interfered in the investigation by being roadblocks to getting things done. They did not want to do a grand jury until forced to. We never allowed the DA to get that involved in a case again.”

ABC News brings us this report:

World News Videos | US News Videos

Read more:
What remains of Mark Beckner’s Reddit AMA
Ex-Police Chief: JonBenet Ramsey Crime Scene Was Mishandled (ABC News)
JonBenet Ramsey case: Former Boulder police chief Mark Beckner says police botched initial handling (KMGH)
Ex-police chief inadvertently reveals misgivings about JonBenet Ramsey investigation (The Washington Post)

Photo: Mark Fix/ZUMA Press/Corbis

  • Krissy Sowers

    I certainly hope this isn’t the first time people have realized this case wasn’t solved due to police errors!!!

  • Emily Hall

    I can’t believe they waited that long before they interviewed her parents. I bet they did do it and got away with it.

    • Queenmarie

      You don’t know much about the case do you? DNA exonerated both Jon and Patsy Ramsey in 2008. They did not do it.

      • ladyx

        Exactly. There is a ton of evidence supporting the intruder theory.

        • Queenmarie

          IKR —it kills me to read these comments about people who think they know about the case and come on here saying one of the family did it when they have no idea that DNA has already ruled the family out YEARS AGO.

  • Little Edie

    Brother did it, parents covered it up.

    • Queenmarie

      You people are so stupid. Commenting on this case when you don’t know sh*t about it. NO ONE in the Ramsey family killed her.

      • Shawn kinkaid

        We can’t say that the Ramsey’s did or didn’t kill her till we get more facts. But there will be a 3 segment story on the new details coming up soon on tv. I have my own theories on what might have happened but I want to see the new details first. Happy Day Everyone 😀

        • Queenmarie

          You do know that DNA has ruled out the family right?????

  • Reyna Hernandez

    What can they what are they gonna do about it now?!

  • Ann4EverReal

    I always and still do believe that the mother did it, but not intentionally. And I believe the father know it but help cover it up. (just my opinion)

    • Juliana

      I believe it too.

  • jojomac67

    I think about Jon Benet alot since 1996 , she was put through something that no child should suffer and the fact that the police made so many mistakes let her killer be free . I hardly think as some people do that her mother put a garat around her neck and strangled her while sexually assaulting her , i just dont believe that and never will , but someone did do that to that poor 6 year old child and that person needs to pay for that .

  • melindasopple

    Back To The Future With Mark Becker : Former Boulder Police Department Chief Shockingly Exposes 16 Years of Police Mishandling:

    In disturbing comments from a recent Reddit Q & A, Former Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner shares comments about the JonBenet Ramsey murder case that are not in keeping with the facts in the case, the actual state of the case based on advancements in DNA forensic science; all while continuing to point the finger at the Ramseys based on behavior alone.

    Beckner calls the DNA in the case “a small piece of evidence.” Does he know that hundreds of cold cases have been solved with minuscule samples of DNA? Instead of backing the advancements made in the case over the years through DNA technology from noted DNA labs around the country, Beckner relies on assumptions made in a little known book on the case written by a former BPD cop, Jim Kolar, with little or no homicide experience. He was recently quoted on Redditt AMA saying, “I agree with Jim Kolar,” and then he further expanded his thoughts on the profile DNA, saying, “Personally, I believe if the source is ever found, we will discover that there is an explanation other than belonging to the murderer. There are others, such as ex-DA Mary Lacy who believe the DNA has to be that of the murderer.”It begs the question, is this the same police department in charge of this investigation all these years? Why is he discarding the DNA evidence? Why is he blaming DA Mary Lacy who moved the case forward using the latest methods of DNA testing to create a full profile of the killer’s DNA?

    Beckner then changed his mind to imply that the same DNA left at the crime scene that he believes erroneously exonerated the parents, rightfully exonerated John Mark Karr when it did not match Karr’s DNA: “The DNA test, which she (DA Mary Lacy) thought would prove he (John Mark Karr) did it, proved her wrong.”

    While Beckner retracted his DNA comments three days later, it is clear from Reddit Q & A that he continues to feel the parents of JonBenet are responsible for her death. Is this how he ran the murder investigation for all those years? Is this why the case has never been solved? In announcing the advancement of the latest DNA evidence in the case, District Attorney Mary Lacy, said in 2008: “The unexplained third party DNA on the clothing of the victim is very significant and powerful evidence. It is very unlikely that there would be an innocent explanation for DNA found at three different locations on two separate items of clothing worn by the victim at the time of her murder. This is particularly true in this case because the matching DNA profiles were found on genetic material from inside the crotch of the victims underwear and near the waist on both sides of her long johns, and because concerted efforts that might identify a source, and perhaps an innocent explanation, were unsuccessful.” It is therefore the position of the Boulder District Attorneys Office that this profile belongs to the perpetrator of the homicide.”

    The DNA evidence is not the only erroneous point for Beckner. He gave the following answer when questioned about John Mark Karr as a suspect: “We were able to confirm he was not even in Colorado at the time by just doing some routine checking and then obtained photos of him in Georgia at the time.”

    However, sources dispute this claim. In the Atlanta Journal Constitution August 22, 2006, an article by Mike Morris quoted Gary Harris, an attorney for Karr’s father, as saying that “the photo is of John Mark Karr’s three children and a newborn nephew, while John Mark Karr is not actually in the photo.” Attorney Michael Rains, who representing Karr’s former wife, Lara Knutson, said that Knutson “cannot think of a Christmas while they were together when he was away from the family on Christmas day or immediately thereafter,” though he added she could not specifically recall Christmas 1996. (Associated Press Aug 18th, 2006 Article by CATHERINE TSAI and JON SARCHE)Further examples of Mark Beckner’s lack of knowledge in the case can be seen in what he described about the head blow to JonBenet.

    Mark Beckner said: “We know from the evidence she was hit in the head very hard with an unknown object, possibly a flashlight or similar type item. The blow knocked her into deep unconsciousness, which could have led someone to believe she was dead.

    The strangulation came 45 minutes to two hours after the head strike, based on the swelling on the brain. While the head wound would have eventually killed her, the strangulation actually did kill her.”

    An overwhelming amount of experts have disputed this claim such as Dr. John Meyer, who performed the autopsy on JonBenet. He said the cause of death was “strangulation associated with craniocerebral trauma.” Dr. Meyer listed strangulation as the primary cause of death with corroborating evidence being petechial hemorrhages, which are burst blood vessels that occur in strangulation, and for which a person must still be alive to occur. In addition, the blow to her head left a crack along the length of the side of her skull that was approximately eight inches long that only yielded about a teaspoon and a half of blood inside her skull, which was a very small amount for such a large injury. Dr. Meyer referred to this as a “thin film” of hemorrhage in the autopsy report. Dr. Meyer also lists the “overall architecture” of the brain as “normal” and says that “no inflammation is identified” in the furrows of the brain structure.

    In addition, Drs. Michael Doberson and Cyril Wecht both concluded the head blow came after the strangulation. Adams County Coroner Mike Dobersen said he reviewed the autopsy photographs and thinks there would have been much more internal bleeding inside the brain if JonBenet had been struck first and strangled later.

    Beckner shows an astonishing lack of knowledge of case, along with personal grudges, uses behavior as evidence, and instead of following evidence, he ignores it to meet his personal theory.

  • Tracy

    I agree with what Melinda Soople is saying and or putting in question. There shouldn’t be any “why’s”. One thing is for sure, there was and still is a huge cover up all the way around. Money talks….

  • Juliana

    What he is saying about this being such a unique case never seen before or after is such b.s. How do any of those initial investigator’s on the scene live with themselves? Everything that happened, happened in that house. How can no one solve a case where all involved were in the house at the time of the murder? No one heard a beep? Are the walls in that house so thick that it’s sound proof to the point where if a stranger came into the home they wouldn’t have heard the noise in their daughter’s room.

    The murderer is dead anyway…..the case will remain open forever

    • sky

      Exactly considering there were no footsteps outside due to it started snowing after their xmas party deal and everyone left…so if it were someone from outside of the house there would of been footprints. Im thinking was the brother…he was pissed she got all the attention. Just my opinoin.

    • Ian Noland

      Yes the walls could be thick enough to not awake the people living in that house. That family is loaded and homes like that are built to last. They could have been constructed with sound dampening in mind. I’m not letting the family off of the hook, however, as I am on the “the brother knows something” train and that a cover up is a possibility.

  • Guest

    letaste NEws it’s detail HERE’S MORE DETAIL

    • Stefan

      Spam alert

      • Queenmarie


        • Arnie

          you seem to be the anon lurker popping in with a comment calling people trolls and your right everyone is wrong DNA proved nothing in the OJ case, in this case the parents could be complicit but not physically!

          • Queenmarie

            Do you not see who I was calling a troll? These people that always come to the comment section and leave their links for jobs, spam BS, etc….. If you read the comments above you’d see that. As for your other comments—you think OJ is innocent? Also I never believed that Jon or Patsy had anything to do with her death but if you want to believe they did, that’s your right.
            Anon lurker—— OK “mr big tuff man”……….

  • Richelle Burch

    JonBenét’s parents were exonerated through DNA testing. They did not physically commit the crime, though the possibility of their involvement is still there.

  • Richgeana White

    I always hoped that this case would be solved one day it was definitely obvious that the police botched this in more than one occasion they definitely had set their sites on Patsy and her husband which is what you rightfully do but you also don’t rule out that someone random or that new the family could have done it I follow this case every since it first aired and there was a point when the Parents were exonerated of it and it seemed liked the police just where one eyed on it just thought the parents got away with murder never stopped to think there could have possibly been another culprit i seen over the years where new evidence surfaced in her case but no one was charged it was obvious someone new this family and knew what room she slept in THE POLICE REALLY DROPPED THE BALL ON THIS CASE THEY NEED A FRESH YOUNG PAIR OF EYES TO LOOK INTO THE CASE I STILL HOPE ONE DAY THEY FIND OUT WHO DID THIS

  • Richgeana White


  • Alex Bratcher

    They were all in on it. The poor girl was just one of many child sacrifices that take place in this country all the time. The information is out there, but the reality of the situation is too much for people’s programmed minds to comprehend.

  • Desertrose

    I read the book on this murder. I think they have DNA but no match. My theory is it was a college friend of the older half brother. Someone who had visited the house and knew the floor plan. The brother has a somewhat solid alibi but I’ll bet he has a suspicion of who killed the little girl. Between the DA and police, you couldn’t fill a dixie cup with their brains.

  • Lori B

    yep someone inside that house did it. Not an intruder.

  • Jenny

    I think especially after watching American Scandals that it was a friend of the brothers who done this and has since kept his nose clean to avoid his dna being put in the system.