Barbara Walters Presents American Scandals: Could A DNA Database Help Solve The JonBenet Ramsey Case?


On the premiere episode of Barbara Walters Presents American Scandals, Walters revisits the JonBenet Ramsey case. Reviewing archive footage, talking with experts and speaking with John Ramsey, we get an intimate look at the Ramsey family and the current state of the troubled investigation.

In her interview with John Ramsey, Walters examines how the police mishandled the investigation, how the tabloid frenzy led millions to condemn the JonBenet’s parents and how limited DNA technology failed to close the case.

While we may never know who killed JonBenet, a lot of new information has come to light since the December 1996 murder. Below we share where the Ramsey family is today, possible clues that could break the case and advice to victims of violent crime.

Barbara Walters interviewed the Ramseys in XX Photo: Investigation Discovery

Barbara Walters with the John and Patsy Ramsey in 2000 Photo: Investigation Discovery

Boulder Break-in Eerily Resembles The Ramsey Case  

Several months after JonBenet’s murder, an intruder broke into a little girl’s room in Boulder, Colorado. Although authorities claim that the case differs from the Ramsey homicide because intruder did not commit murder, John Ramsey questions their logic. Ramsey argues that had the intruder not been scared off, he very well could have committed a more heinous attack. Adding to the conflicting views of the case, the intruder was never apprehended, so authorities were unable to compare his DNA to the evidence found on JonBenet’s clothing.

John carries a medal JonBenet won with him at all times Photo: Investigation Discovery

John carries a medal JonBenet won with him at all times Photo: Investigation Discovery

John Ramsey Pushes For New DNA Procedures 

In 2008 new “touch DNA” technology cleared all members of the JonBenet’s family. Along with clearing the Ramsey family and their close friends, the Boulder County District Attorney Mary Lacy wrote a formal apology letter to John Ramsey. In the years since the DNA revelation, John has advocated that anyone arrested for a felony should have their DNA added to a database, similar to the procedure in place for fingerprinting. Ramsey asserts that a robust DNA database would solve 1,000 murder cases overnight.

Burke Ramsey is now 28-years-old with a successful IT career Photos: Investigation Discovery

Burke Ramsey (far left and right) is now 28-years-old with a successful IT career Photos: Investigation Discovery

Where Is JonBenet’s Brother Today? 

Many people remember when tabloids turned their attention to JonBenet’s older brother, Burke. Rumors swirled that the older Ramsey child was involved with the death of his sister. Despite the damning media attention, police never found evidence to connect Burke to the gruesome murder and officially cleared him in 2008. Despite losing his sister and mother, Burke was able able to build a life for himself. Now, at the 28-year-old has moved past the media frenzy and is working as a computer software developer.

John Ramsey remarried in XXX photo: Investigation Discovery

John Ramsey with is new wife Jan photo: Investigation Discovery

Financial Advice For Anyone Dealing With Tragedy 

Prior to JonBenet’s murder, John was valued at several million dollars. Following the murder of his daughter, John says he made several dramatic life choices which lead to his financial ruin. John quit his job, sold his house and moved his family back to Atlanta, GA. John soon realized that finding another job would be almost impossible. John says employers openly told him that while he had valuable skills, his name was too much of a PR risk for any perspective employer. Nearly two decades later, John advises anyone going through a traumatic event to not make any rash finical decisions, reminding viewers that victims of violent crimes are more likely to file for bankruptcy.

A lot has changed for John Ramsey, but one thing remains the same — no answers about the murder of JonBenet. Do you think the DNA evidence will be able to solve the case? Share your thoughts below.

Watch the full episode on ID GO Barbara Walters Presents American Scandals.

  • IW Writer

    rather unlikely until a national data base is established.

    • Pryz Fytr

      A national database DOES exist; it’s called CODIS. Note that you and I aren’t in it, only criminals. If you suggest that EVERYONE should be in it, I heartily disagree. There are public databases, used for genealogy, and I suggested in the past the that BPD use those.

      • Shannon

        They could run it through CODIS and take some of the “closest” matches and go from there because anyone that’s really close would be a close relative of the killer..that’s IF the DNA is even from the killer

      • I agree…run it through ancestry or GEDmatch and see who pops up as the closest match and then go from there. That sounds like a really logical, easy thing to do…

  • I believe it was Edward Wayne Edwards that murdered JonBenet. The ransom note found at the scene was signed “SBTC”, meaning “Signed By The Cross”, and there are plenty of other clues it was him. See the book by John Cameron or this facebook note for details :

    • Patricia Ann Waits

      Boy your being just as stupid over here as you were with Arias. Your the biggest Idiot in the world. You and your Stupid guessing games.

      • Eva

        Patricia Ann Waits…Once you begin throwing insults at people who might have valid points to make, you lose all credibility. It just goes to show that you don’t have any valid points to make, nothing of substance. When that happens, the only thing you have left, is your ego, which can’t handle the fact that someone is offering up an opinion, right or wrong, so you throw insults.

        • Patricia Ann Waits

          You think I care what you think Eve not at all.

          • Eva

            Patricia….No, I really don’t think you care. I think you should. It’s a valid piece of constructive criticism. If you’re too busy shooting off insults at people that are posting valid opinions, to take a step back and look at what you yourself are doing, it just goes to show that you’re not mature enough to be posting opinions on a public thread. You’re not going to be taken seriously because you don’t have anything to offer. I saw your other postings to people, very troll like.

        • Patricia Ann Waits

          Shut up Eva

      • Donna Maree

        “You’re”, not “your”. When calling other people “stupid”, always best not to make yourself look stupid in the process…..though I do agree it wasn’t Edward Edwards who murdered Jonbenet – he had a completely different MO. The JB Ramsey case is the only one where (an alleged) ransom note has ever been found in the same location as the victim. It is also the single, longest, ransom note in history, and would be the only time the perpetrator has not bought the note with him and written it in his intended target’s home, using items that belonged to them.

        • Patricia Ann Waits

          Now we’re going for Grammer lol

          • Donna Maree

            Or “grammar”, even. 🙂
            Normally, I wouldn’t mention someone’s grammatical errors, Patricia, but I found it ironic that the one calling others “stupid” was the one who couldn’t spell.

    • Keith Ciaccio

      And the ransom of 117k..the amount her husband just got as a bonus..He happened to know that?

      • Donna Maree

        John Ramsey’s bonus had actually been paid ten months earlier, and it amounted to approximately 118K *after* taxes – but that was not the amount of his bonus, which is often erroneously stated. Nevertheless, it wasn’t an intruder who wrote the “ransom” note.

  • littleamb3

    Why don’t they have a national data base already?

    • Pryz Fytr

      They do, they checked it, no matches.

  • Kim Miller Rudisill

    I think that they should have a DNA database too. Anyone convicted of violent crimes like murder, rape, sexual predators of children etc should be put in the database. I agree with John Ramsey that by doing that they could probably solve a lot of unsolved crimes.

    • Richgeana White

      I agree should be mandatory they give DNA just like fingerprints is mandatory

      • Pryz Fytr

        It is so in many states already.

        • Eva

          People should be required to give fingerprints and DNA when issued a driver’s license. It would be a huge database of info, but would solve a lot of crimes.

  • WilhelmtheSad

    NO the murderer was Barbara Wa Wa, she has murdered and raped hundreds of people but because of her celebrity and her connection with Joy Behar and the other lesbian she has escaped prosecution! this is fact

  • Lahlah Po

    Dont we only really have a national database? Isn’t that what CODIS is?

    • Sadie Frost

      We need abbey from NCIS, she could get to the bottom of this. Seriously, isn’t there someone in this country who is as good as abbey that could volunteer to get the answers needed? It s my understanding that tho police thought by sight at the dicovery of the body that it “looked” like she had been molested. But forensic studies showed she had not been. Rules out pedophile. Whoever killed her was there to do just that, commit murder. So very sad. She was 6.

  • Richgeana White

    I say it’s a strong possibility that with all this new DNA technology that they should try putting it through a data base there is a chance this killer may have been arrested for another attack on someone or arrested for something else couldn’t hurt glad all the family members were cleared so they can use their sources to keep looking it was obvious this case was messed up in obtaining evidence and investigating from the very beginning I really hope they find out who killed her

    • Pryz Fytr

      It’s been done. No matches.

  • MaryAnn Justus

    Burke looks so much like Patsy its got to be so hard on him losing his mother and his sister.