Rebecca Schaeffer

13 Crimes That Shocked the World and Changed Our Culture Forever

The Murder of JonBenét Ramsey

On Dec. 26, 1997, Patsy Ramsey woke at 5:30 a.m. to find a rambling ransom note stating that her 6-year-old daughter had been kidnapped from their Boulder, Colo. home. About eight hours later, John Ramsey found JonBenét’s body in their basement wine cellar. She had ligature marks on her neck and her skull was fractured from a blow to the head.

In the days that followed, the media operated at fever pitch, swarming JonBenét’s school, John Ramsey’s office and the family’s church. No one in Boulder had ever seen anything like it—and most people watching the news at home around. The country had never heard of beauty pageants for little kids. The photos and videos of a heavily made-up JonBenét competing for titles like Little Miss led the nightly news. That’s how the world got to know her—as a murder victim and, in some opinions. As a victim of exploitation by a mother voluntarily putting her child on display.

Almost 20 years later, JonBenét’s murder remains unsolved and experts, investigators and Dr. Phil are coming out of the woodwork in hopes of getting to the bottom of what happened. Patsy, who died in 2006, John and their son Burke. Who was 9 when his sister was killed. They were all cleared via DNA testing years ago, but suspicions linger and most of the questions. That people have about the odd-to-this-day details of the crime remain unanswered.

Moreover, one generation’s scandal is the next generation’s guilty-pleasure entertainment. Toddlers and Tiaras. About the type of competition among children. That was so shocking or distasteful to onlookers in 1997, premiered on TLC in 2008.

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