The parents of a six-year-old beauty pageant queen whose 1996 murder captivated the nation had been indicted as accessories to the crime, according to documents released Friday, but a local prosecutor did not pursue charges against them and it remains a mystery who killed JonBenet Ramsey.
The grand jury documents bring new light to a case in which the parents were quickly fingered as possible suspects when their daughter was found strangled in their Colorado home on Christmas night. The newly-released documents show that the grand jury indicted the parents for “recklessly” putting JonBenet in danger of death and protecting the killer.
Patricia Ramsey, JonBenet’s mother, died in 2006, and a lawyer for father John Bennett Ramsey had previously voiced confidence that evidence the grand jury considered didn’t implicate the parents, the Associated Press reports. Prosecutors have discretion to decide whether there is enough evidence to pursue charges after an indictment, and at the time, District Attorney Alex Hunter said “we do not have sufficient evidence to warrant the filing of charges against anyone who has been investigated at this time.
Another prosecutor cleared the parents in 2008, citing DNA evidence that indicated the killer was not a relative.
Photos of Ramsey wearing heavy makeup dominated the news in the months after her murder, sparking debate over whether her parents inappropriately sexualized her.