Christmas of this year, JonBenet Ramsey would have been a 26-year-old woman. Twenty years since her brutal murder, and questions remain about who killed the little blonde girl and left her body in the basement of her home in Boulder, Colorado.
Investigative Journalist Paula Woodward covered the JonBenet story from the start. She dug into the case and discovered new information never before revealed to the public. Woodward shares her findings in her book, “We Have Your Daughter.” The title is gleaned from words in the ransom note, which Woodward shares along with several other pieces of visual evidence on her website www.wehaveyourdaughter.net.
Woodward has been a mentor and friend to WPTV NewsChannel 5 Anchor Ashleigh Walters for almost 15 years.
The story of JonBenet has captivated the world since day one. Woodward says, the mysteries remain layered in the case.
“Who wrote the ransom note? Why did they write it so long? What is that all about? Why is it signed S.B.T.C.? There are all the bits of misinformation we had that were fed by law enforcement that aren't true. Like there was no forced entry into the house, yet there were 7 different ways into the house. There were the beauty pageants. There was this wealthy family, from Boulder, Colorado, seemingly very happy and then this terrible murder happens. Any piece of evidence you look at, you can take it either way. Was it the Ramseys, or an intruder?” Woodward said.
Woodward says, she does not have the definitive answer nor opinion of who killed JonBenet.
“I don't know. What the book does is it says, here's the best information that I, and investigators, can give you. And you can decide for yourself whether or not you think it was a Ramsey or whether or not you think it was an intruder. Because there are police reports, portions of police reports, I was flabbergasted at what I learned once I started researching this book and I told my sources, here's my home address, send me actual documents. And they did and one of them was just incredible.”
Woodward also shares exclusive interviews she’s had with Ramsey family members in the book. Patsy Ramsey, mother of JonBenet, shared intimate details with Woodward before she died of cancer. Woodward was told to keep the conversations private until after Patsy’s death.
“Patsy was very religious, she had a very deep faith. And she said to me, as part of that faith, Paula, I forgive. I will always forgive. But I will never forgive who killed JonBenet. And she said I want to be alone with that person. I want to be alone with that person to find out why. But not to forgive, that won't happen. And that was really something to say, given her faith,” Woodward said.
The story is one of a botched homicide case from hour one. Mistakes were made at the scene and in the days following. It was a time of year when the least experienced law enforcement was on duty in Boulder County. Woodward describes herself as “very pro law enforcement,” but she could not ignore what she learned in her research.
“The police at the DA's office deliberately leaked false stories to the media and then the media was at fault for not double checking and double checking today, and then, is just second nature - you just do it. Here's one side, here's the other,” she said.
Police told journalists Patsy Ramsey had never given DNA, but she had two days prior to that information. John Ramsey, law enforcement said, had piloted his private jet to Atlanta. This was also not true. John Ramsey’s company had loaned the family a jet and two pilots.
The information leaked to media by law enforcement, "set this case off as anti-Ramsey, and that's what I wanted to correct. The inaccuracies. I don't have a position, but I do want it to be accurate,” Woodward said.
There is a new Chief of Police in Boulder. The case remains open. The city, unbeknownst to reporters at the time of the murder, had no homicide department. It still doesn’t today.
Woodward reveals another element in her book that is filled with evidence and reports. She gives new, firsthand account of the little girl who became famous posthumously for the worst reason. Woodward shares JonBenet’s artwork and accounts from her family and friends of a little girl who will always be remembered as kind and gentle. She was always the child who escorted sick classmates to the nurse’s office, for example.
“I dropped the distance that I'd put up on JonBenet as we so often do as reporters and I got to know her. And it's very sad that she's not alive.”
Woodward’s book, “We Have Your Daughter” can be purchased HERE www.wehaveyourdaughter.net.