John Bennett Ramsey

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John Bennett Ramsey
Born (1943-12-07) December 7, 1943 (age 72)
Lincoln, Nebraska
Nationality American
Alma mater Michigan State University
Political party Republican
Religion Episcopalian
Spouse(s) Lucinda Pasch
(m. 1966–78)
Patsy Paugh (m. 1980–2006; her death)
Jan Rousseaux (m. 2011)
Children Elizabeth Pasch Ramsey (1969–92)
Melinda Ramsey (b. 1972)
John Andrew Ramsey (b. 1976)
Burke Hamilton Ramsey (b. 1987)
JonBenét Patricia Ramsey (1990–96)

John Bennett Ramsey (born December 7, 1943) is an American businessman, author, and father of homicide victim JonBenét Ramsey. He was the first to discover JonBenét's body in the wine cellar of the Ramseys' 15-room home in Boulder, Colorado, on December 26, 1996, just hours after her murder on Christmas Day.

Early life[edit]

Ramsey was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, the son of Mary Jane (née Bennett) (1919–1978) and James Dudley "Jay" Ramsey (1916–1992), a decorated World War II pilot.[1][2] He graduated from Michigan State University.

Ramsey joined the Navy in 1966, served as a Civil Engineer Corps officer in the Philippines for 3 years, and in an Atlanta reserve unit for an additional 8 years.[3]


In 1989, he formed the Advanced Product Group, one of three companies that merged to become Access Graphics. He became President and Chief Executive Officer of Access Graphics, a computer services company and a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin.[4]

In 1996, Access Graphics grossed over $1 billion, and he was named "Entrepreneur of the Year" by the Boulder Chamber of Commerce. Immediately following the murder of his daughter he was "temporarily replaced so the company did not have to bother him about business matters as he grieved", according to Lockheed Martin spokesman Evan McCollum.[5]

Ramsey soon left his job to move his family to Michigan, where he joined another computer company. Access Graphics was later sold to General Electric in 1997.

His net worth was reported at $6.4 million as of May 1, 1996. In 2015 John told Barbara Walters in an interview that the death of Jonbenet and the ensuing investigation and cost of the case had cost him the entire family fortune. He also claims that because of the notoriety of the case he now finds it very difficult to find work.

Case file for JonBenét murder[edit]

The murder of Ramsey's six-year old daughter, JonBenét, was the only murder in Boulder, Colorado in 1996. The Boulder police had little experience with murder investigations. Regardless, the majority of them immediately thought that the Ramseys were guilty because of the absence of any evidence indicating that an intruder had broken into the house.

Boulder police considered the possibility that an intruder had gotten into the house and committed the murder. However, they could not find evidence of a break-in. Meanwhile, the Ramseys retained a public relations firm and repeatedly appeared on national television to plead their innocence.

Statements were given to the media by John Ramsey's ex-wife, his brother, and his sister-in-law. They categorically denied that John Ramsey was, or ever had been, a child abuser. Further, John Ramsey's elder son (John Andrew) and his elder daughter (Melinda) told interviewers that their father had always been a loving and gentle person who cherished his children. They said he had never abused them in any way.

Both John Andrew and Melinda were interviewed as possible suspects in the murder and were cleared.

In 2004, investigators began to emphasize the intruder theory. Throughout the investigation, the Ramseys continued to maintain their innocence.

JonBenét's murder remains unsolved. No one has been indicted, although a grand jury voted in 1999 to indict the parents. The indictment did not occur as the District Attorney declined to sign the indictment.

Letter from the District Attorney[edit]

On July 9, 2008, the Boulder County District Attorney's office announced that, as a result of newly developed DNA sampling and testing techniques known as Touch DNA analysis, the Ramsey family members were no longer considered suspects in the case.[6][7] In light of the new DNA evidence, Boulder County District Attorney Mary Lacy gave a letter to John Ramsey that same day, officially apologizing to the Ramsey family:

This new scientific evidence convinces us ... to state that we do not consider your immediate family, including you, your wife, Patsy, and your son, Burke, to be under any suspicion in the commission of this crime....

The match of Male DNA on two separate items of clothing worn by the victim at the time of the murder makes it clear to us that an unknown male handled these items. There is no innocent explanation for its incriminating presence at three sites on these two different items of clothing that JonBenét was wearing at the time of her murder.... To the extent that we may have contributed in any way to the public perception that you might have been involved in this crime, I am deeply sorry. No innocent person should have to endure such an extensive trial in the court of public opinion, especially when public officials have not had sufficient evidence to initiate a trial in a court of law.... We intend in the future to treat you as the victims of this crime, with the sympathy due you because of the horrific loss you suffered.... I am aware that there will be those who will choose to continue to differ with our conclusion. But DNA is very often the most reliable forensic evidence we can hope to find and we rely on it often to bring to justice those who have committed crimes. I am very comfortable that our conclusion that this evidence has vindicated your family is based firmly on all of the evidence.

Defamation lawsuits[edit]

Several defamation lawsuits have ensued since JonBenét's murder. L. Lin Wood.[8][9][10] was the plaintiff's lead attorney for John and Patsy Ramsey and their son Burke. He has prosecuted defamation claims on their behalf against St. Martin's Press, Time, Inc., The Fox News Channel, American Media, Inc., Star, The Globe, Court TV, and The New York Post.

John and Patsy Ramsey were sued in two separate defamation lawsuits arising from the publication of their book, The Death of Innocence. These suits were brought by two persons named in the book as having been investigated by Boulder police as suspects in JonBenét's murder. The Ramseys were defended in those lawsuits by Lin Wood and three other Atlanta attorneys, James C. Rawls, Eric P. Schroeder, and S. Derek Bauer, who obtained dismissal of both lawsuits, including an in-depth decision by U.S. District Court Judge Julie Carnes that "abundant evidence" pointed to an unknown intruder who committed the murder.[11]

In November 2006, Rod Westmoreland, a friend of JonBenét Ramsey's father, filed a defamation suit[12] against Keith Greer, who had posted a message on an Internet forum using the pseudonym "undertheradar." Greer accused Westmoreland of participating in the murder.[13] Greer has defended his statement.[14]

Political campaign[edit]

In 2004 and 2008, Ramsey unsuccessfully campaigned for a seat in Michigan's House of Representatives.[15][16][17]

Personal life[edit]

He holds a pilot's license and owns two planes.[18]

John Ramsey's wife Patsy died June 24, 2006 of ovarian cancer. Ramsey's eldest daughter from his first marriage, Elizabeth Pasch Ramsey, died in a 1992 car accident at the age of 22. He has a son named Burke Ramsey, brother to JonBenét.

Ramsey reportedly began dating Beth Holloway, the mother of Natalee Holloway, an Alabama student who disappeared during a 2005 high school graduation trip to Aruba. Ramsey met Holloway while attending a fundraiser after his wife's death.[19] However, Ramsey downplayed their relationship, stating that they "developed a friendship of respect and admiration" out of common interests related to their children.[20]

On July 21, 2011, in a private ceremony in Charlevoix, Michigan, John Ramsey married fashion designer Jan Rousseaux after meeting her at a wedding in Denver in 2009.

Fictional portrayals[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mystery Couple by Richard Jerome People Magazine
  2. ^ "Ancestry of JonBenet Ramsey". Retrieved 2014-06-09. 
  3. ^ "John Ramsey's deposition from Oct. 20, 1998". The Boulder Daily Camera. Retrieved 2015-02-26. 
  4. ^ Mon Jun 9 8:56:47 UTC 2014. "The Bonita Papers". Forums For Justice. Retrieved 2014-06-09. 
  5. ^ George, Mary; Robinson, Marilyn (August 16, 2006). "JonBenet Archive: Details emerge in slaying". Denver Post. 
  6. ^ Lacy, Mary T. (July 9, 2008). "Ramsey Press Release". District Attorney's Office, Twentieth Judicial District, Boulder, Colorado. Retrieved 2008-07-09. 
  7. ^ "Family cleared in JonBenet Ramsey's death". July 9, 2008. Retrieved November 19, 2014. 
  8. ^ Erin Moriarty, "JonBenét: DNA Rules Out Parents," "CBS", March 26, 2005.
  9. ^ Vanessa Miller, "Boulder police take back Ramsey case," "Colorado Daily" February 2, 2009
  10. ^ David Kohn, "Searching: The Interrogation Tapes," "CBS" February 11, 2009
  11. ^ R. Robin McDonald All Articles (2009-03-16). "Northern District of Georgia's New Chief Judge Reflects on Her Career". Retrieved 2011-06-22. 
  12. ^ Time Waster (2006-11-09). "Man Sues Over JonBenet Murder Claim". Retrieved 2011-06-22. 
  13. ^ "JonBenet Ramsey Case Encyclopedia wiki / Legal Issues Surrounding JBR Case". Retrieved 2011-06-22. 
  14. ^ "JonBenet Ramsey Case Encyclopedia wiki / undrtheradar biosketch". 2007-02-28. Retrieved 2011-06-22. 
  15. ^ Flesher, John (July 31, 2004). "Ramsey father runs for election to Michigan State House". The Boston Globe. 
  16. ^ The Citizen-Journal[dead link]
  17. ^ Noah Fowle (April 4, 2008). "Ramsey currently not a resident, must amend status to run for 105th district.". Petoskey News-Review. 
  18. ^ "The Murder of JonBenet Ramsey by J.J. Maloney and J. Patrick O'Connor". Retrieved 2014-06-09. 
  19. ^ "John Ramsey and Beth Holloway Twitty Are Dating". Fox News. June 4, 2007. Retrieved June 4, 2007. 
  20. ^ Stephen M. Silverman (June 5, 2007). "JonBenet's Dad & Natalee Holloway's Mom Together". People. Retrieved August 20, 2010. 
  21. ^ Goldman, Andrew (September 23, 2011). "The Fogies of 'South Park'". The New York Times Magazine.