Patsy Ramsey

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"Patsy Ramsay" redirects here. For the granddaughter of Queen Victoria sometimes known as "Patsy Ramsay", see Princess Patricia of Connaught.
Patricia Ann Ramsey
Patsy Ramsey.jpg
Ramsey in 1977
Born Patricia Ann Paugh
(1956-12-29)December 29, 1956
Gilbert, West Virginia
Died June 24, 2006(2006-06-24) (aged 49)
Atlanta, Georgia
Nationality American
Religion Episcopalian
Spouse(s) John Bennett Ramsey (1980–2006)

Patricia Ann "Patsy" Ramsey (née Paugh; December 29, 1956 – June 24, 2006) was the 1977 Miss West Virginia. She is best known as the mother of JonBenét Ramsey, a 6-year-old American beauty pageant queen who was murdered on Christmas Day, 1996.


Ramsey was born in Gilbert, West Virginia to Nedra Ellen Ann (née Rymer) and Donald Ray Paugh.[1] She graduated from Parkersburg High School in 1975, and went on to attend West Virginia University where she belonged to the Alpha Xi Delta sorority, and from which she graduated with a B.A. in Journalism in 1978.

She won the Miss West Virginia beauty title in 1977, and her sister Pamela won the same title three years later.

She married John Ramsey at age 23 on November 5, 1980. Their son, Burke Ramsey, was born on January 27, 1987. She gave birth to her second child, JonBenét, on August 6, 1990 in Atlanta. The family moved to Boulder, Colorado in 1991.

Daughter's murder[edit]

After the murder of JonBenét in the family's home in December 1996, Boulder law enforcement officials declared that Patsy and her husband were "under an umbrella of suspicion"[2] due to their possible involvement in the crime. The couple spent the next 10 years defending themselves against the allegations by insisting that an intruder killed their daughter. No charges have ever been filed against anyone for the murder.

A grand jury voted in 1999 to indict the parents of six-year-old JonBenet Ramsey on charges of child abuse resulting in death, but then-Boulder District Attorney Alex Hunter refused to sign the indictment. Multiple sources, including members of the grand jury, have confirmed to the Daily Camera that Hunter refused to sign the indictment against John and Patsy Ramsey in connection with their child's death on Christmas night 1996, believing he could not prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.[3]

On July 9, 2008, nearly 12 years after their daughter's murder and two years after Patsy's death, John Ramsey and his late wife were officially cleared in the death by the Boulder District Attorney's office based on new DNA evidence collected from JonBenet's clothing; this particular type of DNA analysis did not exist at the time of the killing.[4] Boulder County District Attorney Mary Lacy said new DNA tests point to an "unexplained third party" as responsible for the murder. This was done against normal practice and police still believe them to not be cleared of all charges. (Mark Beckner, retired Boulder Chief of Police, has claimed that Mary Lacy had always strongly believed that a mother could not possibly be responsible for the death of her daughter in that fashion [and so sought to exonerate Patsy Ramsey], and that the "trace DNA" found on Jon-Benet's underwear [believed by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to be either "sweat or saliva"] was in such minute quantities [nanograms] that it could have come from the clothing's "manufacturing process".[5])[6]

Defamation lawsuits[edit]

Several defamation lawsuits have ensued since JonBenét's murder. L. Lin Wood. was the plaintiff's lead attorney for John and Patsy Ramsey and their son Burke, and 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.[7][8][9] John and Patsy Ramsey were also sued in two separate defamation lawsuits arising from the publication of their book, The Death of Innocence, brought by two individuals 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" in the murder case pointed to an intruder having committed the crime.[10]


Patsy Ramsey died at age 49 on June 24, 2006, nearly ten years after her daughter, following a battle with ovarian cancer. She is buried at the St. James Episcopal Cemetery in Marietta, Georgia, next to JonBenét. She died at her father's house with her husband by her side, lawyer Lin Wood said. She was originally diagnosed with cancer in 1993 when she was only 37, but was in remission for nine years until a recurrence in 2003.

In popular culture[edit]

Ramsey was portrayed by Alex Borstein in MADtv episodes 417 and 502; by Marg Helgenberger in the 2000 miniseries Perfect Murder, Perfect Town; and by soap opera actress Judi Evans in the 2000 TV movie Getting Away with Murder: The JonBenét Ramsey Mystery.

She was caricatured in the 2001 South Park episode, "Butters' Very Own Episode." The episode strongly implied that Patsy Ramsey and her husband were responsible for the death of JonBenét.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Patsy Ramsey at
  2. ^ CNN report
  3. ^ [Boulder DA refused to sign indictment of Ramseys - The Denver Post; January 28, 2013]
  4. ^ "Exclusive: JonBenet's father 'grateful' after being cleared by DNA". Colorado 9 News. 2008-07-09. Retrieved 2008-07-09. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ "I am former Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner. I worked in law enforcement for 36 years, and headed the investigation into the JonBenet Ramsey murder. AMAA. (cached version)". Reddit / Denver News. 2015-02-22. Retrieved 2015-02-26. 
  7. ^ Erin Moriarty, "JonBenét: DNA Rules Out Parents," "CBS", March 26, 2005.
  8. ^ Vanessa Miller, "Boulder police take back Ramsey case," "Colorado Daily" February 2, 2009
  9. ^ David Kohn, "Searching: The Interrogation Tapes," "CBS" February 11, 2009
  10. ^ R. Robin McDonald All Articles (2009-03-16). "Northern District of Georgia's New Chief Judge Reflects on Her Career". Retrieved 2011-06-22. 

External links[edit]