Mother of JonBenet Ramsey Dead at 49

Patsy Ramsey, made famous by the murder of her daughter JonBenet, died today at 49.

Patsy Ramsey Photo Patsy Ramsey and her husband, John, give a news conference in Atlanta on May 24, 2000 regarding their polygraph examinations for the murder of their daughter, JonBenet. The test results said the couple were not 'attempting deception' when they denied killing their 6-year-old daughter. Patsy Ramsey has died of ovarian cancer, KCNC TV reported Saturday, June 24, 2006. (AP Photo/Ric Feld) Patsy Ramsey, who was thrust into the national spotlight by the unsolved 1996 slaying of her daughter, 6-year-old beauty pageant contestant JonBenet, died Saturday following a long battle with ovarian cancer, her lawyer said. She was 49.

Ramsey was diagnosed with the disease in 1993 and suffered a recurrence several years ago, attorney L. Lin Wood said. She died at her father’s home in Roswell, Ga., a suburb of Atlanta, with her husband, John, at her bedside. “It is not unexpected but it is a sad day,” Wood told The Associated Press.

JonBenet was found beaten and strangled in the basement of the family’s home in Boulder, Colo., on Dec. 26, 1996. Patsy Ramsey said she found a ransom note on the back staircase demanding $118,000 for the safe return of JonBenet. John Ramsey said he found his daughter’s body in a basement room eight hours later.

Boulder police said early on that Patsy and John Ramsey were under an “umbrella of suspicion” in JonBenet’s death. The Ramseys said an intruder killed their daughter. A grand jury investigation in Boulder ended with no indictments, and no arrests have been made in the case.

In 2003, U.S. District Judge Julie Carnes in Atlanta concluded that the evidence she reviewed suggested an intruder killed JonBenet. That opinion came with the judge’s decision to dismiss a libel and slander lawsuit against the Ramseys by a freelance journalist, who the Ramseys had named as a suspect in their daughter’s murder. The Boulder district attorney at the time said she agreed with Carnes’ declaration. “Hopefully her legacy will not be tied to the false accusation related to the brutal murder of her daughter,” Wood said of Patsy Ramsey Saturday.

I frankly never understood the national fascination with the death of JonBenet Ramsey, whose death I found tragic but no moreso than that of thousands of other children of whom we’ve never heard. Still, it’s a story that gripped the nation for years. That the family had to endure the additional tragedy of being baselessly suspected of their daughter’s murder was especially sad, however.

Gone Hollywood

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Dave Schuler says:

    A sad life. A sad death. May she rest in peace.

    But thank your lucky stars. If Greta Van Susteren had been on Fox in 1996 we’d still be getting nightly reports on the progress of the case.

  2. McGehee says:

    Hopefully, now she knows the answers about her daughter’s death — if she didn’t already.