A Colorado judge has ordered the release of a 1999 grand jury indictment of John and Patsy Ramsey, parents of JonBenet Ramsey, in the brutal murder case of the 6-year-old Boulder, Colo. girl.
In 1999, then-Boulder District Attorney Alex Hunter refused to sign the indictment of the Ramsey parents, citing that he could not prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.
The indictment remained secret until earlier this year, when The Boulder Daily Camera confirmed its existence.
On Wednesday morning, Weld County Judge Robert Lowenbach ruled that the indictment will be released in response to a lawsuit filed by Daily Camera Reporter Charlie Brennan and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press in September.
The entire document is about 18 pages, The Daily Camera reports, nine of which relate to John and Patsy Ramsey, but it's unclear how many of those will be released to the public.
"It appears that the District Attorney, presumably acting at the discretion of the grand jury, prepared a series of possible charges regarding John Ramsey and Patricia Ramsey based on the fact that the child had died and that there was evidence that a sexual assault of the child had occurred," Lowenbach wrote in Wednesday's ruling.
Earlier in the week, John Ramsey said he opposed the release of the document unless the entire grand jury record was also opened for the public. The judge denied that request on Wednesday.
On Dec. 26, 1996, 6-year-old JonBenet was found bludgeoned and strangled to death in the basement of her family home. A ransom note from an anonymous group of individuals "that represent a foreign faction" asking for $118,000 in exchange for the safe return of JonBenet was found just hours before, but no call ever came from a kidnapper and it was never linked to a murderer.
The entire Ramsey family was cleared of any involvement in the murder of JonBenet back in 2008, thanks to then newly discovered DNA evidence. Patsy Ramsey, JonBenet's mother, died two years earlier in 2006 of ovarian cancer.
Patsy Ramsey was still considered a possible suspect when she died.
In 2010, investigators reopened the case and launched a fresh round of interviews with witnesses hoping that they could provide more insight into the murder, but nothing fruitful came of those interviews.
The DNA evidence still points to an "unexplained third party" that serves as a vague lead for authorities still pursuing the case.
Boulder police have tested more than 150 DNA samples and investigated nearly the same amount of potential suspects in their ongoing investigation, but none have ever been linked to the crime.
For nearly 17 years Boulder police have received thousands of tips about JonBenet's murder and still receive several monthly. Current Boulder DA Stan Garnett said in 2011 that he personally gets two or three tips a week from all over the world. Any tips that appear to have potential are passed along to Boulder Police's Major Case Unit.
There have also been plenty of false leads, including most famously John Mark Karr, who bizarrely admitted to being with JonBenet the night of her death. DNA evidence later cleared him of any wrongdoing in this case.
For a thorough timeline of the case's major moments, visit The Daily Camera's interactive timeline of events from 1996 through 2012.
More than a decade and a half later, it remains one of the most notorious unsolved murders in U.S. history. If she were alive today, JonBenet would be 23.