CRIME

Police Chief In JonBenet Ramsey Killing Admits Mistakes

02/26/2015 12:43 pm ET | Updated Aug 19, 2015
ASSOCIATED PRESS

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — In his most extensive comments on the JonBenet Ramsey case, the former Colorado police chief who led the investigation into the high-profile 1996 slaying of the 6-year-old beauty queen acknowledged online that officers botched the initial handling of the crime scene.

Mark Beckner, former chief of the Boulder Police Department, participated Saturday in an "Ask Me Anything" session on the social-networking and news site Reddit. He told the Daily Camera (http://bit.ly/1LGU1XG ) on Tuesday that he didn't realize his comments would filter out to the rest of the world.

"I talked to the organizer, and my impression was that this was a members-only type group that talked about unsolved mysteries all around the world," said Beckner, 59.

JonBenet Ramsey was found dead in the basement of her family's home on Dec. 26, 1996, after her mother, Patsy Ramsey, called 911 to say her daughter was missing and a ransom note had been found.

In the Reddit forum, Beckner said police should have separated JonBenet's parents and gotten full statements from Patsy and John Ramsey that day. The case was initially mishandled due to a "perfect storm type scenario," he wrote.

"It was the Christmas holiday and we were short staffed, we faced a situation as I said earlier that no one in the country had ever seen before or since, and there was confusion at the scene as people were arriving before we had enough personnel on the scene," he wrote online.

No one has been prosecuted in the case. Court documents released in 2013 show a grand jury recommended indictments against the Ramseys, contrary to the long-held perception that the secret panel ended their work in 1999 without deciding to charge anyone.

At the time, then-District Attorney Alex Hunter didn't mention an indictment, saying only that there wasn't enough evidence to warrant charges against the Ramseys, who had long maintained their innocence.

In 2008 — two years after Patsy died — former District Attorney Mary Lacy cleared the Ramseys of any role in their daughter's death, based on DNA evidence that pointed to the involvement of a third party.

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