10/08/2013 04:52 pm ET

JonBenet Ramsey Case: Boulder DA Says Release Of Indictment Would Be A 'Breach Of Promise' To Jurors

The Boulder District Attorney's Office has declined to release the documents of the secretly-voted upon indictment of JonBenet Ramsey's parents back in 1999, saying that to do so would be a "breach of promise" to the jurors and citing the integrity of grand jury secrecy.

Last month Daily Camera reporter Charlie Brennan and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press filed a lawsuit calling for the release of the indictment, which was not publicly known to exist before January of this year.

The Camera was first to report that the grand jury voted to indict 6-year-old JonBenet's parents John and Patsy Ramsey in 1999 on charges of child abuse resulting in death, but the prosecutor at the time, then-District Attorney Alex Hunter, refused to sign the indictment.

The Daily Camera is not participating in the lawsuit.

In a statement about the decision to keep the documents involved in the indictment secret obtained by The Huffington Post, Chief Trial Deputy Sean Finn wrote:

The plaintiffs interest in the documents they have requested is understandable; few cases have captured the interest of Coloradans, and people throughout the world, like the death of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey. The resultant, 17 year media fascination with this case makes perfect sense; every time a story appears in the media about this tragic case, the public takes notice.

But the issues raised by Plaintiffs' request and lawsuit are more important than any one case. Every grand juror, and every witness who appears before a grand jury, takes an oath of secrecy, and every witness and grand juror is promised that those involved in the process will honor that oath. For this defendant to accede to Plaintiffs' request and hand over documents from this grand jury would be a breach of promise to the hundreds of citizens serving on grand juries across Colorado, and would undermine the assurances given to grand jurors and witnesses who will be promised secrecy in the future.

(Scroll down to read the response in full)

Hunter told media back in 1999 that he did not believe his office had enough evidence to file any charges, though the Ramsey family remained prime suspects for years before finally being absolved in 2008.

Child abuse resulting in death charged with "knowingly and recklessly" is a Class II felony that could have resulted in up to 48 years in prison.

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, according to 9News. Patsy Ramsey, JonBenet's mother, died 2 years earlier in 2006 of ovarian cancer, tragically, she was still considered a possible suspect when she died.

Beginning in 2010, investigators reopened the case and launched a fresh round of interviews with witnesses that could provide more insight into the murder, according to ABC News, 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, TIME magazine reported.

According to 7News, 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.

After all these years, Boulder police have received thousands of tips about her murder and still receive several monthly. Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett said in 2010 that he personally gets five or more tips each month, according to Fox31. The ones that have potential are passed along to Boulder police's Major Case Unit. There have been plenty of false leads as well, including most famously John Mark Karr -- who bizarrely admitted to being with JonBenet the night of her death, but 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.

It remains one of the most notorious murders in U.S. history and a decade and a half later there is still no justice for JonBenet.

If she were alive today, JonBenet would have turned 23 on Aug. 6.



JonBenet Ramsey Case