JonBenét Ramsey’s Brother Makes A Controversial Move That Stunned People

JonBenét Ramsey

The murder of 6-year-old beauty pageant queen JonBenét Ramsey back in 1996 is one of the most notorious crimes in American history. From the start of the troubled investigation, authorities cast a critical eye on the Ramsey family. Parents John and Patricia, and even JonBenét’s older brother, Burke, were all subject to massive public scrutiny. Decades later, Burke Ramsey is finally acting on rumors — and his moves are controversial, to say the least.

Middle-Class Dream

In the winter of 1996, the Ramseys were an upper-middle-class family living in Boulder. Patriarch John was the president of a computer system company, and mother Patricia was a loving caregiver to her two children: Burke, aged 9, and JonBenét, aged 6.

CBS

Beauty Pageant Prodigy

JonBenét wasn’t your average six year-old; although she participated in all kindergartner activities, she was also an accomplished beauty pageant contestant who’d won multiple titles, including Little Miss Colorado and National Tiny Miss Beauty.

via Twitter

Letter On The Stairs

Everything was peaceful within the Ramsey household that year until the early morning of December 26th, when Patricia awoke to notice an odd letter resting on the staircase. She bent down to pick it up.

Neil Jacobs – CBS

Ransom Note

While reading the note, Patsy was horrified to realize that it was actually a handwritten ransom letter. Whoever penned it was claiming to have taken her little girl! Even scarier, the writer was demanding $118,000 in order to get her back.

US Customs and Border Protection

Calling The Cops

Although the letter specified not to contact any cops or authorities, Patsy did just that, calling 9-1-1 at 5:52 am. Police cars showed up at their address on 749 15th street, below, within minutes.

Jennifer Boyer/Flickr

Strange Details

Right away, observers noticed something was seriously awry with the ransom request. First of all, John remarked that $118,000 was the exact amount of money he’d received as a bonus that year. Could this be a coworker seeking to get money out of him?

Photo by Erik S. Lesser/Newsmakers

Religious Connection?

Authorities also pondered another significance behind the strangely specific number; perhaps it was referring to Psalm 118, which dictates “O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever.” Was this a religiously motivated crime?

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Clear House

Upon searching the house, investigators found nothing. Therefore, considering it to be a kidnapping, the only room they cordoned off as an evidence site was JonBenét’s bedroom. Friends and family came over to comfort the distraught family, thus contaminating the entire crime scene.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Agreed To Pay

Without any clue as to who had taken JonBenét or where she was, John Ramsey agreed to pay the ransom amount. However, the hours passed, and as they waited for a call, nobody ended up coming to claim the money.

Helen H. Richardson/ The Denver Post

Another Search

This is when a detective had the idea to ask John and a family friend, Fleet White, to search the house again in an effort to see if anything was amiss. Even the tiniest detail could be crucial.

Heather McCall/Flickr

Finding JonBenét

So JonBenét’s father went down to the basement. He opened a door that the family usually kept latched, only to make a horrifying discovery: his young daughter’s body, bound and covered in a blanket. She was dead.

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Unexpected Backlash

Overcome with grief and devastation, John Ramsey carried his child’s body upstairs. The shattered father never could have anticipated the storm of unspeakable accusations that would soon be levied against him.

YouTube – 9News

Instant Suspects

The Ramsey parents were immediately placed under intense scrutiny, suspected by investigators for the seemingly staged note, lack of forced entry, and their apparent reluctance to cooperate with detectives. Patricia had an explanation for the latter accusation, however..

YouTube – 9News

Wasted Resources

Patricia alleged that the reason she and her husband were hesitant to assist in the investigation against them was because they desperately wanted resources instead to be directed externally, towards the actual killer.

Photo by Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

Never Indicted

However, while the Ramseys were never formally indicted rumors flew defaming them and alleging their involvement in their daughter’s early demise. Patricia Ramsey died in 2006, two years before the couple received a formal apology from Boulder County.

u/mynxx_666/Reddit

Looking At Burke

One person who’d never even been considered a formal subject by the state was still reeling from the trauma of false accusations. That person was Burke Ramsey, JonBenét’s older brother, who’d been only nine years old at the time of her death.

YouTube – Murd og Mysterier

Accidental Homicide

For years many unsubstantiated theories floated around surrounding Burke. Most stipulated that the boy had hit his sister with a hard object, not intending to kill her, and then either he or his parents had written the strange ransom note in an attempt to cover up the crime.

Harpo Productions

Suing For Defamation

Between 1999 and 2000 Burke Ramsey sued a number of publications including media outlets and tabloids for defamation of his name. After this, no one dared to accuse him of being the killer…until a 2016 CBS special aired that did just that.

Gladstone Observer

Cruel Trick

This final slandering of his name in the face of such a profound personal tragedy was too much for Burke, and he filed a formal lawsuit against CBS, alleging that rather than seeking the truth, all they wanted was “to accomplish their goals of achieving ratings and profits.”

Harpo Productions

Settling The Case

After decades of silence on the subject, Burke finally gave a single interview in a last-ditch attempt to exonerate himself. Now, finally, the lawsuit has been settled “amicably.” The exact dollar amount has not been released, but the initial lawsuit sought upwards of $750 million in damages.

Eric Chan/Wikimedia Commons

Stop The Rumors

Lin Wood, the Ramseys’ attorney, said, “It is now my professional and personal wish for this family that they no longer suffer the pain of false accusations in the future. I sincerely hope the CBS case is my last lawsuit for these fine clients and friends.”

YouTube – CBS

Not Over

But the people still weren’t ready to let the case go cold. In 2016 private detective Ollie Gray announced that he had made a major breakthrough in the investigation. Having initially been hired by John and Patsy themselves to track down JonBenet’s killer, Gray continued to work on the case even after his arrangement with the Ramseys had come to an end.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOuKN4TgnFo

New Lead

According to Gray, a Boulder man named Michael Helgoth, who was 26 at the time, was responsible for JonBenet’s death. Key to this theory is the testimony of John Kenady, a man who worked at the Helgoth family’s junkyard. Apparently, Kenady had heard Helgoth discussing a great financial deal – as well as pondering what it would “be like to crack a human skull” – in the lead-up to the murder.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOuKN4TgnFo

Rejected Tip

And although Kenady claims to have attempted to relay his suspicions to the police, Gray believes that they did not listen to what he had to say. “I got the distinct feeling that the Boulder police had absolutely no interest in anything that took away from their theory that John and Patsy Ramsey killed their daughter,” Gray told InTouch in 2016.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOuKN4TgnFo

Missing Confession

Additionally, Kenady claims that somewhere a tape exists which contains Helgoth’s confession. But sadly the full truth may never be known. In February 1997 Helgoth was found dead in his home. And although it appeared to have been a suicide, Gray believes Helgoth was murdered by accomplices who were afraid that he would talk.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOuKN4TgnFo

Dead End

At any rate, Gray is still holding out hope that one day the crime will finally be solved. “If they could find out who killed Helgoth,” he continued, “it could lead police to his accomplices in her murder.” So, will justice ever catch up with whoever so cold-bloodedly ended the life of JonBenet Ramsey? In such a high-profile case, we can only speculate as to what twists and turns might still be in store.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOuKN4TgnFo

Still A Puzzle

JonBenét Ramsey’s death has become a topic of fascination for true crime fanatics, being endlessly debated across online forums. No one can work out the puzzle, though the same can be said for many of the world’s most infamous crimes.

Paris JonBenet/YouTube

Mikelle Biggs

On January 2, 1999, 11-year-old Mikelle Biggs was pedaling her bike in circles just four houses down from where she lived with her parents and three siblings in Mesa, Arizona. Clutching several quarters in her hands, she eagerly awaited the ice cream truck.

Suddenly Gone

Then, just 90 seconds after her younger sister, Kimber, had last seen her, Mikelle was suddenly gone. Her bike laid in the middle of the road—tires still spinning—and the quarters she’d held were scattered across the asphalt.

Calling For Help

With no sign of her daughter anywhere, Mikelle’s mother, Tracy Biggs, desperately called the police. Immediate evidence suggested “she was running from somebody,” said detective Jerry Gisse. “It wasn’t somebody that she knew or wanted to be with.”

Aggressive Coverage

And so began one of the most intensive investigations ever conducted by the Mesa Police Department. National news aggressively covered the disappearance of the sixth-grade honor student who aspired to be a Disney animator.

Getting The Word Out

The night Mikelle disappeared, investigators set up road blocks and interviewed passing motorists. Meanwhile, authorities posted fliers with her class photo all over Mesa. That was only the beginning…

Coming Up Dry

In the following weeks, investigators consulted psychics on the whereabouts of the 11-year-old girl. They even tracked down and questioned every single ice cream vendor in the state! Unfortunately, no meaningful evidence turned up…

Known Criminal

Investigators looked closed to home, too. Just two blocks from the Biggs’ family home (pictured) lived a man with a criminal record that included child molestation. Nothing the authorities found, however, indicated he’d been involved in Mikelle’s disappearance.

Turning Every Stone

From there, investigators interviewed 20 sex offenders in the region—that also proved to be a dead end. Leaving no stone unturned, authorities even suspected Mikelle’s father, Darien, pictured here with Tracy. But he, too, ended up with a cleared name.

Case Gone Cold

Years passed. Despite receiving 10,000 tips from the public, conducting 500 interviews, collecting 800 pieces of evidence, and searching 35 abandoned San Tan Mountain mine shafts, investigators couldn’t find Mikelle. The case had officially gone cold.

A Mysterious Tip

Fast forward to 2009—10 years after Mikelle’s initial disappearance—and investigators in Mesa received yet another tip. This one, however, didn’t come from an Arizona resident. Strangely, it came from 1,500 miles away in Neenah, Wisconsin.

A Strange Dollar

On March 14, 2009, a man had walked into the lobby of the Neenah police department and handed over a dollar bill he’d found “in a collection of money for Girl Scout Cookies,” Neenah Police Chief Kevin Wilkinson (pictured) said. The dollar was far from ordinary…

Note From ‘Mikel’

Written along its perimeter in scratchy, childish handwriting was a simple message: “My name is Mikel [sic] Biggs kidnapped From Mesa AZ. I’m alive.” This discovery was a revelation for investigators.

Misspelled Name

There were discrepancies with the bill, however, and Chief Wilkinson noted them despite not having known about the original 1999 case. “The oddity in the note,” he said, “is that her first name is spelled wrong… it would sway you to believe that it might not be legitimate.”

Following Through

But other evidence suggested it was worth following up. “Why would you pick that,” Chief Wilkinson wondered, “a case that’s nearly 20 years old? It’s somebody who knew something about that case.”

A New Lead?

For that reason, the dollar bill was too crucial to ignore. “We don’t get a lot of tips anymore,” Mesa Detective Steve Berry said. “But we occasionally do. We always follow up on it. We always hope that might be the one that breaks the case.” Would it be?

Nothing To Do

Unfortunately, optimism wasn’t high with investigators. “There was a little spring of hope for a second, and then reality set in,” Neenah Detective Adam Streubel added. “There is nothing you can do with [the evidence], which is rather frustrating.”

Asking The Family

Collecting fingerprints on the bill would’ve been useless; the bill could’ve changed hands hundreds of times. Still, the handwriting could be matched if they had other meaningful evidence to compare it to. But what did the family think of this 10-years-too-late discovery?

Trying For Her Sister

Kimber Biggs—who’d held onto her sister’s red teddy bear for decades—tried analyzing the handwriting on the bill until it made her sick thinking about the fate of her sister. Mikelle would have been 30 by that point.

A Cruel Joke

“Is [the bill] a hoax?” Kimber asked. “Did someone play a cruel joke?” She suspected so. “The fact that her name was spelled wrong [on the bill] is kind of discredited. I don’t think that would be something she’d do.”

Never Giving Up

Regardless, as of 2018, the Biggs family remained committed to finding out the fate of their beloved Mikelle. “Someone knows something,” Kimber said, “and someday we will have answers.”