It’s been 20 years since 6-year-old JonBenét Ramsey was found dead by her parents in the basement of her Colorado home on Dec. 26, 1996.
The young beauty pageant contestant became a household name across the nation as the search for Ramsey’s killer dragged on, but never resulted in an arrest.
Now, 20 years later, Ramsey’s brother, Burke, is speaking out for the very first time about his sister’s death. Ramsey was 9 years old at the time his sister was found deceased.
In a three-part exclusive on the Dr. Phil show, airing Sep. 12, 13 and 19, Burke addresses accusations he had something to do with his sister’s death.
According to People, Burke told Dr. Phil, “I know people think I did it; that my parents did it.”
Burke, now 29, said, “I know that we were suspects,” and recalls the funeral saying, “I remember the viewing. The casket was small. Her eyes were closed.”
In a teaser for the show’s airing, Dr. Phil asks Burke Ramsey, “Has it ever occurred to you that your parents actually thought you did this and didn’t ask you because they didn’t want to know?” Viewers are left waiting for the show to air before hearing his answer.
Burke Ramsey did explain why he’s talking now.
“I want to honor her memory by doing this interview,” he told Dr. Phil. “I don’t want anyone to forget.”
He also stated he won’t be doing any more interviews about his sister’s death.
“This is my final interview,” Ramsey said. “I have no reason for speaking to the media again.”
JonBenét Ramsey had been asphyxiated by strangulation and suffered head trauma. Her wrist had also been tied and there was also blood noted in her vaginal area, according to the official autopsy report, which also stated her vagina showed signs of interstitial chronic inflammation.
According to the ransom note provided to the police by parents John and Patsy Ramsey, a sum of $118,000 was demanded, the exact amount of money recently received by John Ramsey as a work-related bonus.
The Ramseys refused to submit to a polygraph test, and handwriting samples from Patsy Ramsey were inconclusive as to whether or not she, indeed, wrote the suspicious ransom note. Infighting among the police detectives led many to resign.
The case was eventually presented to a grand jury that cited a lack of sufficient evidence in the case to bring charges against anyone. In 2006. a man by the name of John Mark Karr confessed to the killing, prompting the district attorney on the case to exonerate the Ramseys and send a written letter of apology.
Karr’s confession later turned out to be a hoax. The case remains unsolved to this day.
Patsy Ramsey passed away in 2006 of ovarian cancer, leaving John and Burke as the only surviving members of the family.
JonBenet Ramsey’s case is receiving renewed national attention anniversary year of her murder. A CBS documentary titled, The Case of JonBenét Ramsey, will debut Sept. 18, and a Lifetime network movie, tentatively titled Who Killed JonBenét? will air in November.