NINE months after the mysterious murder of JonBenet Ramsey, a 12-year-old girl was raped in her bed just streets away in a horrifying incident that her father believes could be linked to the unsolved killing.
JonBenét was just six years old when she was found brutally murdered in the basement of her parents’ ritzy Boulder, Colorado home on December 26, 1996.
The case – one of the most notorious in American history – has never been solved and still remains the subject of rampant speculation almost 26 years on.
Another heinous crime involving a child would unfold less than two miles from the Ramsey home in the 2300 block of 4th Street just months later on September 14, 1997.
A 12-year-old girl, who reporters are referring to under the pseudonym “Amy”, was attacked and sexually assaulted by a masked intruder in her bed sometime around midnight.
Amy, who attended the same dance school as JonBenet, had been out watching a movie with her mom that evening while her dad was out of town for work.
They returned home late and alone. Amy’s mother whisked the girl off the bed, saying goodnight before switching on the burglar alarm and heading off to sleep herself.
Within a matter of hours, Amy would wake in her bed to find a man, dressed from head to toe in black clothing, standing over her with his hand clamped over her mouth.
The attacker addressed Amy by her first name, repeating several times: “I know who you are … I’ll knock you out, shut up.”
Amy was then sexually assaulted and forced to perform sex acts on the darkly-clad attacker.
From down the hall, Amy’s mother was unsettled when she awoke to hear the sound of hushed voices coming from her daughter’s room.
She called out to her daughter to check if she was okay but didn’t receive a response.
Amy’s mom got out of bed and grabbed a can of pepper spray from her nightstand.
As she burst into her daughter’s room, the assailant brushed her to one side, before fleeing the home by leaping from a second-floor window and taking off on foot.
By the time Boulder police arrived on scene, the shadowy figure had disappeared into the night.
Amy’s attacker was never caught, but her father has never given up hope he will one day be unmasked.
Finally identifying the attacker, he believes, may also finally help to solve who killed JonBenet.
“There are so many similarities between the two cases that I think there’s a very good chance it was the same person,” Amy’s dad, who wished to remain anonymous, told The U.S. Sun.
“In both cases, this is someone who was able to get past an alarm, past a dog, and was probably hiding inside the home for some time before attacking.
“It looks like someone who hid in the house while people were out and then came out in the middle of the night after they came home and locked up.
“The only difference is my daughter survived,” Amy’s dad added.
“But had it not been for my wife being a light sleeper, we may have been in the newspapers for the same reasons as the Ramsey family.”
At the center of Amy’s dad’s beliefs that his daughter’s attack may be linked to the death of JonBenet is the fact that Amy, like the slain child beauty pageant queen, took frequent dance lessons at a local studio on Pearl Street called Dance West.
Both of the girls also performed at public functions in the months prior to being victimized.
Amy danced in public several times in the months before she was attacked, while JonBenet, who held the title of Little Miss Christmas, featured in a holiday parade shortly before her murder.
As they say, the wheels of justice grind slowly but they’re going to find him sooner or later. The wheel of karma is going to come back around.Amy’s dad
Amy’s dad believes that both of the girls may have been stalked and targeted by their attacker – or attackers – at the dance studio.
“It was a fairly open place that you could just come and go from,” Amy’s dad said of Dance West, adding that there was an observation balcony where members of the public could just walk in and sit.
“If you were someone who wanted to sit and watch young girls dance, that would’ve been a good place to do it.
“It was very easy to come and go undetected,” he added.
“I think someone could’ve drawn a bead on [Amy] there and put us under some kind of surveillance that we weren’t aware of at the time.
“It’s hard to say for certain but it seems to be a strong possibility.”
The owner of the since-demolished studio, Lee Klinger, previously told local media that he was never contacted by law enforcement investigating either case.
Adding to Amy’s dad’s belief that his daughter’s attack may be linked to JonBenet’s death is the fact his family’s home was also in an affluent neighborhood just two miles from the Ramseys’.
Further fueling the theory, he says, was that a collection of cigarette butts found outside of Amy’s family’s home matched cigarette stubbings that were found in an alleyway next to the Ramsey home: Camel Blues.
Amy’s dad said he pointed out the perceived similarities between his daughter’s case and JonBenet’s “multiple times” to the Boulder Police Department but they were “uninterested” and quick to dismiss the potential parallels, he claims.
Speaking to The U.S. Sun, he charged: “They were completely uninterested … they didn’t care about my daughter’s case and they didn’t even really care about the Ramsey case.
“I’d contact them regularly, asking if they’d looked into this or that and they’d just lie to me.
“We asked to see some mugshots of sex offenders in the area to see if [Amy] or my wife recognized anyone but we were told that wouldn’t be any good.
“We asked them to send someone over to make a composite sketch of the suspect using my wife’s eyewitness description but they refused.
“The Denver Police Department even offered to help them out with the case but they said they had it covered and they knew what they were doing.
“But they wouldn’t hear anything about this being linked to JonBenet,” he continued.
“They didn’t seem to be able to get off the idea that someone in the Ramsey family was responsible for her death.
“The level of incompetence was pretty impressive, but the worst thing was that they were dishonest.
“I had a number of pretty intense confrontations with the chief of police at the time, who also lied about multiple things – so it was an eye-opener for sure.”
A spokesperson for the Boulder Police Department declined to comment on the claims of disinterest made by Amy’s dad.
But so dissatisfied with Boulder PD’s handling of the investigation into the attack on his daughter, he hired a private investigator, Pete Peterson, to dig into the case and also conducted his own independent probe.
Peterson, who has since died, carried out background checks on a number of people who worked in the surrounding neighborhood and found a group of individuals with criminal histories, who often roamed the neighborhood late at night.
He made surveillance tapes and tailed some members of the group, once apparently following them to within two blocks of the Ramsey home.
Additionally, Peterson said during his investigation he found evidence of 19 burglaries, breaking and entering, or trespassing reports in a two-month period in the surrounding neighborhood.
The PI conducted background checks on a number of people of interest in Amy’s case and found that some of them had reportedly once worked at the Ramsey home.
They were completely uninterested … they didn’t care about my daughter’s case and they didn’t even really care about the Ramsey case.Amy’s dad
“I expected it to be a serene, quiet, safe area,” Peterson told CBS in 2000 of the Boulder suburbs.
“It’s fairly serene and quiet, but you find that there’s a real undercurrent of activity at night that would give me pause for concern if I lived here.
“Two or three people we were looking at had associations with both [the Ramseys’ and Amy’s] neighborhoods.
“I think there’s a really good likelihood [the cases are connected].
“That’s what we’re pursuing. We’re pursuing that angle still.”
In the decades since – ever frustrated by the lack of answers – Amy’s dad has conducted his own research in search of his daughter’s attacker.
He claims to have uncovered a handful of other instances of home invasion rapes and sexual assaults involving children and young women in the Boulder area around the time of the attack on Amy.
Such as his daughter, Amy’s dad said the victims typically awoke in the middle of the night to find a man in dark clothing standing in their bedroom.
The Boulder Police Department was unable to provide data to affirm or contradict Amy’s dad’s claims when contacted by The U.S. Sun.
However, a number of serial rapists were active in the Boulder area at the time, including Keith Aaron Schwinaman, and the so-called Tantra Lake Rapist Bradford Wagner.
Both men have been previously identified as potential suspects in connection with the JonBenet probe but neither was ever charged and evidence gathered didn’t place either of them at the scene.
Still, Amy’s father believes his daughter’s attack and the killing of JonBenet may have been the work of a local serial rapist who was quietly terrorizing the area.
Again he put his theory forward to Boulder PD but they were uninterested and hostile, he said.
“I told them that I had uncovered a series that seemed to be a serial rapist interested in girls and young women and this got to the Boulder PD rape crisis team,” he said, “and they called me and told me to mind my own business.
“They told me there was no such thing and no such reports, and so I spoke to the police and they told me it also wasn’t possible.
“They told me the cases couldn’t possibly be linked because they occurred in different parts of town.
“I said, ‘well have you ever heard of a bicycle or a car? You really think someone can’t go from one neighborhood to the other?’
“There was just massive disinterest in this on the part of the police and anything that may have been linked to the JonBenet case.
“They were convinced at the time that the Ramseys had done it and they weren’t interested in hearing about anything else – regardless of whether anyone else was at risk or anything.”
Amy’s dad believes the Boulder PD’s handling of his daughter’s case may have squandered any chance they had of ever solving the murder of JonBenet.
The six-year-old was reported missing by her mother just after 5am on Dec. 26. 1996, who frantically told the operator “my daughter’s been kidnapped.”
Her father John Ramsey found her dead in the basement later the same day minutes after being told by police to go and search the home for clues as to where she might be.
JonBenet had suffered a traumatic blow to the side of her head, likely caused by a hard, rounded object, and had a rope tied around her neck which had been used to strangle her to death.
The girl also had tape over her mouth and rope around her wrist, both of which appeared to have been placed on her body post-mortem, investigators said.
At the center of the investigation’s tangled web is a strange, haphazardly written ransom note that JonBenet’s mother Patsy claimed to have found on a stairwell inside the home moments after finding her daughter missing from her bed.
The two-and-a-half-page letter, which was crafted using stationary found inside the Ramsey home, was addressed to John and demanded $118,000 in exchange for the girl’s safe return.
If the family alerted the police or failed to follow their instructions to the letter then JonBenet would be beheaded, the apparent captors warned in the note, which was signed “Victory! S.B.T.C”
Many potential suspects and figures of suspicion have emerged in the more than two-and-a-half decades since her gruesome death, but no culprit has ever been apprehended.
John and Patsy Ramsey were heavily scrutinized and interrogated by police, with investigators questioning whether JonBenet may have been accidentally killed by a member of her own family and her death then staged to look like a fatal kidnapping.
But the Ramseys maintained their innocence. They were never formally named as suspects and ultimately absolved of all suspicion in 2008 thanks to advancements in DNA technology.
Despite the exoneration, suspicions and conspiracy theories persist.
Speaking to the lack of closure in both his daughter’s and JonBenet’s cases, Amy’s dad said: “I think if they’d actually investigated the Ramsey murder, a lot of other people in town who were accosted in various ways probably wouldn’t have been harmed.
“If they would’ve investigated any number of the things we found or better-preserved evidence in the JonBenet case, I think they would’ve had a good chance of finding the perpetrator.
“But it was just abysmal, irresponsible police work.
“They really should be ashamed of themselves.”
‘JUSTICE IS COMING’
Amy’s father said it took the best part of two decades for his daughter to recover from the trauma of her attack.
The incident, he said, gave their entire family PTSD and took years of therapy for them to overcome.
“She’s doing great now, but it took an enormous amount of work to get there,” he said.
“I think this all could’ve been avoided had they better investigated JonBenet’s death.”
Earlier this week, following months of appeals from JonBenet’s family, Boulder PD and the Boulder County district attorney’s office announced that they will be enlisting the help of a state cold case team, as well as private DNA laboratories, to re-investigate the death of JonBenet.
“As in any cold case homicide, the investigation can always benefit from the perspective of outside experts,” authorities said in a statement.
“So, in addition to talking with the private DNA labs, the Boulder Police Department will be consulting with the Colorado Cold Case Review Team in 2023.”
Like Amy’s dad, John Ramsey has long criticized Boulder PD’s handling of the investigation into his daughter’s death.
In a recent interview, he told 9News he doesn’t believe the case will ever be solved.
“Not if it stays in the hands of the Boulder Police, no, I don’t,” Ramsey said.“I really don’t.”
While Amy’s dad shares John Ramsey’s pejorative opinions of Boulder PD, he clings to the hope that one-day justice will be served.
“As they say, the wheels of justice grind slowly but they’re going to find him sooner or later.
“The wheel of Karma is going to come back around.”