The first thing I had to say to John Bennet Ramsay was “I’m sorry for your loss.”
The American businessman was the first to discover the body of his daughter, 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey, in the cellar of their family home in Boulder, Colorado.
It was the day after Christmas in 1996. A day his whole world flipped. And a moment, when he describes it, that is chilling.
Twenty years on and several grand jury hearings later, the case of JonBenet Ramsey’s murder remains unsolved. Her mother, Patsy, died in 2006. Now John, and his son Burke, are possibly the two people alive who know what happened to this six-year-old beauty pageant contestant.
The 72-year-old told me that he has no doubt in his mind that there was a killer in their house that night.
And it wasn’t her brother, Burke.
A recent CBS documentary concluded it was Burke who – in an act of sibling anger – hit JonBenet and accidentally killed her. The parents covered it up to protect their son.
It’s a theory that Ramsay is now pursuing legal action over.
“Let’s assume that Burke accidentally or intentionally hit Jon Benet as this CBS documentary claims.
What would you do as a parent?” he says.
“Would you say, ‘Let’s strangle her, let’s write a three-page ransom note and let’s fake the whole thing’? No. You’d say ‘Let’s get her to the hospital. Immediately.'”
This episode of the Nitty Gritty Committee goes deep. Into the night when it all unfolded. Into his memories of Jon-Benet as a normal little girl. To memories of Patsy, who passed away in 2006 from ovarian cancer, and how this mother, and wife, ever managed to move on with her life.
What sort of a person is Burke?
And why does he think there are so many conspiracy theories that implicate the family?
It's a fascinating insight into a man, who 20 years on is still coping with the world's ongoing fascination with his families tragedy.