New Documentary Sheds Fresh Light on Unsolved Murder of JonBenet
It's 24 years since the Christmas Day murder of 6-year-old pageant princess JonBenet Ramsey. Now, a new feature-length documentary sheds fresh light on the case, telling the tale of a detective who almost single-handedly helped clear her accused parents.
Veteran cop Lou Smit, who died in 2010, kept detailed audio diaries of the investigation, which are heard for the first time in JonBenet Ramsey: What Really Happened, which premieres January 4 on discovery+.
JonBenet was found dead in the basement of her family's Boulder, Colorado, home in 1996. Her mom and dad Patsy and John were soon prime suspects — and the subject of garish tabloid headlines.
Smit, who worked on 200 murder cases, was brought out of retirement in Denver to help investigate the homicide.
As highlighted in the film, he painstakingly examined the evidence and came to the conclusion that it was an intruder who murdered JonBenet. But this put him at odds with other detectives in the Boulder Police Department, who were convinced that John and Patsy were the killers.
"There is evidence of an intruder. I say this over and over again. Nobody wants to listen," an exasperated Smit can be heard saying in one of the tapes, which have been released by his children in the hope that they will help find the true killer. "There is absolutely no motive for the Ramseys to do it."
Smit worked tirelessly on the case and eventually the Ramseys were cleared. JonBenet's mom Patsy, 49, died from cancer in 2006. JonBenet's dad and brother John Andrew both give interviews to the documentary makers, along with members of Smit's family and other people involved in the case.
DNA not belonging to family members was found on Jon Benet's clothing that fateful Christmas. Now relatives are hoping that scientific advancements will one day find a match and catch the killer.
JonBenet Ramsey: What Really Happened, January 4, discovery+.