Priscilla and Fleet White Were Not Suspects

by Joseph D. Lyons

The 20-year anniversary of JonBenét Ramsey's death has people thinking about her murder once more. And the media attention proves it. JonBenét's brother, Burke, sat down for an interview with Dr. Phil which will air starting Sep. 12, and CBS has prepared a docuseries on the case called The Case of JonBenét Ramsey, which debuts Sep. 18. Lifetime has a TV movie planned for November, too. Who exactly will appear in these programs is still a mystery, but it's likely that we'll see figures who drew attention at the time of the crime. So where is Priscilla White now?

White was one of the witnesses in 1996, and at times was even considered a suspect by some in the public — as was her husband, Fleet Jr., who was with John Ramsey when he searched the house for his daughter and eventually found her tied up in the basement. They have been cleared three different times — the last instance being in 2014 — and are not considered suspects in the crime.

2014 was the last time the couple had media coverage. The Daily Camera reported that Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner had released a statement on the Whites and other community members who had received negative attention during and after the murder case:

A great deal of that reporting and speculation targeted innocent community members whose only connection to the crime was as cooperating witnesses. This includes the Fleet White, Jr. family of Boulder who suffered embarrassment and damage to their reputations. The Boulder Police Department recognizes the suffering the Whites have endured as a result of the accusations made against the White family during the course of the investigation. The Boulder Police Department investigators have always considered the White family to only be witnesses in this case. The Boulder Police Department has never considered the White family to be suspects in the case.

The Whites had already been cleared in 1997, when the Boulder police called them "key witnesses." They were thanked for their "full cooperation." They were cleared again in 2008.

Barry Williams/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The reason the couple were considered potential suspects was that a California woman had made allegations that she was abused by a child sex ring, and was tortured in ways similar to the way JonBenét was found. The Ramseys knew the woman through the Whites, and papers, including The Daily Camera, reported the connection. The police never found evidence that connected the Whites to anything of that matter. The Whites filed a libel complaint against The Daily Camera, but the case was dropped by the state.

Fleet wrote a comment by email for the 2014 Camera article. He said he hoped that the investigation continued:

We greatly appreciate Chief Beckner and the Boulder Police Department making this statement on behalf of our family. Along with the recent release of the 1998-99 Boulder grand jury indictments of John and Patsy Ramsey, we are hopeful Chief Beckner's statement today will further improve the public's understanding of the investigation of JonBenét's death.

The Whites became estranged from the Ramseys after the investigation and accused them of not fully cooperating with investigators. Since the 2014 Boulder police statement, they have stayed out of the news. Seeing as how Burke has given his first interview about his sister — 20 years later — there's always the chance they could end their silence.