In the last few years, there's been a rise of interest in true crime stories, so it was only a matter of time before the JonBenét Ramsey murder case returned to our public awareness. Unlike the stories at the center of Making a Murderer or Serial, no one is currently serving time for the senseless murder of the 6-year old beauty queen, as the case is unsolved. This only makes us more interested in digging through all the facts of the case before The Case of JonBenét Ramsey begins its six-episode run on Sep. 18. There are a lot of little details to remind ourselves of, given that it's been 20 years since this horrific crime occurred. A straightforward one is what was JonBenét's father John Bennett Ramsey's job at the time of the 1996 murder?
Six-year-old Ramsey was found dead in her home in Boulder, Colorado about seven hours after her mother had reported her missing to the police in 1996. Though they were originally considered suspects in the murder, John Ramsey and his late wife Patsy were cleared of any involvement in the crime through DNA testing in 2008, with Boulder County District Attorney Mary Lacy writing in a 2008 letter to John, "To the extent that we may have contributed in any way to the public perception that you might have been involved in this crime, I am deeply sorry."
At the time of the murder, Ramsey worked at the forefront of the tech world, starting a computer company in the 1980s that he would merge with two other firms in 1988 to create Access Graphics, which sold Unix-based computer systems and would go on to become a billion-dollar company. After Access Graphics was purchased by Lockheed Martin in 1991, Ramsey became its president and chief executive, and his net worth was estimated at $6.4 million by 1996, just before the murder of his daughter.
His wealth was significant enough that the ransom note prepared by JonBenét's captor or captors was addressed directly to John Ramsey. This note informed Ramsey that the criminals respected his business, "but not the country it serves," and demanded $118,000 in cash for her safe return. Tragically, we know how that ended. Speaking with The Daily Beast in 2008, Ramsey shared that he'd lost much of his wealth after JonBenét's murder, as a result of being unable to work and having to defend his reputation after accusations of involvement in the crime were leveled against himself and his wife. "The fact I'm no longer under suspicion will never bring back my life,” he said in the interview. “Once your reputation is tarnished, it stays tarnished."
He briefly worked for Jaleo North America, a software company that worked in high-definition television, but left that job in 1999, and it's not clear how he fills his time these days. One thing we do know is that he did get remarried in 2011, to fashion designer Jan Rousseaux after his wife Patsy died of ovarian cancer in 2006. I hope that, whatever it is he does for a living these days, it brings him fulfillment after a truly tragic time in his life.