As we approach the 20th anniversary of six-year-old JonBenét Ramsey's murder, the case has received an inflix of renewed attention. The mystery began on the morning of Dec. 26, 1996, when Ramsay's mother, Patsy Ramsay, woke up early and realized her daughter wasn't in her bed. After finding a ransom note at the bottom of the stairs, Patsy made a frantic 911 call and alerted police that Ramsay was missing. Though the 911 call wasn't heavily detailed back then, Dateline's Sept. 9 special Who Killed JonBenét?, changed that: Kimberly Archuleta , the 911 operator who took Patsy Ramsey's call, spoke publicly for the first time in 20 years, and shed even more light on this confusing case.
Even 20 years later, Patsy's call is chilling. She dialed 911 at 5:52 a.m., and her distress was palpable as Archuleta tried to gather as many details as possible and calm her down. In the call, Patsy stated that she didn't know how long Ramsay had been missing, emphasized that a ransom note had been left, and repeatedly begged for an officer to be sent to the family's home. The last clear words that can be heard before Patsy apparently hung up the phone are: "Help me Jesus... Help me." The call can be heard here in its entirety:
In her first-ever public interview, Archuleta told Dateline that it was "the hardest call I ever took... because something inside me said 'something's not right.'" According to Archuleta's account, the strangest aspect of the call was how it ended: She claimed that Patsy hung up "without giving me any kind of closure or reassurance," but that Archuleta doesn't believe the call actually disconnected. She alleged that she heard the phone being placed back in its cradle, but she continued to hear talking. According to Archuleta, she definitely heard Patsy's voice and one male voice, which could have been Ramsay's father and Patsy's husband, John Bennett Ramsey. However, Archuleta also claimed she also heard a "third voice" that was "a little more faint."
As Dateline emphasized, this claim gave credence to the police's belief that the Ramsey family had played a role in Ramsay's murder. Though the entire family was cleared of all suspicion in the case in 2008 thanks to DNA evidence (Boulder District Attorney Mary Lacy wrote in a letter to John at the time, "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... No innocent person should have to endure such an extensive trial in the court of public opinion,") in 1996 at the time of the 911 call, police immediately suspected the family: John, Patsy, and their 9-year-old son Burke. It's still unclear what "third voice" Archuleta was alleging she heard — the family has always maintained that Burke slept through the entire ordeal, and Burke himself stated in a recent interview on Dr. Phil that he stayed in his room. Additionally, according to TODAY in 2003, both the FBI and the Secret Service examined the tapes, and were unable to hear a third voice as well.
Despite what Archuleta believes she heard, there is no evidence that a third voice was present in the 911 call. Considering the enhanced tape has never been released to the public, it's not clear what exactly can be heard in the background, but one thing is for sure: This case gains more and more layers by the minute.