Who Is Gordon Coombes? The JonBenet Ramsey Investigator Fears The Case Will Stay Cold
On December 26, 1996, the body of six-year-old JonBenét Ramsey was found in her Boulder, Colorado, home. One grand jury deposition, thousands of pieces of evidence, dozens of witnesses, and 20 years later, her murder remains unsolved. Investigation Discovery’s JonBenét: An American Murder Mystery looks to explore the circumstances surrounding JonBenét’s death, the many theories that followed the case, and the investigation that continues today. The documentary series has exclusive access to a few of the key players in the murder case, including former JonBenét investigator Gordon Coombes.
According to Coombes’ LinkedIn profile, he served as an investigator in the Boulder County District Attorney Office from 2008 to 2011. If you’re wondering why Coombes was important to the case 12 years after Ramsey’s death, it’s because, at the time, the Boulder County DA was testing Ramsey’s clothing for what’s called “touch” DNA. Scientific American explains that touch DNA analyzes “the skin cells left behind when assailants touch victims, weapons, or something else at a crime scene,” and the new-ish technique increases the chance of DNA detection because it can find and analyze much smaller amounts of DNA evidence than in years past. In the 1980s, you needed to literally be able to see DNA to be able to conduct analysis; not so anymore.
Ultimately, the touch DNA showed that none of the genetic material on Ramsey’s clothing matched her family members or the “unknown male” profile that was found in blood in her underwear, and the Ramsey family was officially cleared of any suspicion, according to the New York Post. They even received an apology letter from the DA for casting doubt on them. The Ramsey family always maintained their innocence.
Coombes is currently the Executive Director of TEAM Wellness & Prevention. According to his LinkedIn, the company is “a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting healthy lifestyles through the prevention of substance use.” It must be a refreshing switch — Coombes still gets to help people, albeit in a different way. At this new job, Coombes gets to help people perhaps before a crime is committed — he no longer has to look at murders every day. Bustle reached out to him about the case and his involvement in the ID special, but has not yet received a response.
Though it seems like Coombes has mostly put the Ramsey case behind him, he isn’t convinced that the killer will ever be found. As he told the New York Post, “There are so many mistakes that happened early on and so many things that have happened over the years to cast doubt,” he says, “that even if it was charged, it would be hard to prove in court.” So, the mystery lives on.
Image: Investigation Discovery