One of my most distinct memories from growing up in the '90s was reading magazine headlines in the grocery store and thinking to myself that the names O.J. Simpson and JonBenét Ramsey would never be out of the news. Now, 20 years have passed, and I'm still right. On Monday, Dr. Phil interviewed Burke Ramsey, the brother of the 6-year-old pageant queen who was found murdered in 1996, to discuss the unsolved case two decades later. And, in his first ever media interview since the night she died, Burke shared who he thinks killed JonBenét.
"I always thought it was a pedophile who saw her in one of the pageants and snuck in [to our house]," Burke speculated on Dr. Phil. The talk show host then asked if it could have been someone who entered the house under the guise of a Christmas tour that saw several strangers in and out of their home in the days leading up to her murder. "It's possible," said Burke. "I never really thought about that." But, he seemed most confident in his original theory. "It was probably some pedophile in the pageant audience," Burke said again.
Burke and his parents were, themselves, initially suspected by everyone from police to the media, though they maintained their innocence all the while. As CNN reported, in 2008, DNA evidence officially cleared the family. According to NBC News, Boulder County District Attorney Mary Lacy then apologized to the family. "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."
Burke and his parents always maintained their innocence, but he addressed those conspiracy theories that still exist about him and his family while on Dr. Phil. "People still can't get that in their head that we didn't do it," he told the talk show host. "There's been a few people who've said it's not even physically possible for a 9-year-old to do that," he said, addressing claims that he was involved as a young boy. "You won't find any evidence, because that's not what happened. I know I didn't do it."
He continued, adding that the DNA proof should have convinced people, and that "it blows [his] mind" that some people still suspect him and his family. The DNA evidence formally exonerated Ramseys from suspicion in 2008 because there was DNA found on JonBenét that did not match any Ramsey family member, according to NBC News. "What more evidence do you need that we didn't do it?" Burke said while on Dr. Phil. "What more do you need to stop looking at us and to start looking for the person who actually did it?"
As for the person who did kill his sister? Pedophile theories aside, Burke knows one thing for sure: "I resent the person who did it," he said. "Whoever killed her threw a wrench in my life, my family's life."
And, with that, maybe it's time we leave them all alone.