The upcoming 20th anniversary of JonBenét Ramsey's murder has renewed the public's interest in the still-unsolved case. In September, three separate specials aired on CBS, Investigation Discovery, and NBC — and Ramsey's older brother, Burke, did his first interview with Dr. Phil. Now, the Lifetime movie Who Killed JonBenét?, which airs on Nov. 5, can be added to the list of 2016 specials. Although the family didn't comment on the specials produced by Investigation Discovery or Dateline NBC, the CBS docuseries The Case of: JonBenét Ramsey resulted in an immediate lawsuit after the show's team of experts named JonBenét's brother, Burke, as a suspect and claimed that he could have accidentally killed his sister and John and Patsy Ramsey had covered it up. This controversial claim came after the Ramseys, who have maintained their innocence, were cleared of all suspicion in 2008. After The Case of, they may be wary of additional specials, so what does the Ramsey family think of Lifetime's Who Killed JonBenét?
The Ramsey family's attorney, Lin Wood, released the following statement to Bustle about the film: “On behalf of my clients, I cannot comment on the Lifetime production at this time as I have not seen the show and have no information as to its content or gist.” (If Wood provides any additional comment on the Ramseys' behalf, this post will be updated.)
It seems likely that the family and their lawyers will keep it on their radars, especially since the official synopsis of Who Killed JonBenét? from Lifetime suggests that it could cast suspicion on the Ramseys. The persistent speculation that they were somehow involved in JonBenét's death has continued and it doesn't seem like filmmakers have ruled out the possibility:
Who Killed JonBenét? provides a closer look into what exactly happened the day after Christmas 1996, when she was found beaten and strangled in the family’s basement. With the addition of recently surfaced information, the film takes a fresh look at the events and the competing theories about the murder. Were Patsy and John Ramsey responsible or covering for someone else in the family? Was this a kidnapping gone wrong, or was this the work of a predator who had seen JonBenét in one of her pageants?
We'll have to wait and see how exactly the family is depicted in the film, but an exclusive clip from E! indicates that Patsy Ramsey may be portrayed as suspicious. The clip shows her sobbing with her head in her hands, then looking through her fingers to make sure a cop sees that she's crying. Furthermore, the film will be directly followed by a two-hour special titled JonBenét's Mother: Victim or Killer? Here's the official synopsis:
This two-hour special delves into the real Patsy Ramsey, the person most people believe killed JonBenét. The special reconstructs her life as a socialite, beauty queen, wife, mother and suspected killer, and digs deep into the mind and actions of this mysterious woman. Also features people who have never spoken publicly, taking a fresh look at the crime and examines the evidence through the lens of modern forensic technology.
Again, we'll have to watch the special before we reach any conclusions — but the description indicates that it will spend a significant amount of time entertaining the theory that Patsy Ramsey, who maintained her innocence until she died of ovarian cancer in 2006, was involved in her daughter's death. Although the special may not result in another lawsuit, it must be upsetting and painful for John and Burke Ramsey to see that Patsy is still being treated as a suspect by the media and the public.
We won't know how the Ramsey family feels about Who Killed JonBenét? unless they choose to speak out, but the renewed attention and suspicion can't be easy for them.
Images: Bob Akester; Dan Buscher/Lifetime