#Shakedown Stirs Up Old Insights Into JonBenet Ramsey, America’s Most Famous Cold Case, Part 1

Judith Phillips knew the Ramseys for 13 years.  They first became friends in Atlanta, then judith-phillipsthe relationship continued after the families moved to Boulder.  Not only was Judith a family friend, she was also a photographer who frequently took photos of JonBenet and Patsy.  Over the years, Judith got to know the Ramsey kids fairly well.

These past few weeks, Judith has appeared on a handful of specials about the JonBenet case. Depending on which special you watch, you get two different sides of Judith’s story; the Ramsey friendship and then post.

Initially, she seemed sympathetic. Talking about how difficult it was to watch her friend suffer from cancer.  But the more she talked, the more it became apparent that Judith wasn’t fooled by the Ramsey veneer.

How well do any of us really know the Ramseys?  In order to unravel this crime, understanding the family dynamic is where we need to start.

Judith piqued our interest as one source for insights, especially when she revealed that after speaking to the police [post JonBenet’s death], the Ramseys suddenly cut her off.  She went so far as to say it was frightening how angry they got. After that, the 13 year friendship was suddenly over.


From the 1997 People Magazine article, Under Suspicion:  patsy-2

“She put her house up for some kind of tour [in 2014] at Christmas.  In fact, she put her pageant dress on her bed with the crown, so people could see it.”  

“I’ve met a lot of families in the South where they just sweep all the [bad] stuff under the rug and they create this perfect outward image,” Judith declares. “Patsy was a Miss America contestant.  And image building is the whole thing in the Miss America contest.  She does it well.”

Patsy loved extravagant things.  She loved to decorate not just her homes in Charlevoix and Boulder, but also herself.

But in rooms behind closed doors, there was clutter, tossed clothing, urine soiled sheets and scattered toys.  Their house was a mess.  I was shocked the first time I saw the crime scene photos. What is clutter a sign of?  Often, anxiety and depression.

Patsy had hired hands for literally everything that needed to get done in and around the home – the cleaning, the decorating, the gardening, the fix-it projects.  If somebody wasn’t hired for a task, it simply didn’t get done.  Patsy also rarely cooked.  John told investigators in his 1998 interview that several nights a week they’d go out to dinner.  JonBenet didn’t fuss about it because she liked to socialize, but John said that Burke didn’t like to go out. He always preferred to stay in.  Regardless, night after night, the parents dragged their kids out to eat.

All of it certainly didn’t fit the picture of domestic bliss. It was more the portrait of a family at their breaking point – stressed, divided and sick – trying desperately to hide it all from the world.  Patsy found some escape in religion and JonBenet.

“She believed that this cross healed her”


From the 1997 People Magazine article, Under Suspicion:

On Sept. 2 Patsy was watching Larry King Live.  In the wake of Princess Diana’s death, King was hosting a celebrity rant against stalkerazzi, and Patsy charged headlong into the fray.  “She jumped out of her chair and started calling,” Nedra reports.  “I said, ‘What are you going to say?’ She said, “The Lord will direct my words” King took her call, and she launched into an on-air diatribe castigating the tabs:  “I would ask in the memory of my daughter, JonBenet, America’s people’s princess – and the beautiful people’s princess of Great Britain – to ask everyone worldwide to boycott.”


John was the polar opposite of Patsy.  Quiet, reserved and hard-working.  How do two img_4006people, so completely different, remain united?  The investigators on the scene on the morning of December 26, said they thought the Ramseys were either separated or divorced because they basically ignored each other the entire time JonBenet was “missing.” They didn’t comfort each other during the crisis.

Judith says after Patsy went into remission, the divide between Patsy and John was apparent.  Any affection the couple had previously had for each other seemed to be non-existent.  In an interview in 1998, John told investigators that intimacy was painful for Patsy and their relationship suffered, not just from that, but from the change in Patsy’s moods.

The possibility of John having an affair had been raised, and John was questioned about that by investigators.  It wasn’t so far-fetched considering he had previously had a 2 year affair during his first marriage to Lucinda.

Her name was Doreen Williams. The affair would eventually break up his marriage.  While John admits it was his fault that the marriage ended, he pointed to his mistress as being overly aggressive, and somewhat of a stalker.  He casually evaded responsibility by making it seem like he was kinda forced into the relationship.  A sign that John was also willing to do and say whatever necessary to keep appearances up.

On Christmas Day, while JonBenet and Burke were playing with their toys and friends, John left his family to go tinker with his plane for over three hours. I’ve often wondered if that’s where he actually went.  On one of the most important religious holidays of the year, John left his wife at home to tend to a houseful of kids. Why?  Did he have another agenda, or person to visit?  Or, did he simply need breaks away from his family?

img_4001What’s intriguing is that John and Patsy stayed together after JonBenet’s death.  A large percentage of marriages break up after the loss of a child because of guilt and resentment, and an inability to move on.  The individuals are so swallowed up by their grief, they have no energy left to focus on a partner.  But not John and Patsy.  They seemed to get closer after JonBenet’s death.  What was the driving force that suddenly brought them back together and kept them devoted during the worst time of their lives?

Here’s a clue:  one of their requested conditions for meeting with the police was that they always be interviewed together, never apart.  [Their request was denied.]

From the 1997 People Magazine article, Under Suspicion:

In Boulder the Ramsey fairy tale would begin to unravel.  On Jan. 8, 1992, John’s oldest daughter, Elizabeth, died from injuries suffered in an auto accident near Chicago.

“She was sweet and gentle, just like her daddy,” says Shirley Brady Burke’s ex-nanny. Devastated, John Ramsey “became more introverted” after she died, according to Jim Marino.  “Work became his pacifier, his distractor.”  In 1992, John’s father died.  And the couple was shaken again in 1993 when Patsy was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer, which had spread to her lymph nodes.


img_3935Where do we start with Burke?  Was he just a shy, awkward kid?  Is it really that simple?  Or, was his loner personality, the video games, the laughing and totally care free attitude about the murder of his sister, a symptom of something far worse?

Why does a child smear feces in their home [more than once]?  When investigators searched the Ramsey house after JonBenet’s murder, they found a box of chocolates that she had received as a gift with feces smeared on the outside of the box.  What message was Burke sending to his sister?

From the CBS docu-series, The Case of: JonBenet Ramsey:

img_3084“When Burke was 4 he was the apple of his parents’ eyes.  He could do no wrong.  He got the full treatment of gifts, clothes and trips and you name it.  But then when JonBenet came along, especially as she got older and her destiny was to be in the pageant system, that attention that Burke had switched from him to JonBenet.”

“I think Burke had a bad temper.  It’s like he had a chip on his shoulder.  He had hit JonBenet.  Before the murder, I would have to say, it was probably a year and a half.  They were playing in the yard and apparently he hit her with the golf club, right here [points to area under eye].  She [Patsy] says the kids were playing, Burke lost his temper and hit her with a golf club.”

The Ramseys, however, told police in their interviews that the golf club incident was purely an accident.  How many other times had Burke hit JonBenet?

More to follow in Part 2


3 thoughts on “#Shakedown Stirs Up Old Insights Into JonBenet Ramsey, America’s Most Famous Cold Case, Part 1

  1. OMG….don’t talk to some “friend” 20 years later and have her bad “memories” make you think the Ramseys did it. They are 100% INNOCENT. This case was solved over 2 years ago by a cold case detective named JOHN CAMERON, he has a website and book that explains it ALL!


    • Oh there are all kinds of crazy theories out there, put forth by the Ramseys–even casting suspicion on people who had been close friends–and by people who have bought the Ramsey mythology about that night lock, stock and barrel, and therefore believe the most ridiculous things if it gets the Ramseys off the hook. Someone in that family did it, and other(s) helped cover it up. That little girl will never get justice because her parents were rich, arrogant and well connected.


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