There's a new book in the works about the still unsolved murder of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey, a Colorado homicide case now 17 years cold. The author, a semi-retired television newswoman familiar with the case from its inception, has spent four years putting the book together, gaining not only the cooperation of multiple agencies and insiders, but also the help from the child's father, John Ramsey. And she says she hopes she gets sued.
WebProNews reported Dec. 26 that Paula Woodward, a news veteran and former investigative reporter for 9News in Denver, is set to release Mr. Ramsey, Listen Carefully!: Facts, Fictions, Lies and Legends in the Murder of JonBenet Ramsey, a 400-plus-page paperback about what could possibly be the most famous cold case involving the murder of a child in recent history. And although the book will travel over what has become familiar territory for those who have followed the investigation and its coverage by the media, Woodward also hopes that the book provides a factual accounting of the case in such a way that readers can decide for themselves what happened and how the case developed not only as a media-saturated homicide investigation but as a closely followed legal matter as well.
The author is fighting preconceived opinions that she has held that the Ramseys were innocent all along. She wants people to know that she approached the book in an objective manner.
"That case was full of misperceptions, and nobody knows what I thought then and after reviewing it for four years, nobody knows what I think now," Woodward told the Boulder Daily Camera.
She added, "This is doing investigative reporting: Here's the best information I can get. Decide for yourself."
People have been doing just that ever since JonBenet's father discovered her lifeless body in the Ramsey's Boulder home the day after Christmas, 1996. The "Crime Library" at TruTV.com recounts that the child, a beauty pageant contest standout, had been garroted and her death was found to have been caused by the combined effects of strangulation and a skull fracture. She was found with a nylon cord tied around her neck, her mouth covered with duct tape, her hands tied above head, covered with a white blanket the family said was special to her. A ransom note demanding $118,000 was also found.
In the court of public opinion, the guilt and innocence of the parents, John and Patsy, and even the son, Burke, who was nine years old at the time of his sister's murder, was considered and continues to be rehashed, although subsequent DNA evidence collected at the scene has since been tested (2008), prompting prosecutors handling the cold case to exonerate the Ramsey family from involvement. Prior to the DNA findings, though, a great deal of circumstantial evidence led a grand jury to suggest indictments of the Ramseys on child abuse charges resulting in the death of a child and accessory to a crime in 1999, but prosecutors in the case found insufficient evidence to bring the case before a jury. Many have suggested that the police were so intensely focused on the Ramseys as suspects, vital information (forensics and other clues) was missed in the initial investigation.
And the case continues to be a hot topic, especially around the anniversary of JonBenet Ramsey's death.
Which is why Paula Woodward's book has garnered more than a little publicity as followers of the case anticipate its publication. A tentative release date pinpoints August 26, 2014. However, Woodward qualifies the date as uncertain, given the enormous amount of material she is working with. Still, Mr. Ramsey, Listen Carefully!: Facts, Fictions, Lies and Legends in the Murder of JonBenet Ramsey can be pre-ordered through Amazon now.
Woodwards says the book has been difficult to put together, even with her own 17 years of familiarity with the subject matter. Drawing on law enforcement sources, from the Ramsey family attorneys, from people involved in major and minor ways, and from John Ramsey himself, Woodward admits that she still has learned new details about the case.
But as she adds her book to a long list of investigative and speculative accounts of the JonBenet Ramsey murder case, Paula Woodward notes that she has one overriding desire. She wants to be sued.
"I hope someone sues me for not getting permission to publish their ransom note."