Saturday June 30 Daily Camera
#1
Heart 
NEW ROUND OF DNA TESTS COMPLETED



A renewed wave of DNA testing in the JonBenet Ramsey case has been completed and although investigators are not talking about what was learned, further forensic examination of evidence in the case could still be on tap.
Newly elected Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty, in his first extensive comments about the infamous unsolved 1996 Boulder homicide, was candid about the fact that, having been appointed to the office this spring after the mid-term resignation of his predecessor, he has not yet been fully briefed on the case.
"Since taking office on March first I have had nearly zero contact with the Ramsey case. It's in the possession of, and under investigation by, the Boulder Police Department," he said, adding that "Not a day goes by that I don't get a call, email or inquiry about Ramsey. All of those I respond to, but all those are then directed to the Boulder Police Department."

He does, however, anticipate a full briefing at a future date. Daugherty won a primary battle Tuesday as the Democratic candidate to complete the third term of Stan Garnett, who resigned earlier this year to return to private practice at the Denver firm where he had worked before taking office in January 2009. Because Daugherty faces no Republican opponent this fall, he will be the county's top prosecutor at least through 2020.


A joint investigation by the Daily Camera and 9News, published in October 2016, revealed for the first time that, according to several independent experts contacted by the news organizations, DNA evidence that had been cited by then-District Attorney Mary Lacy as a basis to issue an exoneration of Ramsey family members in July 2008 did not, in their opinions, support her actions.

Those experts, who examined the data on which Lacy based her controversial decision, disputed her assertion that the DNA found in one location on JonBenet's underwear and two spots on her long johns were necessarily that of the child's killer. In fact, they said it indicated the genetic presence of two people in addition to the girl, something that documents showed Lacy was told at the time, but did not mention in her exoneration of the Ramseys.

Additionally those experts theorized that the original DNA sample recovered from JonBenet's underwear, which was entered into the FBI's Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) in December 2013 and has been used since then for comparison with other suspect DNA in the case, might actually be a composite, rather than that of a single individual.

In the wake of the Daily Camera/9News investigation, Boulder Police Chief Greg Testa and Garnett both announced — separately but on the same day — that their offices would pursue new DNA testing in the star-crossed homicide probe.
Dougherty's remarks are the first time a Boulder official has discussed that renewed round of tests. Although plans for that testing were announced in December 2016, the evidence to be examined was not forwarded to the CBI until mid-2017, he disclosed.
"CBI (the Colorado Bureau of Investigation) conducted testing using contemporary DNA analysis and methods," Dougherty said. "I do not know what specific items were tested and Chief Testa is not going to comment on it. I personally don't actually know, but I do know that items, plural, were submitted to CBI for analysis."
He did say, however, concerning the DNA sample entered into CODIS in 2003, "The quality of the sample met the standards for entry into the CODIS database."

Testa also confirmed completion of the most recent tests.
"I will just say I was pleased with the work CBI completed for us," Testa said. "As you know, this is a challenging case. We continue to work with the CBI and the DA's office, as we review the case and evidence in the case. I think that's all I will say, and can say, about the case."

[b]Testing, and re-testing[/b]

Sending the evidence to the CBI, while standard practice for a Colorado law enforcement agency, marks a departure from the way Ramsey forensic material was handled during Lacy's tenure. The tests pursued on her watch in late 2007 and early 2008 were conducted instead by the Virginia-based Bode Cellmark Forensics, as the private lab is now known.
Dougherty expressed faith in the abilities of the CBI to continue any needed future DNA work in the Ramsey investigation -— and indicated that there could well be more to come.
"The testing of the items that were submitted was completed, and the Boulder PD and CBI are continuing to evaluate those results, but also additional items that might be appropriate for testing," he said.
Experts consulted by the Camera and 9News stated in 2016 that the capabilities of DNA examiners to find genetic fingerprints on evidence continue to expand at an almost dizzying rate, and that retesting of evidence using the latest forensic tools available is always something that should be considered.
Dougherty said the same.
"I just had a conversation with the director of the CBI forensic lab the other day, in which she was encouraging me, in all cold-case homicides, to have police re-submit evidence for testing because their technology continues to develop at such a pace that it makes it worthwhile to go back and test — even, evidence (previously tested) just a few years ago," he said.
JonBenet, 6, killed by asphyxiation and a fractured skull, was found by her father, John Ramsey, in the basement of the family's University Hill residence in Boulder the afternoon of Dec. 26, 1996. Her father's discovery of her body came just hours after her mother, Patsy Ramsey, had dialed 911, reporting having found a ransom note demanding $118,000 for the girl's safe return.
Although no one has ever been charged with the crime, the Camera revealed in 2013 that a Boulder County grand jury investigation resulted in October 1999 in the indictments of John and Patsy Ramsey for child abuse resulting in death and accessory to the crime of first-degree murder. However, then-Boulder County District Attorney Alex Hunter — who never publicly announced those indictments — declined to prosecute the couple, based on his belief that he did not have adequate evidence to secure convictions.
The Ramseys steadfastly denied any involvement in their youngest child's death, and Patsy Ramsey died after a long battle with cancer in June 2006.
[b]Ramsey seen as active investigation[/b]
During his tenure, Garnett on more than one occasion voiced his doubt that DNA alone would be the key to unlocking the Ramsey mystery, which appears destined to mark 22 years of frustration for local law enforcement this Christmas.
Dougherty, who was supported by Garnett in his election bid, echoed that sentiment following his election.
"From my own experience, there is no case that is just a DNA case," Dougherty said. "You could have a sexual assault or a murder and develop a full profile, but that full profile does not necessarily mean that the person who has that DNA was the perpetrator of the crime.
"Obviously, additional investigation, corroboration, statements, witnesses and so on are required to prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt. It's never just the DNA."
Not along after his initial appointment to the top prosecutor's post earlier this year, Dougherty announced the formation of a cold case unit within his office. It's his intention that the unit will be utilized to partner with local law enforcement in cases where prosectors' resources could make a difference in seeking resolutions to unsolved murders and missing person cases.
Thirty-four potential cases have so far been considered, he said. To date, two of those have been identified to be pursued by his new unit. The Ramsey case is not one of them. He said that is because it is still considered under active investigation by Boulder detectives and therefore is not dormant.
"That investigation has been active, consistently, with many, many, many hours of personnel time by the Boulder Police Department in its investigation since it occurred in 1996," said Catherine Olguin, spokesperson for Dougherty's office.
"I don't believe that case ever sat dormant with the Boulder Police Department. They have always had a detective, or two, assigned to it. They've always followed up leads. They've always continually looked back and reviewed the evidence in that case, to see what more could be done."


Charlie Brennan
Senior Reporter, Boulder Daily Camera
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#2
sadly, I don't believe the police department is doing all they can to solve this. The two put in charge a few years ago were not new eyes but part of the original BORG group who didn't follow up on leads way back when and I honestly don't believe they would now.

I myself spoke to one of them who admitted to me that the Ramsey boxes were in storage, tips were being filed nicely and I was correct that no one was jumping to attention to see them processed. (If the Chief of Police or DA meet with me I will let them know exactly what was said and by whom). Earlier, I was told the case was NOT a high priority because Boulder had a lot of new crimes that demanded their attention. And,, to be honest, I can understand THAT.

But there is a new DA in town, a new lab at the CBI and clearly someone is taking an interest. Testing is underway and we MAY, just MAY see this mystery solved.

I just hope it happens. JonBenét may be "just another dead kid" to some but to others she was someone special who deserves to be vindicated through the justice system. Her family deserves the same.
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#3
(06-30-2018, 04:19 PM)jameson245 Wrote: But there is a new DA in town, a new lab at the CBI and clearly someone is taking an interest.  Testing is underway and we MAY, just MAY see this mystery solved.

Great to hear this, jameson.
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