08/17/06 — Broken hearts: Years of waiting must have been torture for family

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Broken hearts: Years of waiting must have been torture for family

It is too early to say whether the man who was arrested in Thailand Wednesday has really put to rest the story of 6-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey’s murder in Denver nearly 10 years ago.

Only time and a judge and jury will be able to tell if John Mark Karr really killed the young girl in her family’s home and if his confession and conviction will truly end the case.

But there is an aspect of this case that won’t be talked about much in most media outlets — especially those who for years pursued the angle that somehow, the parents were involved.

For years, John and Patsy Ramsey and their son lived in relative seclusion trying to hide from the intense publicity that put them on trial, well before there was another suspect in their daughter’s murder. The relentless hounding eventually pushed them out of their Denver home.

And, up until Patsy died in late June, much of the world still thought she and her husband or their son had something to do with JonBenet’s death.

Imagine that horror — to have lost your daughter, and to be considered a suspect in her murder. It is a wonder this family did not collapse years ago.

The conclusions that have been drawn in the Ramsey case are understandable to some degree. There were few clues and no one really knew what conclusion to draw from the unusual circumstances that surrounded this child’s death.

And the fact that Patsy Ramsey dressed up her 6-year-old and trotted her to pageants didn’t help either. To some people, she probably seemed like a serious stage mother.

But perhaps in this day of “get it now” and sensationalism, we are not as careful with the presumption of “innocent until proven guilty” and waiting for the facts before drawing a conclusion as we should be.

And now, in hindsight, perhaps there was a bit too much speculating about the Ramseys’ guilt and too little investigation into what really happened.

Only time will tell if this case was handled properly by investigators and others.

There is still no conviction, so the JonBenet case is not yet marked “closed.” A judge and jury will accomplish that task.

But for now, the Ramsey family can rest a little easier knowing JonBenet’s murder is off the cold case list, and someone might answer for her death.

Published in Editorials on August 17, 2006 11:02 AM