When I woke up on Friday morning and did my daily “what’s happening today on the internet” surfing, I thought I had been gone back in time. Two of the top 10 trending topics were Patsy Ramsey and her daughter JonBenet Ramsey, a 17-year-old case that is still apparently on America’s mind.
The breakdown of trending topics was like this:
The 17-year-old cold case is trending above Simon Cowell, little black dresses and Angelina Jolie. But why?
First, December 25th is the 17th anniversary of the 6-year-old’s tragic and mysterious death. And if you need a refresher on the historic case — here is what happened in a nutshell. On Christmas, the pint-sized pageant princess named JonBenet Ramsey was reported missing from the affluent family’s home in Boulder, Colorado. Her body was later found in the basement. JonBenet had been hit on the head and strangled. The family — JonBenet’s mother, father and brother — were the first suspects but they were soon cleared due to the fact that there was other DNA evidence collected at the scene that did not match the Ramsey family. But even though the police cleared the family, they continued to be suspects in the public’s eyes. Even Patsy Ramsey, who died in 2006 after a battle with ovarian cancer.
Also feeding the JonBenet interest is that a new book — Mr. Ramsey, Listen Carefully!: Facts, Fictions, Lies and Legends in the Murder of JonBenet Ramsey is about to be released, a book that has taken author Paula Woodward four years to complete.
But besides the book and the anniversary, why do we still care about this one story? Certainly, a big part of it is the shocking nature of her death; this innocent and angelic-looking child from a wealthy family who died in such a violent manner in her own home, as her parents were allegedly sleeping upstairs. It hit close to home for a lot of parents, living in seemingly safe neighborhoods across America.
The other big factor is the sizzle of the pageant part of the story: the images of the little girl dressed up so glamorously with big hair, tons of make-up and a Cover Girl smile are haunting. We have Honey Boo Boo and Toddlers and Tiaras now, but back then the idea of young girls getting dolled up for beauty pageants was not as mainstream. Many were introduced to this subculture via the media attention that it received after the death of JonBenet.
But why is it still news? Why are we still so intrigued by an unsolved crime committed 17 years ago? It boils down to this: in America, we love a mystery. And unsolved cases always seem to pique our interest. Had a killer been named and the case closed, 17 years later JonBenet Ramsey would not be trending, and we would not be discussing the anniversary of a case with no current developments. Had JonBenet not been an over-the-top pageant princess, living a seemingly perfect life in an affluent family, her death would not still be talked about. But it is one of those tragedies that does not have closure, so for now, it will remain on our radar.
Do you find yourself still curious about the JonBenet murder case?
Image courtesy of ABC News