The 1996 murder of 6-year-old pageant winner JonBenet Ramsey continues to draw national attention — and raise eyebrows, particularly surrounding the current phenomenon of child beauty pageants. JonBenet’s parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, were long viewed as suspects and weren’t completely cleared of suspicion until 12 years after their daughter’s murder.
John Ramsey’s newly released book, The Other Side of Suffering, outlines his journey “from grief to grace” following the child’s murder in the family’s home in Boulder, Colo. In an interview with ABC News, he spoke out about the loss of JonBenet, as well as his other daughter, Beth, who’d died in a car accident four years prior.
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He also addressed the culture of child beauty pageants, which has recently entered the public arena thanks to shows like TLC’s hit Toddlers and Tiaras. Ramsey said he’s caught snippets of the program, deeming it disturbing and bizarre. He claimed that JonBenet and her mother pursued pageantry “for fun,” without the unhealthy competitive attitude of families portrayed on the show. Still, he said he regrets JonBenet’s involvement in the world of child pageants.
“I think about these things now and it makes me cringe. We were so naïve,” he told ABC News. “I now believe with all my heart that it’s not a good idea to put your child on public display.”
In 1996, on the day after Christmas, JonBenet’s family found a ransom note demanding $118,000, threatening to kill the 6-year-old child if the money wasn’t handed over. Soon, Ramsey found his daughter’s body, lifeless in the basement of their home. After a 15-year ordeal, the case remains unsolved.