A Colorado judge plans to release a sealed indictment Friday against the parents of 6-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey, who was found dead in the family's home in Boulder in 1996 in one of the most sensational murder cases of the decade.
JonBenet's body was discovered in the basement several hours after her parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, had called police to report her missing. A ransom note was also recovered.
No suspect has ever been arrested or tried in the case. Patsy Ramsey died in 2006. John Ramsey remarried in 2011.
The order by retired Weld County Judge Robert Lowenbach to release the indictment came in response to a lawsuit by Daily Camera reporter Charlie Brennan and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.
Former Boulder District Attorney Alex Hunter had convened the grand jury in 1999. After months of presenting evidence, the grand jury voted to indict the Ramseys — reportedly on charges of child abuse resulting in death, The Daily Camerareports. -- but Hunter refused to sign the indictment or prosecute the couple.
"I and my prosecutorial team believe we do not have sufficient evidence to warrant the filing of charges against anyone who has been investigated at this time," Hunter said at the time.
The Ramseys maintained their innocence, offering a $100,000 reward for the killer and mounting a newspaper campaign seeking evidence.
In 2008, then-District Attorney Mary Lacy said that DNA evidence suggested that the killer was a stranger, not a family member, adding that "justice dictates that the Ramseys be treated only as victims of this very serious crime."
An attorney representing John Ramsey, L. Lin Wood, said he's confident that no evidence in the grand jury case implicated the Ramsey family and the public should be able to see that for themselves.
Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner said the case remains open but it's not an active investigation. He predicted the indictment's release wouldn't change anything.
"Given the publicity that's been out there, many people have formed their opinions one way or another," he said.