Indictments against JonBenet Ramsey's parents unsealed

Oct. 25, 2013 at 11:58 AM
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BOULDER, Colo., Oct. 25 (UPI) -- The parents of slain child beauty pageant queen JonBenet Ramsey were once indicted by a grand jury in the girl's 1996 slaying, unsealed court documents show.

A Colorado court on Friday unsealed a four-page grand jury indictment of JonBenet Ramsey's parents, after being petitioned by a newspaper reporter and press-freedom group, NBC News reported.

The 1999 indictment outlined two counts each against John and Patricia Ramsey for child abuse resulting in death and accessory to a crime.

The Ramseys "did unlawfully, knowingly, recklessly and feloniously permit a child to be unreasonably placed in a situation which posed a threat of injury to the child's life or health, which resulted in the death of JonBenet Ramsey," the jury wrote in the indictment.

Prosecutors later decided not to charge the Ramseys and the indictment remained secret until Friday.

The court has earmarked 18 other pages for possible release.

Scott Robinson, a Denver defense lawyer who has followed the case, said the court papers probably include a statement of supporting facts that would "give us a sense of what the grand jury was thinking when they saw the evidence available at that time."

Weak evidence could explain why prosecutors decided not to act on the indictment and charge the parents, which Robinson said was an "extraordinarily unusual" outcome.

He said the grand jury's findings are a snapshot only of what was available in 1998 and didn't include evidence uncovered since.

The Ramseys reported their daughter missing on Dec. 26, 1996, after finding a ransom note asking for $118,000. Later that day, John Ramsey found JonBenet's blanket-covered body in the basement of their Boulder, Colo., home with her mouth taped shut and a cord around her neck.

Patricia Ramsey died of ovarian cancer in 2006.

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