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Ex-Boulder police chief: JonBenet Ramsey case botched

By Amy R. Connolly
Ex-Boulder police chief: JonBenet Ramsey case botched
The gravesite of JonBenet Ramsey in St. James Episcopal cemetery in Marietta, Ga. Former Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner said the investigation into the 1996 death of the child beauty queen was mishandled. File Photo by John Dickerson/UPI | License Photo

BOULDER, Colo., Feb. 26 (UPI) -- Former Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner revealed the investigation into the 1996 death of child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey was mishandled, but quickly backed down after he realized his remarks were public.

Beckner, who was participating in an "Ask Me Anything" session on Reddit, said officers botched the initial handling of the crime scene, and that the local district attorney's office at the time "was inappropriate" and "interfered in the investigation." He later told The Daily Camera he didn't realize his comments were open to the public. The Reddit Q&A has since been taken down.

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"I tried to be honest and fair," Beckner said of the chat session, "and I think the only thing I would emphasize is that the unknown DNA [from JonBenet's clothing] is very important. And I'm not involved any more, but that has got to be the focus of the investigation. In my opinion, at this point, that's your suspect."

JonBenet was found dead in the basement of the family's home Dec. 26, 1996, hours after her mother found a ransom note. The investigation became a media spectacle and continues to draw international attention. No one was ever prosecuted in the death.

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In the online discussion on the social media and news site, Beckner said police should have immediately separated the parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, before obtaining full statements.

"It was the Christmas holiday and we were short-staffed. We faced a situation, as I said earlier, that no one in the country had ever seen before or since, and there was confusion at the scene as people were arriving before we had enough personnel on the scene," he wrote.

Current Boulder Police Chief Greg Testa said the case is still an open homicide investigation and Beckner didn't reveal any information that is not already public.

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