JonBenét Ramsey’s brother tells cops ‘it’s time to talk’ after new cold case law spurs hope murder will be cracked
A NEW federal law that can force police to reinvestigate a cold case is a "promising step" towards finding JonBenét Ramsey's killer.
JonBenét was a six-year-old beauty pageant queen when she was found murdered in her parents' Boulder, Colorado home in 1996.
Her case remains unsolved 25 years later and is one of the most notorious cold cases in the country, and Boulder police have remained tight-lipped about the investigation.
"We're not the only family like this who face challenges where police are unwilling to share information," Mr Ramsey said, "which is understandable after a couple years.
"It's been 25 years. It's time for Boulder police to talk."
The legislation that President Joe Biden signed into law on August 3 allows cold case victims' families to submit an application to essentially reopen the case.
A federal agency will determine if doing so will end with new leads or find a suspect.
WHAT DOES "REINVESTIGATING" A COLD CASE MEAN?
The agency can deny the application or choose to reinvestigate the case.
That comes down to four actions, according to the legislation.
"(1) an analysis of what investigative steps or follow-up steps may have been missed in the initial investigation;
(2) an assessment of whether witnesses should be interviewed or reinterviewed;
(3) an examination of physical evidence to see if all appropriate forensic testing and analysis was performed in the first instance or if additional testing might produce information relevant to the investigation; and
(4) an update of the case file using the most current investigative standards as of the date of the review to the extent it would help develop probative leads."
Mr Ramsey and his father have been pushing Colorado Gov. Jared Polis to use his executive power to do something very similar.
An online petition, which has garnered over 22,000 signatures since it began about three months ago, called on Polis to take the case out of Boulder police's hands and hand it to an outside agency.
"It's something we've been pushing for," said Mr Ramsey, referring to the federal cold case law. "It's not a punitive action; it's helpful for local police departments.
"If I'm stuck on something, I would want someone to look at the problem with a clear set of eyes and fresh ideas."
He said this law can be a "blueprint" for Boulder police.
EXPERT SAYS IT'S A 'STRANGE' LAW
But the new legislation is unclear, without teeth and arbitrary, renown law expert Bennett Gershman told The U.S. Sun.
The longtime, well-respected professor at New York's Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University called the law "a lovely piece of legislation but it's just window dressing."
While helping cold case victims' families sounds good, putting this "strange" law into action could have its difficulties, Mr Gershman said.
It's not clear what the purpose of the law is or if it refers to only federal law enforcement - as the definition of "agency" suggests - which he said would cut out about 90 percent of cold cases.
Assuming the law is needed and it does apply to local police departments, which he emphasized is a question mark, then what triggers a "reinvestigation?" he rhetorically asked.
"If someone makes an application and the agency must do something, what's the standard they'll use to make a decision?
"Is there probable cause? Is it new evidence? Is it after a certain amount of time? That leaves everything up to the agency and it becomes an arbitrary decision."
And there's no reference in the legislation to a court or an appeal board, so that decision is final, he said.
"It's just not clear," he said. "There are a lot of reasons why this is a strange law and if it can actually benefit victims' families."