Two granddaughters of the longtime detective in the JonBenet Ramsey case are keeping his legacy alive and doing what they can to honor the slain girl’s memory as well.
Who killed JonBenet Ramsey?
Twenty-four years after the beauty queen was killed in her Boulder, Colorado home at the age of 6, ABC’s 20/20 is devoting its Friday, Jan. 15 episode to the ongoing investigation of the still-unsolved crime. Specifically, the episode will focus on Lexi Marra and Jessa Van Der Woerd, whose grandfather Lou Smit had dedicated his life to proving the Ramsey family’s innocence until his 2010 death after battling colon cancer.
“They know a lot about the case, my two girls,” Lou’s son-in-law Kent Marra shares in a 20/20 preview clip that is exclusive to E! News. “They loved their grandfather.”
In the above footage from the episode, Lexi and Jessa can be seen working on their podcast, The Victim’s Shoes, which focuses on JonBenét’s Dec. 25, 1996 murder and the endless speculation and theories. In addition, a new documentary called JonBenét Ramsey: What Really Happened? is currently streaming on Discovery+ and includes previously unreleased audio from Lou.
“First and foremost, we wanted to continue our grandpa’s legacy,” Lexi tells the 20/20 cameras about their efforts to crack the case. “That was one thing he asked for before he died. He wants the case to remain alive.”
Jessa concurs, pointing out that the goal with their podcast and research is to finally offer clarity for those who continue to grieve.
“In order to put this case to rest, it’s finding out who did it and also putting all of the misconceptions and myths about the case to rest,” she shares.
The investigation continues
JonBenét Patricia Ramsey (August 6, 1990 – December 25, 1996) was an American child beauty queen who was killed at the age of six in her family’s home in Boulder, Colorado. A lengthy handwritten ransom note was found in the home. Her father, John, found the girl’s body in the basement of their house about seven hours after she had been reported missing.
She sustained a broken skull from a blow to the head and had been strangled; a garrote was found tied around her neck. The autopsy report stated that the official cause of death was “asphyxia by strangulation associated with craniocerebral trauma.” Her death was ruled a homicide.
The case generated nationwide public and media interest, in part because her mother Patsy Ramsey (herself a former beauty queen) had entered JonBenet into a series of child beauty pageants. The crime is still unsolved and remains an open investigation with the Boulder Police Department.