New DNA testing planned in the 20-year-old murder case of JonBenet Ramsey

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New DNA testing is planned in the unsolved murder of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey, whose death 20 years ago captivated the nation.

The news was first reported by NBC affiliate KUSA in Denver, Colorado, and by the Boulder Daily Camera. The two news outlets did a joint investigation in October which pointed to a variety of potential flaws in the interpretation of the DNA evidence in the case.

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Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett confirmed in a statement to NBC News Wednesday that his office had met with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, which he said will be conducting "some further testing of the DNA evidence in the Ramsey case, as well as other cold case homicides and pending investigations," in a new lab with new testing procedures.

JonBenet's pajama-clad body was discovered on the morning after Christmas 1996 in the basement of her family's tony Boulder, Colorado, home. The little girl, much of whose brief life was spent on the beauty pageant circuit, had been beaten and strangled.

19 PHOTOS
JonBenet Ramsey
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JonBenet Ramsey
UNDATED PUBLICITY PHOTO - Actress Julia Granstrom portrays the late young JonBenet Ramsey in the television movie " The JonBenet Ramsey Story". The movie will be telecast in the United States February 16 on the FOX network. FSP/SV
Aug. 17, 2006 - JONBENET RAMSEY.SUPPLIED BY JONBENETRAMSEYRETRO(Credit Image: © Globe Photos/ZUMAPRESS.com)
289830 05: The site where 6 year old Jonbenet Ramsey was killed in Boulder, Colorado, 1996. (Photo by Karl Gehring/Liaison)
318902 01: People light candles at the murder site of 6 year old Jonbenet Ramsey in Boulder, Colorado, December 1997. (Photo by Karl Gehring/Liaison)
BOULDER, CO - MAY 01: John and Patsy Ramsey, the parents of JonBenet Ramsey, meet with a small selected group of the local Colorado media after four months of silence in Boulder, Colorado on May 1, 1997. Their 6-year-old daughter was found dead on Christmas night 1996. (Photo By Helen H. Richardson/ The Denver Post)
BOULDER, CO - MAY 01: John and Patsy Ramsey, the parents of JonBenet Ramsey, meet with a small selected group of the local Colorado media after four months of silence in Boulder, Colorado on May 1, 1997. Patsy holds up a reward sign for information leading to the arrest of their daughter's murderer. Their 6-year-old daughter was found dead on Christmas night 1996. (Photo By Helen H. Richardson/ The Denver Post)
BOULDER, CO - MAY 01: John and Patsy Ramsey, the parents of JonBenet Ramsey, meet with a small selected group of the local Colorado media after four months of silence in Boulder, Colorado on May 1, 1997. Their 6-year-old daughter was found dead on Christmas night 1996. (Photo By Helen H. Richardson/ The Denver Post)
8/27/1998 Colorado Jonbenet Ramsey House In Boulder. (Photo By Karl Gehring/Getty Images)
BOULDER, CO - MAY 01: John and Patsy Ramsey, the parents of JonBenet Ramsey, meet with a small selected group of the local Colorado media after four months of silence in Boulder, Colorado on May 1, 1997. Their 6-year-old daughter was found dead on Christmas night 1996. (Photo By Helen H. Richardson/ The Denver Post)
Murdered 6-yr-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey's image amblazoned on dozens of binders crammed w. investigators's reports for case which still unsolved after 6 months, in Sheriff's office (Photo by Ray Ng/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
ATLANTA - AUGUST 16: Lib Waters places a note on the grave of JonBenet Ramsey August 16, 2006 in Marietta, Georgia. A suspect in the murder of Ramsey, the 6-year-old beauty queen whose parents were under suspicion early on, has been arrested in Thailand. The note Waters left reads: 'Dearest Patsy, Justice has come for you + John. Rest in Peace. Your friend, Lib Waters.' (Photo by Barry Williams/Getty Images)
Bangkok, THAILAND: US teacher John Mark Karr (C), 41, flanked by Thai police, walks towards a van on his way to the airport from a detention center at the Thai Immigration Department in Bangkok, 20 August 2006. Thai authorities deported the US teacher arrested here over the 1996 killing of child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey, amid serious doubts about his involvement in the brutal crime. Karr was arrested 16 August 2006 in connection with the slaying of six-year-old JonBenet, who was found strangled and beaten to death in the basement of her family's Colorado home on the day after Christmas 1996. AFP PHOTO/ Saeed KHAN (Photo credit should read SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - AUGUST 22: John Mark Karr, the suspect in the killing of child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey, appears at an extradition hearing at the Los Angeles Superior Court August 22, 2006 in Los Angeles, California. Karr agreed to be extradited to Colorado to face charges of murder, kidnapping and sexual assault in the JonBenet Ramsey case. (Photo by Mario Anzuoni-Pool/Getty Images)
BOULDER, CO - AUGUST 28: Karen Salaz, spokesperson for the Colorado state court system, approaches the news media with copies of a release announcing that charges against John Mark Karr in connection with JonBenet Ramsey murder case were dropped August 28, 2006 in Boulder, Colorado. A DNA sample taken from Karr after he arrived in the U.S from Thailand where he was arrested last week did not match a sample taken at the murder scene. Ramsey is the six-year-old beauty queen found murdered in the basement of her Boulder, Colorado home the day after Christmas in 1996. Karr could still face unrelated child pornography charges in California. (Photo by Thomas Cooper/Getty Images)
Dec 26, 1997 - Marietta, Georgia, USA - JonBenet Ramsey grave on one year anniversary of her death. Former Little Miss Colorado JonBenet Patricia Ramsey (8/6/90-1996-12-25), was found strangled in the basement of her family's home in Boulder, Colorado, Thursday, Dec. 26, 1996. 
Marietta, GA -- JonBenet Ramsey would've turned twenty years old this week. The child beauty pageant star was mysteriously killed on Christmas, 1996 in Boulder, Colorado. She was six years old. Dozens of theories abound, but no one has ever been charged with her murder.
Aug 20, 2006; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Members of the news media gather at the arrival area of Los Angeles International Airport to interview passengers arriving from the same flight with John Mark Karr, the suspect in the killing of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2006. 
John Mark Karr (C) is taken into a court room with his attorney Rob Amparan before his bail hearing in Santa Rosa, California, September 19, 2006. Karr, the schoolteacher who made worldwide headlines by confessing to one of America's most notorious unsolved crimes, the murder of six-year-old JonBenet Ramsey, is now facing charges of five counts of possessing child pornography. REUTERS/John Burgess/Pool (UNITED STATES)
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No one has ever been charged in the case. Two theories have emerged among experts and armchair detectives alike: That an intruder broke into the house and killed JonBenet, or that someone in JonBenet's family was responsible for her death.

Despite an initial reluctance by the Ramseys to be interrogated by authorities and to allow their then-9-year-old son to be questioned, no one in the family was ever named as a suspect.

In 2008, based on results of DNA testing she had received at the time, former Boulder District Attorney Mary Lacy officially cleared JonBenet's family — mother Patsy, father John, and brother Burke — of the cloud of suspicion that had hung over them since the murder.

Lacy's letter of exoneration was based on evidence that showed an unknown male's DNA on JonBenet's underwear and long johns, supporting the intruder theory, and therefore eliminating the Ramseys as suspects, she said.

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But the DNA evidence that she reviewed, which was obtained exclusively by KUSA and the Boulder Daily Camera along with reports from the private lab in Virginia that did the testing, did not support her conclusion, according to forensic experts who examined the material for the news outlets.

Lacy's letter stated: "The match of male DNA on two separate items of clothing worn by the victim at the time of the murder makes it clear to us that an unknown male handled these items.

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Despite substantial efforts over the years to identify the source of this DNA, there is no innocent explanation for its incriminating presence at three sites on these two different items of clothing that JonBenet was wearing at the time of her murder."

Kevin Vaughan, investigative reporter for KUSA, said the team of experts disagreed, not only about there not being a possible explanation for the DNA on the underwear and long johns, but also about the DNA belonging to a single, unidentified male.

"They weren't certain at all that this male DNA sample that was part of this mixture was even a profile of an individual person. It likely could have been a mixture of multiple people's DNA," Vaughan told NBC News Wednesday. "They asserted basically that based on the actual testing, there was no way to know for sure that this DNA Got there during the killing, belonged to the killer, or anything like that."

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Notable cold cases and unsolved murders throughout history
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Notable cold cases and unsolved murders throughout history

In June 1893 Lizzie Borden stood trial, later acquitted, for killing her father and stepmother with an ax.

(Photo via Bettmann/Getty Images)

Foreboding Kingsbury Run, shunned by the timid as the legend of its murders has grown, is indicated on this map by dots locating 10 of the 11 torso murders which have occurred there since Sept. 23, 1935. Police, delving into the lives of the mad murderer's victims, hope to uncover clues which will end the periodic killings. Discovery of photo negatives in the belongings of Edward Andra Ssy, first victim, show Andra Ssy in a strange room which, if identified, may provide a live lead, police believe. As the map shows, the murderer departed only twice from his custom of assailing victims in Kingsbury Run or adjacent Cuyahoga river valley.

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

Bucks Row, now Durward Street, east London, where the body of Mary Ann Nichols, victim of Jack the Ripper, was found lying across the gutter.

(Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Head shot of aspiring actress Elizabeth Short, a murder victim nicknamed the Black Dahlia. 

(Photo via Bettmann/Getty Images)

Daily News front page dated June, 16, 1990, Headline: IS HE THE ZODIAC?, Police sketch of man who approached latest victim in Central Park last Thursday and asked him his birth date., June 26, 1990 . , Zodiac Killer. , Heriberto Seda. Headlines. IS HE THE ZODIAC ?

(Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

U.S. labor leader Jimmy Hoffa is photographed at the Greater Pittsburgh Airport, Pennsylvania in this April 12, 1971 file photograph. Hoffa was switching planes from San Francisco, and was returning to the federal prison in Allenwood, Pennsylvania. Hoffa was let out of prison to visit his wife, who had been hospitalized with heart problems. FBI teams on May 25, 2006 sifted by hand through dirt from a chest-deep hole in the ground in an intense search for the body of Jimmy Hoffa three decades after his disappearance. Hoffa was last seen outside a Detroit-area restaurant where he was to meet New Jersey Teamsters' boss Anthony "Tony Pro" Provenzano, a member of the Genovese crime family, and a local Mafia captain, Anthony "Tony Jack" Giacalone. Hoffa was declared dead in 1982, and numerous books about his life have pinned his disappearance on mobsters who murdered him because they did not want him interfering with their close ties to the union.

(REUTERS/Jerry Siskind)

 The site where 6 year old JonBenet Ramsey was killed in Boulder, Colorado, 1996.

(Photo by Karl Gehring/Liaison)

Black car in which rapper Tupac Shakur was fatally shot by unknown driveby assassins as he was riding w. friend Death Row records. pres. Marion Suge Knight, who survived shooting, behind police tape at crime scene (Photo by Malcolm Payne/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Police detectives released this composite drawing March 27 of the man they believe killed rap star Notorious B.I.G. in Los Angeles recently. The suspect, a black man in his early 20's with close-cropped hair, was wearing a bow-tie the night of the drive-by killing. Investigators have set up a toll free number for the public to call with any information about the suspect. NOTORIOUS BIG
Donna Norris poses next to a photo of her daughter Amber Hagerman, January 4, 2011, who was kidnapped 15 years ago while riding a bicycle near Norris mother's home in Arlington, Texas on January 13, 1996. (Richard W. Rodriguez/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images)
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The lab reports that Lacy's office received said the same thing, he added.

"She wrote this letter making all of these definitive declarations, that this DNA matches. The reality was that she had been told by her own lab that it's a lot more complicated than that," Vaughan said.

Garnett, the district attorney, would not answer additional questions from NBC News about what specifically the new tests would look at or when they would be conducted. His statement called DNA a "very rapidly developing area of forensic investigation."

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"What I am confident about is that the Ramsey case is more than a DNA case, and to ever have a prosecutable case, we have to have several different pieces of evidence come together," Garnett said in the statement. "DNA would be a part of that and additional testing might give us new information that could be helpful to the investigation, however I don't expect that DNA test results alone will definitely solve or prove the case."

Lacy did not respond to multiple requests for comment from KUSA over the course of their investigation, and has only publicly spoken about her exoneration of the Ramseys once: In October, she told ABC News that she stood by her actions.

"If the evidence had been there [to prosecute them], I'd have gone for it," she said.

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