John and Patsy Ramsey arrive at their attorney's office early Monday, Aug. 28, 2000, to answer authorities' questions about the death of their daughter, Jon Benet.
(Photo: Gregory E. Smith, AP)
(USATODAY.com) - A Colorado grand jury in 1999 indicted John and Patsy Ramsey on two counts each of child abuse resulting in the death of their 6-year-old daughter, JonBenet, according to grand jury documents released Friday, but did not directly accuse the couple of killing her.
The grand jury also charged that the couple helped whoever killed their daughter, but did not name any suspect for the slaying.
The prosecutor in the case refused to sign the grand jury or prosecute the couple, saying that prosecutors did not have sufficient evidence to file charges in the cases.
The four pages of documents were released Friday by a Colorado judge in response to a lawsuit byDaily Camera reporter Charlie Brennan and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.
The Ramsey consistently maintained their innocence in the 1996 death of JonBenet, whose body was found in the basement of their Boulder, Colo., home.
No suspect has ever been arrested or tried in the case. Patsy Ramsey died in 2006. John Ramsey remarried in 2011.
Only two counts -- a total of four pages -- from the grand jury documents were released. The documents named John and Patsy Ramsey separately, but the wording was identical.
John Ramsey: Read the indictment
Patsy Ramsey: Read the indictment
Count four said 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 JonBenét Ramsey, a child under the age of sixteen."
Count seven of the indictment said the Ramseys did "unlawfully, knowingly and feloniously render assistance to a person, with intent to hinder, delay and prevent the discovery, detention, apprehension, prosecution, conviction and punishment of such person for the commission of a crime, knowing the person being assisted has committed and was suspected of the crime of murder in the first degree and child abuse resulting in death."
The documents however did not name any individual as being suspected of the first-degree murder mentioned in the counts.
The body of JonBenet, who was strangled and bludgeoned to death, was discovered in the basement several hours after the Ramseys had called police to report her missing. A ransom note was also recovered.
Boulder District Attorney Alex Hunter, who had convened the grand jury in 1999, refused to sign the indictment after months of presenting evidence in the case.
"I and my prosecutorial team believe we do not have sufficient evidence to warrant the filing of charges against anyone who has been investigated at this time," Hunter said at the time.
In addition to maintaining their innocence, the Ramseys offered a $100,000 reward for the killer and mounting a newspaper campaign seeking evidence.
In 2008, then-District Attorney Mary Lacy said that DNA evidence suggested that the killer was a stranger, not a family member, adding that "justice dictates that the Ramseys be treated only as victims of this very serious crime."
Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner said the case remains open but it's not an active investigation. He predicted the indictment's release wouldn't change anything.
"Given the publicity that's been out there, many people have formed their opinions one way or another," he said.
Contributing: Associated Press