Patsy Ramsey, Mother of Slain Girl, Dies

By ROBERT WELLER
The Associated Press
Saturday, June 24, 2006; 10:58 PM

-- Patsy Ramsey, who was thrust into the national spotlight by the unsolved 1996 slaying of her daughter, 6-year-old beauty pageant contestant JonBenet, died Saturday following a long battle with ovarian cancer, her lawyer said. She was 49.

Ramsey was diagnosed with the disease in 1993 and suffered a recurrence several years ago, attorney L. Lin Wood said. She died at her father's home in Roswell, Ga., a suburb of Atlanta, with her husband, John, at her bedside.

"It is not unexpected but it is a sad day," Wood told The Associated Press.

JonBenet was found beaten and strangled in the basement of the family's home in Boulder, Colo., on Dec. 26, 1996.

Patsy Ramsey said she found a ransom note on the back staircase demanding $118,000 for the safe return of JonBenet. John Ramsey said he found his daughter's body in a basement room eight hours later.

Boulder police said early on that Patsy and John Ramsey were under an "umbrella of suspicion" in JonBenet's death. The Ramseys said an intruder killed their daughter. A grand jury investigation in Boulder ended with no indictments, and no arrests have been made in the case.

In 2003, U.S. District Judge Julie Carnes in Atlanta concluded that the evidence she reviewed suggested an intruder killed JonBenet. That opinion came with the judge's decision to dismiss a libel and slander lawsuit against the Ramseys by a freelance journalist, who the Ramseys had named as a suspect in their daughter's murder. The Boulder district attorney at the time said she agreed with Carnes' declaration.

"Hopefully her legacy will not be tied to the false accusation related to the brutal murder of her daughter," Wood said of Patsy Ramsey Saturday.

Scott Robinson, a Denver defense lawyer who has followed the case from the start, said JonBenet's killing is unlikely to ever be solved and accused police of mishandling the case by focusing on the Ramseys from the start.

"Once the forensic evidence was made public it was clear that the police accusation that they were under the umbrella of suspicion was not only unfair but insulting," Robinson said.

Patsy Ramsey was born in Parkersburg, W.Va., on Dec. 29, 1956. She was crowned Miss West Virginia in 1977.

"Those who were fortunate enough to really know Patsy didn't just like her, or admire her, but truly loved her," longtime friend Linda McLean of Parkersburg, W.Va., said in a statement Saturday. "She was probably the most beloved person I've met.


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