The tragic young beauty queen, merely six years of age, met a sorrowful fate as she was discovered strangled and battered in the basement of her family’s dwelling in Boulder, Colorado, on the 26th of December, 1996. Today would mark her 33rd birthday.
“I am the parent of five children, and she perpetually exuded an air of uniqueness with regard to her level of maturity at her tender age, coupled with her remarkable intellect,” reminisced John, aged 79, during a sit-down conversation with The U.S. Sun in the latter part of the preceding year.
“While all my offspring possess intelligence, her brilliance was distinct. We were well aware that she was destined for something extraordinary in life, although the exact nature remained uncertain.
“I held concerns that she might one day venture off to Hollywood, a prospect that did not align with my perspective.
“However, her maturity far exceeded that of the typical six-year-old, evident in her thought processes and the profound inquiries she posed. She exhibited a deep spiritual inclination from an early age.
“Hers was an old soul, one can say… and who can predict? The world could have potentially lost an individual who might have contributed to the cure of cancer, or perhaps she would have flourished as a splendid mother, nurturing exceptional progeny.
“Regrettably, that prospect has been irrevocably lost. Lost for her, lost for us, and lost for the world.”
REMINISCENCES OF A PAGEANT John reflects that time has remained virtually motionless since the day he discovered his daughter’s lifeless body.
Although in the public eye she will forever remain suspended in the role of a six-year-old pageant queen, impeccably adorned with a carefully styled coiffure and a complete visage of cosmetics, that representation is not the JonBenét that John retains in his memories. To him, his daughter embodied a certain tomboyish nature, delighting in outdoor hikes and playtime with her elder brother Burke in the backyard.
Nearly 27 years subsequent to her passing, John continues to find his first thoughts each morning centered on JonBenét and the numerous possibilities that led to that fateful day, which could have potentially altered the trajectory of their lives and averted her tragic destiny.
Among the multitude of possibilities he torments himself with is the question of whether he should have refrained from allowing JonBenét’s participation in pageants in the first place. Alternatively, he ponders whether a more informed stance at that time regarding the unwarranted attention such events could attract might have made a difference.
“I did not appreciate the attire and accoutrements,” John admitted, “yet I refrained from voicing any concerns as Patsy [JonBenét’s mother] and JonBenét seemed to derive immense joy from their shared experiences.
“I had assumed that these pageants were attended primarily by parents and grandparents, and thus I did not harbor concerns about the exposure.
“However, it later transpired that individuals who had no rightful place there, such as pedophiles, were present at these pageants.
“In retrospect, that was not a prudent decision… yet our naivety prevailed.”
Patsy Ramsey herself had a history as a beauty queen, and JonBenét – an extroverted soul with a penchant for performance – aspired to follow in her mother’s footsteps after witnessing her compete on stage during a pageant reunion event, as recounted by John.
Meanwhile, Patsy viewed these pageants as a means to forge precious bonds with her daughter.
When JonBenét was merely three years old, Patsy received a diagnosis of stage four ovarian cancer at the age of 36. Following nine months of chemotherapy and two surgical procedures, the cancer subsided.
Subsequent to her diagnosis, Patsy dedicated herself to creating enduring memories with her children, cognizant of the potential brevity of her existence. She motivated JonBenét and Burke to explore a plethora of activities, offering unwavering support for all their pursuits.
Pageantry was but one of the interests that captured JonBenét’s attention, according to John, and it did not define her in any exclusive manner.
“[JonBenét] was cultivating her piano skills, learning to master the violin. Patsy’s philosophy – one I wholeheartedly endorsed – was to expose the children to a diverse array of activities, thus allowing them to uncover their talents and passions,” he elucidated.
“Thus, JonBenét engaged in a wide range of pursuits, including dance lessons. She was even enrolled in rock climbing lessons scheduled for January. These child pageants were merely an additional source of amusement.
“I observed other parents who approached this matter with great intensity… but for JonBenét and her brother, the enjoyment stemmed from donning costumes and engaging in spontaneous play, such as sliding down hills on pieces of cardboard – the epitome of a spirited tomboy.”
He continued, “Detractors accused Patsy of projecting her own aspirations onto her daughter and coercing her into participating in these pageants, but such an assertion couldn’t be further from the truth.
“The reality was quite the opposite: JonBenét relished these endeavors due to her innate love for performance, song, and dance.
“And Patsy supported her… as I believe she sought to compress a wealth of mother-daughter memories into what she anticipated would be a brief lifetime.”