Can These Networks Actually Solve The Murder Of JonBenét Ramsey?

Photo: Randall Simons/Polaris.
All eyes are about to be on the heartbreaking and unsettling murder of JonBenét Ramsey once again. This fall, CBS, Lifetime, Investigation Discovery, and The Dr. Phil Show are all dipping their toes into the true-crime genre with series, movies, and interviews pegged to the 20th anniversary of the 6-year-old's mysterious death. It's not completely unwarranted to think that renewed media coverage and speculation could lead to new information about the case that gets colder every year. The highly publicized murder occurred on Christmas Day in 1996. JonBenét, a young beauty queen, was reported missing by her parents. Eight hours later on December 26, she was found dead with signs of head injuries and strangulation, in the basement of her home in Boulder, CO. For obvious reasons, her parents were the initial suspects, until DNA evidence exonerated them in 2003. Her younger brother, Burke, was 9 years old at the time. The Case of: JonBenét Ramsey, which premieres on CBS September 18, will follow in the footsteps of HBO's series The Jinx and NPR's true-crime podcast Serial by talking to some of the original investigators who worked the case nearly two decades ago. Those will include a forensic scientist, a retired FBI agent, the former chief investigator for the DA in Boulder, and more. Vanity Fair also reports that the network will release the episodes in three segments over the course of one week. While the CBS series will drudge up old evidence and deal in facts, Lifetime's original film, Who Killed JonBenét?, will present a reenactment of the mysterious crime. The made-for-TV movie will examine what happened the night of JonBenét's death, as Deadline reports. The movie's fall premiere date has not yet been announced. On Investigation Discovery, a three-part investigative series will debut on September 12, titled JonBenét: An American Murder Mystery. The special will examine competing theories about the case and include interviews with key players. "The fact is, we may never definitively know the answer to that question — but ID will re-explore every angle, every shred of evidence, and every ‘whodunit’ theory to allow our viewers to draw their own conclusions on the case," said Henry Schleiff, the president of ID, as Variety reports. And finally, Dr. Phil will conduct an interview with JonBenét's brother Burke, now 29. This will be the first time he has publicly discussed the circumstances of his sister's death. In what will surely be an emotional interview, Burke will open up about what he knows about her passing, as AP reports. The interview will air over several episodes beginning on September 12. The biggest takeaway from renewed coverage of the case will most likely be an influx of new theories and extensive hypotheses about what really happened that night — the truth of which might never be known.

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