A "bombshell" piece of DNA evidence has emerged in the long unsolved murder of JonBenét Ramsey and cleared John and Patsy of any involvement in the death of their daughter, according to District Attorney Mary Lacy, who has written a long letter of apology to the family. Touch DNA, a new technology developed by Bode Laboratories near Washington DC, has discovered nonfamilial DNA on the sides of JonBenét's long johns. "Touch" DNA is a process which allows analysts to scrape targeted areas of clothing for DNA that might have been left by the perpetrator of a crime.
In JonBenét's case, it was surmised her killer might have pulled down her long johns to commit a sexual assault upon her, thereby leaving microscopic skin cells that the new Touch DNA technology could identify.
A knife was scraped along the waistband and sides of the long johns and previously undiscovered genetic material was found. Tests proved the DNA to be from a male unrelated to the Ramseys. This new DNA supposedly matches some other unidentified DNA found on JonBenét's panties years ago.
Quite convincing stuff until I realized what was missing from this picture: Patsy Ramsey's Touch DNA, and JonBenét's Touch DNA. When I further considered how easily this Touch DNA might have transfered off of any other person to the hands of Patsy or JonBenét—and then onto the little girl's long johns and panties—my confidence in this new evidence waned.
JonBenét had had an exciting and busy day, this last day of her life. She had gone to a party with her parents and enjoyed the company of a number of other adults and children. She then fell asleep on the way home. John carried her into the house and to her room. He laid her down on the bed and took off her coat and shoes. Then Patsy removed her pants and replaced them with the long johns.
Reviewing who might have touched what—and when and where they might have done so—we can see John would have had the least opportunity to touch JonBenét's underwear (if he were not involved in the crime) as while he was carrying her, the underwear was still covered by her outer clothing. Patsy, on the other hand, certainly must have handled her undergarments. Where then is her Touch DNA on the long johns that she forced onto the sleeping child? This is not an easy task and I would bet she had to get a good grip on the waist band to pull them on properly. Surely, she touched the sides of the long johns as well.
And what of JonBenét? Isn't it likely that her own Touch DNA is on her panties (as she would have pulled them up and down to go to the bathroom)? Wouldn't her Touch DNA also be on the long johns since even sleeping children's hands may come in contact with their clothes as they toss and move about?
We have also, at this point, only the DA's word that the tests were done properly and that they yielded those particular results. The DNA evidence has not been made public nor has it been examined in a court of law for its validity.
Lastly, let's say we accept that the DNA evidence came from a third party. It would seem likely that there should be more of that DNA at the scene. Where is it? If the perpetrator was careless enough to not wear gloves while sexually assaulting JonBenét, should we not find many more of those skin cells on her shirt, on the blanket, on the ransom note, etc.?
While no one is guilty until proven guilty in a court of law, the presence of DNA from an unknown source doesn't necessarily prove a one-time suspect innocent either. Of all people, the DA should know this and that letter of apology should have been kept in reserve until enough evidence surfaces to effect the arrest and prosecution of the actual killer of JonBenét Ramsey.