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'Only the killer knows': Paula Woodward reflects on JonBenét case 25 years later

The former 9NEWS investigative reporter covered the murder of JonBenét Ramsey in 1996 and has written two books on the case.
Credit: KUSA

DENVER — It's been 25 years since a home in Boulder's Chautauqua neighborhood lit up TV screens across the country, and even the world.

Twenty-five years since 6-year-old beauty queen JonBenét Benet Ramsey's body was found in the basement, sparking a national debate over who killed her.

Was it a family member or an intruder?

"I don't know who killed her, and I've never said what I thought because I simply don't know," said former 9NEWS investigative reporter Paula Woodward. "Who knows? Only the killer knows."

Woodward has covered the story since the murder on Dec. 26, 1996. She's written two books on JonBenét, and she's been criticized by some for slanting her coverage in defense of the family. She said she's simply keeping an open mind.

"There are still police officers who will say, as an aside, the case is closed, the mother did it," she said. "Well, that's not fair. Based on what? If you think that, take them to trial. If you can't take them to trial because you don't have enough evidence, then be quiet. It's your job."

RELATED: The death of JonBenet Ramsey: 25 years later

There's some agreement that Boulder Police botched the initial investigation. JonBenét's body was moved and the crime scene contaminated. It has made finding her killer even harder.

The family has always been considered suspects by police, and they've maintained their innocence since the beginning.

"I think it's fair to say they are under the umbrella of suspicion," said Alex Hunter, who was the Boulder district attorney at the time.

JonBenét's mom, Patsy Ramsey, who died of ovarian cancer in 2006, told people shortly after the murder to keep a close eye on their kids.

"Keep their babies close to you, there's someone out there," Patsy Ramsey said in an interview with CNN.

"Right now, the police are sitting on evidence," Woodward said. "They have the remaining DNA. There's very little of it, but they won't test it for genetic DNA, the type the Golden State Killer was caught on."

There's been a lot of reporting on unknown DNA found in JonBenét's long johns. Former Boulder County District Attorney Mary Lacy even said it conclusively proved an intruder did it.

Many experts don't agree.

RELATED: 25 years after JonBenét Ramsey's death, Boulder police continue to examine DNA evidence

Boulder Police wouldn't do an on camera interview about the case, but they released a statement saying they've analyzed nearly 1,000 DNA samples over the years -- and now they are actively reviewing genetic DNA testing to see whether it can be applied to the case.

Below: 9NEWS investigative reporter Paula Woodward interviews the Ramseys:

Woodward said it's about time. She said she thinks new genetic testing could settle the family-or-intruder debate once and for all, and maybe even prove who killed JonBenét.

"She was blessed with beauty," Woodward said. "She was blessed with intelligence and self-assurance. She was also a really good, nice little girl. She deserves so much better."

RELATED: WATCH: Old 9NEWS video reports on the JonBenet Ramsey case

SUGGESTED VIDEOS: The JonBenét Ramsey Murder

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