6-year-old pageant star JonBenet Ramsey's 1996 murder could be linked to killings of two other girls in Colorado and Hawaii
A new documentary, 'Hunting JonBenet's Killer: An Untold Story' will also look at whether JonBenet's murder could be linked to the murder of two other girls in Colorado and Hawaii.
The murder of 6-year-old beauty pageant princess JonBenet Ramsey has continued to grip the world since it happened in 1996. The unfortunate part is that the murderer is still at large and no clues whatsoever are helping the police get anyway closer to folding the case. The little girl was discovered dead in her home in Boulder, Colorado in 1996 on December 26, just a day after Christmas. She was found by her father John Ramsey eight hours after being reported missing by her parents.
Attempting to give a deeper insight into the case is a new documentary 'Hunting JonBenet's Killer: An Untold Story' which features on the A&E network. Through this, journalist Elizabeth Vargas believes that even though 23 years have gone by since the six-year-old was found dead, there could be some hope for answers and a key to what may have happened. Along with the repeated and much talked about claims and conspiracy theories, the documentary will also look at whether JonBenet's murder could be linked to the murder of two other girls in Colorado and Hawaii.
James Benish, a retired police officer, is of the belief that the murder of Tracy Marie Neef in 1984, the killing of Lacey Ruff in 1993, and the murder of JonBenet Ramsey in 1996 are possibly linked to each other. All the girls were between the ages of 4-7 and were abducted and killed in a similar fashion.
The murder of Tracy Marie Neef (1984)
Tracy Neef was dropped off to school by her mother but she was abducted between the fence and the school doors. Later the same day, her body was discovered around 30 feet from a road near Boulder. There was some evidence of sexual assault as well as marks indicating that someone had tied her with a rope or a cord. Her school supplies were found thrown around her body and her backpack was discovered around 100 feet away.
No one was convicted of Tracy's murder. A coroner had found two hairs on Tracy's body which could have come from her killer but since the handlers later lost one hair and then contaminated the other, the investigators can no longer test the hairs for a DNA match. Five years after Tracy's death, a man called Aaron Schonlau who lived two blocks away from Tracy’s house was charged with sexually assaulting a minor.
The murder of Aleisea ‘Lacey’ Woolsey Ruff (1993)
Lacey Ruff had wandered away from the tent where her family was living on Anini Beach in Hawaii. In order to find little Lacey, police, and volunteers had formed a search party to try and locate her. However, the next morning, a fireman located her underwear near the water and her father Timothy Woolsey found her body around 40 feet beneath the surface of the ocean. It was then reported that someone had sexually assaulted her and then drowned her.
When it comes to the murder of Lacey Ruff, Aaron Schonlau along with his brother Todd had moved to Kauai, Hawaii just a week before. Aaron had earlier been in juvenile detention for sexual assault which he had committed as a minor in Thornton. After Lacey's body was found, Todd called the authorities and reported that Aaron was responsible for abducting, sexually assaulting and killing Lacey.
Benish managed to get in touch with a person who had been sexually assaulted by Aaron when he was sent to juvenile detention and she alleged that it was Schonlau's relative who had assaulted her. Benish is of the opinion that Aaron's conviction was questionable and suspects that the actual culprit behind Lacey's murder may also be involved in the murders of Tracy and JonBenet.
The murder of JonBenet Ramsey (1996)
JonBenet Ramsey was 6 years old when was discovered dead in her home in Boulder, Colorado in 1996 on December 26, a day after Christmas. She was found by her father John Ramsey around eight hours after he and his wife Patsy Ramsey reported JonBenet missing. She was discovered with a nylon cord around her neck while her wrists were bound above her head and her mouth was covered using duct tape. Her mother Patsy, discovered a ransom note left in the home which demanded $118,000 in exchange for the safe return of her child.
Later on, her lifeless body was found in the basement and her official cause of death was given as "asphyxia by strangulation associated with craniocerebral trauma" and her death was described as a homicide.
The possible connection
According to Benish, the murders of Tracy Neef which took place in 1984 and Aleisea “Lacey” Woolsey Ruff which took place in 1993 could be linked to the JonBenet Ramsey cold case. All three victims were aged between 4-7 years old and were sexually assaulted before being asphyxiated via strangulation/ suffocation, as Benish stated.
When Tracy Neef was kidnapped in 1984, members of the Schonlau family were living close to Tracy's house in Thornton which was the same case when Lacey Ruff was abducted and killed in Kauai. When JonBenet Ramsey was found dead in 1996, it is unclear where the Schonlau family were based but in May that year, a male member of their family was arrested for assault as well as domestic violence in a county close to Boulder. This means that the man could very well have been living in JonBenet's vicinity even seven and a half months later when someone broke into Ramsey's home and killed her.