Some years ago, a study in Social Psychology and Personality Science found that women are far more drawn to true crime stories than men. As someone who's been pretty much obsessed with the genre since high school, this comes as absolutely no surprise.
In fact, just yesterday, I was discussing favorite true crime stories with a group of friends. While some talked about Gacy and Dahmer and others went on about beloved female serial killers (start with Aileen Wuornos and Karla Homolka if you want to dip your toes), I felt the need to bring the conversation back to Jonbenét Ramsey, whose murder case has been open for almost 26 years.
And perhaps I was plugged into the synchronicity, because as soon as I came home, I opened my phone to a viral tweet that had accumulated over 150,000 likes and 35,000 retweets.
Written by @nintendoesnt, who goes by Karma pElise online, it read: "You have a 4.0 GPA? That's cute. I've solved the Jonbenét Ramsey case over 600 times."
The reason the tweet made such waves online is that her story is such a doozy, and 26 years is enough time for the general public to formulate their own opinions on the open case. Well, one theory in particular about who did it seems to have won over all of Twitter. More on that in a second.
First, a recap of the case, for those who have forgotten about the Jonbenét story over the past twenty something years.
What happened to Jonbenét Ramsey?
Jonbenét was a 6-year-old child beauty queen in Boulder, Colorado, who went missing the day after Christmas '96 (a very long ransom note was left in the house) and was later found dead by her father in the family's basement.
She had a broken skull from a blow to the head, and had also been strangled, which was ultimately found to be her cause of death.
To this day, no one has ever been charged in the case against Jonbenét, and the investigation remains open.
And though there are several documentaries and TV specials that dive into the case, people on Twitter are convinced they've gotten to the bottom of it.
In fact, karma pElise's initial tweet garnered over 300 replies. Though she doesn't open with her theory, she invites followers to come up with their own conclusions, writing "If you're looking to do your own research, this website has compiled virtually every bit of evidence available. It's a wonderful resource."
The first compelling Twitter theory is introduced by @beastbytheBrooK, who draws on the DNA evidence that exonerated Ramsey's parents, initially believed to be the culprits. "The sex offender on the street did it but the parents thought the son did it and tried to cover it up so the case got confused (also due to so many diff investigations)," she wrote.
After a suspicious user calls out her theory, mentioning the fact that police found no signs of break-in, Brooke supports it staunchly, saying that "being a neighbor would allow them to observe the house for a long time and note any regularly unlocked doors, or he could have been a familiar face to her and she opened the door for him without anyone else being aware."
The initial poster, karma pElise was not here for Brooke's theory, and curtly replied "nah" to her post. It soon became apparent that no one else on Twitter was down with pinning the case on some rando from the neighborhood, either.
When prompted by followers to post her own theory, karma pElise simply wrote, "Burke" and she built on her thread to eventually sway the whole internet into believe that the beauty pageant's brother has been guilty all this time.
"It's suspected that he hit her on the head with a flashlight and broke her skull after she stole a piece of pineapple he was eating. They found some in her stomach during the autopsy," she began.
This honestly makes a lot of sense to me, because I grew up with a younger sibling and I know how annoying they can be. My guess is she was playing around, as all kids do, especially on Christmas, and taunting him by stealing the pineapple he was eating. Then Burke got annoyed and snapped, and went to hit her with whatever object was closest to him.
I imagine he picked up the flashlight and struck her on the head without fully realizing how much stronger than her he was.
She furthers her claim by citing sources, pointing us to "Statements from housekeeper: children were spoiled (Burke had a lack of empathy?), Jonbenét was found in hidden room that only a resident of the house would have known about" and a CNN article that confirms her belief that the flashlight was the "suspected murder weapon."
I know I'm biased because I (full disclosure) do believe that Burke committed the crime and that the Ramsey parents tried to cover for their son, but karma pElise introduces one very convincing piece of evidence that will hopefully sway any doubters our way.
She brings into play the long ransom note I mentioned in the very beginning, which is EXTREMELY shady for a lot of reasons.
First, the note was found on the steps of the house, which makes little to no sense whatsoever. If a random kidnapper would want Ramsey's parents to see the letter as soon as they woke up in the morning, why wouldn't they have left it in the bathroom or on the kitchen table?
Next comes the fact that this letter is suspiciously long. People reported on this, and it's also mentioned in the documentaries about this case that the Ramsey ransom note is far longer than most.
The contents of the letter are also very dubious, to say the least, and the amount of ransom it demands, $118,000, is exactly the sum the Ramsey father received as his Christmas bonus. Who would know that?
We could go on and on about this letter, and people have at length, because it's so fascinatingly curious. But karma pElise just points us in the way of handwriting samples, which are strikingly similar in my opinion, and lead me closer to thinking that mother Patsy wrote it, trying to protect her son.
Twitter sure did buy the claim that Burke definitely did it, writing "Yeah, in the Dr. Phil interview he said he didn’t do it but he looked super suspicious," which karma pElise agrees with saying, he "acted panicked when they showed him a pic of the pineapple."
While one person added, "This guy I met once used to hang out with Burke as teenagers and always said he seemed a little off," others simply wrote "it's the son," "it's the brother," and "son did it parents covered it up."
I feel so vindicated in my opinions now that all of Twitter agrees. I guess that also means it might be time to move on to solving other cold cases.
Come on, internet, we can do it!