Both the Ramseys and their son Burke were exonerated in July 2008 by improved analysis of DNA samples from the clothing JonBenet was wearing on Dec. 26, 1996.
Charlie Brennan, staff writer for the Boulder "Daily Camera," interviewed members of the grand jury, attorneys in the prosecutor's office and law enforcement officials to confirm the vote by the grand jury to indict the Ramseys for the death of 6-year-old JonBenet.
'May Have Done Something'
"We didn't know who did what," Brennan quoted one juror, "but we felt the adults in the house may have done something that they certainly could have prevented, or they could have helped her, and they didn't."
But rather than prosecute the high-profile case, Alex Hunter announced to the world that he didn't have enough evidence to prosecution anyone.
"I and my prosecution task force believe we do not have sufficient evidence to warrant a filing of charges against anyone who has been investigated at this time," Hunter said at an Oct. 13, 1999 press conference.
Decision Called Brave
An attorney for John Ramsey told Brennan that Hunter's decision took courage in light of the public pressure to solve the case.
"If what you report actually happened, then there were some very professional and brave people in Alex's office and perhaps elsewhere whose discipline and training prevented a gross miscarriage of justice," Bryan Morgan told the reporter.
Throughout the case, John and Patsy Ramsey adamately denied any involvement by anyone in their family with the death of JonBenet. Patsy died after a long battle with ovarian cancer in 2006. She was 49.
DNA Exonerates Ramsey Family
In 2008, then district attorney Mary Lacy took the highly unusual step of announcing that modern DNA analysis techniques had exonerated members of the Ramsey family when samples found on JonBenet's clothing pointed to a still unknown suspect.
Although Hunter would not comment directly on the grand jury's vote, citing secrecy and ethical rules, members of his staff and even some of the jurors who talked with Brennan agreed with his decision.
For a grand jury to return a true bill, or an indictment as it is known, all they need is probable cause that a crime was committed. But to get a conviction, the district attorney would need evidence that proved guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, a much greater threshold.
On the morning after Christmas 1996, Patsy Ramsey found a ransom note demanding $118,000 for the return of JonBenet. Later that day, John Ramsey found JonBenet's body in a storage room in the basement of the house. She had been strangled and bound with duct tape.
The case remains unsolved. No one has ever been charged with a crime in connection with the death of JonBenet Ramsey, although John Mark Karr was arrested and questioned in the case after he confessed to killing JonBenet, a confession that turned out to be false.
Authorities believe they have the DNA of the perpetrator of the crime, however, and it is being compared to that of suspects in the Boulder area in December 1996 and to samples in national databases.