JonBenet Ramsey's father John has broken his silence in the wake of last month's explosive TV special about his daughter's death, granting a rare interview to refute allegations made during the program.

In his only Australian radio interview, Ramsey spoke to Meshel Laurie of KIIS 101.1's Matt & Meshel about the maintained public interest in his daughter's death, 20 years on.

"It's kind of a mixed blessing - on the one hand it brings up emotions again, but on the other hand it keeps the case alive, which is important. I don't want it to be forgotten," said Ramsey, who insists that he's "still hopeful that we'll get a resolution".

The 1996 murder of 6-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey made international headlines and captivated the nation. Photo / File
The 1996 murder of 6-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey made international headlines and captivated the nation. Photo / File

Ramsey rubbished claims made in the two-part series The Case of: JonBenét Ramsey, which saw investigators allege that the family had staged a botched kidnapping after JonBenet's older brother Burke accidentally killed her on Christmas night 1996.


Laurie told Ramsey that, as a parent, she could see how one child could accidentally kill another - and could empathise with a parent wanting to cover it up to protect the surviving child.

"I don't think it would even make you a bad person," she said.

"Well that's just nonsensical," Ramsey replied.

"The CBS show that came out, it was disgraceful. We will sue them. Let's assume that Burke accidentally hit JonBenet, accidentally or intentionally, as this CBS show claims. What would you do as a parent? Would you say, 'OK, let's strangle her, let's write a three-page ransom note and fake the whole thing?' No, you'd have said, 'Let's get her to the hospital immediately'. To think that a parent would do that doesn't pass the common sense test. It's nonsense, and I don't know how to respond to that," he said.

Burke Ramsey during a psychologist interview after his sister JonBenet's death. Photo / The Case of JonBenet Ramsey
Burke Ramsey during a psychologist interview after his sister JonBenet's death. Photo / The Case of JonBenet Ramsey

Ramsey said his son, now a grown man, was aware from a young age about public suspicion he was responsible for his little sister's death.

"Keep in mind, Burke was a nine-year-old child who weighed 60 pounds. This was a very brutal, savage murder. We tried to shield Burke from the tabloid headlines, but I'm sure Burke knew it was 'out there' by the time he was 12 or 13," Ramsey said of the rumours.

Suspicion about Burke was strengthened by his odd interview with Dr Phil, which ran around the time of the CBS special. Many were unsettled by his smiling demeanour when discussing his sister's murder.

"I was with Burke a couple of days ago, and I was watching him when he was talking. He naturally smiles when he talks - that's just Burke," his father says.

Laurie asked Ramsey to retrace the events of his daughter's disappearance - and later discovery, in the basement of the family home. He said he was in the upstairs bathroom early on Boxing Day 1996 when he heard wife Patsy scream his name.

"She'd found a ransom note on the stairway. I checked JonBenet's room at the same time, and we immediately called the police," he said.

Some have questioned why the Ramseys were so quick to ignore the instructions of the ransom letter, which ordered them not to contact police, but to John "there's no question - I would've called the army if I could. You want help, you want help NOW."

Ramsey opened up about finding his daughter's lifeless body later on that day when the police instructed him to conduct a thorough search of the house.

"We opened the door to the wine cellar and immediately saw JonBenet lying there. It was a rush of relief - I said, 'Thank god, I've got my child back' - but I quickly realised it wasn't good."

Ramsey picked up his daughter and brought her body upstairs, laying her on the floor in front of those on the scene.

"I just screamed. I guess I didn't want to admit she wasn't alive - I thought I could revive her or get her medical help. I quickly realised that wasn't going to happen."

In the weeks and months following their daughter's murder, whispers grew about the Ramseys, who had enlisted lawyers to defend them and were said to be uncooperative with police investigating the crime.

"We have a good friend who is a former district attorney. He said, 'you need to get the best defence lawyers you can get'. This was within a couple of days after the murder.

"The police attitude is, 'You don't need a lawyer if you're innocent.' Well, that's not true at all. If you're innocent and you're dealing with the police, you'd better have a very good lawyer."

Ramsey insisted that he and his wife, who died from ovarian cancer in 2006, became public scapegoats for the crime because people couldn't face the alternative.

"Even hardcore criminals wouldn't harm a child. It's a horrible crime and people want an answer - so the easiest answer is, 'Well it must've been the parents'. They don't want to accept that someone could come in your home, take your child from your bed, and murder them. I never expected that."