Who Killed JonBenét? (2016 Lifetime)

Skip this trash movie.

Who Killed JonBenét? (2016 Lifetime)

Cast: Eion BaileyJulia CampbellMichel Gill

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Synopsis (via Lifetime)

This Lifetime Original Movie revisits the infamous murder of pint-sized beauty queen JonBenét Ramsey and the lurid details that captivated the nation.


The movie shamelessly starts with actual footage of the real JonBenét. A child’s voice narrates the movie adding a creepy and unsetting feel to the film. (It is an adult actress Phoebe Lawrenson portraying a child.) I was not too fond of this choice. 

Then it cuts to a 911 operator taking a frantic call for help on Christmas morning 1996. Police detective Steven Thomas works on the case, and the movie jumps around timeline-wise. The JonBenét narrator introduces her parents and reads the ransom note left at the scene of the crime. The Ramsey walk the police through the house and recall the events of the previous evening.  

Fleet and Priscilla White are called and come over to comfort the family or further contaminate the crime scene. People in the house tinking to wash the sheets on the kidnapped child’s bed? Are they serious? It is a botched investigation from the start. Detective zero in on the family and question a hysterical Patsy Ramsey, stoic John, and their bewildered children. The family goes missing from police custody and is left to wander around their house, tampering with evidence. John Ramsy and Fleet find the body in the basement and move the body. Rigamortis has set in, and the police scream at them to put the body down. (This scene was gruesome for Lifetime.) The parents cry and pray over the body dramatically. It is genuinely shocking this was allowed to happen. Detective Linda Arndt was left alone with the Ramsey’s and couldn’t control the scene. The Ramsey’s were given preferential treatment because they are influential in the town. 

With the whole murder scene contaminated, the detectives don’t have much to go on. They comb through the 911 call, ransom note, and pageant tapes for evidence. Everything leads back to The Ramseys. They take DNA samples and fingerprints from the family.

Patsy and John go on CNN and conduct a bizarre interview. (The real footage is used here, attempting to give the movie more credibility.) Burke Ramsy is put into child therapy and hows outburst of rage. 

The case is tried in the media and is a sensation. Detectives continue to interview family and friends but come up with nothing. Next, they move onto an intruder theory. All they have to go on are theories, not evidence. Detective Steven Thomas quits the case and is replaced. He writes a book on the case, and it is seen as a cash grab and discredited. 

Jon and Pasty are featured in the tabloids relentlessly. 2006, Patsy is diagnosed with cancer and on her death bed. Detective Linda asks her on her bed if she killed JonBenét. Jon remarries and moves on.

Steven visits the grave of JonBenét and apologizes for not solving her murder. Voice over JonBenét wraps up the movie. The fact that the writer and director thought speaking for a murdered child was a good idea is baffling. 

Side Note

Minority Report: 911 Operator, Forensic specialist, child psychologist, 

The Ramsey’s have been exonerated of the murder of JonBenét and are litigious against anyone who says otherwise. 

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Overall rating

Do not watch this movie.

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*Photo Credit: © 2016 Lifetime

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