More than 15 years after the murder of six-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey captured the nation’s attention, her father John Ramsey opens up about his daughter in a new interview with ABC News.
The image of JonBenet, forever remembered as a pageant princess, led to Ramsey’s thoughts on today’s controversial pageant peddling program, “Toddlers & Tiaras.” Like many people, he thinks it’s disturbing.
“It’s very bizarre,” Ramsey says. “And certainly, Patsy and JonBenet didn’t approach it that way. They just did it for fun.”
Ramsey also admitted he regrets putting his daughter on public display.
“Patsy had her sitting atop a friend’s convertible in the Christmas parade waving at the people lining the streets,” Ramsey said of the parade JonBenet was in days before her death. “Patsy’s mother later told me that a strange man approached the car during the parade and it made her uncomfortable. I think about these things now and it makes me cringe. We were so naïve. I now believe with all my heart that it’s not a good idea to put your child on public display.”
Inside Pageants: Take a Look at a “Toddlers & Tiaras” Tantrum
Ramsey writes about the family’s captivating story in his new book, “The Other Side of Suffering,” which reveals his journey from grief to grace, and letting go of bitterness. “You can’t stay there,” he says. “It’s damaging to you as a person.”
His wife Patsy Ramsey died in 2006 of ovarian cancer. After a 12-year investigation, the Boulder, Colo., DA’s office finally cleared the Ramseys of any wrongdoing in the slaying of JonBenet. The little girl was found dead in the basement of her family’s Colorado home the day after Christmas in 1996. The case remains unsolved. Of her killer, John Ramsey tells “Nightline,” “He’s either alive, dead or in prison, and one of those three.”
Watch John Ramsey’s full interview with Juju Chang on Wednesday’s “Nightline” at 11:35 p.m. ET on ABC.